Category Archives: Travel

I realized that I haven’t had an Portland area activity geared post in a while, so here goes.

This year, I spent New Years with the fam, skiing at Mt. Hood! It was a beautiful blue bird day, and the snow was pretty good.



The next day, after visiting my aunt in the Columbia Gorge, we hit up the Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River. Though I had driven past this historic landmark multiple times in the past, I had never actually been inside. Despite the freezing temps, we got out of the car to walk the grounds of the hotel, which were absolutely beautiful! The views are likewise very pretty, as you can see across the river to Washington as well as a view down the gorge.

I spy Washington!

I spy Washington!

The hotel itself sits atop a small waterfall:


And the grounds feature multiple bridges crisscrossing the stream that feeds the waterfall:




Not only are the views beautiful, the food was good too!

For those of you in Portland suffering from the January blahs, the Columbia Gorge Hotel is just 60 miles from Portland on I-84, and tied in with a visit to the adorable town of Hood River can be a welcome mini road trip to get out of your normal routine!


So, I last left you at Salt Pond beach. . .

Next, we headed off to the Wailua River:

Because the land on either side is owned by families, or leased from the owners by tour companies, we drove up to a look out to see it. Although it was beautiful, we opted not to do a canoe tour, because it gets quite congested due to how popular it is.

Instead, we went a less traveled route (more on that later).

From the river, we forged on until we got to the town of Hanalei. This was one of my favorite towns on the island, because instead of a strip mall and a bunch of resorts, this place actually looked like a small town! And, its surroundings are absolutely gorgeous! Be warned though, this is the “rainy” side of the island, drizzly even in August.

The picturesque church in Hanalei

Hanalei also had one of  the longer, least populated beaches on the Island, with homes lining it rather than resorts

For those of you who have seen Descendants, this is the beach that George Clooney goes for a run on ; )

Hollywood aside, this beach is also pretty cool for its Bali Hai quality

This becomes even more apparent from the lookout above the town:

The agricultural side of Hanalei

Next on the agenda was our alternate to kayaking on the Wailua: Paddle boarding down a smaller river, followed by a hike.

I had never paddle boarded before this, but it was surprisingly easy! It probably helped that we were on a pretty calm river with the wind at our backs 🙂

On the hike, we swam in two swimming holes, had a picnic lunch, and tried fruit that our guide found for us.

One of the swimming holes

Apparently, a few scenes from the latest Pirates of the Caribbean were shot there!

Some more pics from the hike:

We did the earliest excursion, so we got back in the early afternoon, and spent the rest of the day at the beach.

We got fancy the next day with a dinner cruise to see the Nepali Coast:

The cruise was one of my favorite parts of the vacation! Beautiful weather, views, calm waters, and very relaxing.

We also drove to the Waimea Canyon:

We finished up our trip with a three-mile hike (unmarked, without a guide) around the Poipu area. The hike boasted gorgeous views, and points of archeological interest:

The “Pinnacles”

The Sinkhole

And that concludes my Kauai vacation!

Aloha! I am back from my much-needed Hawaiian Vacation. And of course, now the back to school shopping frenzy has begun, therefore I am working a lot, therefore I have not written my promised vacation post. Never fear! Today I am actually getting around to it!

This year, we hadn’t really planned on taking a vacation at all. We thought we might just go to the coast for a few days, but nothing BIG was planned. However, when my mom found a good deal, we ended up in Kauai!

Now, let me just say this: I will not do well in the real world. After only a few months of working, I was really glad to get away on vacation. What will I do when I have to face real life outside of my cushy college existence? It will not be a pretty sight, my friends.

ANYWAY. We had ten days in Kauai(though two of those days were really travel days). I guess I didn’t realize just how long it would take to get there, but it took a good 8ish hours total, and we didn’t bring any food. . .  I was not the happiest about this. My mom was convinced the flight was only 5 hours. . . how she got to this number I have no idea, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised given her notoriously bad knowledge of geography.

In any case, we landed, made our way to our “Resort Condominiums,” got some food, and passed out at around 9 pm.

During our first few days in Kauai, we mainly lazed about at the beach, swam in the ocean, read a book, etc. My big outing during this time was to the garden at our Condos, which was actually pretty amazing (see pics below). Truthfully, despite how beautiful and relaxing this was, at this point I was getting a leeeetle antsy.

Orchids from the gardens




Luckily, the next day we headed out to a farmers market in Hanapepe, a few miles down the coast. I loved it so much that we went back the day after to do a little more exploring. While in Hanapepe, we ate at an awesome coffee shop called Little Fish (I recommend the mexican jumping bean) and discovered the country’s western most independent bookstore (which made my heart flutter a little. While there, I found a book for my mom involving Downton Abbey (and who can say no to that?!).

Old Sugar mill on the way to Hanapepe

The book store!!!

Canal in Hanapepe

After adventuring to Hanapepe, we spent the next day at Salt Pond Beach state Park, right outside of Hanapepe. There was a beautiful beach there, as well as historic salt pans, which are still used by some families today to collect salt from.

Man working in the salt pans

After another day at the beach, we made a long drive around the rest of the Island. We first stopped at the Menehune Fish pond, outside of Lihue, the Island’s largest town. The fish pond, in addition to providing excellent views, is historically significant. The pond is man-made and included a gate that would let fish in, but not out, allowing men to trap the fish there and raise them, similar to a fish hatchery today.

Menehune Fish pond

This post to be continued. . .  Look for part two of my Kauai vacation, coming soon!