Name: Aynsley McVickar
Occupation & Employer: Butler at The St Regis Princeville Resort
How long have you lived in Hawai‘i: Since 2004
Moved from: Marin County, California
Favorite food: ‘Ahi is abundant in Kaua‘i—a great local catch of the day—straight off
the line and always fresh! I love its unique flavor and versatility for cooking and serving.
From ‘ahi wraps with cilantro and guacamole to fresh poke (diced fish) found in all of
the best fish markets on the island. My all-time favorite is mixing lightly seared ‘ahi,
marinated in shoyu (soy sauce) with sweet Maui onions, chili and nori (seaweed) flakes,
tobiko (fish roe), creamy wasabi sauce, and my must-have, sliced avocado. I love to
scoop it up with fried wontons and taro chips like a salsa, or eat it fresh with chopsticks
while sitting in traffic through Kapa‘a!
Favorite beach: Kauapea (Secret) Beach is a true secret we beach lovers would
long to keep, well, a “secret.” The steep and often slippery shaded trail leads to this
breathtaking beach where the waves have changed its state whenever I visit. I feel as
though I’m returning to something so familiar yet also like it’s a new discovery each
time. Kauapea can be one long, flowing stretch of soft sand or divided by huge rocks
creating small, secluded beaches and tidepools.
Favorite splurge: At my friend Maggie’s store, Oskar’s Boutique right in Kïlauea. This
is my one-stop shop for items that I often can’t find elsewhere on the North Shore let
alone anywhere in Kaua‘i. I love how the comfortable clothing embodies our laid-back
island spirit, and also serves as my connection to current trends in urban culture. I’m an
artist myself, so I appreciate how she’s created a space that perfectly blends local talent
and mainland designers. After never leaving empty-handed at Oskar’s, it’s nice to refuel
next door at the Fish Market, and then grab some Hawaiian-made ice cream to make
for a great afternoon.
Favorite place to take guests: Any of Kaua‘i’s National Tropical Botanical Gardens
can be enjoyed alone or with family and friends. There is much to learn about Kaua‘i’s
indigenous plant life and preservation of delicate species. With views of the ocean and tranquil trails, a self-guided tour of my favorite, Limahuli Garden,
is very special. It’s a very accessible garden tucked away in a narrow valley between mystical, craggy, green mountains with peaks often shrouded in mist.
Serene and peaceful, I listen to the wind, a waterfall—and often, colorful wild chickens rustling close by. My guests and I learn about native Hawaiian
plants from the rock terraces where taro was cultivated to original species brought by the early Polynesians, and leave with a better understanding of the
importance of preserving species and restoring native habitat.
Favorite date place: I love taking a Sunday drive to the South Shore and to our hidden favorite, Red Salt in Po‘ipü. It’s an intimate spot with modern
décor of beautiful ocean hues and soft lighting. We return often to our favorite quiet table by the window overlooking the courtyard to the ocean. With
familiar faces, great service, and excellent food, it’s always well worth the trip. After dessert, a walk on the beach under the stars caps a very special night.
Favorite hangout: I love visiting Hanalei Farmer’s Market on a clear, sunny morning with locally grown produce and orchids, artists and craftspeople,
and live music. You can explore with your neighbors, visitors and friends while drinking fresh coconut water and sampling unusual fruits—and my
personal favorite, stopping at Tambor Acai for a healthy refreshing snack. Then, when it gets really hot, I can’t wait to run straight down to the bay to cool
Favorite place to take in history: Definitely from the sky—via helicopter. In my experience, it was exhilarating skimming close to green jagged peaks
and long ribbon waterfalls. Then dropping into canyons and valleys and hovering above the Näpali coastline...all while learning about how the Hawaiian
Islands were created, the history, battles, traditions, and Hawaiian folklore. This bird’s-eye view truly opened my eyes to the incredible power of Hawai‘i
and all it has to offer.
Lucky you live Hawai‘i because…I am so lucky to live in Kaua‘i because the culture is endless in its teachings, especially about the importance of
preservation and respect for its people and the land. We come from all over the world to exist in peace and enrich our minds and bodies. I am drawn by
the unspoiled beauty and serenity of incredible surrounding nature. With a will to discover, there are unlimited possibilities.