Hawaii: The Big Island

*We went to farmer’s markets in:  a) Hilo has a fantastic farmer’s market (Wed & Sat).  b) You can also find a farmer’s market in Volcano.  (It’s much smaller.  You get a real community feel.)  If you google, you will find a more complete list Big Island farmer’s markets.

*You can find Hawaiian chocolate in Kona.  The last time we went, we found the shop and bought items directly.  I’m not sure if they still do this.  Here’s a link Original Hawaiian chocolate.

*Visit a Mac nut farm….

*A few years ago, we went in search of Sam Choy’s restaurant in Kailua Kona.  It was in a warehouse like building.  The food was big plate in every way and the flavors were really quite good.  (We never stopped at his Oahu location and so cannot say whether it’s the same.)  Eating there reminded me of eating in some of the large, thrown together Chinese restaurants in old LA Chinatown (maybe without as many of the red banners – but still a lot of kitsch on the walls.)  I went web surfing to see if I could still find it but it’s not listed on Sam Choy’s website.  I have his book, Sam Choy’s Island Flavors, and have made several of the recipes.  They all turned out great.

Nene at crater in Volcano National Park

Nene at crater in Volcano National Park

*Visit Volcano National Park at night.  It’s a long and winding road.  You need to walk a ways in the dark along a rocky path.  However, if you get far enough out and the volcano is going, you can see the glowing embers.  It’s amazing.  (Be careful not to look at people’s flashlights or you’ll lose your night vision.)

*snorkeling:  Mauna Kea Beach; Mau’u Mae on MK property; Kealakekua  (between Kealakekua Bay and Keaubou Bay)

Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

*beach (if not right outside of where you are staying): Hapuna Beach; Kaunaoa Beach

IMG_0998 IMG_0941*

*We stayed at the Kona Village resort several times.  It’s now going to be sold again and this time it may not have the same flavor.  When we stayed, there were no electronics in the rooms (no phone, no TV, no radio), although they did have ceiling fans and fridges.  The food was good.  The location was amazing.  Every morning there were turtles on the beach and swimming around.  You could be swimming and a turtle would come up to look at you.  They had all sorts of water equipment that you could just borrow and you could go on a glass bottom boat ride as part of your stay (no extra cost).  They had a great Keiki program, too.

IMG_0916*Volcano House (Volcano National Park):  The rooms are lodge-like, extremely rustic in nature.  It’s more like staying at a motel than a hotel.  On the other hand, when you open your window curtains, there’s a crater.  It also is a shorter trek to see the volcano glowing at night.  We couldn’t get in for dinner and so I’d recommend making reservations as soon as you can.  We had to drive out quite a ways to find something to eat.  (We also recommend the lodge at Mesa Verde in Colorado.  These are two national park lodges that are worth it.)

*Hale Ohia  (http://www.haleohia.com/rooms.htm…):  We enjoyed staying here quite a bit.  A film crew was staying at the same time and it made the morning conversation really interesting.  Beautiful setting, comfortable accommodations….

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