Maui Wine on Ulupalakua Ranch

 

Maui Wine

Maui Wine, King’s Cottage

Hula Circle

Hula Circle

While visiting paradise on the island of Maui, take a scenic drive up to Ulupalakua Ranch to tour Maui Wine sitting at 2000 feet above sea level, established in 1974. IMG_1287On the drive upcountry, take in spectacular views of the the islands of Lanai and Molokai. There are several overlooks where you can pull aside and take pictures. Each winery is unique in their own way and at Maui Wine they are known for their pineapple wines! 30 minute tours for the whole family are offered daily at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

The tour begins

The tour begins

We decided to tour in the morning since it was in June and we thought it may be cooler. It was the perfect day trip as we dined for lunch and stopped off at a park afterwards. There is a designated parking area at the winery where you will see the King’s Cottage built in 1870. In the picture above, notice the Hula Circle created by cypress trees for King David Kalakaua as a designated area where he could watch hula dancers. The trees are over 150 years old and have since been cut way down and carved. Look very closely to determine what each carving displays.

Hula O Maui, pineapple wine

Hula O Maui, pineapple wine

The tour began in the historical room in the King’s Cottage with a complimentary pour of sparkling wines. First we had a glass of the LokeLani, Hawaiian Sparkling Rose Wine and a glass of Hula O Maui, Pineapple Sparkling Wine.

Family Friendly

Family Friendly

You will be greeted with the fresh pineapple aroma prior to taking your first sip.  Listen as Auntie Em (Emily) describes how the property started out as a plantation, then moved to ranching and most recently, wine making. Take your time looking around at all of the sepia pictures hanging on the wall displaying the ranch families. The historical information is great for all ages. Our kids really enjoyed learning about the ranch as well as the production of wine. The tour is only 30 minutes, short and sweet for all ages.

Make your way from the King’s Cottage to the production area via a pathway along the beautifully manicured property. The 10:30 a.m. tour was nice and cool, a little overcast with ocean views. UlupalakuaIMG_1273 is the perfect place to take pictures and spend time walking around. We made our way down to the production area with the first stop at the machine which skins the pineapples for Maui Wine’s pineapple wines. These wines are unique because they use pineapple rather than grapes. It was our first experience in sampling wines and sparkling wines infused with pineapple. The pineapple wines are made with Maui Gold pineapples. Next stop, the production plant where Auntie Em explains the process of wine making. It was fascinating to find out that Maui Wine does not use any wood barrels to process their wine as it is not conducive with the Hawaii climate and wood eating bugs.

IMG_1270Maui Wine has a fantastic wine tasting bar and gift shop. Kids are allowed in the tasting room but not up at the bar. Our kids enjoyed exploring the gift shop while we took in our 3 samples of complementary wine. I loved the white wines while my husband preferred the estate red wine. All of the wines are for sale at the winery. We left with two bottles of wine and a “Maui Wine” etched wine glass to bring home as a souvenir.

Tasting Bar

Tasting Bar

If you are tasting wines with someone else, share the samples so that you can actually sample 6 varieties. The staff are very knowledgeable about the wines. They even informed us as to which wines are for sale at our local Costco and which wines are sold only at the winery. The information provided by the staff helped us in choosing which wines to purchase and bring home. We signed up for their mailing list to receive information about upcoming events such as parties, holiday festivities and local music.

Ulupalakua Ranch Store

Ulupalakua Ranch Store

After wine tasting, walk across the street and have a bite to eat at the Ulupalakua Ranch Store. Located in a green, plantation-style house with a lanai to sit and dine at Paniolo style. Choose from Maui Cattle Company’s slow roasted cattle brisket, Upcountry Caesar salad, Elk or the famous Ulupalakua Lamb Burger. If you like sauces, you will love dining at the Ranch Store!

Brisket wrap

Brisket wrap

Each table has house made BBQ sauces to choose from and some are really spicy! You will smell the BBQ smoke while touring Maui Wine. The best part is that the Ranch Store serves only Maui grown produce! While waiting for your food to grill, shop around the store which features local artisan products.

 

King's Cottage

King’s Cottage

Open Monday- Sunday 10 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.

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A Lil Bit of Country~ Kalaheo Steak & Ribs

Pecorino Cheese Stuffed Pork Chop

Pecorino Cheese Stuffed Pork Chop

Come on in

Come on in

Sometimes you just crave that good ‘ole country food with homemade barbecue sauce, steak sauce, meat with the grill marks on it and grilled potatoes. After 11 years of living on Kauai and hearing so many great things about Kalaheo Steak & Ribs, we finally decided to take the kids! Kalaheo Steak & Ribs is located in a historic building at 4444 Papalina Road in Kalaheo on the west side of Kauai. The restaurant has been in existence for over 30 years and was originally named the Kalaheo Steak House.When you first enter the restaurant, you will walk right into their saloon.

Saloon

Saloon

The saloon is a happen’n place where you will find karaoke on Friday/Saturday evenings and live music on Thursday/Sunday evenings. It has the feel of a real saloon, minus the dust on the floor. Complete with horns on the ceiling, wood siding throughout and my favorite, the pictures of Kalaheo from the 30’s & 40’s in sepia and black & white. Step into the feel of a true steakhouse, with dimmed lights and paniolo decor. The restaurant is filled with booths and wooden tables.

Let’s talk food~ for starters the waiter will bring a basket of bread covered in garlic butter. May very well be the best bread I’ve ever had. Clearly not low in fat, the bread smells amazing before you take the first bite. Of course, I took a photo so that your mouth would water. I am one of those people who really expects hot bread brought to the table whendining at a nice (pricey) restaurant. I love bread with my food! Just be careful not to fill up on the bread which keeps coming throughout your meal. I also appreciate that, not having to ask for more.

Garlic Bread

Garlic Bread

Usually a steak house is known for their hearty meals, steak and other special cuts of meat. However, Kalaheo Steak & Ribs had a very diverse menu for a steakhouse. For those of you who don’t eat red meat or pork, try the calamari, poke (raw ahi), stuffed mushrooms or steamed clams for starters. Non-beef or pork entrees include Chicken Picatta, Fettucini Alfredo, Pasta Marinara, and Fresh Kauai Water Fish. All entrees are served with a salad and a choice of mashed potato, baked potato or rice. Let me add that the mashed potatoes have chucks of the skin from the new potatoes, which I love!!!

Since my family is made up of carnivores, those are the only pictures of food that I have. Pork can be so dry if not prepared properly. I ordered the Pecorino Cheese Stuffed Pork Chop (pictured above), which was to die for. The sauce over the pork chop and potatoes made the entire dish! The pork chop was stuffed to perfection, not too much cheese oozing out but enough to taste the flavor.

Paniolo Burger

Paniolo Burger

Baby-back Pork Ribs

Baby-back Pork Ribs

 

Rib Eye Steak

Rib Eye Steak

For those of you who are “burger people” (there is one in every family), Kalaheo Steak & Ribs has a Gourmet Paniolo Burger made with  top-quality ground round, apple wood bacon, aged white-cheddar cheese, grilled onions, jalapeno peppers, tomato, lettuce, and aioli on a sesame seed bun. Steak, steak, steak. We must talk about the steak and ribs at Kalaheo Steak & Ribs. We ordered both!! The baby-back pork ribs fall off of the bone and are served with hickory cranberry BBQ sauce and island-style slaw.

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For the steak choice, we opted for the Rib Eye over the Filet Mignon. The portion was large and cooked perfectly, as requested. This is one of the few restaurants where everything that we ordered was wonderful. We didn’t have any complaints about the food and the service was fabulous! Don’t forget to save room for dessert! The dessert menu offers delicious local favorites such as Coconut & Chocolate Pie, Heavenly Hana Ice Cream Pie, Molokai’i Sweet Bread Pudding, and Lappert’s (locally made) Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

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Kalaheo Steak & Ribs is open Tuesday – Sunday from 4:00 to 10:00pm with Happy Hour from 4:00pm to 7:00pm and Dinner from 5:00pm to 9:30pm.

$$ Saving Tips~ The portions are fairly large, so it is a great place to split entrees! Order an appetizer and split a meal. The bread keeps coming, so you will not leave hungry. We each took home doggy bags. Try and arrive just before Happy Hour ends so you can order a drink with your meal at a discounted price. Kalaheo Steak & Ribs does have kids menus.

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Timeshare travel ~ The Westin Ocean Resort Villas

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The Westin Ocean Resort Villas, Kauai

2013 Timeshare Facts

There are 29 percent more resorts planned for 2014

1,540 timeshare resorts in the United States, representing about 192,420 units

Average resort size is 125 units

Beach resorts are the most common type of resort

Urban resorts have the highest occupancy

Florida has the most resorts — 23% of the national total

Nevada has the largest average resort size — 283 units on average

Hawaii has the highest average sales price — $27,712 and occupancy rate 85.2%

Lobby

Lobby

Spacious balcony

Spacious balcony

Vacation is something to look forward to, a much-needed break, time for R&R, but when traveling with a family, kids or grandchildren ~ a hotel room can prove to be challenging. With only two beds, a tv and a bathroom, the space turns into kids jumping from bed to bed or teens fighting in a confined area. Now, the idea of vacation has just completely taken a nose dive. This post is not to promote the purchase of timeshare, but merely to outline the benefits of timeshare vacationing whether you purchase or simply book a night.

We absolutely LOVE to stay in timeshare units for several reasons. Most timeshare units are extremely spacious, including multiple rooms, washer & dryer in unit, fully stalked kitchens, towels, BBQ utensils, and ice chests. The convenience of more than one TV in the unit is nice. This allows the parents to watch one show while the kids watch a movie in the living room. You never know when the weather may turn and you find yourselves indoors watching movies all day. Timeshare properties are in constant competition with other timeshare properties; therefore, the amenities just keep getting better!!! Expect spacious balconies, which is the perfect spot to eat breakfast, watch birds, have a glass of wine or, at the Westin Ocean Resort Villas, watch golfers play on the Makai Golf Course or simply view the ocean waves roll in.

Ping Pong

Ping Pong

The Westin Ocean Resorts Villas are located in Princeville on Kauai’s north shore.

Pool tables

Pool tables

The units at the Westin set up high on the north shore, overlooking the ocean; however, there is not an accessible beach from the resort itself. Gorgeous Hanalei Bay is just 3.8 miles up the road. The Westin has multiple pools, bbq’s overlooking the ocean, pool tables, state-of-the-art gym, on-site market, poolside bar, pool wait staff, ocean front massage cabanas, restaurant, multiple hot tubs, ping-pong tables and much more. It is the perfect place to stay and not have to leave for any reason. If you already live near a beach and you just want to get away without having to leave once you get there, this is the place!

The ping-pong and pool tables are a great way to enjoy family time. We took turns, teaming up with boys against girls and adults verses kids. It gives families a chance to have healthy, competitive fun. Stay active- get moving! The gym at the Westin is a state-of-the-art fitness facility which includes Life Fitness equipment. The fitness center is glass, allowing each guest an ocean view while exercising away. The fitness center has complimentary, chilled water and towels for an  after workout shower.

IMG_1498Since vacation is all about relaxation, let’s talk about the pools. The Ocean Resort Villas have 4 pools. The Main Pool (pictured above) is a multilevel pool surrounded by lounge chairs with straw covered bungalows. Little ones will love to splash around in the Keiki (children’s) pool which has a small slide and two turtles to climb on. There are two other plunge pools located around the resort. The resort is quite spread out, so it is nice to have pools located throughout.

Keiki Pool

Keiki Pool

Nanea

Nanea

 

Wailele Bar

Wailele Bar

Nanea is the main restaurant on property, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily with a brunch on Sundays.  Enjoy dining in the open-aired dining room or outside on the terrace. Gluten-free and vegan options are available on the menu. Nanea Restaurant and Bar offers a 5 course tasting menu with wine pairing.

When lounging poolside, order lunch from the Wailele (waterfall) Bar and have it brought to your chair. While eating lunch or sipping on a tropical cocktail, there are views of three waterfalls atop surrounding mountain peaks.

BBQ with a view

BBQ with a view

IMG_1577Our favorite amenity at the Westin Ocean Resort Villas are the bbq’s!!! It doesn’t really feel like cooking when you can enjoy an ocean view while lounging poolside. Relax in the whirlpools while your food is grilling away. When the food is ready, sit outside and eat as a family, sip wine and play games. Some of the outdoor eating areas are covered for the occasional passing shower. We spent every evening outside grilling different foods. Be creative, make something different and fun since it is vacation! Go for shish kabob, marinated vegetables or lobster. Adults can enjoy long dinners with conversation while the kids splash away in the pool.

BBQ’s are located throughout the property. Availability of tables was never an issue. One evening we shared a large table with another family on vacation. The property is very family friendly and has a lively atmosphere with music playing in the evenings.

Covered tables

Covered tables

Now for the villas~

Living room

Living room

There are studio, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom units available, decorated in Hawaiian furnishings. The studio does not have  a dining room or a dining room table. It is perfect for two people but very cramped for 4. The 1 bedroom villa is perfect for 4 people, as the couch makes into a bed. The 1 bedroom comes with a full kitchen, with the exception of an oven. There is a convection microwave which makes most things. We were able to make pizza one day. The 1 bedroom includes a spacious lanai (balcony) which is accessible from the living and bedroom. Our unit was up high with fantastic views of the golf course, trees and ocean. The lanai was a favorite spot in the evenings when the ocean breezes kicked up.

For those of you who are not familiar with Westin brand, you are missing out on the Heavenly Bed!!!! In fact, you can order a Heavenly bed and have it delivered to your house. People were so in love with the Westin beds, that they finally became available for purchase. The best way to describe the experience of a Heavenly bed, is sinking into clouds. So if you want to sink into a cloud of relaxation, I suggest booking a room at Westin to try it out for yourself.

Heavenly Bed

Heavenly Bed

Koi feeding

Koi feeding

Our second favorite thing about timeshare- the daily calendar of events!

Design a tote bag

Design a tote bag

There is something going on daily. The day started out with a Fish Feeding Frenzy at the Koi pond. The kids were given fish food to throw into the pond while they were educated about the Koi fish.

Next we were off to arts and crafts where the kids designed a tote bag. Get the puffy paints out, choose a tote and start designing. The best part is, everything takes place outside near the pool. Kids will love the henna tattoos, tissue paper flowers, and coconut postcards.

 

The Makai Golf Course

The Makai Golf Course

Money Savings Tips~ Compare room prices by searching all hotel search engines such as hotels.com, expedia.com, priceline.com and orbiz.com. You don’t have to be a timeshare owner to enjoy the benefits of a timeshare property. Many owners give their weeks up for points or trade out for other properties and then the property sells the units fpr a nightly rate. Stop off at Costco (near the airport) prior to heading up north to the Westin. Grab enough groceries for your stay and keep bbq’n in mind. Costco is a one hour drive each way from the property, so it’s best to only go there once during your stay. The Westin is a great place to enjoy grilling poolside while the kids play.

 

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Duane’s Ono Char Burger

Blue Cheese Burger

Blue Cheese Burger

Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius.

~ Matthew McConaughey
photo 3 (3)We rarely eat burgers, but we when have that craving- we don’t mess around!!Whether your preference is beef, fish, chicken or Boca (soy) burger, there is something for everyone at Duane’s. If burgers aren’t your thing, than try the fish and chips, grilled cheese, Tuna & avocado sandwich or grilled chicken sandwich. Duane’s Ono Char Burger is a burger shack located off the side of the road in Anahola, Kauai at 4-4350 Kuhio Hwy. You will pass it on your drive to the North Shore. There is always a ton of smoke billowing out of the red shack which smells amazing as you drive by!!!! Duane’s Ono Char is famous for cooking up smokey-charred burgers on their seasoned, old grill! Choose your burger with Duane’s secret teriyaki sauce or blue cheese.Don’t expect fancy!!!! If you want fancy, there are plenty of nice, touristy restaurants on island which

Seating at Duane's Ono Char Burger

Seating at Duane’s Ono Char Burger

serve burgers. Duane’s Ono Char is a shack, literally. Plan on eating outside among chickens roaming about, IF you can find a seat. Pick up your food in a red, plastic basket at the window. It’s a burger joint, so don’t expect more than that. At Duane’s you can order a burger almost any way. Choose from teriyaki sauce, mushrooms, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, swiss cheese, avocado, pineapple, barbecue sauce, grilled onions, sprouts, or bacon. Local favorites include the broiled fish sandwich and the marionberry ice-cream shake.

A Little About Boca Burgers~

Boca Burger is a veggie burger made of soy protein and wheat gluten. Soy-based meat alternatives are becoming more and more common at hamburger joints. Originating from Boca Raton, Florida, in 1979, Boca Burgers were known as the “Sun Burger”. The organic Boca Burger was created in 2001. They are available in grocery stores, club stores, natural foods stores and at restaurants nationally.

Duane's Ono Char Burger stand

Duane’s Ono Char Burger stand

Give me Caviar Kaspia and give me a hamburger. I love the two extremes.

~ Michael Kors
Menu

Menu

Duane’s Ono Char Burger is a family friendly burger shack complete with a kids menu! Kids will be happy to have their own options which include: Keiki (kids) Burger, Keiki Fish or 2 piece Chicken Strips. The french fries and onion rings are a must! Try shaking some Kauai sea salt on top of the french fries. Yummy!!!! The shaker is located on the counter where you pick up the food.
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SUP in paradise

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Kalapaki Bay, Kauai

We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.

~ John F. Kennedy

 What is SUP? SUP is stand up paddle boarding, also known as Hoe he’e nalu due to originating in Hawaii. There you have it! Hawaii is the birthplace of the popular sport known as SUP. Exercising, especially while on vacation, needs to be fun and enjoyable.  If it isn’t, odds are you won’t do it at all or not more than once.

In 2013, SUP was rated the #1 new activity for beginners in the U.S. Our family are not surfers, so we cannot compare it to surfing. However, for non-surfers, we found it to be fairly simple and fun. You don’t have to live near the ocean to SUP. It’s a sport which has gained popularity and is popping up everywhere. SUP can be spotted on lakes, large rivers, canals, and bays. When going on vacation or out of town for a weekend, rent a SUP board. If your friend has a board- ask to try it out! It feels as though you’re walking on water.

Don’t confuse SUP with traditional paddle boarding, which is done by kneeling on a board and paddling with your hands. Although, SUP is often referred to as “paddle boarding” for short.

How did SUP come about? In researching SUP, its is unclear as to exactly when it all began. 2005 seems to be the year that it really took off. Some research states that SUP began in the 1960’s as the “Beach Boys of Waikiki” paddled on long boards.  Others credit Laird Hamilton (American Big-wave/tow-in surfer) for setting the SUP trend in the late 1990s. Some say that Duke Kahanamoku (five-time Hawaiian Olympic medalist in swimming & known for spreading the surfing trend) was the first to “surf ski” in 1939. Surf Ski looks similar to SUP. One thing about SUP that is very clear,  is where it all began – Hawaii.

Stand Up Paddle Surfing is surfing waves with a paddle on a paddle board. Rick Thomas was the first present-day surfer to bring stand up paddle surfing to the Mainland from Hawaii. Stand up paddle surfing is said to offer the surfer a better view of the incoming waves.

On September 13 & 14, 2012 the first SUP world champion races were held at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu. The title of first SUP world champion was won by Kai Lenny.

Why SUP~

It’s all about burning calories while having fun! SUP allows you to have fun in the sun without noticing how hard you’re working. Paddle away!!! Glide around effortlessly, on a non-windy day or use those arms muscles to paddle against the current on a windy day. SUP works all the muscles in your body, concentrating on the core. Paddling is a great way to work the upper body. Most beginners feel it in their arms after the first day. On average men burn 800-1000 calories in one hour of  SUP, while women burn 500-700 calories per hour. I find SUP to be extremely relaxing. Paddling around by yourself, while taking in the beauty. It is also fun to paddle next to a friend and chat away. Our kids have been quite creative finding things to do while they SUP such as looking around for sea turtles and tropical fish, then swimming back out to the area to snorkel.

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Kalapaki Bay, Kauai

SUP Tips~

Our family found SUP to be rather easy on a flat day. SUP is all about balance and for some people, that may be a challenge. We have taken many first-time SUP on our board. We tend to prefer the bay on calm day as pictured above. It is rather difficult to learn on a choppy day. On Kauai, the water tends to be calmer in the mornings, as the wind kicks up in the afternoon. Here are some tips: know how to swim. If you cannot swim than you do not belong on a SUP board without a life jacket. When SUP on a lake/ocean always attach the leash. It doesn’t matter how good you may think you are, anyone can fall or get knocked off and you don’t want to lose the board. One of our guests, flew up in the air and landed on the board thinking he may have cracked a rib. While this is rare, you wouldn’t want to be in the water/waves with a broken rib and nothing to hang on to. If you have to choose between your board or paddle, leave your paddle. The paddle will float and someone can go back for it later. Observe the water currents and start off going against the current. It takes a lot more energy to go against the current and you don’t want to paddle way out with ease and then not be able to get back. Experts advise against using the leash in a river due to snags. Use the paddle for balance when needed by pushing the blade forward to back until you feel stable.

How to SUP~

We are not instructors by any means, but tend to take a lot of first timers out to SUP when they come to Kauai. For beginners, it is all about getting comfortable with the board. Start off sitting on your knees. It is a great way to get a feel for the board. You want to know what your first wave will feel like and how the board will move. Paddle around on your knees and then stand when you feel comfortable. The first time we went out, we spent time on our knees for a good 10 minutes getting familiar with turning and use of the paddle prior to standing up. Most importantly, stand in the middle of the board and bend your knees a little. If your feet are too far forward , the nose of the board will start to go under the water. If they are too far back then the tail will drag.

Surfer’s will ride the SUP board in their typical surfer’s stance (one foot forward) which is best for tackling waves. If you panic at a large wave coming your direction or see something move underneath the board, just sit down on your knees. If all else fails, sit and gain your composure. We SUP in the ocean and often times we will see large eels or sea turtles passing under the board. Sometimes it may cause you to lose balance when you’re looking around to see where it went.

How to Use the Paddle~

The paddle can be awkward if not using properly. They are usually adjustable. Be sure the paddle isn’t way too long for you or vice versa. We have a short paddle for our kids and a longer one for the adults. First off, place your dominant hand on the handle at the top of the paddle to gain control. Do not attempt to hold the paddle in the middle or near the top. Place your other hand about waist high on the paddle. Reach forward as you paddle with the blade angled forward. Don’t lean forward because it will throw off your balance, just simply stroke forward and then stroke back. If you are leaning forward or hunched over, you will feel it in your lower back.

Kalapaki Bay. Kauai

Kalapaki Bay. Kauai

Robbie totally focussed

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SUP can be done at any age. Our son first started SUP at age 7 and stood up the first time. Safety First!! We set rules with the kids prior to going out. Here are some of our rules: don’t paddle out past the break, keep the leash on at all times, don’t panic, get back on the board if you fall, stay out-of-the-way of surfers, watch the waves, know where you started from and wave the paddle in the air if you need help.

Below is a list of the Travelchannel.com  World’s Best Stand Up Paddleboarding Spots

Hawaii

Santa Barbara, CA

Bahamas

Whistler, Canada

Costa Rica

Key west

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Redondo Beach, CA

Seattle, WA

Black Canyon, NV

Lake Tahoe, CA

Antarctic Peninsula

When visiting Kauai rent a board!!! Our favorite spot is Kalapaki Bay (East Side) and boards are available for rent at Kama’aina Surf and Sport located at 3486 Rice St. It’s a convenient stop located near the entrance to Kalapaki Bay. If you don’t have a truck, just carry the board to the beach. Another great place to SUP on Kauai is at Hanalei Bay (North Shore). Boards are available to rent at Hawaiian Surfing Adventures as you come into the town of Hanalei, located on the right side of the road at 5-5134 Kuhio Highway. They also offer private or group lessons for surfing, SUP, and SUP yoga.

 

Rob & Robbie shaka

The latest trend in stand up paddle board is SUP yoga. Yes, this means doing yoga while on a SUP board on the water (river). I can’t imagine doing it successfully, but more power to the yoga peeps!!!

Money Saving Tips: Most of the SUP rental shops located right on the beach/lake tend to be much more expensive than renting a SUP board off site. The two rental places named in this post are located off-site. Compare prices, especially if you notice several shops within walking distance of each other. Weekly rentals will be your best bet if you have a place to store it and a vehicle to transport.

 5wheelsto5star.com is featured monthly in Destinations Travel Magazine

Hike Kuilau Ridge Trail, Kauai

Kuilau Ridge Trail

Kuilau 3Often times, travel means eating out more than usual or consuming more calories than you would at home. The mindset of we are on vacation, it won’t hurt sets in. Then, a week or two goes by and your body starts to feel irritated and draggy. I have incorporated a Travel Fit section into this blog where you can find healthy food options such as local farmer’s markets and take part in activities with the entire family while on vacation. If healthy travel interest you, click on “travel fit” listed under topics on the right hand column of the blog.

The Kuilau Ridge Trail is an ideal trail for families of all ages and perfect for the novice hiker. Best of all- it is free! Kuilau Ridge Trail offers breathtaking, Kuilau 4panoramic views of the Makaleha Mountains!!!! As you can see from the picture above, the views are  multidimensional and are almost too much to take in. If visiting the island of Kauai, the trail would be a great place to snap a family photo. We had professional photographers visiting  the island and decided to take them on this trail due to the scenery. Revel in the beauty of the mountain range, explore the island and appreciate the inland views. When tourists come to Kauai, they always want that ocean view! The bright green, sweeping mountains is equally gorgeous and will leave you in awe. There is a reason that so many movies are filmed on Kauai.

The Kuilau Ridge Trail offers large trees which provide shade on the majority of the path. The trail is fun for kids, as they can pick up a walking stick along the way awhile observing the Ohia tree forest and birds. Kuilau Ridge Trail has a gradual incline as you make your way to the flat, open area at the top. Pack a picnic lunch for the family or wine & cheese for a romantic sunset hike. There are two picnic tables located one mile up the path,  for the perfect rest stop. If hiking a mile up and back isn’t for you, than turn around and make your way back at any time.

Picnic

Picnic

 

How to get there~

The Kuilau Ridge Trail is located in Wailua. Hikers must drive to the trail head which will take you through the rural neighborhoods of Wailua and up into the forested park area of Keahua. The trail begins just before the park area on the right. There is a small parking area on the right hand side of the road (about 3 cars) or continue to drive a little further, where the stream crosses the road and park there.

Take Hwy 56 towards Wailua, turn right on Kuuamoo Road and continue approximately 6.9 miles until you see the trail head. A small sign will indicate the beginning of the trail.

Views of Mount Waialeale (translates to rippling water/overflowing water), the wettest place on Earth, can be seen from the picnic area on a clear day from the top of the trail. Rising to 5,148 feet, Mount Waialeale receives approximately 452 inches of rain per year.

For those of you who prefer to continue on past the one mile picnic area, the Kuilau Trail connects to the Moalepe Trail for a total distance of 3.5 miles. Hikers can make a complete day of the trails or go up for lunch and come back down in approximately 2 hours.

Kuilau 6

Views from Kuilau Ridge Trail

 

Hiking tips: Wear comfortable shoes, socks and a hat. Don’t attempt to hike in flip flops, sandals or water shoes, as the trail can be muddy depending on weather. Carry a small backpack and be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, snacks, small blanket for the grass and insect repellent if the bugs love you.  Kauai rains a lot and the weather is unpredictable, so bring a light rain coat or sweatshirt for the kids just in case. The large, open area at the top is a great place to lay down and watch the clouds or play family board games /cards. The cell range is intermittent on the path. The trail does not have facilities, please use the restroom before you hike.

 5wheelsto5star is featured monthly in Destinations Travel Magazine

Papalani Gelato ~ Italian-style on Kauai

Papalani Gelato

Lava Flow, Strawberry & Sprinkles

IMG_1813Our family likes to consider themselves “gelato connoisseurs” after sampling gelato throughout the Mediterranean. In fact, this blog has a section dedicated specifically to gelato- listed under “topics” on the right hand side.

We are pleased to recommend a local spot, Papalani Gelato, right in our home town of Kauai. We have traveled half way around the world to eat some of the best gelato in Italy , sampling our way through Rome, Sorrento, Capri, Tuscany, and Florence. Spain has amazing gelato as well! Now, we can have it right here on Kauai. On that next hot, humid, day (that’s every day)~ grab a gelato!

If you have not read our other post titled, For the Love of Gelato!, here is a brief background as to why gelato differs from ice cream. Gelato refers to varieties of ice cream made in a traditional Italian-style which is made with milk, cream, various sugars, and flavoring such as fresh fruit and nut purees. Just remember this equation:

Gelato= less fat + no air added = richer taste

Papalani specializes in handmade Hawaiian-style gelato. What exactly is Hawaiian-style gelato? Handmade each day in small batches, with unique Hawaiian flavors inspired by local fruits, nuts mixed with traditional gelato flavors. You will notice some of the flavors are named after local towns or popular spots on the island. The owner’s fell in love with gelato upon spending time in Italy. Their first gelato shop, Salt Spring Gelato, began on Salt Spring Island, Canada in 2003. Five years later, the first Papalani Gelato opened in the little, touristy town of Poipu on Kauai.

As you can see in the picture above, Papalani also offers locally made muffins, scones, cookies, and gluten-free coffee cakes. The pastries are made with organic, local ingredients and fruits.

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Peanut Butter Gelato

Gluten free & Sugar Free Options~

Papalani offers all types of dietary options such as: dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free. After a long bike ride, an island run or just a day of surfing, look for the “Fit Freezes”, which are drinks that have  20g protein or more, 130 calories, and 2 grams of sugar or less.

Hawaii Flavors offered: Papalani Pie, Coconut MacNut Fudge, Chocolate Banana, Banana, Banana Split, Belgian Chocolate, Bubble Gum, Caramel MacNut, Cheesecake, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Hazelnut, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coconut, Kalaheo Cookies, Oreoes and Cream, Cafe Espresso, Green Tea, Hazelnut, Honu Chocolate, Kauai Crunch, Pina Colada, Lava Flow, Macadamia Nut Butter, Milk Chocolate, Mint Chip, Pistachio, Stracciatella, Tiger Butter, Tiramisu, Madagascar Vanilla Bean, White Chocolate Raspberry, Mango Coconut and Salt Ponds.

Sugar Free Flavors include~ Chocolate, Hazelnut, Pistachio & Macadamia Nut Butter

My favorite flavor is the Kauai Crunch made with caramel, macnuts, chocolate cookie sauce, and coconut. Of course it is not gluten-free or sugar-free. My second favorite is the Honu (turtle) Chocolate made with dark chocolate gelato, caramel, and macnuts. Great part, it is gluten-free!

Papalani has gift cards available. This is actually how we discovered their existence! Our kids were given gift cards for Easter and off we went!!!

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Anchor Cove, Lihue, Kauai

Kauai Locations~

Anchor Cove Shopping Center
3366 Waapa Rd, Lihue, Kauai

Poipu Shopping Village
2360 Kiahuna Plantation Road, Poipu, Kauai

Florida Locations~

Telecom Park Shopping Center
13312 Telecom Drive, Temple Terrace, Florida

Brandon Mall
459 Brandon Town Center Dr, Brandon, Florida

Learn more about the history of gelato and view pictures of various types of gelato that we sampled throughout the Mediterranean on our post For the Love of Gelato!

 5wheelsto5star is featured monthly in Destinations Travel Magazine