Kilohana Plantation 3-2087 Kaumualii Hwy., Lihue, (808) 245-5608. This former plantation is now a pleasant complex with shops, a few amusements, and a restaurant.
●A quick visit involves exploring the shops in the restored 1935 Tudor Wilcox Mansion that was once the island’s most expensive home. You can extend your visit with a stroll the grounds.
●Kauai Plantation Railway (808) 245-7245. Fee. Make your visit even more fun with a ride on the narrow-gauge train here for a 2.5-mile ride through the 104-acre grounds.
You’ll see farm animals, exotic fruit trees, and gardens planted on the former cane fields. A farmer’s market sells fresh produce grown on property, and a gift shop purveys souvenirs. A horse-drawn carriage ride is another way to tour.
●Gaylord’s (808) 245-9593. L M-Sat, D daily, SunBr; $$$. Reservations recommended. Do plan in time for a meal at this sheltered open-air restaurant in the back of the main house.
It has a relaxed atmosphere, the menu features island fish and local produce, and dinner is served by torchlight.
Or at least stop in at the Mahiko Lounge bar for a superb mai tai. Bartender Laurie Shibao uses fresh fruit juices in her creations, and one of the ingredients that sets her mai tai apart and makes it the island’s tastiest is the fresh sugarcane juices she secures via an antique machine. Plus, she uses Koloa Rum from the factory right next door.
●Koloa Rum Company Store & Tasting Room (808) 246-8900. Daily. You’ll find this local rum in the island’s best mai tais. Free rum tastings occur every half-hour, and an assortment of other Kaua’i-made products are available for purchase.
●Clayworks (808) 246-2529. At this working artist’s studio and gallery you can make and glaze your own souvenir pot.
●Luau Kalamaku (877) 622-1780. Tu & F nights. Before the feast held in the former carriage house, you’ll have a chance to visit the shops, ride the train, and participate in some traditional Hawaiian crafts and games. Hula dancers and Samoan fire dancers are part of the show.
Recipe for Kauai Fruit Salad.
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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers