Friday, April 27, 2012

Places to Eat in Kona, Part II

The best place in Kona to be for breakfast is, of course, Holualoa Inn, where our own Chef Brian prepares tantalizing dishes laden with fresh fruit and produce from our gardens, not to mention newly laid eggs from the hen house and fresh-squeezed juice from our orchard.

The Fish Hopper restaurant
For lunch and dinner, guests of Holualoa Inn have many options of places to eat in town. On the waterfront on Ali‘i Drive, The Fish Hopper restaurant serves up fresh catch of the day, delectable clam chowder made daily and a roster of excellent entrees, salads and desserts. The open-air restaurant showcases great views of Kailua Bay, and is within walking distance of historic attractions like Hulihe‘e Palace and Mokuaikaua Church.

Another good oceanfront find is Don the Beachcomber, located near the lobby of the Royal Kona Resort. A throwback to the Trader Vic tiki era, the venue offers the best view of Kailua Bay, bar none. And speaking of bars, if you want to go out for a sunset cocktail, Don the Beachcomber is the place to go for a lovely night out on the town.

Sam Choy's Kai Lanai
For thai food with a view, we recommend Thai Rin restaurant, also located near the waterfront on Ali‘i Drive. The food here is reasonably priced, the service quick and the cooking, divine. And if you still have room for dessert, don't miss the mango ice cream with sweet sticky rice. Fresh fish, Hawaiian style, can be found at Da Poke Shack, a roadside attraction near Banyans surf spot that prepares traditional poke (raw fish diced into cubes). A visit to the newly opened Sam Choy's Kai Lanai at the Keauhou Shopping Center should also be on your Kona Coast culinary itinerary.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Friday, April 13, 2012

Merrie Monarch Festival in Full Swing

This year's 49th annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo brings together the worldwide hula community for the most prestigious event in hula.  Taking place April 8 through 14, the festival showcases a variety of activities proceeding the main events on Friday and Saturday, where halau (clubs) from Hawai‘i and the mainland compete in kahiko (traditional) and ‘auana (modern) styles of dance.

One of the highlights of the week is the Arts and Crafts Fair at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, Wednesday through Saturday. Some of the finest local artists and crafters present their wares, ranging from woven lauhala items, feather art, carvings, tapa, lei and more. Last night, the annual Miss Aloha Hula took place at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium, to be followed tonight and Saturday by the group hula competitions.  If you didn't get your tickets for the headlining events, you can always attend the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade on Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m. Featuring beautiful pa‘u riders on horseback, the parade winds through downtown Hilo along Kilauea and Kamehameha avenues. If you're not in town to see all the festivities first hand, you can watch on KFVE-TV here in Hawai‘i, or online at the station's live stream.

The Merrie Monarch Festival began in 1964 to perpetuate, preserve and promote the art of hula and the Hawaiian culture in general. The festival gets its name from King David Kalakaua, who during his reign in the late 1800s, helped restore Hawaiian cultural traditions that had been suppressed by missionary teachings. He was known affectionately as the "Merrie Monarch." In 1971, the festival opened became competitive, and by 1976, men were also competing at the event.

During your stay at Holualoa Inn, you can book a private hula lesson with an authentic hula dancer, who will teach you basic moves and give you a complimentary music CD as a memento of your lesson. As you plan your next romantic Hawaiian vacation, your Holualoa Inn ohana invites you to make our Kona bed and breakfast your home base during Merrie Monarch week.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Friday, April 6, 2012

Big Island Woodworkers

Best of Show by Marcus Castaing
This year's annual Hawai‘i Woodshow produced six winners from the Big Island, highlighted by Best of Show award-winner  Marcus Castaing, whose gorgeous koa cabinet features the artful use of the wood's natural curl. The 20th annual event, which is sponsored by the Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association, took place in Honolulu on March 30, 2012.

Marcus is among the many fine woodworkers here on Hawai‘i Island who craft incredible pieces of local hardwoods such as mango, monkeypod, cook pine, ohia, milo and more. The pieces featured in the show were predominately crafted of Hawai‘i-grown woods, part of the organization's effort to encourage appreciation for sustainable forestry through the planting of native species. In addition to its annual woodworking exhibition, Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association manages several community forests and serves as an advocate for Hawai‘i's diverse forest industry.

Holualoa gallery owner, Cliff Johns
Our village of Holualoa boasts some of the finest woodworkers in the state, like Tai Lake, whose amazing koa furniture pieces are sought by collectors from around the world. Just around the corner from Holualoa Inn, the Cliff Johns Gallery unveils an outstanding array of works by local woodturners, wood sculptors and furniture makers, including pieces by award winners in this year's show, including John Mydock and J Kelly Dunn. A few doors down from Cliff's, Dovetail Gallery features fine-art woodworking by Gerald Ben, while Holualoa Ukulele Gallery is a must-see for those who appreciate beautiful, custom-made instruments.

Guests of Holualoa Inn are within walking distance of a plethora of fine-art galleries, where the Big Island's unique natural resources are showcased in many different genres, from sculpture and mixed media to photography and woodworking. Our Kona Hawai‘i bed and breakfast puts you right in the heart of the historic artists' village of Holualoa.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn