Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Driving Tour of Kona Heritage Corridor

Old Mamalohoa Highway winds its way through upcountry Kona and beyond, revealing a plethora of historic sights along the way. A 10-mile stretch of this scenic highway comprises the Kona Heritage Corridor, which passes through the village of Holualoa, home of Holualoa Inn.

History is evident along this route, whether dry-stack stone walls, roadside general stores, churches, cemeteries, vintage residences or landmark businesses like Kimura Lauhala Shop, Komo Store and Doris Place. The corridor is also lined with stunning displays of local flora including majestic monkeypod trees, coffee farms, flowering Jacaranda trees and other mainstays of the Kona landscape.

If you're driving from north to south, the corridor begins at the junction of Palani Road (State Highway 190) and Mamalahoa Highway (County Highway 180) north of Holualoa, and ends at the junction of Mamalahoa Highway and Highway 11 in Honalo. When you journey down this meandering byway, you'll notice the array of old homes and cottages fronting the roadside. Built mostly in the early 1900s, these board-and-batten homes appear pretty much the same as they would have in years past, with corrugated metal roofs, gingerbread trim and cozy lanais. Generations of family members have occupied these homes, which are still very much in use today. Original residents included Japanese and Portuguese immigrants, who established coffee farms, ranches, businesses and specialty services in North Kona.

Today, some of the old shops on Mamalahoa Highway have been transformed by new owners. Be sure to stop by the old Keauhou Store, which features a museum of Kona artifacts and antiques, plus a variety of convenience items, cold drinks, coffee and homemade baked goods prepared on site. Another must-see shop is Kimura Lauhala Shop, established in 1914, where locally made lauhala products like hats and purses are featured.

If you're traveling along the Kona Heritage Corridor, you can also stop by Holualoa Inn and tour this amazing Hawaii bed-and-breakfast retreat. Our 30-acre property features a coffee farm, beautifully manicured grounds and stylish accommodations in an unparalleled setting.

Aloha to all!
Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

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