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Setting Up Camp

Bright and early Thursday, August 8th I’ll be on CTV Morning Live discussing one of my favourite subjects: camping. But not the kind of instant oatmeal-eating camping you did as a kid. I’ll be armed with glamping necessities like a portable espresso machine, a hand-cranked blender and a stove that charges your iPhone. You know — for when you really want to unplug and get away from it all.

Don’t forget to set your PVR, mom!

Pinstagram | Hiking Barefoot

The Anthology’s Pinstagram column marries the dream (Pinterest) and the reality (Kelsey Dundon’s Instagram photos of places and faces in and around Vancouver).

Coulda woulda shoulda. An outfit I would wear and an outfit I did wear (with a bracelet c/o of Sarah Cameron and a clutch made of a vintage Bay blanket c/o Identity).

Hiking buddies. We couldn’t find hiking boots that fit feet that small, but she didn’t need ’em anyway. A lake that looks like it could be in British Columbia, but unlike the one I was trekking around, isn’t.

Green prints two ways. One a little more grown up than the other (from babyGap).

Signs of summer. The second-best berry (raspberries will forever have my heart) and summer blockbusters (which I never actually go to. Do you?).

Cups runneth over. A delicious beet and citrus palate cleanser at The Bird’s Nest and some palate-pleasing cocktails.

P.S. There are more photos where these came from so add The Anthology on Facebook.

Trippin’ | Maui on the Wild Side

Of all the different types of writing I do, travel writing is one of my very favourites. Why? Well, because it means hiking, sailing, and spa-ing constitute work. (Diving would be on that list too, except I have a passenger who prevents me from doing such things at the moment.)

In my latest piece for The Province I drove a delightfully sketchy — and scenic — road on Maui. And no, it wasn’t the one to Hana. Slip on your driving gloves, friends. It’s time for a road trip.

Clockwise from top left: Just call me SnorKelsey (bikini by Roxy, c/o Simons). Hitch a ride aboard the Teralani 2. My accommodations the first time I went to Maui (it’s a campground on a particularly beautiful stretch of beach).  The waves on Ka’anapali Beach out front of the Westin. The bamboo forest, a light hike that takes you to a light waterfall. And sugar cane fields lining the highways.

I know what you’re wondering: where do you find the best banana bread on the island? In my article for The Province.

[Photos from Kelsey Dundon’s Instagram feed.]

P.S. You’ll find a few more of my favourite Maui spots on Vitamin Daily.

P.P.S. Island-hopping? The north shore of Kauai will really float your catamaran.

Travel | Maui’s road less travelled


 Maui Catamaran 

This article by Kelsey Dundon first appeared in the travel section of The Province, BC’s most-read print publication.

These days, the Road to Hana isn’t exactly the one less travelled. Thanks to its place of honour on many must-see, must-do and must-experience lists, it’s easy to get caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way to the remote town.

But there’s another scenic drive on Maui that’s far less crowded: the road around the north side of the island.

It’s a trip that hotel concierges seem loathe to recommend and for good reason: one-lane roads, steep cliffs and limited guard rails make driving conditions sketchy.

Naturally it went to the top of my must-do list.

I started the trek in Ka’anapali, where long stretches of golden sand are broken only by dramatic Black Rock, a spot where daring swimmers leap off the cliff into the frothy waves below. It’s the most prominent feature of the Sheraton Maui,, the first resort built on the now-famous beach almost 50 years ago.

Today Ka’anapali is lined with full-service resorts including not one, but two Westins, one of which I called home for a few days: the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas,

Maui north road

Traffic started to thin around the time I hit the first spot beautiful enough to spend a whole day: Honolua Bay, a Marine Life Conservation District that I would return to the following morning on a snorkelling trip with Teralani Sailing Charters,

With a protected reef and sea turtles galore, it is considered one of the best snorkelling spots on the island.

But there was no time for that now so I continued down the windy road — no longer part of the State Highway — to Honokohau Bay, where I bought a half-dozen homemade oatmeal cranberry cookies from a couple at a roadside stand. I nibbled away as my toes played tag with the crashing waves.

Back on the road the terrain changed from rolling green hills that look like they could have been transplanted from Ireland to jagged oceanside cliffs that looked like, well, they too could have been transplanted from Ireland.

Soon it became clear why the locals don’t recommend this drive to visitors — the road narrows to one lane, without guardrails to protect you from the steep drop to the lush valley far below.

If I encountered a vehicle coming from the other direction, one of us would have had to reverse and delicately dance backward along this cliff-side trail. But the driving gods were with me so I was able to keep moving forward toward the postage stamp-sized town of Kahakuloa where roadside signs proclaim Julia’s Banana Bread,, the best in the world. Truth in advertising? I can’t say, but it was pretty darned good.

Happily refuelled, I hopped back in the Jeep to climb the cliff that would lead to Kaukini Gallery,, a sophisticated artisan gift shop with fine handmade jewelry and local artwork a beautiful as the shop’s view. The quiet road stretched for miles before I arrived at another gallery, Turnbull Studios,, a sculpture garden that marked the return to well-populated Maui.

Paia Maui

From there it wasn’t far to Paia, a picturesque surf town east of the Kahului Airport that houses high-end clothing boutiques, coffee shops that serve organic drip and cafés offering vegetarian curries.

It’s a sleepy town despite the fact it flanks the highway. A road that, if you’re up for it, will take you all the way to Hana.

Trippin’ | Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Can you be a beach bum if you have a butler?

It’s a question I pondered in an article I wrote for The Province while I was staying at the George Clooney-approved St. Regis Princeville on the north shore of Kauai. If you’re planning a honeymoon, babymoon, or plain old holiday (sunmoon?), do yourself a favour and go there. Or at least rent a shack nearby and go there for dinner.

It’s gazillion-star luxury on the edge of the island’s wild side. Not far from the Kalalau Trail…

…which winds along the Na Pali Coast and reveals vista after vista like this, plus the odd pod of dolphins. This side of Kauai doesn’t have the long stretches of golden sand beaches you’d find elsewhere. It’s rugged and overgrown (because, well, it rains a lot — but when it does you can count the waterfalls that pop up along the mountain ranges!) and it’s stunningly beautiful.

In other words, it’s heaven there. And you’ll find my story here.

P.S. I tweet from heaven so follow @TheAnthology.

P.P.S. You’ll find some of my favourite places on the south side of Kauai here.

Travel | Rays loom large on Hawaii’s Big Island

Big Island Hawaii Manta Ray photo by James L. Wing

This article by Kelsey Dundon first appeared in the travel section of The Province, BC’s most-read print publication.

Arriving on the Big Island of Hawaii is like landing on the moon — fields of jagged black rock stretch in every direction. The airport itself is built on the remnants of a 1801 lava flow, which is yesterday afternoon in geological terms. The active volcano — and the promise of snorkelling with eight-foot manta rays – lured me to the Big Island.

First stop, checking into the Sheraton Kona (, the hotel that has attracted manta ray-lovers for decades. The hoteliers first shone lights at the water to illuminate the waves at night. Their goal? To attract tourists. But these lights also attracted krill which in turn attracted krill-eating mantas.

Today these creatures are a big draw, not just to snorkellers, but also to those having dinner at the Sheraton’s restaurant, Rays on the Bay.

There, a seaside seat will give you a front-row view of the mantas flapping their expansive fins at night. But I wanted to get closer to these magnificent creatures so I grabbed a towel and walked down the block to FairWind Big Island Ocean Guides (, where I boarded the boat that would take me back toward the Sheraton Kona.

The water was choppy and I could only make out bits of what was lying beneath — was that a boulder at the bottom or a slow-moving manta? I couldn’t tell.

I donned my flippers and mask, threw myself off the ladder and swam toward a raft which shone lights toward the ocean floor. I lined up with the other snorkellers, each of us holding onto the raft with pool noodles under our feet to keep us afloat.

The mantas didn’t look particularly big until one got close and did a backward somersault a foot away from me, scooping up krill in its gaping mouth, its gills exposed, its underbelly as white as a shark’s. In fact, with its hunters’ eyes it looked like a flattened great white.

But unlike its cartilaginous cousin, the manta ray is harmless (to those of us who aren’t krill). Still, it took a few minutes to get comfortable being so close to these giant creatures under the sea.

More and more approached, one with a fish hitching a ride under its belly, another with a fish hook piercing its mouth. They started doing somersaults in tandem, like perfectly in-sync circus performers.

Big Island Hawaii Lava Field

The next morning I traded my flippers for runners and joined Hawaii Forest and Trail (, on a guided tour of the island led by biology professor Christina Hoffmann of the University of Hawaii Center at West Hawaii.

Our daylong journey started at Kona, which gets a mere 10 inches of rain a year, then took us east to Hilo, one of the wettest towns in the United States, then up to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to Kilauea, which has been erupting since 1983.

As we made our way up the volcano we drove past naturally occurring steam vents and arrived at the Jagger Museum (

The lookout offers an unobstructed view of Halema’uma’u Crater, which turned out to be very different from my cartoon-like image of an active volcano — there was no visible lava flowing, just angry clouds of sulphur dioxide spewing into the atmosphere.

We made our way back down the highway to the Thurston Lava Tube, a centuries-old cave formed by lava flow.

Big Island Hawaii

Native Hawaiians believed lava tubes were sacred places. Legend has it that King Kamehameha’s bones were laid to rest in one, though no one knows exactly which one because the men who buried him were subsequently executed so the secret would die with them.

Legend also has it that Pele, the goddess of fire, lived in this particular volcano.

As we continued our trek, we stopped at a lava field to look for Pele’s tears, raindrop-shaped pieces of lava that solidified in the air as they were spat out of the volcano. I pocketed a half-dozen.

Because red — not black — lava is the holy grail of volcano tours, we descended Chain of Craters Road, which took us from 4,000 feet back down to sea level, where my Big Island adventure started.

UPDATE: After this article was first published a reader wrote to tell me it’s bad luck to take Pele’s tears from the island, so with an overabundance of superstition I mailed them back.

Travel | Life’s a breeze as a beach bum (with a butler)

Hanalei Bay view from St. Regis Kauai

This article by Kelsey Dundon first appeared in the travel section of The Province, BC’s most-read print publication.

The life of a beach bum has long intrigued me. I love the idea of hauling a board on top of a VW van that’s older than I am, spending my days paced by the rhythm of the waves, and leading the kind of lifestyle that inspired the “No shoes, no shirt, no service” signs.

But I’m hardly a beach bum.

When I was on the North Shore of Kauai I stayed at the St. Regis Princeville ( a five-star resort built into a cliff overlooking the straight-out-of-a-postcard Hanalei Bay. I spent long, lazy days by the beach getting up only for a massage at the Halele’a Spa, dinner reservation at the Kauai Grill or toast on the bar terrace to watch the sun set over the Na Pali Coast.

It was the view from my butler-serviced suite that prompted me to get on a board. As I threw open the shutters each morning I saw a dozen or so standup paddle boarders surfing on the small waves that crashed over the reef.

Hanalei Bay from St. Regis Princeville view

Standup paddle boarding differs from surfing in that you use a paddle to propel yourself on a board that’s wider and more stable than a surfboard. I was told it’s much easier to learn. Also, that it’s a great workout.

So that afternoon I decided to join the paddle boarders on Hanalei Bay. I rented a standup paddle board from the St. Regis’ well-equipped rec shop. After a quick onshore tutorial, I harnessed the board’s leash to my ankle and shoved off.

It took only a few wobbly minutes before I was comfortable navigating the waves and current that pushed me from the resort’s beach toward the town of Hanalei.

I paddled around the corner, past the mouth of the Hanalei River, and sat down on my board to rest a few minutes near the pier that juts out between the houses that line the beach.

Kauai’s rivers are famously navigable so I doubled back toward the eddies that formed at the mouth of Hanalei River. The channel is wide, shallow and slow-moving. Still, I struggled against the gentle current as I paddled upstream.

Though the river was not as clear as the ocean, it revealed fish and the occasional turtle. Its banks are lined with lush grasses and trees that dropped yellow and orange flower blossoms onto the water.

Kauai North Shore Hiking Trail

It was quiet, save for the intermittent cry of the roosters that are prevalent in Kauai, thanks to a lack of predators like mongoose that they face on the other major Hawaiian Islands.

Between the core muscles it takes to balance the board and the upper body strength it takes to propel it, I was working up quite an appetite so when I arrived at Na Pali Outfitters,, I docked my board and walked barefoot along the road to Hanalei’s main drag. The town is touristy, but gently so — it lacks major chains, except for surf brands Roxy and Quiksilver.

I arrived at Tropical Taco,, without shoes or a proper shirt and scanned the menu for a meal I could actually afford with the scant funds I had with me. As I unfolded my soggy dollar bills I realized I wasn’t that far from living the life of a beach bum after all.

Trippin’ | Two Stops in Seattle, Washington

I go to Seattle two or three times a year. Sometimes with my ladyfriends, sometimes with my other half, and sometimes with my entire family. No matter who I’m with or why I’m there, I almost always stop at two places, mostly because I am obsessed with them, but also because no one else seems to put up much of a fuss — they are that packed with tantalizing things.

First stop: the 1500 block of 10th Avenue on Capitol Hill.

There, three of my favourite places sit right next door to each other. How’s that for one-stop shopping? The boutique Totokaelo, whose shoe wall is a delight, the Elliott Bay Book Company, whose picks are always perfect for the bedside table…

…and the Odd Fellows Cafe, which is just as packed for brunch as it is for after-dinner drinks.

Second stop: Melrose Market, a teeny, tiny, less busy, far cuter version of Pike Place Market.

Its florist Marigold and Mint makes me wish I had a need for cut flowers while on vacation. Butter Home on the upper level is filled with gifts for your home or your BFF’s. The Calf & Kid brings out the cheese fiend in all of us. And Bar Ferd’nand will have you popping the finest of bottles.

Then there is the jewel of the entire market: my very favourite restaurant Sitka and Spruce. It was recommended to me a while ago by Anya Georgijevic, a fellow Vitamin Daily editor, and I have felt indebted to her ever since. It’s small, casual in ambiance (though not in price) and its food will open you up to new flavour combinations. Squash in my morning yogurt? Yes please!

Happy travels, Seattle-goers!

[Photos from Kelsey Dundon’s Instagram]

Trippin’ | Kauai, Hawaii

Ahhh…Kauai. How can you not love an island where roosters run rampant?

In case you’re planning on going, or planning on going one day, I’ve compiled a list of a few great places to stay, see and sip. You can find it on Vitamin Daily and The Huffington Post.

No, I was not superimposed into the above photo, it was taken at Waimea Canyon, which obviously made the list.

P.S. Follow @TheAnthology on Twitter for on-the-road tips and pics.

Pinstagram | Twigs and Twiggy

The Anthology’s Pinstagram column marries the dream (Pinterest) and the reality (Instagram).

Take a hike. Walking off holiday turkey with my beasts in a coat c/o Old Navy and boots c/o Cougar + my favourite place to get lost.

Colour wonderful. One heckuva bright book at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle + one heckuva bright door.

Purple haze. A pastel sunset in Seattle + a pastel-clad Twiggy.

Bright lights. The flying neon pig of Save On Meatsa neon kiss.

Oooooh sparkly. Baked at Home’s delicious sugar crystal-covered cookies and Olivia Wilde’s crystal-covered top.

Ring it in. My headpiece wants to wish you a very happy 2013. May it be a colourful one!

P.S. There are more photos where these came from so follow Kelsey Dundon on Instagram and add The Anthology on Facebook.