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All About our Trip to Kauai, Part One

11 Jun

Here’s your quick recap: Travis and I had wanted to go to Hawaii ever since our wedding and we finally booked it to celebrate our 10 (and a half) year wedding anniversary. It was also going to be our FIRST kid-free trip without Jack, who is 7 ½ years old. We decided to go to Kauai and booked a fantastic condo through HomeAway in the Poipu area of the island, which is on the South side.

Our plans were to be really lazy, eat delicious food, spend time on the beaches, and maybe go for a hike.

I shared a ton of photos on Instagram while we were gone, but now I finally have had the chance to sit down at my desk and write up a post. I took notes while we were there so that I could look back and remember what we did each day because it was such a whirlwind!

This post ended up being super long, so I broke it into two parts:

Part One: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday (you’re reading it!)

Part Two: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (find it here!)

Wednesday

We flew out from Maryland early in the morning and arrived in Kauai on Wednesday afternoon. The 6-hour time difference worked in our favor, so we kept with it by going to bed relatively early each night and also waking up pretty early in the morning. Once we landed, we went to pick up our rental car and we totally let the nice rental car lady talk us into upgrading to a jeep.

The top popped off the jeep and we were SO GLAD that we had it for the week to enjoy exploring in the beautiful weather. On our arrival day, we didn’t do too much. After settling in our condo, we went for a walk to Shipwreck Beach (less than 10 minutes from our condo).

After hanging out for a bit, we returned to the condo and went out to find a store to buy some groceries (mainly breakfast foods and coffee) and had our first Puka Dog.

Puka Dogs are pretty much one of my favorite things I ate all week and here is my perfected order: polish sausage with mild original sauce, coconut beach relish, and Auntie Lilikoi’s Hawaiian mustard. Absolute heaven!

Thursday

This is where we started our morning routine of making a pot of Hawaiian coffee and sitting out on the lanai to enjoy a few cups each morning. When it got too hot, we’d move our coffee party into the living room and watch some HGTV. We both get sucked in and Fixer Upper is our absolute favorite!

On our first full day in Kauai, we did some exploring. We started by walking to Poipu Beach (less than 10 minutes from our condo in the opposite direction of Shipwreck Beach) and saw some sea turtles.

We walked back, took the top off the jeep and decided to drive West to explore. We went to Hanapepe and walked around that little town, tentatively walked across the swinging bridge, and enjoyed lunch at that location of Little Fish Coffee.

Then, we kept on driving until we ended up at the lookout for Waimea Canyon. It was absolutely beautiful!

Pictures truly don’t do it justice. We bought some fruit from a man at the top of the lookout and had a little picnic before driving back down to visit Kauai coffee.

We walked the self-guided coffee tour and then helped ourselves to lots and lots of coffee tasting samples. We ended up buying me a t-shirt (it says Sunshine & Coffee), a bag of ground coffee for us, and a bag of coffee beans to bring home to my coffee-loving brother. We hit up Puka dog for an afternoon snack and then had dinner at Brennekes, a nearby restaurant. They are known for their “World Famous Mai Tai’s”, so that’s what I got with my fish tacos.

Friday

After another lazy coffee and breakfast morning on the lanai, we made our way over to the East side of the island. A couple weeks ago I went ahead and booked a tubing trip through Kauai Backcountry Adventures. We got there a little early, so we walked to the corner to grab me my very first shave ice and got Travis a waffle hotdog.

The shave ice was so delicious! I got pineapple juice and coconut on the top and macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom. I’m still drooling over it, weeks later!

For the tubing adventure, we wore our swimsuits and I topped mine with a SPF 50 surf shirt. I really didn’t want to get burned on the 3-hour adventure! It worked out perfectly and even kept me a little warmer when we were going through the cooler dark caves.

I love this photo of Travis:

And you can basically hear me going “SQUEEE” in my photo from the cold water hitting me on the sudden drop:

We LOVED the tubing trip and we had so much fun. I highly suggest adding it to your Kauai itinerary if you go!

Once we got back to the condo and showered, we decided to head back to Hanapepe for their Friday Night Art Festival. All of the shops were open late with lots of food trucks and bands playing in the streets. We ended up eating a food truck smorgasbord of Chipwrecked Nachos, Malsadas, and more Shave Ice for dinner.

Saturday

We enjoyed the Little Fish Coffee shop so much in Hanapepe that we decided to visit the location closer to our condo for breakfast. It was absolutely delicious, but we learned after this second visit that it saves a ton of time to order online and just schedule for pick up. Then you can bypass the long line and go straight to grabbing and enjoying your breakfast!

After we fueled up, we stopped by the Ke Kahua O Kaneioluma statues and then made our way to Spouting Horn.

From there we went to Warehouse 3540. OH MY GOSH, this place is a total treasure trove of amazing finds. There was handmade jewelry, vintage dresses, a used book shop, and more (check them out here). We spent so much time just oooohing and aaaaahing over everything. Then, we made our way outside to the Kauai Poke Co food truck to grab a Kalua Pig bowl, followed by some hand shaved ice at Fresh Shave.

Then we went thrifting! We stopped by a nearby Salvation Army store and I found the cutest Hawaiian shirt to take home to Jack, I also found a skirt for myself and Travis found two Playstation games.

We went back to the condo to laze around for a bit and then hit up Kalapacki Joe’s for happy hour/dinner before running outside to watch the sunset.

Okay, that’s the first half of our trip… so I’m going to cut it off here. I’ll come back on Thursday with Part Two, which includes a catamaran tour of the Na Pali coast, rum tasting at Koloa Rum Company, and a nasty man who kept vomiting on our flight home.

Let me know if you have any questions about our fun Kauai adventure so far!

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Back from Hawaii!

23 May

I’m BACK! My husband and I returned from Hawaii early this morning and I just woke up from a pretty fantastic 5 hour nap in my own bed. That red eye flight + a 6 hour time change is brutal! I posted a bunch of photos on my Instagram account (find it here) with each day’s adventures, but I plan on doing a big ol’ Hawaii post very soon. I just need to unpack.

But actually, as soon as I unpack I’ll be re-packing… because my sister is getting married this weekend!!

I’m hoping to be back to my ‘normal’ blogging schedule next week with more exciting news…

I hope you all have a fabulous Memorial Day weekend!

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Share Your Kauai Tips!

18 Apr

Back when Travis and I were planning to get married, it was our dream to get married in Hawaii. That didn’t work out, so then it became our dream to honeymoon in Hawaii. But then the heat pump at my townhouse broke. Sigh. So then, our dream became to go to Hawaii for our 10-year wedding anniversary.

We celebrated 10 years of marriage back in October…and it’s happening!

It is NOT a drill. We are GOING TO HAWAII!

As if that isn’t enough of a reason for celebration… it gets even more exciting.

This is our first kid-free vacation in 7 ½ years.

The last time we traveled kid-free was our babymoon cruise when I was pregnant. Which now that I think about it, wasn’t really kid-free since Jack hitched a ride in my belly.

So the fact that Travis and I are finally going to Hawaii AND we are going just the two of us is basically like a honeymoon all over again!

After much consideration, we decided to go to Kauai. We booked a fabulous looking condo through HomeAway in the Poipu area. Our condo is about a 5-minute walk to Brennecke and Poipu Beaches (voted ‘Best Beach’ in America by the Travel Channel). We are also within walking distance to Shipwreck Beach, if we want to mix it up a bit.

We rented a car so we can get around the island easily, but most days we will probably just walk to where we need to go. Our plans are to be really lazy, eat delicious food, spend time on the beaches, and go for a hike or two.

The only other thing I’ve booked is a mountain tubing adventure trip. We will be four-wheeling through the Lihue Plantation before hopping into a tube and taking a nice ride through the open canals and tunnels. At the end of our trip, we will enjoy lunch and a swim in a nearby natural swimming hole. I. Can’t. Wait!

Other things on our potential ‘to do’ list:

  • Go to a luau (current front-runners are the Smith’s Family Luau or the Auli’i Luau)
  • Catamaran tour of the Na Pali coast/dinner cruise (Captain Andy’s has been suggested)
  • Eat all the food
  • Drive the Waimea Canyon
  • Rum tasting at Koloa Rum company
  • Coffee tasting at Kauai coffee
  • Visit the Kilauea Fish Market
  • Hanalei Bay (shopping/dining)

So, here’s where I’d love your help! Is there anything you think we absolutely shouldn’t miss? Do you have a restaurant or food recommendation that we should be sure to add to our list? Anything you think we should know? Something that I should absolutely add to our pack list? Feel free to fill up my comments section with your tips!

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Date Weekend Fun in Northern Virginia

13 Mar

This past weekend, my parents generously kept Jack overnight while Travis and I had ourselves a bit of a date weekend. I HIGHLY recommend getting away for even a night if you can, because even if you are only an hour or so away from home (like we were) it is such a mental refresh!

For our date weekend, I booked us at a Springhill Suites in Northern Virginia. The hotel was super nice and clean… and less than $100 for the night, which included breakfast. Once we arrived, we checked into the hotel and immediately went rummaging for some food nearby.

After filling our bellies at Elevation Burger, we decided to go do some wine and cider tasting at a couple nearby wineries.

First stop was Corcoran Vineyards where we had the choice of tasting their ciders or their wines, so we went with a cider tasting. From there, we went to 8 Chains North where we did a wine tasting and also enjoyed some locally made chocolates!

We started to get a bit hungry again, so we went back to the Loudon One area to buy our movie theater tickets and then went by SlapFish. To be honest, we chose that restaurant because the name made us giggle… but we were too busy making yummy noises to laugh when we got our Clobster Grilled Cheese and Lobster Grinder Roll! HOLY WOW it was soooo good!

After dinner we had some time to kill, so we stopped by B Doughnut, Starbucks and killed some time in the Barnes & Noble.

And THEN… we saw Captain Marvel!

AHHH, so good! I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to love this one as much as I love the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers: Infinity War. The bar was set very high, but I LOVED Captain Marvel and it was a fantastic addition to the series!

It was also a great end to our date day! We enjoyed the comfy hotel room and had the free hotel breakfast in the morning — I just love those make-your-own waffle set ups! We hung around the room and watched some HGTV until check out at noon, then hit up Lost Creek Winery for one last tasting.

After our tasting, we stopped at the Roots 657 Café for an AMAZING lunch. I got the country pulled pork sandwich with a side of corn pudding and Travis got the bacon cheeseburger with a side of fries. We did a little splitsy action, so we both got a little of everything and YUM.

All in all, it was a fantastic date weekend and I ate way too much delicious food. So yeah, it was perfect.

Do you go on date weekends?

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