Come to the Fourth of July celebration at PMRF on Kauai’s westside

Aloha,

If you missed it last year, you may want to put it on your calendar for this weekend: the Pacific Missile Range Facility is hosting its Stars and Stripes Freedom Celebration on July 3rd from 5 to 10 PM. That means you can also attend the Kekaha celebrations on July 4th and / or attend the annual Concert in the Sky in Lihue.

The PMRF event will take place at the Shenanigens restaurant, with a 12 minute fireworks display on the beach. This event is free and open to the public and also offers an opportunity to meet the new commanding officer, Captain Nicholas Mongillo, who will welcome everyone and speak to the importance of Independence Day.

Per the June 15th Garden Island Newspaper article “PMRF to host Independance Day celebration” – “Kaua‘i bands Battery Alley and Greenstone Project will provide music and the event will also include a 12-minute heart-pounding fireworks display on the beach presented by Hawai‘i Explosives & Pyrotechnics, Inc. Food, games and craft booths will be available throughout the event.”

Access is through the main gate (also known as the Housing Gate) at Mile Marker 30 of Kaumuali‘i Highway. Watch for signs on the highway for directions. Free parking will be available on base, although visitors are reminded that all vehicles will be subject to search. For more information on this event, call (808) 335-4380.

I went last year and had a great time. This year promises to be even better with the event taking place on the beach. See you there!

Aloha Elaine

Elaine Schaefer (R, CRS, GRI, ABR, SFR)
Click here to see all my listings
Broker in Charge – Princeville Resort Office
Certified Residential Specialist
Graduate, Realtor’s Institute
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RE/MAX Kauai
Princeville Resort Office
POB 223632
Princeville, HI 96722
cell: 808 639 2935
home fax: 1 808 440 4552
email:soldonkauai@yahoo.com
website: www.KauaiRealEstateNow.com
blog: http://blogs.alohaliving.com/princeville-condo-sales/

……you can have your own piece of paradise
ask me how!

Oasis Restaurant at the Waipouli Beach Resort – Kapaa

Aloha,

I made mention of the Oasis Restaurant in my last update – I’ve been meaning to get there since reading about it in an article entitled “New Kauai restaurant buying local” in the April 2nd edition of the Pacific Business News. Here is what that article had to say – “A new restaurant on Kauai has committed to sustainability by buying local. About 80 percent of the meat, fish, fruits and vegetables purchased for Oasis on the Beach at the Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort is from the Garden Isle. Owner-operator Stefan Mandel says 85 percent of the restaurant is sustainable to Hawaii overall.

The oceanside restaurant opened Feb. 15 at the Kapaa condominium-hotel, and Mandel describes its style as casual, “with a fine-dining element.” The Hawaiian regional cuisine is prepared by executive Chef Zack Sato, who most recently was at the Azure restaurant at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu.” I was eager to try it given that they were buying local!

The Oasis is located in the Waipouli Beach Resort located directly across from the Safeway Shopping Center (Kapaa Shopping Center) in Kapaa. If you haven’t been inside of this complex, it’s worth it just to experience the elegant entryway and the beautiful courtyard which consists of an elaborate waterway system, complete with a water slide. This complex is primarily all separately owned high end condo units however a few were retained as hotel rooms. The condo units, some of which are oceanfront, originally sold starting in the $600’s but have dropped considerably given the economy. Here are the listings in the complex:

Copyright 4/13/2010 by Hawaii Information Service

233236 T A 12 4-4-3-8-1-30 FS $387,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #B104 1,158 #B104 2/3
233264 T A 20 4-4-3-8-1-10 FS $395,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #A203 1,158 #A203 2/3
219453 T A 437 4-4-3-8-1-33 FS $449,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #B203 1,155 #B203 2/3
225537 T A 280 4-4-3-8-1-53 FS $450,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #C205 1,158 #C205 2/3
214359 T A 598 4-4-3-8-1-135 FS $479,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #F301 824 #F301 1/2
230027 T A 120 4-4-3-8-1-111 FS $489,500 Waipouli Beach Resort #E106 823 #E106 1/2
230630 T A 94 4-4-3-8-1-132 FS $499,999 Waipouli Beach Resort #F202 1,158 #F202 2/3
231219 T A 71 4-4-3-8-1-67 FS $580,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #D101 823 #D101 1/2
232318 T A 19 4-4-3-8-1-81 FS $585,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #D210 823 #D210 1/2
229713 T A 139 4-4-3-8-1-39 FS $599,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #B401 1,158 #B401 2/3
230967 T A 75 4-4-3-8-1-65 FS $599,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #C405 1,158 #C405 2/3
185095 T A 1,295 4-4-3-8-1-55 FS $649,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #C301 1,158 #C301 2/3
228358 T A 176 4-4-3-8-1-68 FS $649,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #D102 1,158 #D102 2/3
212044 T A 680 4-4-3-8-1-99 FS $649,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #D406 1,158 #D406 2/3
227652 T A 209 4-4-3-8-1-25 FS $700,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #A405 823 #A405 1/2
211622 T A 1,051 4-4-3-8-1-110 FS $700,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #E105 1,158 #E105 2/3
204984 T A 849 4-4-3-8-1-3 FS $749,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #A103 1,312 #A103 2/3
233006 T A 26 4-4-3-8-1-79 FS $795,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #D208 1,465 #D208 2/3
203871 T A 858 4-4-3-8-1-129 FS $795,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #F103 1,158 #F103 2/3
200236 T A 964 4-4-3-8-1-161 FS $795,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #G305 1,158 #G305 2/3
231217 T A 71 4-4-3-8-1-32 FS $810,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #B202 1,158 #B202 2/3
217422 T A 520 4-4-3-8-1-138 FS $899,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #F304 1,158 #F304 2/3
228473 T A 181 4-4-3-8-1-18 FS $907,900 Waipouli Beach Resort #A304 1,158 #A304 2/3
231225 T A 71 4-4-3-8-1-182 FS $950,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #H205 1,158 #H205 2/3
228813 T A 162 4-4-3-8-1-185 FS $1,049,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #H301 1,158 #H301 2/3
221522 T A 391 4-4-3-8-1-146 FS $1,149,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #G104 1,158 #G104 2/3
231226 T A 71 4-4-3-8-1-187 FS $1,150,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #H303 1,158 #H303 2/3
231223 T A 71 4-4-3-8-1-143 FS $1,200,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #G101 1,414 #G101 2/3
233182 T A 26 4-4-3-8-1-97 FS $1,250,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #D404 1,158 #D404 2/3
221504 T A 412 4-4-3-8-1-103 FS $1,292,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #D410 1,465 #D410 2/3
218925 T A 489 4-4-3-8-1-14 FS $1,395,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #A207 1,414 #A207 2/3
231224 T A 71 4-4-3-8-1-157 FS $1,400,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #G301 1,414 #G301 2/3
231229 T A 71 4-4-3-8-1-188 FS $1,400,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #H304 1,158 #H304 2/3
219160 T A 470 4-4-3-8-1-194 FS $1,475,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #H404 1,158 #H404 2/3
193073 T A 1,124 4-4-3-8-1-162 FS $1,949,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #G306 1,158 #G306 2/3
193062 T A 1,124 4-4-3-8-1-167 FS $2,200,000 Waipouli Beach Resort #G404 1,158 #G404 2/3

This information has been supplied by third parties and has not been independently verified by Hawaii Information Service and is, therefore, not guaranteed.

I was amazed to see some of these units back on the market in the $300K’s and $400K’s but my thoughts quickly turned to the HOA fees which start at $1300 a month and go up, depending on the size of your unit. Yes, the courtyard and grounds are magnificent but you pay for it. But I digress…..

Walk through the luxurious front desk area, bear to the left as you skirt the waterways and you’ll come to oceanfront dining at the Oasis. The restaurant is pretty much open air with several tables setting out in the sun with just the grass, a small rope railing and a pathway between you and the ocean. It is the only restaurant I’ve been to on Kauai (with perhaps the exception of the Beach House in Poipu) where I have felt like I was on vacation. They have tiki torches which are lit as it gets dark which adds to the ambiance. I wasn’t prepared to take photos, but took this one from our table with my cell phone:

torches

Our waiter, Sam Mitzal was the perfect combination of information, friendliness and service. It’s so rare to get REALLY good service that it’s a true pleasure when it happens. That night they were serving what is referred to as a “Hawaiian Salmon” more properly known as “Kahanu” which I decided to try, while Jack went for the grass fed Kauai beef ribeye. The presentation and food was every bit as delicious as the scenery was beautiful. In our converation it came to light that Sam’s “other job” was as a Photograher and he was kind enough to provide some photos of their offerings:

oasis entree 1

oasis entree 2

Oasis entree

After our main course, we shared dessert. The tab came to around $90 which included two Hinano beers. It wasn’t what I would call an inexpensive night out but I would definitely recommend it for times when you want that “special” dining experience. As we finished up, we could hear the live entertainment from the lounge area in the background which, once again, only added to the feeling that we were on vacation. Oasis serves dinner from 5:30 PM until 9:00 PM. The bar opens at 2:00 PM and serves happy hour specials on drinks and pupus until 5:30 PM.

On a final note, Sam gave me his business card which is a photo he took during a thunderstorm on Kauai several months back. It is awesome as he captured not only the lightening hitting the water from the cloud above but also lightening radiating skyward from the same cloud. His website is www.kauai-wedding-photography.com .

All in all, we had a great time. Thanks to the Oasis and Sam for a job well done!

Aloha Elaine

table
Looking across an adjacent table to the water at the Oasis.

Elaine Schaefer (R, CRS, GRI, ABR, SFR)
Broker in Charge – Princeville Resort Office
Certified Residential Specialist
Graduate, Realtor’s Institute
Accredited Buyer’s Representative
Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource Certification
Top Producer 100% Club

RE/MAX Kauai
Princeville Resort Office
POB 223632
Princeville, HI 96722
cell: 808 639 2935
home fax: 1 808 440 4552
email:soldonkauai@yahoo.com
website: www.KauaiRealEstateNow.com
blog: http://blogs.alohaliving.com/princeville-condo-sales/

……you can have your own piece of paradise
ask me how!

Mele Kalikimaka from Kauai 2009

Aloha,

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you – or as we say on Island: Mele Kalikimaka. Try saying that fast 5 or 6 times! Mel Lee Caw Lee Key Maw Caw. Good luck with repeating that for all your mainland friends. We can practice Happy New Years next week. (Hau’ole Makahiki Hou– more on that later…)

May this Christmas find you surrounded with friends and family, filled with peace, good health and much happiness and love.

With much Aloha, Elaine

PC230132 -1
Beautiful Bali Hai

Elaine Schaefer (R, CRS, GRI, ABR)
Broker in Charge – Princeville Resort Office
Certified Residential Specialist
Graduate, Realtor’s Institute
Accredited Buyer’s Representative
Top Producer 100% Club

RE/MAX Kauai
Princeville Resort Office
POB 223632
Princeville, HI 96722
cell: 808 639 2935
home fax: 1 808 440 4552
email:soldonkauai@yahoo.com
website: www.KauaiRealEstateNow.com
blog: http://blogs.alohaliving.com/princeville-condo-sales/

……you can have your own piece of paradise
ask me how!

New St. Regis Princeville Resort Hotel

Aloha,

Yes, I finally made it to the “new” St. Regis to check it out, and yes, I parked my own car. Thanks to those of you who told me you’d been there and that self park was still alive and well. I can only guess that the day I went the greeter at the entry gazebo had delusions of grandeur when he told me that it was only valet parking because it was “a St. Regis now.”

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The hotel has an air of subtle elegance and warmth that I found very peaceful and welcoming. It is very understated and comfortable. The entry vestibule welcomes you with a beautiful orchid arrangment, and opens up to the spa, reception area and sitting areas, highlighted by a fabulous chandelier which is the focal point of the lobby.

Take a look for yourself. Even though it was an overcast day, the hotel and grounds still shone. Here is the view that meets you looking over the bluff towards Bali Hai:
Bali Hai from PV hotel property.

Here is the view of the hotel from the parking lot: Hotel exteriour view Hotel exterior

The smaller vestibule has an intimate fee which is quite different from the old hotel which immediately opened up to the entire space:
lobby 2
The ornate chandelier is the focal point of the lobby:
lobby

Close up of the chandelier: chandelier

The living room leads to the lanai and great views: Library

Here’s a close up of the comfortable living room seating: libarary detail

The view — nothing else need be said: Library out

Now step outside onto the lanai overlooking Hanalei Bay and Bali Hai:
View

Sit down, relax and enjoy:
outdoor seating

As you come back in, you’ll see the Spa entrance across the lobby:
Spa

As you walk back out to the parking lot, don’t forget to stop and admire the white hibiscus:
White hibiscus

And if you want to own a condo as close to the new St.Regis as possible, Pu’u Po’a is seen adjacent to the Hotel parking lot: PP right next door

I doubt I would ever have a reason to stay at the hotel, but I will certainly take advantage of the ambiance of the spa and restaurant. I understand shops will be open after the first of the year. Go check it out if you have a chance. You will not be disappointed.

Aloha, Elaine

florals

Elaine Schaefer (R, CRS, GRI, ABR)
Broker in Charge – Princeville Resort Office
Certified Residential Specialist
Graduate, Realtor’s Institute
Accredited Buyer’s Representative
Top Producer 100% Club

RE/MAX Kauai
Princeville Resort Office
POB 223632
Princeville, HI 96722
cell: 808 639 2935
home fax: 1 808 440 4552
email:soldonkauai@yahoo.com
website: www.KauaiRealEstateNow.com
blog: http://blogs.alohaliving.com/princeville-condo-sales/

……you can have your own piece of paradise
ask me how!

Nene, the State bird

Aloha,

If you’ve had the opportunity to stay at the Cliff’s condos, you’re probably very familiar with the Nene, (nay-nay) the State bird, as this is one of their homes. On many occasion I’ve walked down my condo steps into a gaggle of them all congregated under a tree or out looking for food.

p7080001.JPG

Found only in the Hawaiian Islands of Kauai, Maui and Molokia, the Nene was on the edge of extinction by 1949, with only 20 to 30 birds remaining in the wild due to uncontrolled hunting and the non-native predators, like the mongoose, pigs and feral cats, which quickly took its toll on the population. Conservation efforts were undertaken when the Nene was adopted as the State bird on May 7, 1957.

Even now the Nene is on the Federal List of Endangered Species, however, the preservation efforts are seeing some success as there are now about 800 wild Nene in Hawai’i and the numbers are rising with each breeding season.

p7080002.JPG

The Nene is a handsome bird with a black head, buff cheeks and heavily furrowed neck. Bill, legs and feet are black. It has longer,stronger legs and almost non-existent webbing on their toes, which is an adaptation to the lava flows on which it breeds. The Nene does not spend much time in the water, does not migrate, and is an herbivore (plant-eater), eating grass and other low-lying plant material. It’s feathers have been used for decades by the native peoples of the islands in ceremonial dress.

Next time you’re on Kauai, don’t be surprised if you think you see a flock of geese flying by, as it will be the Nene. If you have time, stop up at the Cliffs to see them. Please, do not feed them or chase them, as I’ve seen many vistors do. They are a protected species and will stand quite still to allow you to get a beautiful picture of them

p7080003.JPG

Aloha Elaine

Elaine Schaefer (R, CRS, GRI, ABR)
Broker in Charge – Princeville Resort Office
Certified Residential Specialist
Graduate, Realtor’s Institute
Accredited Buyer’s Representative
Top Producer 100% Club

RE/MAX Kauai
Princeville Resort Office
POB 223632
Princeville, HI 96722
cell: 808 639 2935
home fax: 1 808 440 4552
email:soldonkauai@yahoo.com
website: www.KauaiRealEstateNow.com
blog: http://blogs.alohaliving.com/princeville-condo-sales/

……you can have your own piece of paradise
ask me how!

What does your bus stop look like? (Riding the Kauai Bus..)

Aloha,

What is it like to catch the bus in your neighborhood? For me, even the walk to the bus stop from my condo in Princeville was spectacular. Here is a shot of the rainbow as seen across the golf course as I walked along Ka Haku to the bus stop on Kuhio Highway across from the library..
bus-bench-view-on-the-way.jpg
Not too shabby.

The Princeville bus stop is little more than a humble concrete bench along the highway–
bus-bench-6-4-09.jpg

But take a look through the trees directly behind the bench
bus-bench-view-through-the-trees.jpg

Which of course, invites you to step into the trees to get a better view of Hanalei Valley!

bus-bench-view.jpg

Not bad views for a small town bus stop.

The bus ride from Princeville through Kilauea is like an amusement park ride, with the riders bumping and bouncing along in unison. You’ll want to hold on as the driver makes a couple of 90 degree turns from the highway into and throughout Kilauea. Try it, you’ll see what I mean. The road smooths out once your get back on the highway outside of Kilauea heading towards Kapaa.

I’ve ridden the bus several times for a variety of reason, and have always had a good time talking to other passengers, chatting with the bus driver, or just listening and looking as the landscape rolls by. The bus fare just went up to $2 for adults but it’s well worth the price for a ride into town.

What are the views from your bus stop? Take some pictures with you cell phone, as you go along, like I did!

Aloha Elaine

albatross-visit-the-cliffs.jpg

Elaine Schaefer (R, CRS, GRI, ABR)
Broker in Charge – Princeville Resort Office
Certified Residential Specialist
Graduate, Realtor’s Institute
Accredited Buyer’s Representative
Top Producer 100% Club

RE/MAX Kauai
Princeville Resort Office
POB 223632
Princeville, HI 96722
cell: 808 639 2935
home fax: 1 808 440 4552
email:soldonkauai@yahoo.com
website: www.KauaiRealEstateNow.com
blog: http://blogs.alohaliving.com/princeville-condo-sales/

……you can have your own piece of paradise
ask me how!

I always knew Kauai was the best….but I didn’t know we were rich too!

Aloha,

Sitting here on this beautiful summer morning, looking at the ocean framed by the swaying palms and banana trees, with fluffy white clouds floating in the blue sky, it comes as no surprise to me that Kauai was voted as the 4th “best overall island in the world” by Travel + Leisure magazine readers for the second year in a row. After all, it’s just another perfect day in Paradise. Here are the full rankings courtesy of Travel + Leisure magazine:

Top 10 Islands Overall
’09 Rank ’08 Name Score
1 2 Bali 87.41
2 1 Galápagos 86.80
3 10 Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia 86.09
4 4 Kauai 85.90
5 – Mount Desert Island, Maine 85.87
6 3 Maui 85.48
7 – Aeolian Islands, Italy 85.13
8 – Maldives 84.43
9 7 Big Island 83.92
10 – Vancouver Island 83.74

If that’s not enough to make you want to make the move to Paraside here’s another tidbit from the July 13th edition of the Pacific Business News: “Hawaii continues to lead the nation in the percent of millionaires per overall population.” The article went on to say that “6.4 percent of Hawaii’s households, or 28,363, are millionaires. That’s down from 7.26 percent in 2008 but still high enough of a percentage to lead the nation for the second year in a row.”

If you’re specifically looking for a millionaire but cannot make it to Hawaii “Rounding out the top five states in millionaires per population are Maryland (6.3 percent), New Jersey (6.2 percent), and Connecticut (6.2 percent). These states maintained their order of ranking from 2008. Virginia (5.5 percent) cracked the top five in 2009, up from sixth place in 2008, while Massachusetts (5.4 percent) came in sixth in 2009, down from fifth place the previous year.”

Call me if you need any more encouragement and I’ll send you a list of all the good buys on the Island.

Aloha Elaine

p7130004-2.JPG
The view from my living room

Elaine Schaefer (R, CRS, GRI, ABR)
Broker in Charge – Princeville Resort Office
Certified Residential Specialist
Graduate, Realtor’s Institute
Accredited Buyer’s Representative
Top Producer 100% Club

RE/MAX Kauai
Princeville Resort Office
POB 223632
Princeville, HI 96722
cell: 808 639 2935
home fax: 1 808 440 4552
email:soldonkauai@yahoo.com
website: www.KauaiRealEstateNow.com
blog: http://blogs.alohaliving.com/princeville-condo-sales/

……you can have your own piece of paradise
ask me how!

Fireworks at PMRF were fun for all

Aloha,

Wednesday I reported that PMRF was opening the base to the Community for a family oriented fireworks event on Thursday July 2nd from 5PM to 10PM. If you missed it this year, I thought I’d pass on some photos so you could see the fireworks with the moon in the background. It was quite spectacular.

This looks like it will be an annual event, one I highly recommend. There was plenty of ono food, live music, fun events for the keiki, lots of good friends and of course, the highlight of the event, the fireworks. These photos were taken with my cell phone and are actually a poor representation of the actual event. Plan to come next year for a good time.

img000541.jpg

img000501.jpg

img000361.jpg

img000371.jpg

img000451.jpg

Aloha Elaine

img000561.jpg

Elaine Schaefer (R, CRS, GRI, ABR)
Broker in Charge – Princeville Resort Office
Certified Residential Specialist
Graduate, Realtor’s Institute
Accredited Buyer’s Representative
Top Producer 100% Club

RE/MAX Kauai
Princeville Resort Office
POB 223632
Princeville, HI 96722
cell: 808 639 2935
home fax: 1 808 440 4552
email:soldonkauai@yahoo.com
website: www.KauaiRealEstateNow.com
blog: http://blogs.alohaliving.com/princeville-condo-sales/

……you can have your own piece of paradise
ask me how!

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PMRF 2nd of July celebration is open to all

Aloha,

If you want to kick off your extra long weekend with fireworks, head on out to the Westside and PMRF (Pacific Missile Range Facility) for a “pre-holday” celebration and fireworks on Thursday July 2rd. Since all government employees have Friday the 3rd off, the base is opening it’s doors to the Community for an evening of fun and celebration from 5 PM to 10 PM on the 2nd. This past Saturday, while speaking at the Military Appreciaton Day, “Capt. Aaron Cudnohufsky, commanding officer of the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Mana, expressed his appreciation to the county, its leaders and people.

“It is important to have support, and we thank you for supporting us,” Cudnohufsky said. “We invite the people to PMRF on July 2 starting at 5 p.m. to enjoy the Fourth of July. It’s just a small way the base tries to give back to the community because we cannot do what we do without you.”

There will be food, games for kids, various displays and vendors and of course, fireworks to get your holiday weekend off to a perfect start. Come on out and join in the fun.

Aloha Elaine

fireworks-palms-mf1_small.jpg

Elaine Schaefer (R, CRS, GRI, ABR)
Broker in Charge – Princeville Resort Office
Certified Residential Specialist
Graduate, Realtor’s Institute
Accredited Buyer’s Representative
Top Producer 100% Club

RE/MAX Kauai
Princeville Resort Office
POB 223632
Princeville, HI 96722
cell: 808 639 2935
home fax: 1 808 440 4552
email:soldonkauai@yahoo.com
website: www.KauaiRealEstateNow.com
blog: http://blogs.alohaliving.com/princeville-condo-sales/

……you can have your own piece of paradise
ask me how!

We always knew Hanalei Beach is THE BEST!

Aloha,

It comes as no surprise to those of us who enjoy Hanalei Bay and the adjacent beaches on a daily basis : Dr. Beach voted Hanalei Beach as the best in the US! This is from today’s Yahoo news page

————————————
‘Dr. Beach’ picks Hanalei Bay nation’s No. 1 beach

By JAYMES SONG, Associated Press Writer Jaymes Song, Associated Press Writer

Fri May 22, 7:12 am ET

HANALEI, Hawaii – If life is a beach, Hanalei Bay must be heaven. This remote, two-mile crescent-shaped beach on Kauai where the emerald mountains meet the sparkling sea was selected No. 1 on “Dr. Beach” Stephen P. Leatherman’s 2009 list of top 10 beaches, which was released Friday. Hanalei beat out other shores stretching from San Diego to Cape Cod.

“The sheer beauty of Hanalei Bay is breathtaking,” said Leatherman, director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research. “It’s really an idyllic setting.”

Hanalei features postcard views from every angle and is untouched by the feverish development that has transformed the coastlines of other islands. It’s cherished by both locals and tourists as the perfect spot to swim, surf, snorkel or simply escape and unwind.

“It’s just gorgeous,” said Annie Meredith, who regularly surfs in the bay. “You’ve got green mountains, white sand, blue ocean — that’s kind of hard to beat.”

The runner-up on Leatherman’s list was Siesta Beach in Sarasota, Fla., followed by Coopers Beach in Southampton, N.Y., on Long Island; Coronado Beach in San Diego; Hamoa Beach in Maui, Hawaii; Main Beach in East Hampton, N.Y., on Long Island; Cape Hatteras in Outer Banks, N.C.; Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne, Fla.; Coast Guard Beach on Cape Cod, Mass.; and Beachwalker Park on Kiawah Island, S.C.

Leatherman based his selections on 50 criteria, including water quality and temperature, cleanliness, weather, sand, safety and facilities. And Hanalei is his personal favorite “getaway beach” in Hawaii.

“If I want to get away from it all and forget about the rest of the world, Hanalei is about the best place to go, as far as I know,” he said.

Hanalei is located on Kauai’s North Shore around the corner from the Napali Coast, the most stunning corner of the state. One side offers lush valleys, dramatic waterfalls and sculpted mountains with peaks that rise 4,000 feet. On the other is the Pacific, where dolphins and sea turtles can be seen.

The big attraction here is that it’s not a big attraction. Unlike in the high-rise jungle of Waikiki, where thousands of glowing-pale tourists sprawl across the sand like eggs in a carton, there’s plenty of breathing room in secluded Hanalei.

Newlyweds Dirk and Courtney McNealy, of Gainesville, Fla., noticed that there were only about 50 people along the entire two miles of beach on a recent weekday.

“Back in Florida, it seems there’s 50 people in a 10-foot stretch,” Courtney McNealy said.

The McNealys chose the so-called Garden Island for their honeymoon because they wanted a peaceful retreat.

“The water is nice. The sand is nice,” Courtney McNealy said. “It’s really beautiful.”

Duane Kutsch, of Richland, Wash., said he enjoyed the slower pace and the space.

“It doesn’t seem so big and commercial like Oahu,” he said. “Oahu to me feels like Chicago, a huge city on the edge of the water. This still has a hometown feel to it.”

The flight to Kauai from Honolulu takes less than a half hour. The 30-mile drive from Lihue Airport to Hanalei, however, takes nearly an hour along two-lane Kuhio Highway. The roadway eventually runs down the mountainside and crosses a one-lane bridge before entering the tiny town of Hanalei.

Egos, shoes and watches should be checked at the bridge. No one’s in a hurry in this ultra-mellow community.

The village is a throwback to old Hawaii. There are sprawling plots of taro, which is used to produce poi, a staple in the Hawaiian diet. Neighborhood kids sell fresh leis on the corner. Gift shops, art galleries, surf stores and casual restaurants line the main drag.

“Most of us who live in the city are used to the hustle and bustle. This is anything but that,” Leatherman said. “It’s about as laid-back as you can get.”

In the winter, swells and rip currents pick up in the bay and lifeguards are kept busy. Hanalei and surrounding areas have several top surf breaks. This is where three-time surfing world champion Andy Irons lives and honed his skills.

Even when the surf is up, parts of the bay are protected by an outer reef, so people can still swim safely. However, visitors should be aware of conditions and posted signs and check with lifeguards.

“Because of the beauty, it’s deceiving,” said Mark McKamey, who has been a lifeguard in the area for 17 years. “It’s paradise so it gives them a false sense of security.”

In the summer, the waters flatten out. Locals can be seen throw-net fishing, catching opelu and akule, a Native Hawaiian tradition.

“There’s a good vibe overall,” said McKamey.

There are three parks within the bay: Black Pot, Hanalei Pavilion and Waioli. Several surfing schools offer two-hour sessions for $50-$60 and rent gear.

Nestled between two rivers, Hanalei is the largest bay on the island of Kauai.

Leatherman said one of his favorite views of the bay is from The St. Regis Princeville Resort, located on the bluff. The 252-room hotel reopens in October after nearly a year of renovations.

Hanalei first gained fame when the hit musical “South Pacific” was filmed here five decades ago, and it hasn’t changed much. The sailors sang “There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame” at the bay, while neighboring Lumahai Beach is where Mitzi Gaynor made famous “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair.”

More recently, the North Shore served as the backdrop in films from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” to “Tropic Thunder,” which starred part-time local resident Ben Stiller, one of many celebrities who vacation or live here.

Ranked No. 2 in 2008, Hanalei will now be retired from the Dr. Beach’s list. Its selection returns the top spot to Hawaii, which has won 12 times since Leatherman started the list in 1991. Florida beaches have been named tops six times, including last year with Caladesi Island. North Carolina won once. California placed No. 4 this year with Coronado Beach but has never claimed the top spot.

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On the Net:

Dr. Beach’s Top 10: http://www.drbeach.org

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Here are the winners going back to 1991 of Florida International University professor Stephen P. Leatherman’s annual Best Beach award. Winners are retired from later lists.

2009 — Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii

2008 — Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin, Fla.

2007 — Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach, Outer Banks, N.C.

2006 — Fleming Beach Park, Maui, Hawaii

2005 — Fort DeSoto Park — North Beach, St. Petersburg, Fla.

2004 — Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

2003 — Kaanapali, Maui, Hawaii

2002 — St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Port St. Joe, Fla.

2001 — Poipu Beach Park, Kauai, Hawaii

2000 — Mauna Kea Beach, Hawaii

1999 — Wailea Beach, Maui, Hawaii

1998 — Kailua Beach Park, Oahu Hawaii

1997 — Hulopoe, Lanai, Hawaii

1996 — Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

1995 — St. Andrews State Park, Panama City, Fla.

1994 — Grayton Beach State Park, Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.

1993 — Hapuna, Hawaii

1992 — Bahia Honda, Big Pine Key, Fla.

1991 — Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii

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All I can say is: Come see for yourself!

Aloha Elaine

hanalei-pier-in-winter-waves.JPG

Elaine Schaefer (R, CRS, GRI, ABR)
Broker in Charge – Princeville Resort Office
Certified Residential Specialist
Graduate, Realtor’s Institute
Accredited Buyer’s Representative
Top Producer 100% Club

RE/MAX Kauai
Princeville Resort Office
POB 223632
Princeville, HI 96722
cell: 808 639 2935
home fax: 1 808 440 4552
email:soldonkauai@yahoo.com
website: www.KauaiRealEstateNow.com
blog: http://blogs.alohaliving.com/princeville-condo-sales/

……you can have your own piece of paradise
ask me how!