Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hawai‘i Flag Day

Did you know that every year on July 31, the state of Hawai‘i celebrates Hawai‘i Flag Day, otherwise known as Ka Hae Hawai‘i?

A day to contemplate the meaning and the history of the flag, Hawai‘i Flag Day came about in 1990,
proclaimed by then-governor of the state of Hawai‘i, John D. Waihee III, in response to an effort by the park staff at Pu‘kohola Heiau National Historic Site on the Big Island. Because of its significant history prior to the establishment of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the park is only one of three sites in the state of Hawai‘i allowed to fly the Hawaiian flag independent of any other national banner. (The other two sites are on O‘ahu: ‘Iolani Palace and Mauna Ala Royal Mausoleum).

Replete in red, white and blue, the flag was originally commissioned by King Kamehameha I in 1816. The king's close ties to Great Britain are reflected in the design, which features elements of the Union Jack as well as the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. The eight horizontal stripes represent the eight major islands in the chain. Hawai‘i lost its independence after the overthrow in 1893, but the flag continued as the official flag through the territorial days and into statehood, beginning in 1959.

Hawaiian monarchy quilt honors the flag.
For Hawaiians, the flag is a distinguished symbol of the time when ali‘i in the Hawaiian Kingdom could govern with absolute sovereignty. During the overthrow of the monarchy, Hawaiians incorporated the flag into quilts and wall hangings to pledge their allegiance to a sovereign nation.

Visitors to the Big Island will enjoy a romantic, tropical retreat at Holualoa Inn. Our Hawai‘i bed and breakfast is situated in the heart of Kona Coffee Country on a lush, 30-acre coffee estate overlooking the Kona Coast. We welcome you to spend your vacation in paradise with us.

Happy Hawai‘i Flag Day!
Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hawaii's Ancient Temples

From the shores of Kailua Bay to the coast of Kawaihae, ancient temples on the Big Island serve as testament to life in early Hawaii. There are many types of temples — some invoking peace and others invoking war, sacrifice, fishing, harvest time and even surfing.

One of the most important temples in the entire state of Hawaii, Ahu‘ena Heiau stands sentry at Kailua Pier. Dating back to the 1400s, the heiau and its surrounding compound served as a sacred spiritual center for centuries. Once a sacrificial temple, Ahu‘ena Heiau was rebuilt in 1813 by King Kamehameha I, who dedicated it to Lono, the Hawaiian god of peace and prosperity. It was here that Kamehameha established the unified kingdom's first capital during the final years of his life. The compound, called "Kamakahonu," included a royal residence, fishponds, gardens and other important sites now covered in concrete and by the pier. Kamehameha passed away at Kamakahonu in 1819. Soon thereafter, the ancient religion was overturned, and Ahu‘ena Heiau lay in ruins.

The structure that exists today was restored by David Roy in the late 1970s. Stones were retrieved from under water, where they laid for more than a century. The restored heiau displays all the attributes of an important temple, highlighted by the three-tiered oracle tower that resembles a smoke stack. The white fabric covering the oracle is actually made of white kapa cloth, or ‘oloa. The most sacred part of the heiau is the hale mana, a small house thatched entirely of ti leaves. Inside the hale, chiefs would have held council with Kamehameha. The carved images, known in Hawaiian as "ki‘i," represent ancestral gods. A golden plover (bird) is perched atop the highest idol.

Today, traditional practitioners still come to worship at the temple, pay homage and make offerings, but anybody with an eye for history can sense the sacredness of the site.

Guests of Holualoa Inn may take a short drive down the hill to visit Ahu‘ena Heiau in Historic Kailua Village. Our Hawaii bed and breakfast offers an idyllic retreat in Kona Coffee Country,
where tropical flora, flowering trees and verdant landscapes prevail.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's Mango Season in Hawai‘i!

Whether served frozen like ice cream, baked in cobbler or enjoyed fresh off the tree, mangoes are a delicious and nutritious treat like no other. Here in Hawai‘i, mango season is in full swing during the summer months, so what better time to celebrate all things mango than to attend a festival devoted solely to this wondrous, tropical fruit.

To be held Saturday, July 30 at Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort, the annual Mango Festival will feature mango-inspired recipes, fruit tastings, chef presentations, grafting and growing demonstrations, plant sales, Hawaiian music, hula and more. The all-day event takes place on the shady, scenic Royal Grounds of the hotel, where additional attractions include hand-carved creations made of mango by local woodworkers, plus cultural arts and crafts, healing arts displays and an eco-fashion show.

Mango contains both a soluble and insoluble fiber that helps balance cholesterol and promote good digestion. One of the most nutritional fruits you can eat, mango is loaded with vitamins, potassium and magnesium. It's also been shown to help reduce certain kinds of cancer, particularly gallbladder cancer. If you're in Kona this July, be sure to attend the Mango Festival and learn everything you ever wanted to know about mangoes, and more.

Mangoes grow in abundance at Holualoa Inn, where our guests are served gourmet breakfasts each morning made with fresh ingredients from our gardens, including of course, mangoes. If you are in Holualoa, stop by for a complimentary tour of our Kona bed and breakfast, located on 30 lush acres.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Swimming with Dolphins in Kona

Spinner dolphins in the wild
They're one of the most dramatic and exciting sights in Hawaiian waters. Pods of spinner dolphins amaze visitors with incredible aerial displays, spinning and leaping out of the water several times in succession before slapping their bodies on the water's surface.  Underwater, they are equally playful and majestic, emitting a "clicking" sonar sound that can be heard clearly by swimmers within the vicinity of an approaching dolphin. Mothers and babies can be seen swimming and spinning together.

Spinner dolphins frequent the entire Kona Coast, but certain areas are prime destinations for dolphin viewing. One of the most popular is Kealakekua Bay, a marine conservation area and site of Captain Cook Monument. Here, dolphins enter the bay in the morning hours to rest after nightly hunting excursions. The crystalline waters and calm conditions provide the ideal setting for witnessing dolphins in the wild.

Kealakekua Bay
Most dolphin/snorkel cruises depart from Keauhou Bay, sometimes twice daily such as the Fair Wind catamaran or Captain Zodiac inflatable rafts. You can also rent kayaks and paddle to Captain Cook Monument yourself. If you find yourself in the water with spinner dolphins, be mindful of the Marine Mammals Protection Act, a law that prohibits people from chasing, feeding or touching marine mammals in the wild. Resist the temptation to pursue dolphins, rather, allow them to swim to you. Continual human interaction can be disruptive to their natural behaviors and well-being. Simply enjoy their beauty and grace from a distance.

Kealakekua Bay is located just 20 minutes from Holualoa Inn. Guests of the Inn can enjoy complimentary usage of snorkel gear and other beach equipment. Our Holualoa Inn ohana will even help you book your snorkel cruise, or recommend other beaches and bays where dolphins are known to frequent.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

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