Tag: Vacations

10 Things to do in Kauai, Hawaii, with Your Wife Before You Die

Credit Joseph Lapin
Credit Joseph Lapin
Just over a month ago, my wife Heron and I returned from our first trip to Hawaii. We stayed on the island of Kauai, which is the fourth largest of the islands on the archipelago, and it’s nicknamed the “Gardens Isle” because it’s filled with rain forest, beautiful hibiscus, and incredible birds, including the Brazilian Cardinal. It rains quite a bit, but the weather is pleasant (I’m sure some entrepreneur could bottle the air and sell it to snowbirds), and the ocean is refreshing. If you look at a weather report or the North Shore, then you’ll probably see that it’s supposed to rain all week, but it rains somewhat like Florida: on and off. Kauai also has an extensive cinematic history. Jurassic Park and a scene from Indiana Jones were filmed here. According to local legend, Ben Stiller lives in Kauai and runs around the island, and Peter, Paul, and Mary wrote “Puff the Magic Dragon,” when they came and visited the “Garden Isle.” Because I loved the place so much, I decided to write a top 10 list of things to do with you wife before you die. Since I’ve had such fun experiences with lists and dying, I thought I would try it again. Here we go.

Credit Joseph Lapin
Credit Joseph Lapin

Hike Kauai with Erik

We wanted to hike, but we wanted a guided tour — someone to walk us through hidden spots and tell us about local culture — and we were lucky to find a great guide (Hike Kauai with Erik) on travel advisor who brought us to some interesting locations that most tourists probably wouldn’t get to see. He took the photo above.

Credit Joseph Lapin
Credit Joseph Lapin

Zipline at Koala

Before Hawaii, I had never been zipling, and it’s something I have wanted to cross off the bucket list for years. I finally convinced my wife to join me, and we ziplined on the property of Steve Case, one of the founders of AOL. The property was also used for filming the newest Jurassic Park. It was a rainy day, but the rain doesn’t stop you from zipling. As the guide said: “It’s a Hawaiian blessing.”

Credit Joseph Lapin
Credit Joseph Lapin

Rainbow Joes

Wonderful food truck. Definitely off the beaten path. It’s kind of in an industrial complex. The owner is crazy energetic, and the food is unique and fresh. Don’t miss.

Credit Joseph Lapin
Credit Joseph Lapin

St. Regis

The photo above is the view from the St. Regis. It’s expensive to stay there, but I recommend at least stopping in for a drink and watching the sunset. By the way, would you say the mountain looks like a dragon? That might actually be puff.

Credit Joseph Lapin
Credit Joseph Lapin

Na Pali Coast

The Na Pali Coast is considered one of the deadliest hikes in the world, and we ventured about two miles along the path. The photo above is taken from a spot on a ledge. The wind was blowing so hard that I lost the cap to my lens. I did not venture down the ledge to find it. The hike is actually slippery and, at times, treacherous. But don’t let fear stop you from witnessing all the beauty out there.

Photo Credit Joseph Lapin
Photo Credit Joseph Lapin

Paddle Boarding in Hanalei

In Hanalei, which is on the North Side of the island, there is a river that runs into an animal sanctuary. We rented a paddle board right near the center of Hanalei and paddled into the animal sanctuary. We saw a family of turtles resting on a log and heard countless birds that we could not name. If you think of the word animal sanctuary and you’re worried about being in the wild, then keep in mind that Hawaii has no predatory species. (Nothing that will hurt you.) At least, according to Erik, our hike guide.

Photo Credit Joseph Lapin
Photo Credit Joseph Lapin

The Prime Rib Night at the Westin 

We stayed at the Westin Hotel on the North Shore the first two nights, and I took the photo above from our balcony. Our room overlooked the golf course. It was pleasant. The best part about the stay, however, was their prime rib night. I believe it was Thursday, and it was probably the best prime rib I have ever had.

Credit Joseph Lapin
Credit Joseph Lapin

Friday Night Festival in Hanapepe

On Friday nights in Hanapepe, the home of the most western bookstore in the United States (you’ll have to buy a book if you have to take a piss), the town closes down the main street for a fair. They have incredible food, including hot dogs with lechon, and many other delicacies served from food trucks and carts. They have music and are so friendly. This is on the south side of the Island, so I suggest pairing it up with a trip to Waimea Canyon if you’re staying on the north.

Waimea Canyon

9. Waimea Canyon 

On the south side of the island, the landscape changes, and you will find what Mark Twain called “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” It’s a far drive to the south side from the north side, but you’ll be grateful you made the trip to see the site above.

Bianca on top of the mountain

Breathe

While there is a lot to see in Kauai, just make sure you find some time to reflect with your wife. You only have one life, so I suggest you take the time to be in the moment before it’s gone. Breathe in the fresh air from the top of a fucking mountain and be in love. Do it!

Big Kahuna

Wine and Photography in Walla Walla, Washington

Walla Walla farm house 2

This weekend, I fled Los Angeles, work, and all my responsibilities and jumped on a jet plane to Walla Walla, Washington. I have never been to Walla Walla — or really ever heard about the place — but my family, who do enjoy wine tastings, raved about the town that is five hours outside of Seattle and closer to the Oregon border than you might expect. Honestly, I needed to get away. I’ve been anxious, trying to find the balance between my professional and creative life, and I thought spending time in a town where the only thing to do was farm or drink wine would provide the cure. So I went there with the idea that I would eat, drink, and take photographs. You’ll see some shots below.

Photo Credit Joseph Lapin
Photo Credit Joseph Lapin

We stayed at a winery called Abeja, and we had the most fantastic rooms and the most incredible breakfast. I remember the last breakfast most distinctly. They brought over a baked egg seasoned with a bit of thyme, parmesan cheese, sea salt, and some light cream. Then they brought out bacon with sourdough waffles covered in fresh apples with a dollop of whipped cream. We drank their wine, too, which was good, but I have to be honest with you: I don’t know anything about wine. I wish that I did, but when I taste four or five different wines it’s really hard for me to tell the difference. I’m trying to learn and respect the craft, but one thing that I have learned from my family and friends is that all you have to do is say something descriptive like “minerality,” “apricot,” or any other floral or fruit taste, and people might actually think you know what you’re talking about. The people I was with knew wine, and it was fun to learn, but I was more interested in the sights in Walla Walla. And of course, the company.

Photo credit Joseph Lapin
Photo credit Joseph Lapin

What I loved most about Walla Walla was that everywhere I looked there was a different landscape photo opportunity. It was close to the high plains desert, and every piece of land was used to grow crops. It reminded me of a place Jack Kerouac would have loved to wander through, and he would have written about the people who worked the land. Because it was farmlands and they were growing different crops, the colors of the Earth altered as much as the contours of the landscape. Continue reading “Wine and Photography in Walla Walla, Washington”