Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day Trip to Ahualoa

It rhymes with Holualoa, but it's world's away from our artists' village here in Kona. Located on the Hamakua Coast 13 miles from Waimea, the rural area of Ahualoa offer visitors a unique destination that's decidedly off the beaten track.

With towering eucalyptus trees that shade the long, windy road mauka of Honoka‘a Town, Ahualoa was originally settled by Portuguese ranchers and Japanese farmers who served the old sugar plantations in the area. Today, Ahualoa has become a quiet haven for small farms and specialty operations that produce everything from rare white honey to beef jerky, coffee, eggs and goat cheese. Some farms even offer tours, like Richard Speigel's Volcano Island Honey Company, where he cultivates a prized honey that originates from the kiawe trees in coastal Puako. Richard's rare Hawaiian Organic White Honey features a delicate tropical flavor, buttery-smooth texture and pearlescent white color favored by resort chefs and foodies.

If you happen to make the trip to Ahualoa, you might also want to explore the neighboring area of Paauilo, home of Hawaiian Vanilla Company. The only commercial grower of vanilla in the United States, Hawaiian Vanilla Company is owned and operated by the Reddekopp family, who welcomes visitors to tour their farm for a behind-the-scenes look at the vanilla-growing process. They also serve up a great lunch and afternoon teas at their little cafe, with a gourmet menu that focuses on all things vanilla. Plus there's a gallery and gift shop where you can buy extract, salad dressings, spices, rubs and vanilla beans.

Here at Holualoa Inn, we grow our own coffee, citrus, fruits and more, serving our guests a bounty of tropical ingredients. We even gather our own eggs, fresh from the chicken coop. In the coming years, our new orchard will be producing even more fruits and produce. When you stay at our Kona bed-and-breakfast inn, you'll enjoy gourmet breakfasts that are truly "farm to plate."

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Traditions in Hawai‘i

"Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright, Hawaiian Christmas day." Those are the lyrics of a famous song heard throughout the Islands during the holidays. As the song proclaims, if you want to wish somebody a Merry Christmas in Hawaiian, just say: "Mele Kalikimaka!"

Christmas traditions in Kona are decidedly "island style." One of the ways kamaainas (residents) usher in the holidays is to make wreaths, leis and floral arrangements from natural flora that grows on the Big Island — everything from  lehua blossoms, coconut husk and orchids to norfolk pine, Christmas berry, hibiscus, palapalai ferns, protea, ti leaves and more. Last year at Holualoa Inn, our Christmas tree was decorated entirely in white orchids with elegant simplicity.

Holiday foods in Hawai‘i reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Islands.  Festive Christmas pies can be made of red ohelo berries that grow in higher elevations like Volcano. Resembling cranberries, the slightly tart berries are favored by native Nene geese. For Christmas dinner in Hawai‘i, many residents serve up a plate of ahi sashimi for appetizers, followed by a turkey or kalua pig cooked in an underground oven (imu). With New Year's Eve around the corner, local folks get out the mochi pounder to make delicious rice cake, a Japanese tradition.

Holualoa Inn rings in the holidays in style. Our Kona bed-and-breakfast inn offers a cozy, elegant setting for experiencing the season. You can even hang your stockings on our fireplace!

Mele Kalikimaka!

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn