Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Living Sustainably in Hawai‘i

Because of its year-round perfect climate and lush growing conditions, Hawai‘i is one of the best places in the United States to live a sustainable lifestyle —particularly on the Big Island, which is considered the "bread basket" of the state's agricultural sector.  Our island's many diverse micro-climates provide the ideal locations for everything from coffee and macadamia nuts to avocados, citrus, mushrooms, vanilla and even chocolate. Fruits and vegetables thrive here all year long.

Here at Holualoa Inn, we believe in creating the most sustainable environment possible. Most everything we serve for breakfast comes from our bountiful gardens and coffee farm, and Chef Brian Conaway makes good use of all our products. When he's not fixing up specialty omelettes made with fresh arugula or gluten-free eggs Benedict layered with sauteed squash, he's busy in the kitchen creating homemade juice, jellies and jams from the guava, lilikoi and figs that grow on the property. For home-cooked waffles and pancakes, Brian's delicious lilikoi syrup is one of the most popular additions to our breakfast table. Our 30-acre coffee farm provides award-winning Kona roast served round the clock at the Inn. Guests can also enjoy organic eggs fresh from our coop.

In recent months, we've added to our bounty of edibles by planting a new orchard brimming with exotic fruits like jaboticaba, mangosteen and starfruit, or favorites like oranges, grapefruits, tangerines and mangoes for every season. If you're in the neighborhood, our Holualoa Inn ohana would be delighted to take you on a tour of our inn and grounds. Or better yet, book a stay with us for your next romantic Hawai‘i vacation.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Thursday, February 16, 2012

History of the Holua Slide

In Hawaiian, the word "holualoa" means "long slide." And here in the village of Holualoa, the origin of the name comes from an actual holua slide that traverses downslope through the area, passing thorough our property at Holualoa Inn.

Well-preserved slide in Keauhou
Constructed by Hawaiians of yesteryear, holua slides were the equivalent of a toboggan course, some stretching more than 4,000 feet in length from mountain to the sea. Reserved for royalty, the sport of holua sledding was extremely dangerous. To make the lava-rock course extra slick, Hawaiians covered the slide with dirt, thatched mats and wet pili grass.

The sled itself, called "papa holua," was made of naive hardwoods like kauila, uhiuhi or mamane. The crosspieces, runners and rails were affixed with sennit cord fashioned out of coconut fiber. The rails were wrapped in kapa cloth, while the frame was covered in lauhala matting.

Guests of Holualoa Inn can walk our historic grounds, where the remnants of an ancient holua slide can be seen in our botanical gardens. Our 30-acre coffee estate also features an historic coffee trail that passes alongside the Inn. When you stay at our Hawai‘i Big Island bed and breakfast, you'll surely feel the spirit of ancient Hawai‘i and the ali‘i (royalty) who once traveled at breakneck speed down the steep and thrilling holua slides.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's Whale-Watching Season on the Big Island

Every winter, pods of graceful humpback whales migrate from Alaska to the warmer waters of the Hawaiian Islands chain. The whales begin appearing in December, and by February, the season is in full swing! Right now, thousands of whales are "on vacation" in Hawai‘i, where they've come to breed, give birth and frolic close to shore.

Humpback whales can easily be viewed from land or sea anywhere along the coast of West Hawai‘i. This year, vast numbers of whale sightings are being reported everywhere from Kailua Village and Napo‘opo‘o, to the Kohala Coast and Kawaihae. It's easy to spot a humpback whale: the humpback whale's "blow" can reach 15 feet in height. They spout, spy hop, breach, pec slap, leap out of the water or slap their fluke on the surface of the water.  Mother whales and their calves are often accompanied by a male escort. After a calf is born, the mother usually stays close to shore, resting and nursing the newborn.

Our friend Dan McSweeney runs a popular whale-watching tour out of Honokohau Harbor, and there are plenty of other ocean-faring tours that offer whale-watching and snorkel adventures, as well. But you don't have to be on a boat to see a fantastic show. Just find a spot along the coast, or head out for a sunset cocktail somewhere in town, and chances are you'll see a humpback whale swim by.

Panoramic views of the Kona Coast prevail from Holualoa Inn, where our friendly ohana will help you plan your Kona whale-watching adventure. Our romantic Kona bed and breakfast inn is the place to be during humpback whale season in Hawai‘i.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn