Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hiking the other side of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Big Island visitors and residents will get the chance to hike an area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park that most people don't get to see. It's called Kahuku, and it's located on the park's southernmost section near South Point.

As part of the 10th-anniversary celebration of the opening of Kahuku, park rangers will offer free hiking programs at Kahuku, January through March 2013. No advance reservations are necessary; just show up. There are several tours available each week. One of the tours, Lunch with a Ranger at Kahuku, is scheduled for Jan. 12, Jan. 17, Feb 17, Mar. 15 and Mar. 3 at 11:30 a.m.. Bring a bag lunch and learn about land management, environmental conservation and the cultural history of Kahuku. To get to the park, drive through the Kahuku gate on the mauka side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5. Park and meet at the visitors' tent near the ranch buildings.

People and Land of Kahuku offers a two-mile, three-hour expedition through pastures, a quarry, an airstrip and the 1868 lava fields of Kahuku. Visitors will learn how people once lived on the vast remote lands of Kahuku, walk through an emerging forest, and hear about Kahuku's history of major earthquakes and eruptions. The guided hike takes place Jan. 13, Jan. 20, Feb 9, Feb. 23, Mar. 10, and Mar. 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Follow the same directions as above to get to the parking area. Be sure to bring boots, long pants, rain gear, water and snacks.

A guided hike of Palm Trail, a 2.6-mile loop traversing an ancient cinder cone, reveals some of the best panoramic views of the area. Visitors will see relics from the ranching era, native forests and interesting volcanic landforms from the 1868 eruptive fissure. The hike is offered Jan. 19, Feb. 10, and Mar. 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Guests of Holualoa Inn enjoy proximity to some of the Island's best sights. If you're staying with us in the coming months, you can easily drive to Kahuku in less than an hour to take one of the guided tours.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas in Hawai‘i

It's Christmas in Hawai‘i, and although you won't experience an old-fashioned "winter wonderland" in the Aloha State, holiday traditions abound amid the palm trees, sandy beaches, balmy temperatures and blue skies.

Christmas at Holualoa Inn
Live Christmas trees are usually imported by container from the Mainland. For local residents, it's no secret that you have to get your tree early before supplies run out! Some folks in Hawai‘i, however, prefer a local-style tree. It's not uncommon to see a Norfolk pine inside the home decorated for the holidays, or even a small coffee tree in a planter if you're a Kona coffee farmer.

Holiday wreaths and flower arrangements are laden with flora unique to the Islands. Here on the Big Island, the beautiful red lehua blossom makes the perfect holiday flower, whether incorporated into leis, centerpieces or wreaths. An imported flower, the poinsettia can be seen all over the Islands during Christmas.

Poinsettia arrangement Holualoa Inn's dining room
Before the arrival of the missionaries in Hawai‘i in the early 1800s, Hawai‘i had (still has) its own unique winter "holiday" season known as Makahiki. The four-month celebration of "rest and feasting" coincided with the arrival of the Pleiades constellation in the night sky. In 1862, King Kamehameha IV and his wife, Queen Emma, declared that Christmas should be a national holiday for the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. Since then, holiday traditions have taken on a decidedly Hawaiian flair.  Hawai‘i's even has its own unique Christmas carols!

Holualoa Inn holiday centerpiece
Everyone knows that "Mele Kalikimaka" is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day. As the song proclaims: "That's the island greeting that we send to you from the land where palm trees sway." This season at Holualoa Inn, our guests are enjoying the holidays in style. We've decked the halls with a bounty of botanicals from our tropical gardens and grounds. In our kitchen, the aroma of fresh-baked Christmas cookies permeates the Inn, while our festive gourmet breakfasts are brimming with holiday flavors. From our Holualoa Inn ohana to yours, we wish you a Mele Kalikimaka!

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Aloha, Senator Dan

Hawai‘i is mourning the loss of Senator Dan Inouye, who passed away on December 17 at age 88. Surrounded by his family, Senator Inouye kept Hawai‘i in his heart in his final hours. His last word was, "Aloha."

Senator Inouye at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, 2012
Senator Inouye was the most senior senator in the United States Senate at the time of his death, having served in the Senate since 1962. In fact, he had represented Hawai‘i in the U.S. Congress since 1959, the year that Hawai‘i achieved statehood, and was Hawai‘i's first member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was the second-longest serving senator in U.S. history second only to Robert Byrd. He served as the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and was third in succession to the presidency.

Receiving the Medal of Honor in 2000
Senator Inouye was also a war hero. He was a Medal of Honor recipient, as well as a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart. As a Japanese-American, Inouye faced prejudice after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, yet he volunteered for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and served with valor on the battlefield. In 1945 in Italy, he led an assault on German troops when a bullet struck him in the stomach and exited his back. He continued to fight, tossing grenades into enemy machine gun nests, when his right arm was completely shattered by a German rifle grenade. The grenade that he held in his hand was still "clenched in a fist that suddenly didn't belong to me anymore." To protect his fellow comrades, he pried the grenade from his shattered limb and tossed it left handed into a German bunker, destroying the bunker. He continued to fight until a bullet stuck him in his left leg and rendered him unconscious and near death.

Senator Daniel Inouye went on to serve with distinction in the Senate for five decades. He was a champion of civil rights and civil liberties, and helped to pass the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in the 1960s. In 1973, he served on the Senate panel that conducted hearings about Watergate.

His influence can be seen throughout the state of Hawai‘i, from roads and bridges to social services and veteran's benefits. RIP and mahalo nui loa, Senator Daniel Inouye.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Monday, December 10, 2012

Day Trip to Hawi

Located about an hour's drive north of Holualoa, the historic, sugar-plantation town of Hawi is a must-see destination when visiting the Big Island. In Hawi Town, vintage buildings along the street have been converted into art galleries, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Although it might seem like a "one-horse town," charming Hawi offers much to explore.

For lunch or dinner, try Sushi Rock, a great little hideaway that offers Island-fresh salads, seafood and dozens of choices of rolls and sashimi. With its on-site art gallery and boutique, Bamboo Restaurant is a popular culinary destination for tourists and residents alike. Another find, Zest Kitchen offers excellent entrees at affordable prices. After lunch, take time to peruse the charming boutiques, especially As Hawi Turns, which showcases a fantastic selection of unique items and Hawaiiana keepsakes.

Venture a half mile to the adjacent town of Kapaau, where the original commissioned statue of King Kamehameha I stands sentry by the courthouse. Lost at sea while en route to the Big Island, the statue was recovered from the ocean and brought to Kohala, where in 1912 it was erected in Kapaau.
The birthplace of Kamehameha the Great, the area of Hawi also features historic sites including the eerie Mookini Heiau, built more than 1,500 years ago, one of Hawai‘i's most ancient sacrificial temples.

Holualoa Inn is located in the historic artists' village of Holualoa just a short drive down the hill to the beaches and water attractions of Kailua-Kona. During your stay, our friendly ohana can offer tips and suggestions for day trips on the Big Island, including destinations like Hawi.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn