Fifty shades of grey

The gratuitous headline actually fits the photo below perfectly. This is February in the Midwest—cold, often cloudy, always monochromatic.

graywinter

Compare and contrast to the vibrant colors one experiences on the islands of Hawaii—reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigoes and violets. Yes, a rainbow of colors wherever one turns. Even in the rain, there is usually a rainbow to be discovered.

The minute you step off the plane it’s apparent. It doesn’t matter if you land in Honolulu on Oahu, Kona or Hilo on the Big Island, Lihue on Kauai, Kahului on Maui, or if your final destination is via a smaller aircraft to the Lanai or Molokai airports.

Kua Beach

This photo above, from March 2014, was taken at Kua Beach on the Big Island—officially known as Manini’owali Beach. It’s a gem of a beach with crystal clear waters, white sand, sea turtles, reefs for snorkeling. This photo, taken on a whim from my cell phone, shows the entrance area to a walkway to the beach. I love how a coconut near the rustic, weathered picnic table looks as if it was positioned there on purpose. When we returned from this trip, I sent this one off to Canvas on Demand, so that I could hang in on my wall for days like this when it’s 3 degrees outside.

IMG_0582

This quintessential beach above is in front of Mama’s Fish House on Maui. The palm trees provide just enough shade from the sun. If you stop for lunch or dinner, this is the view.

IMG_2750

On Kauai, home to one of the rainiest spots on earth at the summit of Mount Waialeale, beautiful color is everywhere—even in the rain. This photo is from a lookout near Princeville. I love the serene colors and landscape. So peaceful.

On Lanai, the landscape has its own beauty and is completely different on the shore as it is in upcountry Lanai. This view below is of the lush gardens at the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele. The air is crisp here. The manicured Japanese gardens are stunning. Icing on the cake is the orchid house they have onsite. Rain or shine, gorgeous.

IMG_6539

Pick an island, any island. Really, you can’t go wrong. Need. To. Go. Back. Soon.

Orchid House on Lana’i

While the Polar Vortex of 2014 brings record-breaking, dangerous and bitter cold to much of the United States, it’s nice to know that there’s a place on earth where orchids bloom year-long in paradise—a flower lover’s dream come true.

IMG_6561

On social media today, the comments about the cold snap are filled with humor: “Actual thought in my head just now: -14 degrees, that’s not too bad. What’s wrong with me?”

“Strangely, -14 isn’t really that bad if the wind isn’t blowing.”

And the one that Midwesterners often ask ourselves this time of year, especially when we are dealing with a predicted high of -13 for tomorrow: “Why do we live here again?” (Usual answer: Family, roots, the people, or the glorious fall and summer weather. And, even today, it’s brilliant and sunny despite the Polar Vortex gloom and media reports.)

IMG_6559

So it’s nice to know that somewhere out there, on the meticulous grounds and gardens of the Lodge at Koele on Lana’i, sits an Orchid House filled with hanging and potted orchids and tropical flowers–yet one more reason to love the Aloha State.

IMG_6556

The Pines of Lana’i

The island of Lana’i is also known as the Pineapple Island. Until the late 1980s, a large portion of the island was dedicated to growing the tropical fruit—the world’s largest pineapple plantation at the time.

Lana’i is sparsely populated with approximately 3,200 residents. Lana’i City is the only town you will find here and there are just three places to stay: two Four Seasons resorts and the Hotel Lana’i. The island is blessed with gorgeous pine trees. They are everywhere and they give the island a different feel.

The pines of Lana’i City in Dole Park

IMG_6584

We were told that this is the largest pine on Lana‘i and it graces the entry of the Four Seasons Lodge at Ko’ele, located in upcountry Lana’i.

IMG_6521

You feel worlds away in upcountry Lana’i at the Lodge at Ko’ele. Some of the unique activities include horseback riding, croquet, archery, lawn bowling and carriage rides.

IMG_0676

Explore the beautiful pines on bikes at the Hotel Lana’i in Lana’i City

 IMG_0696For complete relaxation, you could spend a week or more on Lana’i. Or, you could take a day trip from Maui. Or, split your stay between Lana’i and one of the other islands. The possibilities are endless.