August News
Aloha from Kauai and our Great Vacation Retreats Ohana

Summer vacation is drawing to a close and our island keiki are back in school! Hurricane Hector safely passed us by and combined with King Tides delivered a nice south swell that stoked out many of our local surfers and entertained spectators watching from the shore! August through October is when we get to enjoy the waves on the south side of the island as once the winter swells wrap around the north we are left with a fairly flat and glassy sea along our southern coast. We are often asked the question "Which side of the island is the best?" The beauty of the answer is that you can legitimately claim "All of them!" Kauai is small and is easily explored from Hanalei to Waimea Canyon with plenty of detours on the side. There are unique attractions and beautiful scenery awaiting you around each corner. The fun is in the journey and the discovery!

View our Experience Kauai guide and start dreaming of your next vacation!
Tasting Kauai Food Tour
We love to personally experience the activities we recommend to our guests. Just because we live here doesn't mean that we can't also pretend to be on vacation does it? lol! Last week we decided to indulge ourselves and join up with Katherine Smithers on the south shore Tasting Kauai Tour. This intimate food tour runs every Wednesday and includes six stops that are a celebration of food inspired by Hawaii’s multi-cultural population. We were impressed at the selection as the tour definitely provided a fresh culinary perspective for guests to discover local hidden gems they may surely have missed. Kate provided an insider view, happily sharing her knowledge and love of island grown, kauai-made food and providing warm introductions to the owners, purveyors and chefs that we met along the way. Hearing their stories and sharing in their passion through sampling delectable fare and exploring new flavors is what makes this tour so satisfying and enjoyable! Guests staying with Great Vacation Retreats receive a special discount with Tasting Kauai, and while the tastings and stops may vary from tour to tour, we are certain you will have a good time. Tours are also offered for the East Side and the North Shore too! Find more information on this "culinary romp through paradise" online at Tasting Kauai. Below are some of the many highlights of out tour!
Monkeypod Jam
If you are lucky enough to glance to the right as you head west on Kaumualii Hwy you will notice the sign “Monkeypod Jam” adhered to a building adjacent to the Lawai post office. What you won’t realize, unless you are in the know, is that behind those walls succulent island fruit is bubbling away in wide copper jam pots and fragrant scones and pies are baking in the ovens under the magical supervision of the owner, Aletha Thomas.
Kauai’s seasonal harvests are preserved in an array of artisanal jams, curds, chutneys and sauces laid out like a veritable treasure trove of flavors captured in exquisitely packaged glass jars begging to be sampled. Jams entice with names like Spiced Tomato, Mountain Apple Pepper, Papaya Vanilla and more. Tahitian Lime, Coconut, Calamansi and the highly coveted Lilikoi Curds beckon from the shelves! The desire to taste all of them leads many visitors to their Jam Club. The Monkeypod Jam Club features the finest fruits of the seasons through two carefully selected, 6oz. jars that are sent to you every two months. Now that is truly irresistible!
Kickshaws Food Truck
Kickshaws food truck is Gourmet Diner Food with a definite twist! On the Tasting Kauai Tour we were treated to the 100% Awesome Burger: 80% Fresh ground chuck steak 20% ground bacon topped with crispy bacon, a pineapple-black pepper-onion marmalade, cheddar cheese, arugula, tomato and mayo on a torts roll.
For the one non-red-meat-eater on the tour, well she looked like the cat that got the cream or ate the canary or in this case the Tremendous Tuna Melt: Freshly caught, local ahi topped with Havarti cheese, pickled red onion with a caper aioli on Deli & Bread Connection’s sourdough bread. We were very impressed with owner chef Seth Peterson and his self described "science-forward food" and are most grateful that his truck is parked in Koloa/Lawai. "Seth uses sous vide cooking and other avant grade techniques to create truly unique and delicious dishes. He's most definitely changing lives one 100% Awesome Burger at a time". You can find Kickshaws food truck parked at Warehouse 3540 on Koloa Road.
Kukui'ula Market
It is bittersweet when big corp pushes out mom and pop! Usually these places have a special place in the heart of the community and it is a joy to support them especially when they have been in the same location for almost 50 years! We love authenticity and variety and the historical Kukuiula Store along Poipu Road is continually evolving to remain competitive and to deliver a unique local island shopping experience. This is a place where you can go and enjoy a handcrafted sushi roll, an acai bowl topped with fresh island fruit or a spam musabi!! A place where you can shop for unique jewelry by local artisans or beautiful kauai made bikinis. Terry and Paul Kuribayashi, the owners, encourage opportunities for young island entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. Their storage facility in the back of the store is now a thriving Jiu Jitsu school. We appreciate that Terry took the time to chat with us on the Tasting Kauai Tour about the history and progressive vision she has for the store. The market has come a long way from back in 1960 when Hajime Kuribayashi, a sugar cane truck driver, decided to go into retail!
Anakes Juice Bar
Anakes Juice Bar, located inside Terry's Kukui'ula Market, offers divinely delicious Acai bowls, fruit smoothies and juices. Their bowls are packed with everything you could possible want, but just in case you need to personalize it to your exact desires, their add on menu has you covered! Choose from bee pollen, goji berries, chia seeds, maca powder, almond slivers, dates, coconut flakes, hemp seeds, mulberries, li hing mui, spiralina, moringa, dark chocolate chips and more.... Thank you Anakes! Be inspired and follow them on Instagram.
Makai Sushi
Chef Matt and the crew at Makai Sushi continue to serve up award winning sushi from their bar located inside the Kukui'ula Market. Ask for the "Gorilla Bowl" or any of their specialty sushi rolls, poke bowls or sashimi - all made fresh to order. Congrats on making Yelps Top 100 Places to Eat in the Nation for the last two years in a row! Follow Makai Sushi on Instagram.
Papalani Gelato
Papalani Gelato owner, Marck, is passionate about his gelato and so are we! Papalani means "heavenly" in Hawaiian and we think this gelato truly lives up to its' name! Marck offers the finest Kauai Made, gourmet traditional and organic gelato and sorbet made daily in a variety of local flavors and unique tropical flavor combinations. Papalani Gelato also makes gelato cakes, cookie sandwiches, cupcakes, and pies for any occasion.
Haole Girl Island Sweets
The last stop on our Tasting Kauai Tour was to meet Judy, the founder of Haole Girl Island Sweets. Judy brings her Farm to Table products to various farmers markets across the island. Judy loves to support local farmers and business in the making of her creations and uses locally-produced material such as Kilauea goat cheese, Maui Gold pineapple, Kapahi honey, and hand selects her produce from local growers across the island. Her intent is to bring only the best ingredients to her bakery, to make sure you get the best croissants you’ve ever tasted! We sampled two of her deliciously stuffed croissants at the Wednesday farmers market at Kukuiula Shopping Village.he Caramelized Portobello Mushrooms with Havarti cheese and Thai basil and also the Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach with Kauai Kunana Dairy Goat Cheese.
Event Calendar
Check out our event calendar to see local island festivals and events. There is a lot happening in August. Don't miss out on the annual Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair from Aug 16th - 19th. Visit

In September we welcome visitors from across the world for the Kauai Marathon & Half Marathon. Runners pass hula dancers and Taiko drum troupes along the course while viewing striking mountain and ocean views. Each runner concludes his or her journey along one of the most beautiful oceanfront finishes in road racing.

Annual Kauai Mokihana Festival a multi-day cultural festival of music, hula, crafts and more. A celebration of Hawaiian culture, including educational lectures and music and hula competitions. Visit

19th Annual Kauai Powwow In Paradise will be held on the east side of the island at Kapa‘a Beach Park September 28-30. A free family event with special Native American crafting and education tents; Native American drumming, organic Fry Bread food booth, and hand-made one of a kind Native American art and crafts.
Kauai Farm Bureau Fair
Only on Kauai can you gather to judge the prettiest papaya, mango, atemoya, soursop and dragon fruit. Perhaps you would prefer to watch the Kauai Coffee Celebrity Chef Cookoff or maybe pet a chicken? The Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair from August 16th - 19th is a popular annual event featuring exhibits, food, entertainment, petting zoo, carnival rides and much more. Thurs from 6pm-midnight, Fri from 6pm-midnight, Sat from noon-midnight and Sun from noon-11pm. $5/adults, $4/seniors, $2 keiki 4-12, keiki 3 and under are free. At Vidinha Stadium in Lihu‘e. Visit
Horton Update!
Now for news on the canines that form part of our GVR ohana! Horton, our Great Dane puppy, is weighing in at 110 pounds with probably another 50 still to come! He is now tall enough to turn the wall light switches on and off with his nose while he is sitting down! lol! Harley, our sweet black lab, loves his "baby" brother, and we can only imagine what he thinks about Horton turning into a giant! I think he enjoys being able to escape by running straight between Hortons legs when they are playing. You can see how very well-behaved and obedient they are in Presley's dog training class!
Family Friendly Vacations
Travelling with all your kids in tow and possibly even the grand folk? You'll need lots of room, bedding configurations that accommodate everyone, a gourmet kitchen with space to prep meals and dining options that will seat everyone together! We have great family friendly vacation homes in Poipu and some of them come with separate ohana (guest houses) so that there is space to spread out and relax. While it is wonderful to travel together it is so much more comfortable when you are not piled on top of each other, tripping over pull out sofa beds and open suitcases!

Manako Hale Estate is a treasure tucked away in Poipu with a plantation beach cottage vibe. The property offers both a 3 bedroom hale (home) and a separate ohana for the perfect family getaway. The hale has two living rooms, a covered screened in lanai with lots of seating and an outdoor ocean view deck for the perfect hang out to BBQ at the picnic table under the beautiful fragrant Plumeria (Frangipani Tree). Stroll down the street from the estate and you will find yourself at famous Brennecke's beach which is favored by the locals for fun bodysurfing and bodyboarding waves. Adjacent to Brenneckes is Poipu Beach Park and Baby Beach which are lifeguard protected beaches and the perfect location for watching the sunset, swimming and snorkeling on the south side!
Check out our south shore private Vacation Homes and plan your next family adventure!
Great Vacation Retreats | Phone 808.742.9202 | Text 808.427.0818 |