Friday, September 23, 2011

Portuguese Cultural Festival, Saturday, October 1

Hawai‘i's history would not be the same without the contributions of the Portuguese. Immigrating here in the late 1800s, the Portuguese brought with them myriad skills and traditions that have helped to shape the local culture through the decades — everything from cattle ranching, dairy farming and rock-wall building to stone ovens, sweet bread, the ukulele and steel guitar!

On Saturday, October 1, the Kona Historical Society will host its annual Portuguese Cultural Festival in Kealakekua. The all-day event celebrates the Portuguese contributions to Hawai‘i's ranching heritage, as well as all things Portuguese. Hawaiian saddle makers will be on hand to demonstrate their leather art, while lauhala weavers will show off their creations, and "real McCoy" Portuguese singers, dancers and speakers will entertain in the native tongue. Bring the keiki (kids) and enjoy pony rides from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. Noted pa‘u riders will conduct a lei-making workshop highlighting native and indigenous flowers traditionally used by pa‘u equestrian units in floral parades. Free tours of the historic H.N. Greenwell Store and Museum will also be featured.

Additionally, local-style kau kau (food) will showcase a bounty of Portuguese cuisine including homemade sweet bread baked in an authentic Portuguese stone oven. Once a mainstay in every Portuguese community throughout the Islands, the Portuguese oven, or "Forno," resembles an igloo. The Kona Historical Society built its own stone oven on site, where staff members bake bread every Thursday and sell it to the public for fund-raising purposes. Portuguese sweet bread, so popular today, evolved from rustic breads baked by the early immigrants. The Portuguese introduced milk and butter to the Hawaiians, and today, their specialty food has become a major component of Hawai‘i's regional cuisine. Other favorite Portuguese food items include pickled onions, sausage, malasadas and Portuguese bean soup.

Located about 15 minutes from Holualoa Inn, Kona Historical Society is a must-see destination when you are visiting the Big Island. Our Big Island bed and breakfast is located on an historic 30-acre property that features many intriguing sites including ancient holua slides and old coffee trails. Our chef bakes delicious goodies, breads and desserts each day at the Inn. For authentic Portuguese sweet bread fresh out of the stone oven, our ohana recommends the Kona Historical Society's weekly bread-baking event, held every Thursday, or better yet, the annual Portuguese Festival, coming October 1.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Support 100-Percent Kona Coffee

Kona coffee is considered one of the premier coffees in the world. The unique growing conditions of the Kona coffee belt — located on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa —make for an ideal growing region that spans just 30 miles in length and one mile mauka/makai. There are 700-plus coffee farms in the region, most of them under five acres.

Hawai‘i is the only place in the country that produces coffee, yet the prestigious reputation of Kona coffee is under threat by the "Kona Blend" issue. In Hawai‘i, coffee producers are allowed to use the Kona name on their blends, even though the blend needs only to consist of 10% Kona coffee by state law. The 90% that's in the rest of the bag generally comes from other countries, inferior beans that by law, must be fumigated with methyl bromide, a toxic pesticide.

That's right. The package of Kona blend that you bought at the airport or grocery store needs only to contain a mere 10% Kona coffee in order to carry the Kona name. By contrast, Napa Wine in California must be 75% Napa. In Hawai‘i, politics and lobbying interests are to blame for the inequity.

A bag of Kona blend is a far cry from a bag of 100% pure Kona coffee. So next time you buy a package of Kona coffee, support the local Kona farmer by purchasing only 100% Kona coffee, such as Brazen Hazen coffee from Holualoa, or our own Holualoa Inn 100% Kona Coffee. If you prefer your Kona coffee blended, you can blend it yourself with your choice of beans that you trust.

Here at Holualoa Inn, our guests are served 100% Kona coffee grown on our own 30-acre estate. Your stay at our romantic Hawaiian bed and breakfast puts you right in the heart of Kona Coffee Country, home of the best coffee in the world. Guests may tour our coffee farm or visit neighboring coffee farms for tastings and tours. Holualoa Inn is definitely the place to "wake up and smell the coffee"!

A hui hou!

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Snorkeling in Kona, Hawaii

One of the most popular visitor activities in Kona, snorkeling reveals an underwater world brimming with colorful tropical fish, beautiful coral reefs, crystal-blue waters and a variety of marine life including green sea turtles. The relatively calm waters of the leeward coast provide aquarium-like conditions for observing Hawai‘i's underwater attractions.

One of the best places to go snorkeling is Kahalu‘u Beach Park on Ali‘i Drive. Located adjacent to the Keauhou Beach Resort, the bay offers easy access into the water from a sand beach. With its lava-laden coastline, beach entries like Kahalu‘u are hard to come by in Kona, which is why this spot provides a great location for beginners snorkeling just getting their feet, and fins, wet. If you didn't bring any snorkel gear with you, no worries. There are several gear rental shops in the vicinity. You can also rent stand-up paddleboards here, as well as take surfing lessons.

Two Steps in Honaunau
The second-most popular snorkeling spot in Kona, Two Steps at Honaunau Bay offers prime snorkeling year-round. This protected bay lies adjacent to Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau, home of the sacred Hale o Keawe heiau (temple) that overlooks the water. Snorkelers can enter the bay from a lava ledge that features a naturally formed step, thus the name, "Two Steps." Spinner dolphins are known to frequent the bay, especially in the late afternoons. Another great snorkeling spot, Captain Cook Monument at Kealakekua Bay is just a short four-mile drive north from Two Steps. The best way to reach the snorkel area is by kayak or snorkel cruise. Fair Wind snorkel cruises offers two daily trips to Kealakekua Bay from Keauhou. Kayak rentals can be found on Highway 11, such as Kona Boys or Aloha Kayak. You can also book a kayak excursion with a sanctioned tour operator, one of the only ways you'll be allowed to go ashore at Ka‘awaloa, site of the monument.

Some beautifully colorful tropical fish await snorkelers in Kona, everything from yellow tangs and puffer fish to the state fish also known as the humuhumunukunukuapu‘a.

Holualoa Inn presents the ideal central location for visitors on a snorkel mission. Located just a 10-minute drive from Kahalu‘u Beach Park, the Inn is also only about 25 minutes from Kealakekua Bay. Our Hawaiian bed and breakfast offers complimentary use of snorkel equipment and other beachgoing gear.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn