By Barbara Bennett, For Kaua‘i Owner and Publisher
Integrating and living in a community or place is always challenging, especially on Kaua‘i. The island is deeply seated in its culture, traditions and generational family life. However, this is what really attracts visitors and new residents to be a part of Kaua‘i.
Most visitors want to know where the aloha comes from. From the quiet and cultural folks on Kaua‘i comes the wonderful atmosphere of aloha, an accepting kindness that makes the island so desirable for the outsider. Kaua‘i is rooted in the Hawaiian ways, and aloha comes to the forefront of all other behaviors.
When it came time to buy a home on Kaua‘i after living here for nine years, I found a house in Waimea that I could afford and with enough land to satisfy my small agricultural aspirations.
Waimea, on Kaua‘i’s Westside, is neither a resort area like Po‘ipu or Princeville, nor a business center like Kapa‘a or Lihu‘e. Waimea is quiet, laid back, and yet it has almost every convenience other Kaua‘i towns have.
I truly didn’t get the essence of the island until I moved to Waimea. When I was traveling and working north, south, east and west to do sales, I hosted gatherings and recognized the differences in people and places throughout the island. Influenced by the proximity of Ni‘ihau, the Forbidden Island, the Hawaiian culture is more pronounced on the Westside. Also, the heavy presence of generations of plantation workers adds to the quiet, docile nature of the Westside residents.
Waimea has everything I need — a friendly, authentic local scene, my bank, markets, a few nice restaurants, a movie theatre, schools and many other amenities. The Waimea Plantation Cottages are exactly what the name suggests: 61 former sugar-plantation cottages.
The climate may be described as dry and hot, but it is perfect for those who like sunshine everyday. During winter, when it is raining all over the island, you will be happy to drive west to beautiful beaches to tour and hike.
When I first moved to Waimea almost 13 years ago, my neighbors let me know it hadn’t rained there for six months. Lately, with global climate changes, we have had rain almost every week. So don’t let the climate discourage you from living on the Westside.
I love the Westside of Kaua‘i. I usually say, “the Westside is the best side” when I try to make my point with friends or clients. But I know all sides of Kaua‘i are “the best.”
The aloha spirit is alive here, and people are kind, considerate and always willing to share with you. With an open mind and a heart and spirit of aloha, integrating on Kaua‘i hardly seems a challenge.