Hang with the locals in Kauai: Hanapepe Friday Art Night

Dawn Traina, artist, and a customer in Hanapepe, Kauai (photo by Sheila Scarborough)Looking for a low-key event on the pretty green Hawaiian island of Kauai, especially one that draws plenty of locals?

I found it – the weekly Friday Art Night in the tiny southern Kauai village of Hanapepe (supposedly the town was the “setting” for the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch.)

If you are not into staying in a resort bubble and like to be out and about when you travel, Hanapepe is a wonderful way to explore a laid-back small town that has a special vibe.  No overpriced goop here – pick up a lovely, fresh plumeria flower lei for a mere $5 from a street vendor and join the mellow crowds.

Art Night starts at about 6 pm, and the galleries along the town’s main street stay open late for leisurely wandering until about 9 or 10.

My son and I had a delicious dinner at the Hanapepe Cafe and Bakery – seared ono fish, green beans, a hunk of fresh pineapple and purple Okinawa sweet potatoes that somehow tasted vaguely of coconut.

Hanapepe Cafe dinner, Kauai, Hawaii (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Okay, I had that and son had your basic kid cheesy pasta. It worked for both of us. His loss for not trying the purple sweet potatoes.

We looked into a few galleries and places like Keiki Kovers children’s clothing and Kamaaina Cabinets/Koa Wood Gallery with colorful Robin McCoy paintings and our personal favorite, the Talk Story Bookstore.

Talk Story was full of used books, but special extras included local products and goodies made in Hawaii and an imperious bookstore cat.

The boys at Talk Story bookstore, Hanapepe, Kauai (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

The owner, Ed, was Web-savvy and very proud of his Talk Story Amazon store, which is apparently doing quite well for him despite the economic downturn and the inherent difficulties of maintaining a bookstore that’s a bit off the beaten path.

Although really, the brick-and-mortar store isn’t too far off, because the checkout counter guest book was signed by visitors from Japan, Germany, Virginia, Alaska, New Mexico and Pennsylvania.

Pay the town of Hanapepe a visit, on Friday night or anytime you need some Hawaiian relaxation and good company.

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Just So You Know Disclaimer:  The state Hawaii Tourism Authority through Cilantro Media paid my way to Hawaii for the So Much More Hawaii bloggers press trip, and also paid most of my expenses while I was there, including later reimbursement for the dinner mentioned here.

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