Tour rained out…Trip to tourist town of Hanalei…Interesting morsel about the tiny town…Tour rescheduled for tomorrow…

A juice bar on wheels in Hanalei.

With heavy rains off and on all day yesterday, we decided to forgo our planned tour postponing it until Thursday. We always prefer sunny-day photo sharing when possible and also prefer to avoid getting our equipment wet in the rain. Why ruin our camera when it may have another year of life before the humidity ruins the lens?

A pub in Hanalei.

Instead, we decided to head to the cozy town of Hanalei which would enable us to wander the areas, check out a few shops, and mostly stay dry. Kauai is an island centered around outdoor activities with few indoor venues available anywhere on the island, except for dining establishments.

The bar at the popular Dolphin Restaurant.

We’d made enough dinner with leftovers for last night’s meal when we’d expected to return from the tour around 6 pm. Preferring not to eat out except on special social occasions due to a lack of options for me, whenever we have plans that may take us to the dinner hour, we plan ahead making extra meals.

These types of handcrafted glassware items often appeal to tourist shoppers.

It’s not as if there are “fast food” options available for me, making planning in advance. for such occasions logical and relatively easy. Recently, I perused the precooked deli case at the Foodland to see if there was anything that would work for me not finding a single entrée or salad that would be appropriate. 

The larger of the two Koi wood bowls is $1500, similar to a bowl we’d posted while in Lahaina, Maui several months ago.

When we took off for Hanalei in the rain, we did so knowing dining out wouldn’t make sense when we already had a full meal awaiting us at home. Part of that mentality is also precipitated by our ongoing desire to avoid being wasteful. Based on this article, 40% of all food purchased for the average home in the US is thrown away. 

These handcrafted plates were pricey, many over $100 each.

With careful planning, I’d speculate, we don’t toss more than 10% of our food, most of which is due to spoilage.  Although we carefully plan our meals and make purchases accordingly, food spoils. At times, we’ve purchased food that spoils in a matter of days, mainly organic produce which generally seems to have a short shelf life when not coated in chemicals. For that reason, we’re totally accepting of the potential spoilage factor.

The colors of the glass varied for a beautiful display in this shop in Hanalei..

Hanalei is a pleasant town, most of which is located on the main road through town, the Kuhio Highway, with the beach, homes, and some businesses located on the side roads.

These quirky glasses were almost $100 each.

Hanalei is located near the mouth of the Hanalei River on the north shore of the island. Surprisingly, according to the United States Census Bureau, the town itself only has a total area of .8 square miles, of which .6 square miles is land and .2 miles is water.

This colorful glass was made in the colors of the sea.

Hanalei means “lei making” in Hawaiian. Alternatively, the name Hanalei also means “crescent bay” and may be indicative of the shape of Hanalei Bay.

Less than 500 residents occupy the little town but, it’s known for the following facts that we gleaned from this site (accuracy not guaranteed):

  • Hanalei was the backdrop of several film productions, such as the 1958 musical film South Pacific. Scenes were filmed in the town itself and at Lumahai Beach to the west of Hanalei.
  • Those who explain the Peter Paul & Mary song “Puff, the Magic Dragon” as a marijuana metaphor explain that Puff’s homeland “Hanah Lee” is actually the town of Hanalei, which, according to them, is renowned for its marijuana. The cliffs on the side of the beach are said to look like a dragon. This interpretation was rejected by the song’s authors. (As we recently mentioned in another post).
  • The beach at Hanalei Bay was selected No. 1 on “Dr. Beach” Stephen Leatherman‘s 2009 list of top 10 beaches.
  • Hanalei was mentioned in “Twin Peaks” as a place of residence for the town psychiatrist and his wife. Scenes for the movie “The Descendants” starring George Clooney were filmed in and around Hanalei, on the beach at Hanalei Bay, and in nearby Princeville.
  • A song titled “Hanalei” was a part of the I’m With You Sessions by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2013.
Surf and clothing shop in Hanalei Bay.

As for the history of Hanalei:

“In the early 19th century the Imperial Russians were present here. In 1815 the German physician and agent of the Russian-American Company, Georg Anton Schäffer, came to the Hawaiian islands to retrieve goods seized by Kaumualiʻi, chief of Kauai island.

These carefully wrapped kayaks are available for rent to navigate the Hanalei River.

On arrival he became involved with internal Hawaiian politics, and Kaumualiʻi planning and manipulating to reclaim his own kingdom of Kauai from Kamehameha I with the help of the Russian Empire. Kaumualiʻi signed a “treaty” granting Tsar Alexander I protectorate over Kauai. From 1817 to 1853 Fort Elizabeth, near the Waimea River, and two other Russian forts near Hanalei were part of the tsarist Russian America.”

Wandering through the town definitely gave us a sense of its history and culture. It’s a popular tourist town with an inordinate number of restaurants, according to TripAdvisor’s mention of 39 dining establishments, bars, and coffee shops which even includes a food truck. 

New photo of Hanalei Bay from a sunnier day.

Traffic wasn’t as dense in the rain as many held newspapers and tour books over their heads as they dashed from location to location or returning to their cars. Parking is always at a premium. The shops are the typical pricey tourist town shops, many with upscale quality merchandise and others with $15 tee shirts and hats. There’s a little bit of everything for budget-minded tourists. 

Some local residents travel to the Foodland in Princeville to grocery shop or for better prices, head to the Safeway in Kapaa, a 45-minute drive. Many in Hanalei, once a month, make the 75-minute drive to Lihue to Walmart and Costco as is the case for many Princeville residents that make the lesser 60-minute drive. 

Another new view of Hanalei Bay taken on a sunny day.

We giggle over how often we hear of locals heading to Costco to do the bulk of their shopping. Although we love Costco, it’s not easy to find many of the ingredients we use in preparing our meals grass-fed meat, and organic veggies. At this point with about six weeks remaining until we depart, making “big volume” purchases at Costco makes little sense.

In any case, we had a pleasant few hours taking photos, finally heading back home to Princeville to our cozy spot, our pleasant condo with views of Hanalei Bay from our lanai.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, April 8, 2014:

Gosh, I loved those wonderful meals Madame Zahra made for us. The fried items were aubergine (eggplant) dipped in an egg (no flour) and sauteed in olive oil. I should make that. It was delicious. Tom didn’t care for the meals as much as I did. Please click here for details from that date.

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