Honeymoon Guide: Big Island
Continued (page 5 of 5)
MORE THINGS TO SEE AND DOHILO FARMERS MARKET
Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue
For decades, sugarcane plantations dominated the agricultural scene on the Big Island, but since the closing of the last sugar mill in the 1990s, small farmers have flourished. The fruit of their labors (papayas, mangoes, lettuces, tomatoes, taro, tangerines, lychees, rambutans, basil, mint, watercress, bell peppers, fiddlehead ferns, eggplants and a great deal more) is on display in prodigious quantities at the best farmers’ market in the state—along with orchids, anthurium, fruit breads, furniture, arts and crafts, T-shirts, surfboards, chair massage, palm reading … you get the idea. And the prices will blow your mind.
At Mamalahoa Highway and Hualali Road (intersection of Highways 180 and 182)
Ancient Hawaii was thick with lauhala—items woven from the long, smooth leaves of the hala (pandanus) tree. This age-old craft has all but disappeared from modern Hawaii. Most of what passes as lauhala today is actually imported from the South Pacific. But Hawaiian lauhala weaving is still hanging on by a frond, thanks largely to this family-run shop, which has been peddling the real deal since 1914. Lauahala everything (including pillows, trivets, tote bags, beer-can holders and coin purses) fills the store from floor to ceiling.
VOLCANO ART CENTER GALLERY
Crater Rim Drive (Highway 11)
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Tel: 808-967-7565, 866-967-7565
There’s something about a live volcano that draws creative people and fires their imaginations. You can see the results at this gallery of works by more than 300 local artists. It's near the rim of Kilauea’s caldera, in the old (constructed 1877) Volcano House hotel. Among the bounty of sculpture, painting, woodwork, glass, ceramics, photography and jewelry you’ll find are scenes from Hawaiian mythology by reclusive printmaker Dietrich Varez, whose rain-forest studio is within view of the Puu Oo cinder cone, an eruption vent site of the volcano.
BIG ISLAND CANDIES
585 Hinano St.
Tel: 808-935-8890, 800-935-5510
Buttery macadamia-nut shortbread cookies, half dipped in chocolate, are the signature treat here, but there’s a splendid variety of additional goodies to make your sweet tooth ache. The truffles come in such exotic flavors as hibiscus, yuzu and coconut. The bite-size cookies are flavored with peanut butter, guava, Kona coffee and chocolate chips. Macadamia nuts go into just about everything, from the brownies to the biscotti; they also roll around by themselves, coated in milk, dark or creamy white chocolate. Everything is made on site using local ingredients, premium chocolate and no preservatives. Large plate-glass windows allow you to watch the confectioners in action.
SIG ZANE DESIGNS
122 Kamehameha Ave.
Islanders are crazy about the bold graphic designs that take aloha wear and Hawaiian collectibles back to their roots—the koa, breadfruit, taro, lehua and other plants that ancient Hawaiians depended upon. Every shirt, muumuu, sarong, leather wallet, handbag, ball cap, throw pillow and custom-upholstered chaise longue in the store bears botanically correct designs of deep cultural significance to Hawaiians, and there are well-spoken salespeople to explain it all. Zane himself is a hula expert who's married to a revered hula master. While his shirts and dresses might not pass as business attire back home, in Hawaii you see lawyers, businesspeople and politicians wearing them all the time.
35 Pii Mauna Drive
Tel: 808-967-7772, 877-967-7772
Yes, Kilauea volcano has many surprises—including its very own winery. After paying your respects to Madame Pele, stop by to sample the wine. Macadamia-nut honey, guava, jaboticaba (a purplish-black South American fruit) and symphony grapes form the basis of a half-dozen varieties. Some are traditional, some totally exotic, like the macadamia-nut-honey wine, a light and clear after-dinner treat sweetened by blossoms of the island's macadamia-nut trees. The gift shop is loaded with nonalcoholic souvenirs made on the Big Island and is worth a stop whether you imbibe or not. The winery lies just past another of Kilauea’s many surprises—the golf course.
81-6581 Mamalahoa Highway
Tel: 808-323-2275, 888-592-5662
Hawaii is the only place in the United States where coffee is grown, in the Big Island’s Kona Coffee Belt at altitudes between 800 and 3,000 feet. Cut out the middleman and stock up from the buyer, who dries and roasts about 180,000 pounds of coffee each year. The free farm tour is an eye-opener. It starts at the bushes where the coffee cherry grows, moves to the drying sheds and roasting ovens, then wraps up at the sample pot, in which the brew is always fresh. Try the peaberry blend, made from unusually small but dense beans, which constitute just 5 percent of the coffee crop and have an exceptionally rich, fruity taste
75-5597 Palani Rd.
111 East Puainako St., Building G
In the 1950s and ’60s, Hilo Hattie was a hula dancer, movie actress, comedian and singer of such songs as "Princess Pupule Has Plenty Papayas" and "When Hilo Hattie Does the Hula Hop." Today she’s the namesake for a chain of theme stores dealing in the planet's broadest selection of Hawaiian kitsch. There’s no better place to find a hula skirt with coconut-shell bra, matching his-and-hers Hawaiian-print outfits, a monkey-pod-wood calabash bowl, wooden photo frames or a lucky tiki bottle opener. And there’s free transportation between the store and the hotels.