Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Hawaii’
Elvis Presley put Kauai on the map with his 1961 movie Blue Hawaii, said Laura Bly in USA Today. More than 50 other films have also used Kauai’s “lush, staggeringly gorgeous scenery as a stand-in for paradise.” As the oldest and northernmost of the state’s four major islands, Kauai is prized for its inaccessible canyons, “razor-edged cliffs,” and balmy trade winds. A helicopter ride into the mouth of the volcanic crater Mount Waialeale reveals “a luxuriant tangle of ferns and waterfalls,” which give credence to its claim to be the “wettest place on Earth.” Only 5 percent of Kauai’s 552 square miles is designated for urban development. Yet locals are worried that tourism has brought too much change to the island, and that the rise of mega-resorts and increased ferry traffic will dampen its “laid-back, rural vibe.”
Contact: Kauai-hawaii.com

Napa in winter
Winter is the perfect time to explore Napa Valley’s winding roads and small pleasures, said Chris Colin in The New York Times. You may have to pack an extra sweater or an umbrella, but there’s “no traffic,” and temperatures can reach into the 50s. Some of the prettiest roads for bicycling are just outside Calistoga, “a funky and unstuffy town” that’s like a nip of whiskey before you taste Napa’s wine country. Since Gold Rush times, Calistoga’s name has been virtually synonymous with its famed mud baths. “It’s fun to float in hot goop with cucumbers on your eyes” at places like the Indian Springs Resort and Spa. Rather more “precious” is the town of St. Helena, where shopaholics will feel right at home, whether looking for Jimmy Choos, artisanal chocolates, or high-end housewares. In the town of Napa itself, Angèle, a bistro in a converted boathouse, serves up “brasserie classics.”
Contact: Napavalley.com