let’s holoholo –  kaua‘i


Island Air – Holoholo day trip to Kaua‘i

Chrissy and I had just finished one of those weeks where we would remind each other – “We are going to laugh about this later…,”. We had intentionally scheduled a productive week with little time for leisure (or much sleep), so what better way to refresh and rebalance than to set aside time to holoholo.  With that in mind, we booked a reservation on Island Air for a day trip to Kaua‘i.

So nice and chill driving on a Sunday morning to the airport – no traffic and easy parking. Checked in for Island Air’s first flight from Honolulu to Lihue at 7:00am and traveling light with a backpack made security a breeze.  Arriving at the gate, we were happy about the amenities – free wifi, charging stations, complimentary coffee and the Sunday newspaper.

While Chrissy took some photos, I went online and found an oceanfront yoga class in Kapa‘a.  We appreciate yoga’s benefits and knew it would get us in the holoholo frame of mind. During pre-boarding, I shot off a brief email inquiry to the yoga instructor asking if we might join her class on short notice – more on that in a moment.

Approaching Kaua‘i’s breathtaking coastline by plane initiated our connection to the island and took our “city” intensity down a few notches.

Deplaning directly down the steps and onto the tarmac was wonderful. The moving fresh air and sunshine whispered, “Relax – you have arrived”:)

Up next is renting a car. Here is a shout out for the manager at Thrifty car rental for a fast friendly check in and for choosing our cool holoholo wheels – a red mustang convertible – thank you Caroline!  Checked my email and hurray!  There is room for us to take the oceanfront yoga class – we’re in! Sweet ride secured, a brief “how to” operate the convertible top and just over 6 miles between us and Kapa‘a – “We go!” .

Anya, the owner of Kauai Yoga on the Beach, welcomed us and we hit the shoreline for her 8:30am morning session. Her holistic style was on the mark and the exact tone we were hoping for.  After a few light stretches, we strolled down to the beach where our feet touched the ocean and we let our stress go. Anya’s class helped us focus on releasing tension and fully return to our usual state of being happy and grateful. Consistent in those themes, she shared a favorite quote she attributes to Buddha, “ when asked why he is smiling he says he is happy, when asked why he is happy, he replies, because he is smiling”.

After yoga Chrissy and I were both calm and really hungry. The Lava Lava Beach Club, literally next door, offered a cheerful atmosphere and oceanfront grinds. It was a simple decision to breakfast there.

We split the Hapa Laka Loco Moko (helllloooo mushroom gravy) which was so tasty we could have easily polished off an entire entree on our own. As it turns out, it was good to have room for whatever else Kapa‘a town might tempt us with.

Exploring old Kapa‘a town, window shopping, checking out food trucks and cute boutiques made us thirsty. Luckily, we found  Kauai Juice Co. With a wide selection of locally made, cold pressed and locally sourced deliciously healthful organic drinks it took some time to choose just one. We easily passed an hour pondering the menu, the merchandise, talking to customers and friendly locals and overall had a kick watching the lively shop’s comings and goings. Kristal, the owner of Kauai Juice Co, suggested the dragonfruit and citrus Kombucha teas to pair with our double berry chia seed parfait jar and the roasted chili honey cashews. So ono!

Socialized, satiated and ready for new scenery we bounced into the mustang and headed up the east coast of Kaua‘i.  To a soundtrack mix of wind and Chrissy’s favorites playlist we relaxed into our seats and made our way north on Kuhio highway with no particular destination in mind.

A stop at Hanalei bay to check out the pier, stretch our legs, and grab a few photos we choose to backtrack to see all the landscape from the opposite perspective.The passing scenery with it’s stunning natural beauty was mesmerizing.

Even while cruising, we saw road signs that were telling of the Kaua‘i culture which embraces a slower pace, soft focus, kindness, patience and a genuine interest in the human spirit.

The sun has set and we move south, back to Kapa‘a, for our 6:30pm reservation at JO2 Natural Cuisine.

Why did we book there? Here is an excerpt from the restaurant’s own website –“JO2 transforms nature’s bounty into exquisite dishes incorporating Kaua`i-grown heirloom vegetables and the freshest ingredients from the sea. With the culinary influences of Josselin’s native France, clean flavors of Japanese cooking, and ingredients inspired by Hawai`i’s multiethnic community, JO2’s succulent offerings are both creative and rooted in tradition.”

Seated out on the back patio with a glass of wine, a good friend, and a menu of pupu’s (starters), No ka ala ‘ai mai (from the garden), and No aka a me kai (from the mountain to the ocean) we thoughtfully selected the tastes that would close our day of holoholo and fortify us for whatever the next week would bring.

Funny story about the photo of our avocado, ahi, sushi hamachi, spicy tobiko, paddlefish caviar and ponzu roll…, when it arrived we dug in and then realized, “Oh! We forgot to get a picture first!”. After savoring that pupu, we managed to reign in our appetite and capture photos of the next two courses as they were presented. It was an elegant and casual Kaua‘i dinner experience that closed our evening. Content, and back in balance, we catch Island Air’s last flight to Honolulu at 9:30pm filled with Kaua‘i’s serenity and Aloha.

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