Felicia's Notebook

Honeymoon in Hanalei

The view towards Ke’e Beach on the North Shore of Kaua’i, from the Kalalau Trail

After the wedding, we had less than 24 waking hours to get everything somewhat in order so that we could leave for our honeymoon. We chose Kaua’i, Hawaii for our honeymoon. I’ve only ever stopped over in Honolulu but I’ve never been to Hawaii. Honestly, I always thought it was kind of cheesy, but that could be from a distorted image I got from watching too much tv. But Kaua’i could not have been more beautiful and enjoyable. The entire island, while being overrun by wild chickens, also smells entirely like plumeria flowers.

Hanalei Taro Fields

This island is the furthest Hawaiian island and is over 5 million years old. Since there are regulations in place that prevent any building from being taller than a coconut tree, it feels very lightly inhabited. Everywhere you look, all you see are coconut, mango, avocado, and guava trees, mountains and water. There’s a one-lane road circumventing the majority of the island. The last quarter of the island coast is not accessible by car… You can only get to the Na Pali Coast by hiking deep into it or taking a boat around the outside of it. And if you want to get to the beach on the Na Pali coast, you can’t land your boat onshore, you have to drop anchor far offshore and then swim in. Just the kind of isolation that is perfect for a honeymoon.

One of many tributes to the late surfer, Andy Irons, in his hometown of Hanalei
Another tribute to honour “AI”

We rented a small condo in Princeville on the North Shore which worked out much more economically than getting a hotel. The neighboring tiny surf town of Hanalei was home to one of my favorite surfers, Andy Irons, who tragically passed away at 32 last November. Everywhere along the road to Ke’e Beach were tributes to AI. Broken surfboards that had been painted with messages to honour his memory.

The North Shore of Kaua’i gets great big swells in the wintertime, making it popular for surfers. Around the same area, there is a little beach we visited called Tunnels. It’s the spot where Bethany Hamilton was out surfing and got her arm bit off by a shark. She’s the girl who ended up writing a book about it, and now it’s been made into the movie, Soul Surfer. All about getting back up after you’ve fallen (or survived a shark attack). But at this very spot, we got to enjoy the calmer summer waters and went swimming with a bunch of sea turtles. And that’s how I celebrated my birthday. Not with candles, but with sea turtles.

The strings in Hanalei Strings

Now, it’s true, it’s hard for me to break from working. I was all relaxing and enjoying the sun and trying not to think about work when we stumbled upon this little shop in Hanalei called Hanalei Strings (Ravelry group here). I kid you not, this shop sells ukeleles and yarn. I cannot think of a more delightful combination.

Hanalei Hand-Dyed Yarns

AND, on top of that, the store owner, Karen, is also a dyer and she and her friend Alicia dye yarns inspired by the colours of Kaua’i. They dye everything from cotton and bamboo to silk and wool in both synthetic and natural dyes. In fact, they even incorporate some of the island’s iron-rich “red dirt” and hibiscus flowers into their dye pots. I got to spend some time knitting and chatting with the owner. They are so easy going and relaxed. The shop is always full of music and knitters. I was sorely tempted to buy a uke but then remembered that I should be spending more time with the guitar I already have.

What?! Avocados are not always black and shrivelled looking? Fresh avocados are shiny and limey green.

The rest of the days were spent hiking to the Hanakapi’ai Falls (an 8-mile hike in some pretty nasty muddy jungle), surfing at Poipu on the South Shore, and eating. Before we headed to Kaua’i we heard that spam was big in Hawaii. We’d seen it on Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods and Anthony Bourdain’s show. I was all convinced we were going to taste spam musubi but we could not find it anywhere except for a couple sad, slimy-looking rolls at an ABC store (like a 7-11). But apart from the spam, we did eat poi, saimen noodles, plate lunches and kalua pig (pulled pork). And the freshest, juiciest papayas and pineapples I’ve ever had in my life. I’ll do another post on the food, most definitely.

Sunset on the lawn of the St. Regis

Here, I’ll leave you with a Kaua’i sunset. Not being guests of the hotel, we snuck onto the cliffside lawn of the St. Regis hotel in Princeville one evening and watched the sunset. The sun slipped behind the horizon and it seemed like nothing special. But a few minutes later, the sky turned this intense flame gold and violet. Stunning to say the least.

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About Felicia Lo

founder + creative director of SweetGeorgia // designer + dreamer // wife + mama // dyer, knitter, spinner, weaver, youtuber + author // been writing this blog about colour and craft since 2004 // see what I am making @lomeetsloom and @sweetgeorgia.

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15 thoughts on “Honeymoon in Hanalei

  1. Mari Kirsten says:

    So beautiful!  Congratulations on the wedding and the wonderful honeymoon.  We love Kauai and I can’t imagine a better place for a honeymoon!  Can’t wait to see your food post – yum yum!

  2. LisaB says:

    Is that REALLY what avocados are supposed to look like???  

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      lol. that was my question too!

  3. GinkgoKnits says:

    With regard to the avocados, the most common variety (Hass) has black and bumpy skin when ripe but there are other varieties that have that nice green color. Hawaii has a wonderful selection of tropical fruits and varieties not often seen on the mainland. I never thought I’d like papayas until I had them in Hawaii.

    It looks like you had a wonderful honeymoon. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and congratulations!

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Ohh! I know! I have never eaten a better papaya than in Hawaii. Or pineapple for that matter.

  4. Stephanie says:

    It sounds like the perfect honeymoon following a beautiful wedding.  The sunset picture reminds me of your wedding colors. 

  5. One of my all time favorite places – Hanalei.  Such a beautiful community.  The whole island is gorgeous. It’s where “South Pacific” was filmed and “Jurassic Park”.  

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      Indeed. Lots of the island still looks untouched and undeveloped which is so refreshing. 

  6. Jen says:

    Gorgeous photos, Fishy! I so want to go to Hawai’i now.  I especially like Hanalei Strings.  I’ve been wracking my brains to see if I *can* come up with anything more delightful…..nope. Except….yarn and string cheese?  You could add the string cheese to the yarn and ukes and you would have food supply too.  :-)

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      There IS a place that makes artisan goat cheese on the island… https://www.kauaikunanadairy.com/ :)

  7. Anonymous says:

    You have lots of beautiful things to share here and the first thing I did was scroll through to see if you’d found any yarn. Even better – yarn with ukeleles! I love it!

  8. Ann says:

    Congratulations on your wedding! The pictures are gorgeous. My sister lived in Hanalei for 2 years and it breaks my heart that I never made it over to visit.

  9. Amy says:

    Ukuleles and yarn! I want lots of both! I’d settle for one ukulele (seriously, I’m trying to figure out when I can go try some out before buying one) for starters. Looks like you had a fantastic time!

  10. June Oshiro says:

    Spam musubi is one of my current snack obsessions. It’s soooooo good. I even bought a musubi press and a “luncheon meat slicer” (a wire cutter that slices an entire brick of spam into 8 or 9 even slices) a couple weeks ago, I am so addicted.

    1. SweetGeorgia says:

      I’m so curious about it!! The spam musubi I found at the ubiquitous ABC stores in Hawaii was all wrapped in saran wrap with a slimy greyish brown appearance. It didn’t look appetizing at all. I wonder how “fresh” spam tastes :)

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