Friday, April 29, 2011

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii

Every year on May 1st, a statewide celebration takes place that's quintessentially Hawaiian: May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii! Whether at work, school, strolling through town or going to the grocery store, everyone celebrates Lei Day by wearing a lei as a symbol of Aloha — as well as to honor the cherished custom of making and giving a lei. 

An Island tradition since 1927, Lei Day was first conceived by writer/poet Don Blanding, a journalist at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. He shared his idea with fellow newspaper columnist Grace Tower Warren, who coined the phrase, "May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii." Soon thereafter, a song of the same name was composed by Ruth and Leonard "Red" Hawk. By 1929, the governor of Hawaii (Wallace Farrington) signed a Lei Day proclamation that encouraged residents to honor the traditions of Hawaii Nei by wearing and displaying lei.

Eventually, Lei Day evolved into an official holiday, as proclaimed by the Hawaii State Legislature in 2001. Schools celebrate Lei Day with festivities, pageants and dance programs. Lei-making contests and festivals take place throughout the islands. All styles of lei can be seen on Lei Day — everything fragrant florals like pikake, plumeria, crown flowers, orchids and maile vine, to novelty lei made of candy, golf balls or bottles of whiskey. A few years ago on Oahu, lei-makers on May Day created a giant lei that spanned more than 5,000 feet in Kapiolani Park. Anything goes on Lei Day, as long as you wear a lei!

At Holualoa Inn, flowers and flora are in full bloom on Lei Day. Our orchid nursery unveils a bounty of beautiful florals that we use for making fresh arrangements found in every room and suite at the Inn. When you stay at our romantic Hawaiian B&B, you're sure to marvel at the abundance of tropical flowers everywhere!

"May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii
Garlands of flowers everywhere
All of the colors in the rainbow
Maidens with blossoms in their hair

Flowers that mean we should be happy
Throwing aside a load of care
Oh, May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii
May Day is happy days out there"

Happy Lei Day, everybody!
Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Friday, April 22, 2011

Waimea's First Lady of Ranching

Anna, Queen of the Pa‘u Riders
The Big Island's ranching heritage comes alive at Anna Ranch in Waimea, where the historic home of Anna Lindsey Perry-Fiske (1900-1995) is open to the public for tours. The vintage ranch house with blue-and-white awnings reveals the fascinating life of Waimea's First Lady of Ranching, who was an accomplished equestrian, successful jockey, hard-working rancher, high-society philanthropist and controversial character in Waimea.

The family property dates from 1840s; Anna's ancestors were pioneers of the Waimea community. Born in 1900, Anna learned to ride at an early age. She lived with her parents, William and Mary Lindsey, at the house they completed in 1910. When her father died in 1939, Anna was tasked with taking over the property, which was near bankruptcy at the time of her father's death. Through sheer willpower and hard work, Anna was finally able to pay off the loan she took out, successfully preventing Parker Ranch from taking ownership of the ranch. She went on to achieve much in her career, including introducing new breeds of cattle to Hawaii.

While her horsemanship skills were never in doubt, Anna had another side to her. Always carrying herself with a regal air, she mingled with the likes of Queen Liliuokalani, Amelia Earhart and Laurence Rockefeller. After a hard day on the ranch, she'd dress up in fancy gowns, expensive hats and designer furs. Her house was filled with expensive treasures that are still on display today — everything from Tiffany clocks and rare music boxes to an enormous dining room table made from a single piece of koa.

Visitors to Anna Ranch Heritage Center can step back into time and experience the bygone days of Waimea while learning about Anna's many accomplishments, including having been one of the largest fundraisers for the American Heart Association and Hawaii Preparatory Academy.

Guests of the Holualoa Inn can easily drive to Waimea for a day-trip to the heart of ranching country. When you book your stay at our Hawaiian B&B, be sure to include a trip to Anna Ranch as part of your itinerary.

A hui hou!
Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day Trips from Holualoa

Holualoa's excellent central location provides the perfect home base for day-trip getaways on the Big Island. From the rolling ranchlands of Waimea to lava-laden landscapes of the Kohala Coast, visitors who book a stay in Holualoa will find excellent access to the best of the island's offerings.

Kealakekua Bay
South of Holualoa about a 30-minute drive, the marine sanctuary of Kealakekua Bay attracts pods of spinner dolphins, whose aerobatic displays in and out of the water thrill spectators. Rent a kayak at any number of roadside venues and head down Napo‘opo‘o Road to the wharf, where attendants help visitors lower their kayaks into the bay for an excursion to the snorkeling destination of Captain Cook Monument. After a morning of water adventures, visitors can make the four-mile drive south to Pu‘uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, an ancient place of refuge that includes a sacred heiau, royal canoe landing, the 1871 hiking trail and picnic grounds.

Anna Ranch Heritage Center
For a change of pace, the ranch town of Waimea showcases the Big Island's paniolo (cowboy) heritage. Step back to a bygone era at Anna Ranch Heritage Center, where visitors can tour the historic home of Waimea's "First Lady of Ranching," Anna Lindsey Perry-Fiske, a colorful character who was both a high-society philanthropist and a rough-and-ready cow gal. Horseback-riding tours are offered at Parker Ranch, featuring trail rides across verdant vistas and wide-open pastureland. On your way back to Holualoa, stop at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for a Pacific Rim meal at the Manta Pavilion and Wine Bar, or enjoy old-style Hawaiian fare at Buzz's Sand Trap near Waikoloa Beach Resort.

Kaunaoa Beach, Mauna Kea
If you're looking for a remote beach, Makalawena (just north of the Kona Keahole Airport) reveals a lagoon, queen's bath and bird sanctuary, while Honomolino Beach features a black-sand beach that's just a short hike from the South Kona fishing Village of Miloli‘i.

The staff at the Holualoa Inn can give you insider tips and recommendations to help make your Hawaiian vacation an unforgettable stay in paradise. This romantic bed-and-breakfast also has complimentary snorkel and beach gear for guests to use.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Friday, April 8, 2011

Earth Day Events on the Big Island

From the dryland forests of North Kona to the coral reefs of Kahalu‘u Bay, the Big Island presents one of the most diverse and ecologically fragile places on Earth. With so many native species fast becoming endangered here, or worse, disappearing forever, one could argue that every day should be Earth Day in Hawaii.
This year, the Kona community will be coming together for several important, educational Earth Day events. On Saturday, April 23, the annual Earth and Ocean Festival at Keauhou will take place at Keauhou Beach Resort from 10 a. m. to 3 p.m.
Putting the focus on the unique treasures of Hawaii Island, the festival will feature more than 60 non-profit organizations, agencies and schools — all of which will be on hand to educate and help raise awareness about environmental issues on the Big Island.
Festival attendees can meet with representatives of such organizations at Manta Pacific Foundation, West Hawaii Fisheries Council, Hawaii Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, The Nature Conservancy, and Hawaii Wildlife Center. In addition, the cultural arts of Hawaii will be showcased through demonstrations and interactions with artisans, including lauhala weavers, kapa makers, lei makers and more. Taking center stage, the acclaimed musical duo, Hapa, will perform live at the festival.
Meanwhile, the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce will present its inaugural Grand Green Homes Tour on Sunday, May 1 in honor of Earth Day. A total of 12 homes will be featured, divided between Kona, Waimea and Kohala. The tours are staggered so that attendees can visit more than one district. Ticket price is $20 for entrance into four individual homes. The Kona tour takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Waimea from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Kohala from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information, visit
        And speaking of tours, if you find yourself in the Holualoa neighborhood, stop by the Holualoa Inn for a tour of this elegant bed and breakfast retreat. A romantic Hawaiian vacation awaits guests of the Big Island B&B nestled on 30 lush acres. A bounty of tropical fruits, flowers and 100-percent Kona coffee is grown at this landmark coffee estate in the heart of Kona Coffee Country.

A hui hou!

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Saturday, April 2, 2011

47th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival — April 24 - 30, 2011

Each year in April, the world's most prestigious hula event takes center stage in Hilo on the Big Island. Honoring the legacy of King David Kalakaua (who revived the art of hula during his reign of the Hawaiian Kingdom from 1874 to 1891), the venerable Merrie Monarch Festival features a week-long celebration of Hawaiian culture that culminates in a three-day competition at Edith Kanaka‘ole Tennis Stadium.

King David Kalakaua
Beginning April 24, attendees can enjoy such festivities as an arts & crafts fair, a ho‘olaulea (music festival) and a pa‘u equestrian parade in downtown Hilo. The hula competition gets underway on Thursday evening, April 28, when individual dancers perform in the Miss Aloha Hula contest, followed on Friday and Saturday evenings by the group competitions. Led by their respective kumu (master teachers), hula halau (teams) from across the state and the mainland perform the ancient style (kahiko) and contemporary hula (‘auana), vying for top honors in both the men's and women's divisions.

Most activities are free during the week throughout the festival, however, tickets are required to attend the hula competition. Tickets are hard to come by at the last minute, so if you can't make the competition in person, you can join the hundreds of thousands of hula enthusiasts who will be watching live on KITV Channel 5. Or link to the live stream at to see all the action.

Holualoa Inn offers a Girlfriends' Getaway that includes an authentic hula lesson and a copy of your hula song on CD to take with you. This Hawaiian vacation package is one of many offered Big Island bed and breakfast located in the heart of Kona, Hawaii, in the artists' village of Holualoa.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn