Posted by: Amy Walsh | February 21, 2010

San Francisco, CA

I believe…I really did, “leave my heart in San Francisco.”  This city has everything from an entrepreneurial spirit to vacation adventure all within a 7 mile radius.  Transportation is readily available in the city by taxi, bus or my favorite…the trolley.  Also, don’t forget your walking shoes because parking is a challenge and most locals walk or bike to their destination.  In addition to, you will notice most San Franciscans are in general good health from all the walking, up hill in both directions without snow, so be prepared.  For venturing to the wine country, red wood forest or another location outside the city I suggest renting a car.  The food is exquisite, the architecture romantic and the energy…inspiring.  The journey is well worth it but bring your jacket, San Francisco tends to be a little cooler than one might expect. 

First stop, The Golden Gate bridge…

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Posted by: Amy Walsh | February 7, 2010

Kauai, Hawaii

Thinking of taking a vacation to Kauai, Hawaii?  This less traveled Hawaiian island is full of lush forest, deep blue oceans, mountains, desert valleys and is concidered by most Hawiian’s as the “Real” Hawaii.  Kauai is captivating.  Personally, i fell in Love with the Hawaiian islands the first time I visited.  There are no words to describe this breathtaking experience.    But even though my experience is taken from a vacationers’ view it does not revel the struggles the Hawaiian people have faced over the last century.  Though they are part of the United States their culture has fought for survival for many years.   Polynesian/Hawaiian history is fascinating.  From seafarers, warriors, language, monarchy to deep spiritual love and invitation into a whole another world beyond what most people generally would know.

This paradise that only Hawaiians and few state side citizens have the privilege to know embark on a marvelous adventure filled with deep revolution. 

For the movie and TV buffs, well, lest I tell you the series LOST is sometimes filmed here.  Movies such as Jurassic Park, Elvis’s Blue Hawaii and Indiana Jones were also filmed on this island.

The famous Coco Palms hotel in Elvis’s – Blue Hawaii movie, well, there is a good story.  This once elegant romantic hotel as seen in Blue Hawaii was once the home of Hawaii’s Monarchs.  A sacred land resting underneath tall palm trees, sandy white beaches and an enchanting lagoon filled with the fish once prepared for the Kings and Queens of Kauai.  Sadly, the devistation of Hurricane Iniki in 1991 all but destroyed the hotel.  Now in deep disrepair the property transfers from owner to owner in hopes of the day of restoration.   However, the legacy that once serviced the Monarchy of Kauai still remains.   Guide tours are available or you can take your chances and trespass.

             

             

Venturing to the “North Shore” of the island you will find the Kilauea Lighthouse. Constructed in 1913, and its beam once reached 90 miles out to sea. The lens is the largest of its type ever made.  The pictures taken were with my point and shoot camera, nothing fancy.  But a picture is worth a thousand words.

   

Also recommended, if you are an adventurous horse back rider like me, is to take one of the guided tours on horseback.  The experience of riding through valleys and along side mountainous cliffs is exhilarating and beautiful at the same time.

Part of Hawaii’s history is Polynesian culture that was introduced to the Western World.  With this introduction came the missionary colonies, sugar cane and coffee plantations.

The results produced beautiful churches in tranquil settings.  These churches are still in service today.

  

Kauai also has a wealth of botanical gardens.  Na ‘Āina Kai was my favorite.  Designed by the widow of Charles Shultz (Peanuts Cartoonist) this garden merges art, culture and nature to form a wonderland of beauty that sinks deep into the heart. 

             

Need a little beach relaxation? Take your pick…all of Kauai’s beaches are beautiful and accessable.  For beach entertainment surfer’s brave the waves giving spectators a brief moment of anticipation and awe. 

Once you venture out into the culture you never know who you may meet. You may be invited by locals to go spear fishing.  Anything is possible in Hawaii.

But while in Hawaii don’t forget to stock up on your chocolate macadamia nut candy and Hawaiian Coffee.

There is so much more to Kauai that can be written or expressed.  Not to mention the stars in the night’s sky appear so close that you could reach out and touch them.  This treasure of an island is worth the adventure.  So, if you are planning a vacation to Hawaii consider visiting this island first you will get the real experience of Hawaii. 

Planning a Vacation to Hawaii also check out these books:

“>No Worries Hawaii: A Vacationers Planning Guide by Jerry Sprout

“>The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook by Harriett Freeman

“>Kauai Trailblazer by Jerry Sprout

Mahlo (Thank You) and Aloha!

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