August 29, 2014

Sights to See: Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens, Sculpture Park & Hardwood Plantation, Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii

Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens, Sculpture Park & Hardwood Plantation  4101 Wailapa Rd., Kilauea, (808) 828-0525.  Tu-F.  Guided tours $35+; special family tour, under 13 $20.  Reservations advised.

Lagoon at Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens in Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii
Rambling over 240 acres, these beautifully scenic, well-groomed gardens are reached by a back road through an upscale residential area.  Formerly owned by Joyce and Ed Doty, who designed and developed them, the gardens are now operated by a non-profit foundation and continue to evolve.  All tours are guided, and some include a tram ride.

Tea for Two sculpture at Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens in Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii
Tea for Two
About 70 whimsical bronze sculptures are strategically placed throughout--many with punny names and humorous stories—and, amazingly, everything was planted here from seed.

jackfruit at Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens in Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii

blue jade at Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens in Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii
blue jade
You’ll see exotic fruits, colorful orchids, tropical hardwood forests (including teak, which they said couldn’t grow here, but which Joyce Doty did grow using a recipe she found in an old seed catalogue), waterfalls, a hedge maze, large grassy expanses, a koi-filled lagoon with spouting fountains, a finely appointed tea house, and black lava rock fences.

treehouse at Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens in Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii

The Children’s Garden holds holds plants kids enjoy and includes water features, a large treehouse in an even larger rubber tree, and a gecko-shaped maze.

baby Laysan albatross at Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens in Kilauea, Kauai, Hawaii

If you’re lucky, as I was, you’ll see fluffy baby Laysan albatross in a restricted nesting area adjacent to the garden.  Consider taking a morning tour or risk sweltering in the heat of the day.

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

August 27, 2014

Things to Do: Smith's Tropical Paradise Garden Luau and Fern Grotto Wailua River Cruise, Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii

Smith's Tropical Paradise Garden Luau  174 Wailua Rd., in Wailua Marina State Park, in Kapaa, (808) 821-6895.  Reservations required.  Reputedly the island’s best luau, this event begins at 5 p.m. with an informative tram ride through lush tropical gardens.  A traditional imu ceremony, in which a roasted pig is removed from its undergound lava rock oven, occurs at 6 p.m., followed by mai tais and punch and an all-you-can-eat dinner buffet with all the traditional goodies.

dinner plate at Smith's Tropical Paradise Garden Luau in Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii

Salads, that infamous poi (here’s your chance to try it, and it’s not so bad—just sort of bland), Jell-O, fried rice, lomi salmon, fresh fruits, kalua pig, teriyaki beef, adobo chicken, sweet & sour mahi mahi, snowflake and sweet potatoes, hot vegetables, haupia, coconut cake, and rice pudding comprise the menu, which is definitely kid-friendly.

dinner at Smith's Tropical Paradise Garden Luau in Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii

Dinner is accompanied by singing and dancing, with the pageant show starting in a separate arena at 8 p.m.

dinner plate at Smith's Tropical Paradise Garden Luau in Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii

After the torches are lit, Madame Pele makes a fiery entrance that is followed by colorful dances and songs from throughout the South Pacific and Hawaii.  What’s not to like here?

Fern Grotto Wailua River Cruise  Smith's Motor Boat Service, 174 Wailua Rd., in Wailua Marina State Park, in Kapaa, (808) 821-6892.  On grounds that were once owned by Hawaiian royalty and accessible only by river boats that leave every 30 minutes, this lava grotto and waterfall makes a lovely destination.  It is a natural amphitheater with impressive acoustics, and it is a popular spot for weddings.  The large flat-bottomed, open-air, canopy-covered tour boats share the water with kayakers on what is the only navigable river in Hawaii.  Everyone, including kids, is entertained en route up the narrow, calm river with historical stories, singing, and hula lessons.  Trips last about 1½ hours and give kids the chance to let off some steam during a walk from the landing up to the grotto.

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first three images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers; last image courtesy of venue

August 25, 2014

Great Sleeps: Kiahuna Plantation and The Beach Bungalows, Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii

Kiahuna Plantation and The Beach Bungalows  2253 Poipu Rd., Poipu, (800) 367-5004, (808) 742-2200.  333 units.

Kiahuna Plantation in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii

Situated on 35 acres of beautifully maintained gardens punctuated with great expanses of green lawn, this condominium resort fronting Poipu Beach is spread over what was once part of Hawaii’s oldest sugar plantation and is now the largest condo resort on the island.  The two- and three-story plantation-style buildings each hold six to eight individually owned units, which are furnished in wicker and dark wood and cooled by overhead fans.  Some, of course, are closer to the ocean than others, but all are within convenient walking distance.  All have a full kitchen, laundry facilities, a TV, and a large private lanai.  This property is a good choice for families with young children, especially the units that are set back from the beach and open onto an expanse of grass.  I love the early morning birdsong.

My unit attracted an assortment of birds--doves, common mynahs, and "red-headed bluejays," as one of my children called the birds that looked just like that.  The beach itself is reputedly one of Hawaii’s best, with a gentle surf that is welcoming of children, and great snorkeling is within easy walking distance. The resort's many facilities include a beach hut with free use of chairs and towels. Boogie boards and scuba gear can be rented, and surfing lessons are available.  Well-maintained, free tennis courts and a pool are situated a bit of a trek from the condos.

Plantation Gardens restaurant at Kiahuna Plantation in Poipu, Kaua, Hawaii

Plantation Gardens restaurant and bar is located inside the historic Moir House.  It serves dinner  only, and reservations are advised.

Moir Cacti Gardens at Kiahuna Plantation in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii

Guests and non-guests alike can take a free self-guided tour of the resort’s unusual, very old Moir Cacti Gardens.  It is rough around the edges and in need of some tender loving care, but still a delight to walk through.

orchid garden at Kiahuna Plantation in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii

A colorful orchid garden located just outside the restaurant is also a pleasure to visit.

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images and video ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

August 22, 2014

Good Eats: Randy’s Donuts, Inglewood, California

Randy’s Donuts  805 W. Manchester Blvd. (going south, 1st airport exit/Manchester), Inglewood, (310) 645-4707.  Open 24 hours.

line at Randy's Donuts in Inglewood, California
This is the perfect stop for a pre- or post- airport snack.  Just look for the big donut on the roof.  I like the maple-glazed cake donut with a vanilla iced coffee.  Rain or shine, there is usually a line.  Unfortunately, they have no indoor area or seating and no restroom, so you’ll be standing outside.

Randy's Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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menu at Randy's Donuts in Inglewood, California

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

August 20, 2014

Sights to See: Carlingford, Ireland

CARLINGFORD  1 hour north of Dublin, on the Cooley Peninsula. 
Located halfway between Dublin and Belfast, Carlingford was raided and occupied by the Vikings in the 8th and 9th centuries.  It retains its original narrow medieval streets and lanes and is Ireland’s best-preserved medieval village, and its sheltered harbor provides views across the water of the majestic Slieve Foye mountain and the famous mountains of Mourne.

King John's Castle in Carlingford, Ireland

The 13th-century King John’s Castle is a landmark for Cuan Aighneach--the town’s ancient name, which translates as "Haven of the People with the Perfect Reputation."  The magical area also seems to be leprechaun central. 

Ghan House  +353 (0) 42937-3682.  12 rooms.  Situated beside Carlingford Lough and just a short stroll from the village, this L-shaped 18th-century Early Georgian house has been converted into an inn that is probably most famous for its restaurant.  The kitchen staff grows their own vegetables and makes all stocks, chutneys, jams, breads, and ice creams in house.

rack of Cooley lamb at Ghan House in Carlingford, Ireland

Guests can have a cocktail in the bar, then go upstairs to the exquisite dining room for dinner by candlelight.  A cooking school—the third-oldest in Ireland--is available to groups.

guest room at Ghan House in Carlingford, Ireland

Upstairs, guest rooms with mountain views are furnished with family antiques.  This charming lodging is particularly popular with ladies on a “hen weekend.”

P.J. O’Hare pub  Tholsel St., 042-9373106.  Established in 1860, this popular pub pours a proper Guinness and is also a great spot for an Irish coffee.  Don’t leave without viewing the display of leprechaun bones in a wall cabinet. 

Carlingford Oyster Company  This renowned oyster farm is home to the famous Carlingford Oyster.
owner and workers at Carlingford Oyster Company in Carlingford, Ireland

Oysters have thrived in Carlingford Lough for centuries, and the Louet-Feisser family has been farming them here for 39 years.  The unique sweet taste and high meat content makes these oysters prized gourmet treasures.  This company supplies top restaurants throughout Ireland and the U.K.

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images and video ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

August 18, 2014

Sights to See: Newgrange, Dublin, Ireland

Newgrange  30 miles northwest of Dublin, in the Boyne Valley.  

Newgrange site near Dublin, Ireland

Dating back to 4000 B.C., this UNESCO World Heritage Site holds a prehistoric tomb that is older than both Stonehenge in England and the pyramids in Egypt.  

tomb entrance at Newgrange site near Dublin, Ireland

The tomb entrance is a narrow passage made of large stones that leads into a covered burial chamber.  During the winter solstice, the rising sun shines through a small opening above the tomb's doorway and illuminates the chamber, which is at other times pitch black.  An interpretive center with a small cafe are nearby.  Two more passage tombs--Knowth and Dowth—are in the area.  Day tours from Dublin are available.

Newgrange Farm--a working farm with animals to feed and pet--is especially fun for children and just a few miles down the road. 

Monasterboice high cross site near Dublin, Ireland

Monasterboice  This graveyard holds one of the best preserved high crosses in Ireland. 

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

August 15, 2014

Things to Do: Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California

Griffith Park  Entrances on Los Feliz Blvd. & Zoo Dr., Los Angeles, (323) 913-4688.  You can easily spend all day in this 4,107-acre park in the Hollywood Hills.  It is the largest city park in the country and offers a plethora of things to do.  In addition to the attractions itemized below, it has more than 50 miles of hiking trails, 28 tennis courts, 4 golf courses, a riding stables, an elaborate modern playground, and a public swimming pool.

Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round in Los Angeles, California

Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round  (323) 665-3051.  Daily in summer, Sat-Sun rest of year, 11am-5pm.  $1.  This has been a Los Angeles family attraction for more than five generations.  Built in 1926 by the Spillman Engineering Company and brought to Griffith Park in 1937, this carousel has 68 finely carved jumping horses.

riders on Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round in Los Angeles, California

They feature jewel-encrusted bridles, carved draped blankets, and sunflower and lion head decorations.  A loud Stinson 165 Military Band Organ, reputed to be the largest band organ accompanying a carousel on the West Coast, plays more than 1500 selections of marches and waltz music.

Located by the merry-go-round’s lower parking lot, Shane’s Inspiration playground is handicapped accessible.

kiddie rides  Los Feliz Blvd/Riverside Dr., 4400 Crystal Springs Rd.  The first two attractions have been operating since 1948.

train ride at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California

Griffith Park & Southern Railroad  (323) 664-6903.  Daily 10-4:30.  $2, seniors $1.25, kids $1.50.   This miniature train passes through an Old West town.

pony rides at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California

pony rides  (323) 664-3266.  Tu-Sun 10-4.  For kids up to 100 pounds.  $3.  A pony wheel is available for younger children, but older kids get to ride in lanes around an oval track attended to by helpers.

simulated roller coaster  Must be age 6+; ages 2-5 must ride with a parent.  $3.

Griffith Observatory and Planetarium  2800 E. Observatory Rd., (888) 695-0888, (213) 473-0800.  Tu-F noon-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm.  Free; small fee for observatory shows.  No pets inside.  Displays and interactive exhibits in the Hall of Science here focus on astronomy and physical sciences.  Kids are mesmerized by the Foucault Pendulum that swings back and forth to the earth’s rotation, knocking down pegs as time marches on.  A working seismograph can be viewed in action, and several telescopes are available for viewing the night sky.  Evening planetarium shows vary, and the Laserium, which is sort of like a ‘60s lightshow pulsating to different styles of music, is quite popular with teens; both are best with children age 5 and older.  Picnicking is not permitted, but a cafe is available. 

Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens  5533 Zoo Dr., (323) 644-4200.  Daily 10-5.  $19, 62+ $16, 2 to 12 $14.  Animals here are divided into areas resembling the five continents they are found on.  To see it takes at least a full morning--the best time to visit as the animals are most active and vocal then--or afternoon.  Animal shows include The World of Birds, and camel and elephant rides are available.  Children seem to particularly enjoy the nocturnal exhibits, including the very popular Koala House.  The Winnick Family Children’s Zoo has an exhibition animal care center and lets the whole family get face-to-face with goats and sheep in a contact area.  An indoor theater features storytelling, puppet shows, and up-close encounters with animals. 

Autry National Center  4700 Western Heritage Way, (323) 667-2000.  Tu-F 10-4, Sat-Sun 10-5.  $10, 60+ $6, 3-12 $4.  This comprehensive collection of American western history tells the story of the Old West through murals, movies, and hands-on exhibits.  You’ll see displays of firearms, tools, clothing, toys, and furnishings that include Annie Oakley’s Tiffany-inscribed shotgun and Buffalo Bill’s gloves.  Contrary to what you might expect, there is little here that commemorates the legendary cowboy Gene Autry, save a bronze statue and one display case, though there is plenty of Hollywood memorabilia and movie clips.  Kids love the Children’s Discovery Gallery, where they can frolic in a small replica ranch house, dress up in cowboy outfits, and ride a full-size fiberglass horse.  A saddle for kids to mount and ride puts them in a Lone Ranger rerun-- have your camera ready.  The Autry's collection of more than 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts includes the Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, one of the largest and most significant in the United States.  An exceptional gift shop has everything cowboy and western, from a chocolate cowboy hat on a stick to videotapes of popular classic cowboy films.  Time your visit for a weekday afternoon if possible, as weekday mornings are usually crowded with school groups; weekends--when western films are screened for a small additional charge--are also generally busy. 

Travel Town Museum  5200 W. Zoo Dr., (323) 662-5874.  M-F 10-4, Sat-Sun 10-5.  By donation; miniature train $2.75, 65+ $2.25.  Among the railroad cars displayed in this outdoor transportation museum are a narrow-gauge sugar train from Hawaii and a 110-ton Union Pacific steam engine.  Retired fire engines and L.A. streetcars are also in the collection.

Though you may no longer climb aboard, you can board the miniature train that circles the grounds.  A free miniature 1/4-scale train ride is operated nearby by the Live Steamers Club.  All this and city views, too. 

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first four images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers; rest courtesy of venues

August 13, 2014

Itinerary: to Cape May from NYC or Washington, D.C.

Sidetrip Itinerary:
New York City—Cape May—Washington, D.C.

yellow cabs in NYC

You can fly into NYC on an open-jaw ticket, stay a few days, then rent a car and drive among a band of yellow taxis on your way out of Manhattan toward the greenery-lined New Jersey Parkway leading to Cape May.  After a refreshing stopover in this seaside village, continue on, taking the 70-minute car-ferry across the Delaware Bay (and maybe seeing a pod of frolicking dolphins, not to mention exotic East Coast seagulls with black heads) to Delaware, landing in picturesque Lewes—the oldest town in the oldest state—and on through this scenic state into slightly less scenic Maryland, and then into D.C.  Or you can visit Cape May as a side trip from either big city.  

Cape May-Lewes Ferry, passengers on deck

Cape May-Lewes Ferry  (800) 64-FERRY.  Reserve at least 1 day in advance. 

Lewes, Delaware  The original town name was Zwaanendael, meaning “valley of the swans” in Dutch.  The first town in the first state, it was settled by the Dutch in 1631.  A round-trip ferry package from Cape May includes shuttle service and a walking tour. 

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

August 8, 2014

Good Eats: food tours, Kauai, Hawaii

local grinz self-guided foodie tour  One of the best ways to experience the Hawaiian culture is through food.  You can eat your way through through the island, sampling mom-and-pop restaurants, taking part in agricultural tours, and visiting farmers’ markets. Try local favorites such as poi, ahi poke, lau lau, and shave ice.  I took this self-guided tour that hits highlights of the south shore with a native Hawaiian. 

prepared Japanese food at Kuluiula Market in Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii

Kukuiula Market  2827 Poipu Rd., Koloa, (808) 742-1601.  This simple grocery store looks like it has been here forever.  Stock up here on condo cooking supplies, including plenty of Hawaiian favorites--fresh fish, organic produce, Hawaiian Sun canned fruit drinks, and bento boxes and prepared Japanese food such as Spam musubi (a rice roll stuffed with Hawaii’s favorite meat).

Aloha 'Aina Juice Bar at Kuluiula Market in Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii

In the back of the store, the tiny Aloha ‘Aina Juice Bar dishes up popular breakfast acai bowls.  The “B.I.A.” includes acai, strawberry, kale, apple juice, coconut flakes, and bee pollen, and is topped with bananas, homemade granola, and honey.  Delish.  All this and Regae music, too, but only a few seats.  Smoothies, fresh juices, and gluten-free items are also available.

Taro Ko Chips Factory  3940 Hanapepe Rd., Hanapepe,  (808) 335-5588.  The proprietor says it is an all-day job to make a bag of taro or potato chips at his tiny operation inside a coverted home.  The price seems a bit steep at $4.99 per bag, but the chips are so delicious you’ll want to buy several.  My favorite is the potato chips flavored with li hing mui--a delicious plum licorice taste--but I also like the pretty deep-purple sweet potato chips with the same flavoring.  I wish I had bought a whole case and had them shipped home.

lilikoi chiffon pie at Wong's Omoide Bakery in Hanapepe, Kauai, Hawaii

Wong’s Chinese Restaurant & Omoide Bakery  13543 Kaumualii Hwy., Hanapepe, (808) 335-5066;  Tu-Sun 8am-9pm.  Come here for what many consider to be Kauai’s best lilikoi (passion fruit) chiffon pie.  I also loved a square cream-puffy item.  A cafeteria-style plate lunch is available in a small and informal bakery cafe, while dinner is served in a large open dining room.  Wong's is also known for its Hot Bitch Sauce--a housemade vinegary hot sauce with a kick—which is on each table and also bottled to go.

Wong's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Jo Jo's Anuenue Shave Ice & Treats  9899 Waimea Rd., Waimea.  Daily 11am-5:30pm.  A favorite here is the #4 featuring macadamia nut ice cream topped with guava and passion fruit shave ice.  And it would be hard to go wrong with a pinky-orange lilikoi shave ice, but I could have done without the additional pink strawberry mochi on the bottom because it tasted like bubble gum and was too brittle--I like my mochi soft and chewey.  A long line of colored bottles holding a vast variety of flavors will require you to make some important decisions.  Boba tea is also available. 

Polish dog and lemonade at Puka Dog in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii

Puka Dog  2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr., in Poipu Shopping Village, Koloa, (808) 742-6044.  Daily 10am-8pm.  The small menu here is spelled out atmospherically on a surf board.  I like the Polish but a veggie and several other dogs are options.  Slather the housebaked sweet-bread bun with sweet ilikoi mustard and fresh mango relish and you are in for a big tropical treat.  Wash it down with a big, icy-cold fresh-squeezed lemonade.

Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tasting Kauai tours  (808) 635-0257.  Reservations required. These food tours are organized and led by Marta Lane, author of “Tasting Kauai.”  
Farmers Market Tours  Wednesdays at 3-4pm; at Kapaa Farmers Market;
A Taste of Kilohana  Saturdays, 2 times/month; $140. 
A Culinary Romp Through Paradise  Fridays, 1 time/month; $140.

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images and videos ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

August 6, 2014

Good Eats: Keoki's Paradise, Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii

Keoki's Paradise  2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr., in Poipu Shopping Village, across from Kiahuna Plantation, in Koloa, (808) 742-7534.  L-D daily.  Reservations advised.

interior of Keoki's Paradise in Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii

Everyone loves eating in this open-air, multi-level restaurant landscaped with cascading waterfalls, koi-filled lagoons, and lush greenery.  A koa bar with a palapa roof rounds out the tropical decor, along with antique Hawaiian posters and vintage surfboards lining the koa-wood-panelled walls.

pretty salad at Keoki's Paradise in Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii

Menu highlights are fresh island fish, Koloa pork ribs glazed in plum sauce, and a full bone cut of prime rib.  Kids can share with their parents or choose from a keiki menu offering pastas and burgers.

frozen Poipu Pino drink at Keoki's Paradise in Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii

My favorite drinks are a delicious frozen Poipu Pino served in a pineapple and a tasty Bumbai Mai Tai made with smooth local Koloa rum.  Lighter meals, including hamburgers and tacos, are served in the bar, and live local entertainment is featured on Thursday and Friday nights.

Keoki's Paradise Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

August 4, 2014

Sights to See: National Tropical Botanical Gardens, Kauai, Hawaii

National Tropical Botanical Gardens  (808) 742-2623.   Described as a “Noah’s Ark” for plants, this non-profit organization preserves more than a thousand categories of endangered plants from Hawaii and other Pacific islands.  These three gardens are on Kauai.

huge Moreton Bay Fig tree at Allerton Garden in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii

Allerton Garden  4425 Lawai Rd., Poipu, (808) 742-2623.  Daily.  $40, 6-12 $15.  Reservations required.  Located just across the road from Spouting Horn, this once privately-owned garden boasts bougainvilleas planted in the late 1800s by Queen Emma--wife of King Kamehameha IV--as well as more than 600 species of palms and 1,200 species of flowering plants and ferns.  Of interest to many school-age kids, parts of Jurassic Park were filmed here and you can take your family’s picture amid the massive, snake-like roots of the Moreton Bay Fig trees seen in the movie.  The 2½-hour tour begins with a ride on an open-air tram that follows the rail-bed of an old sugar cane train and takes you to the heart of the garden.  Then you’ll enjoy a leisurely walk, viewing tropical plants from all over the world as well as the world’s largest collection of native Hawaiian plants.  Special pains are taken by the docent guides to interest kids.  The visitor center and gift shop is inside a restored 1920s clapboard sugar plantation cottage. 

         ●McBryde Garden  $20, 6-12 $10.  Self-guided tour.  A tram shuttles visitors along a cliff-side road to the garden, which holds the world’s largest collection of native Hawaiian flora.  A Canoe Garden highlights 27 lifesaving plants brought here by ancient Polynesians in canoes.  A Monkeypod tree at heart of garden, and you’ll also see exquisite strangler figs and snake cacti in this colorful garden. 

Limahuli Garden and Preserve in Haena, Kauai, Hawaii

Limahuli Garden and Preserve  5-8291 Kuhio Hwy., Haena, on North Shore, (808) 826-1053.  Tu-Sat 9:30-4; age 19+ $20.  Guided 2½-hr. tour at 10; age 19+ $40; reservations required; tour is recommended for children age 10+.  Situated on one of the earliest sites of human habitation in the Hawaiian islands, this valley is now carefully nurtured and preserved.  The 985-acre jungle-like preserve is largely inaccessible, but a 17-acre garden is open to explore along a ¾-mile loop trail.

deep-pink hibiscus at Limahuli Garden and Preserve in Haena, Kauai, Hawaii

The garden features original indiginous native Hawaiian plants--many of which are on the endangered list and on the verge of extinction—as well as flowers and fruits introduced during Hawaii’s plantation era, and also a canoe garden with beautiful and rare plants brought to the islands from Polynesia.  Lovely lava stone agricultural terraces are believed to be well over 700 years old.  Five native species of freshwater fish and also several species of freshwater shrimp are found here.

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

August 1, 2014

Great Sleeps: Aqua Kauai Beach Resort, Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii

Aqua Kauai Beach Resort  4331 Kauai Beach Dr., Lihue, (888) 805-3843-7976, (808) 245-1955.  5 stories; 350 rooms.  4 mineral-water pools; 2 hot tubs; health spa; 4 tennis courts.  3 restaurants.  Parking $16.95. 

Aqua Kauai Beach Resort in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii

Set on 25 lush acres on Kauai’s longest beach, this full-service oceanfront resort features plantation-style architecture.

pool area at Aqua Kauai Beach Resort in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii

A spectacular pool complex is landscaped with lagoons, lava grottoes and waterfalls, and native foliage.  Children especially enjoy their special sand-bottom pool, lava-tube waterslide, and sand-topped lounge area.  The ocean here has strong undercurrents and is not good for swimming, but you can walk along the beach.  The soothing sound of running water can be heard all around the resort, and colorful koi populate manmade streams.  Complimentary tennis, golf, and an exercise center are available off property nearby.  Special activities and excursions are scheduled daily for guests, and a free airport shuttle is available.  Currently a live indoor dinner theater performance of “South Pacific” is being presented every Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m.  A free hula show with complimentary mai tais is held each Tuesday from 5 to 6 p.m., and a torch-lighting ceremony occurs nightly.  All rooms are basically the same except for their view, and each has a private lanai.  Prices normally start at $169 but can be as little as $129 in low season. 

mai tai in Naupaka Terrace restaurant at Aqua Kauai Beach Resort in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii

Naupaka Terrace Restaurant serves a daily breakfast buffet as well as lunch and dinner.  Shutters Cafe serves daily meals and additionally becomes a lounge in the evenings, when they serve up a delicious mai tai. 

It is interesting to know that the property generates all of its own electricity and solar energy and runs its own sewage plant.

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers