Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mauna Loa--Hawai‘i's "other" Volcano

With its fiery flow of lava continuously pouring from Pu‘u O‘o Vent since 1983, Kilauea Volcano captures all the headlines. But did you know that Mauna Loa is equally amazing in its sheer size, geological features and potential for eruption?

An active shield volcano, Mauna Loa covers more than 50 percent of the Big Island. It stretches from the Hilo side to South Point, through the district of Ka‘u, into areas of Kona, around Hualalai and even into parts of Puako in South Kohala. Considering that the Big Island is the size of Connecticut, Mauna Loa is one huge land mass!

Mauna Loa is also one of the most active volcanoes on earth, erupting 33 times since 1843. Amazingly, it hasn't erupted since 1984, and fortunately, scientists don't expect it to erupt anytime soon. At Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Mauna Loa is continuously monitored for long periods of seismic activity that foretell a potential eruption. So far, the sleeping giant is sleeping soundly. If breakout flows do occur, scientists predict that the Ocean View area in Ka‘u might be vulnerable.

On Wednesday evening, February 8, Frank Trusdell, a volcanologist/geologist from the U.S. Geological Survey at Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory, will be the guest speaker at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park in Kona. Free and open to the public, the program will take place in the park's amphitheater, where Frank will talk about Mauna Loa, its history and its current status.

Holualoa Inn occupies a 30-acre estate on the slopes of Hualalai. When you book a stay at our Kona bed and breakfast, you are well positioned to make a day trip to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, as well as visit the many fascinating places on Mauna Loa, including the Kona Coffee Belt and Pu‘uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. But not to worry. Our volcanoes are very friendly, we guarantee it!

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fruits and Produce of the Big Island

When you think of Hawaiian fruits and produce, popular favorites like pineapple, papaya, mango, guava and bananas come to mind. But did you know that the Big Island is a cornucopia of many other edible delights — everything from avocado, tomatoes, mushrooms and mountain apples, to starfruit, figs, oranges, lemons and more?

Avocados grow at Holualoa Inn
For example, here in Kona, there are dozens of varieties of avocado that grow well because of the shallow, rocky soil. The rich, buttery qualities of these gargantuan varieties are far superior to the typical avocado grown in California. Many local avocados are named after hard-working Kona farmers such as Yamagata and Ota.

Another product you'll see in great supply on the Big Island are island-grown tomatoes. Most of the area's fanciest resort restaurants serve succulent, sweet tomatoes grown in Waimea by Honda Farms and other renowned producers. In Laupahoehoe near Hilo, Hamakua Mushrooms Company cultivates many species of mushrooms that exude exceptional taste and quality. Exotic fruits grown on the Big Island are also very popular, including lychee, rambutan, longan and jaboticaba.

Arugula in our nursery
Here at Holualoa Inn, our guests enjoy farm-to-plate breakfasts served with produce harvested on our 30-acre property. We have mangoes for every season, plus 14 different varieties of avocado on site. There's also a bounty of figs, plentiful Kabocha squash and bok choy, lilikoi, guava, pineapples, bananas, and even delicious Healani tomatoes which are now thriving in the nursery. Chef Brian Conway finds a way to utilize everything we harvest, preparing gourmet selections such as omelettes made with our fresh arugula, or fresh preserves made with our very own figs. We've also recently planted a new fruit orchard and our trees are already producing oranges, grapefruit, tangerines. In the near future, we expect to harvest abundant starfruit, mangosteen, Brazilian plum and loquat, to name a few.

Holualoa Inn's newly planted orchard
When you stay at our romantic Hawai‘i bed and breakfast, you can stroll the grounds and see the amazing variety of products grown on site, including thousands of coffee trees that produce our 100-percent Kona coffee. Our Holualoa Inn ohana will be delighted to take you on a tour of the entire property, which features botanical walkways, ancient trails, and our new orchard and nursery.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Remembering Hula Legend Iolani Luahine

Photograph by Francis Haar, 1961
Considered the "high priestess" of hula, she became the most esteemed hula dancer in the state of Hawai‘i. The legendary Iolani Luahine (1915-1978) was instrumental in perpetuating the traditional hula kahiko, the ancient style of dance passed on through generations of native Hawaiians. Born in Kona, she learned the art of hula from her aunt Keahi, who was one of the royal dancers in the courts of King Kalakaua and Queen Lili‘uokalani.

When Iolani danced and chanted, she conveyed a mystical connection to the spiritual world. There are countless stories about her psychic powers in which she'd ask the wind to stop, the rain to cease and animals to do her bidding. Named a "Living Treasure" in 1972, she was invited on three occasions to perform at the National Folk Festival at Wolf Trap in Virginia. After she passed away in 1978, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin called her "easily one of Hawaii's greatest dancers, if not the greatest."

To honor this great artist, the annual Iolani Luahine Hula Festival will take place this January 26 - 28 at Keauhou Beach Resort. Attracting those who knew her and those who are inspired by her, the event will feature hula workshops and presentations, musical entertainment and a visit to Iolani's birthplace in Napo‘opo‘o Village at Kealakekua Bay.

As you plan your 2012 romantic Hawaiian vacation, your Holualoa Inn ohana invite you to enjoy our Kona bed and breakfast, savor delicious foods grown on the property, and experience the many activities and adventures available here on the Big Island. You may even connect with the ancient spirits that inspired Iolani Luahine in her enchanted song and dance.

 Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Places to Surf in Kona

Okay, it's not the North Shore of O‘ahu, or even Waikiki for that matter. But Kona does offer a few nice surf spots for beginners and advanced wave riders. What's more, most of the destinations are just a short drive down the hill from Holualoa Inn.

The best place to learn how to surf is Kahalu‘u Beach Park in Keauhou —there are several surf schools in the vicinity that offer private and group lessons, as well as board rentals. Kahalu‘u features easily manageable conditions on the inside, where beginners can get their first taste of standing up on a board or riding the white water. Right and left reef breaks can reach six feet, appealing to both shortboarders and longboarders.

Lymans, also known as Kamoa Point
Down the road on Ali‘i Drive, two popular surf spots attract intermediate and advanced surfers. A favorite of longboarders, Lymans needs a good-sized swell in order to break. In the winter, the best swells move westerly and hit Kona straight on. Overhead conditions are rare during the summer months anywhere in Kona, but there's always the exception.

Surfer enters the water at Banyans.
Just north of Lymans, Banyans offers fast waves for advanced surfers only. Showcasing right and left breaks over shallow reefs, Banyans is great for shortboard riding; catching a barrel is not out of the realm of possibility. Longboard surfing is also possible on small days.

From our vantage point above Kailua-Kona, Holualoa Inn offers sweeping vistas of the Kona coastline. You can even check out the surf breaks from our lanai. When you book a stay at our Kona Hawaii bed-and-breakfast inn, our friendly ohana can steer you in the right direction for your surfing safari.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn