Kauai Travel Guide

Kauai Travel Guide

Kauai is my favorite beach destination and Hawaiian island.  There are obviously many beaches, I haven't visited, but Hawaii will always have a special place in my heart.  I was born on Oahu and spent two summers there in college, I've visited each of Maui and the Big Island several times, and I kayaked the north shore of Molokai'i on a week-long trip.  Each island has its own vibe and feel and to me Kauai is the perfect mix of modern conveniences and small island charm, warm weather, spectacular beaches, fun surf, and friendly people.  

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Kauai Farmer's Markets

Kauai Farmer's Markets

This will come as no surprise, but the farmer's markets here are incredible.  The tropical climate means a year-round growing season, so even thought it is technically winter, the markets are stocked with fruits and vegetables.  About half of the produce I could find at home (tomatoes, kale, greens, squash, garlic, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, herbs, carrots) and the rest is never in season in Colorado or I've never heard of it!

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A Month on Kauai

A Month on Kauai

We've been here just over four weeks and have just under two weeks remaining.  Earlier this week, we moved from our condo in Princeville to a VRBO in Hanalei just 100 yards from our favorite beach. We were nicely settled in Princeville, but the move will enable us to spend our last days here enjoying our favorite place on the island, riding cruiser bikes instead of driving, and hopefully honing our surfing skills.  

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2017: A Year of Travel

2017: A Year of Travel

Happy New Year!  I'm absolutely someone who sets resolutions and thoroughly enjoys the process of thinking about what I'd like to do in the coming year and reflecting on what I did in the prior year (generally and by specifically reviewing the resolutions I set).  For the past ten years, I've kept a running document of resolutions and it's revealing to look back on goals I previously set.  

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Travel Notes: Jackson, Wyoming

The Jenny Lake loop trail

The Jenny Lake loop trail

Over Labor Day, we had our first child-free weekend since Blythe was born, which was spent in stunning Jackson, Wyoming (thanks, Mom & Dad).  Jackson is one of those spots that we always wanted to visit, but found it hard to justify when we live in the west near amazing skiing and mountain trails.  With a wedding to attend, it was the perfect reason to make the trip.  Being in Wyoming reminded me of my favorite aspect of living in the west: the sky is expansive.  Very few places that I've visited seem to have a sky as large and as blue as the American west.

Case in point: this is the view when you land at the airport.  Hello, mountains and sky!

Case in point: this is the view when you land at the airport.  Hello, mountains and sky!

We stayed in the Teton Village, which is small relative to, say, Vail Village, but has a fair bit going on, plus immediate access to the trails at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.  We stayed at Hotel Terra, which was nice, and there is also a well-located Four Seasons where we had a delicious brunch and late night drinks by the fire pit.  If you are coming with kiddos, there is a nice playground in Teton Village, plus a small splash park with fountains and tons of activities for older children (trampolines, mountain biking, etc.).  

The town of Jackson is about twenty minutes from Teton Village and is a lot of fun to poke around (especially without a tiny person, regardless of how much you love her).  We spent a morning having brunch at E.Leaven Food Company (great food) and perusing the wares at Mountain Dandy, Made, and Paper & Grace, plus ogling outdoor gear that we don't need at various places around town.  Conveniently, we arrived during the Saturday morning farmer's market, which happens at the Town Square.  If you are looking for something more adventurous, there are hundreds of hikes that range in difficultly, rafting and tubing opportunities, and the nearby national parks.

The best part of being near Jackson is the proximity to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.  If you fly into Jackson, the airport is actually located in Grand Teton and you are minutes from the park in Teton Village.  You really can't do the area justice in a weekend, but we went for a run around Jenny Lake with a minor detour up to Inspiration Point.  The lake is a popular destination for visitors for a reason: it's spectacular.  Doing the loop allowed us to escape the crowds for the vast majority of the hike. Oh, and we saw a mama bear and her cub on the way to the lake.  I know they look like dark blurs in these photos - you'll have to trust me.

Heading up the Wildflower Trail

Heading up the Wildflower Trail

On the next day, we headed out straight from our hotel up the Wildflower Trail to Bridger Gondola.  I wouldn't call this hike a gradual ascent and we definitely got our heart rates up.  There was a cool swing halfway up the trail and we opted to take the gondola down since we slept in and had only 45 minutes until we needed to be at the wedding shuttle when we reached the top (oops).

Jackson, we'll be back (maybe in the winter so we can scope out the skiing)!