Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fun Hikes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must-see destination for visitors of the Big Island. The best way to experience the park is to get out of your car and take a short hike.

One of the easiest hikes in the park is also one of the most fascinating. Located just past Volcano Art Center, the Sulfur Banks trail features a boardwalk that leads to the sulfur bluffs. Like a scene from Jurassic Park, volcanic gases rich in sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide swirl from the bluffs, depositing yellow-colored crystals throughout. Farther down the trail, dozens of steam vents emit white steam from small cracks in the earth. It's fun to sit on the grass next to a steam vent and feel the hot, non-toxic steam swirling around you.

Kilauea Iki trailhead
Situated adjacent to the parking lot at Thurston Lava Tube, the overlook for Kilauea Iki Crater is awe-inspiring. Site of the dramatic 1959 eruption, the crater measures a massive 3,000 feet across and 380 feet in depth. A shady, two-mile trail criss-crosses down to the crater floor. Along the way, visitors can see a variety of birds including the native apapane, plus ohia trees and lehua blossoms. The hike back up is moderate, but worth the effort.

Mauna Ulu Eruption Trail
Another great hike is the Mauna Ulu eruption trail just off Chain of Craters Road. This 2.5-mile round-trip hike takes visitors to the top of a small wooded hill for a panoramic view. Along the way, you can see native ohelo bushes laden with red ohelo berries, and possibly some native Nene geese. The area features a surreal landscape of lava flows — both pahoehoe and a‘a — plus a small oasis of forest that was spared by the relentless flow of lava.

A two-hour drive from Holualoa Inn, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the most popular visitor destination on the Big Island. When you stay at our Hawaii bed and breakfast, our Holualoa Inn ohana will give you insider tips on planning your day-trip getaway to Volcano.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Hawaiian Tradition of Pa‘u Riding

Pa‘u princess, Island of Lana‘i.
As Kamehameha Day approaches on June 11, equestrians throughout the Hawaiian Islands are preparing for floral parades in honor of the great monarch, King Kamehameha I.

Adorned in the colors and flora of the islands, the regal pa‘u riders are the highlight of every parade. Led by a princess outfitted in a long-flowing pa‘u or "skirt," each of the mounted equestrian units represents one of eight Hawaiian islands. A unit representing the Island of Hawai‘i, for example, will be draped in lei made of red lehua blossoms and wearing red attire, the official color of the Big Island. For the Island of Maui, the lokelani (rose) is incorporated, with pink as the chosen color, while Island of O‘ahu features the yellow ilima and yellow attire. In order to become the parade queen, a rider should have ideally ridden for each of the eight islands in parades through the years.

The wrapping of pa‘u in traditional fabric.
A type of culotte, the pa‘u skirt is made of 9- or 12-yards of fabric, wrapped in such a way so as to flow majestically past the stirrups to the ground. The skirt is held together with kukui nuts twisted inside the fabric and tucked into the waistband. The tradition dates to the 1800s when women wore pa‘u to protect their fancy clothing when riding to a party or gathering. The early 1900s heralded the arrival of pa‘u floral parades in Honolulu. Through the decades, the pa‘u parade tradition continued, not only for Kamehameha Day, but for Merrie Monarch and Aloha Festivals Week as well. Fabrics evolved into satins, but in the early days, calico or gingham were the fabrics of choice, fastened with rope around the waist and ankles and covering both feet.

Kamehameha Day Parade, June 11, Kailua-Kona.
Preparing a unit for parade day involves weeks of work, from the gathering of natural materials for lei to the sewing of garments, the making of banners and lei, and the wrapping of the pa‘u. Skilled horsemanship is also paramount. A pa‘u princess should be a good enough equestrian to display personality and aloha while on top of her mount. The elders of the pa‘u tradition feel its their kuleana (responsibility) to teach the tradition to future generations.

When you book your romantic Hawaiian vacation at Holualoa Inn this June, be sure to venture down to Kailua-Kona, just a five-minute drive from the inn, for the annual floral parade on Ali‘i Drive. Your Holualoa Inn ohana will help you with all the details of your Kona itinerary.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hulihe‘e Palace

Did you know that there are three royal palaces in the United States? In fact, all three palaces are located in the state of Hawaii: two of them on Oahu (Iolani Palace and Queen Emma Summer Palace), and one of them right here in Kona.

Situated on the oceanfront in Kailua-Kona, Hulihe‘e Palace was built by the second governor of the Hawaiian Islands, John Adams Kuakini, in 1838. The palace served as his principal residence until he passed away in 1844, and eventually became the summer home of Hawaiian royalty including King David Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani. During his travels abroad, Kalakaua decided the palace should look more like the royal palaces he had seen in Europe. In 1885, the lava-rock exterior was stuccoed and the interior plastered, while ornate elements were added throughout, including 24-karat gold-leaf picture mouldings, crystal chandeliers, decorative ceilings and other touches fit for a king.

In 1925, Hulihe‘e Palace was slated to be razed to make way for a hotel. It was rescued by the Daughters of Hawaii, a volunteer organization that continues the care-taking of the palace to this day. Now a museum, the palace showcases furnishings and artifacts of the era including Kalakaua's koa armoire, which was awarded the silver medal in 1889 at the International Exhibition in Paris.

Open to the public for daily tours, the palace also hosts a monthly Sunday concert held on the south lawn. This Sunday, May 15 at 4:30 p.m., a free Hawaiian Music Concert features the Merrie Monarchs men's glee club, with hula performances by Etua Lopez's halau.

And speaking of the royal treatment, your Holualoa Inn ohana stands ready to help make your romantic Hawaiian vacation one to remember. During your stay at Holualoa Inn, be sure to include a visit to Hulihe‘e Palace as part of your itinerary.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day Events in Kona

Aloha mai kakou,

Mother's Day Weekend in Hawai‘i takes on special meaning at a number of events in Kona this weekend.

Hawai's's top recording artists will be taking center stage at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spa on Saturday, May 7 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The annual Mother's Day hula and concert, "Mama, My Mama, I Love You" will feature Hoku Hanohano award-winners Pekelo, Na Palapalai and Amy Hanaiali‘i Gilliom. The $40 ticket price will assist a local hula halau to travel to Japan for a cultural exchange. The event includes a silent auction, plus food and drinks.

Nothing says Mother's Day like flowers, and the Kona Kona Orchid Society has just what you have in mind for mom at their annual show and sale this weekend. Taking place all day, May 6 - 7, at the Old Airport Pavilion in Kailua-Kona, the event features a bounty of prized varieties of orchids from around the world, everything from Cymbidium and Oncidium to Vanda and Epidendrum. In addition to beautiful florals, the show also includes orchid workshops and lectures, plus crafts vendors selling great gift ideas for mom, like jewelry, artwork and ceramics.

Celebrating Mother's Day, a hula and music concert takes place under the stars at Waikoloa Bowl at the Queens' Marketplace on Saturday evening, May 7. Gates open at 3:30 with the Ukulele Jam for Japan featuring Brittni Paiva, Colin John and more, followed by a roster of great Hawaii performers including singers Diana Aki, Teresa Bright and Jerry Santos. Hula halau will also be performing, including Kumu Hula Keala Ching's halau.

Your Holualoa Inn ohana will help you plan the perfect getaway for mom. Our Hawaii bed & breakfast offers a tropical retreat highlighted by beautiful Asian furnishings, meandering gardens, massage hale, swimming pool and sweeping Kona views.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn