Chapter 17 – Big Island
When most people think of Hawaii, they are thinking of the Big Island. Its proper name is Hawaii, but it is locally known as the Big Island to help differentiate the individual island from the group of islands that make up the whole state.
The island is 4,028 square miles, making it the largest island in the United States and larger than all the other Hawaiian islands combined. There are competing theories as to the origin of the name: Some say it was named after Hawai’iloa, the Polynesian navigator who first discovered it. Others say the name is derived from Hawaiki, the place from which Polynesians are believed to have originated. The Big Island was home to King Kamehameha, who waged years of warfare designed to unite all the islands into one state.
The Big Island was formed from five separate volcanoes that erupted in a very specific order, each creating lava flows that overlapped the other. Today, the island still has active volcanoes and is considered to be growing. In fact, between 1983 and 2002, the island produced enough land (created from lava flows) to increase its size by 543 acres. The island is not terribly populous, with just over 175,000 residents in 2000.
Like the other islands, the Big Island originally built its economy on the back of the sugarcane trade. However, in 1996, the last big plantation closed and the island now makes its money on the tourism trade – although it is also known for its orchid agriculture. Thanks to the orchid industry, the island is unofficially known as the Orchid Isle. The Big Island is also known for being a prime spot for astronomy and you will find many telescopes located at the top of Mauna Kea.
For the Art Connoisseur
The Big Island is teeming with small galleries with small art exhibits of both local and national artists. There are a few places you’ll want to keep an eye on for bigger theatre and musical performances, too.
- Kahilu Theatre Foundation – The Foundation offers a 24-concert performance season, presented in the cozy 490-seat Kahilu Theatre. Past seasons have included the Kamuela Philharmonic and American Bluegrass Masters. There are also free community events, such as a pianola artisans showcase and film showings. www.kahilutheatre.org
- Volcano Art Center – The center is a wonderful community resource, offering classes, workshops, performances and special events throughout the year. A spring art camp, lampworking demos and a native species art hike along Kamehameha Beach are just a few of their offerings. Check their Web site to see what performances are scheduled for the time of your visit, as things change often. www.volcanoartcenter.org
For the Foodie
The Big Island is a haven for foodies, even those who shy away from resort-style dining. There are wonderful eateries to be found in every nook and cranny.
- Kilauea Lodge – Just a mile from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Lodge is a local favorite, being particularly popular for its fantastic breakfasts. In fact, Honolulu Magazine and the Tribune Herald both voted it best bed and breakfast on the island (so think about booking a room here, too). Go for the Sunday brunch, which includes smoked salmon Benedict and the famous volcano loco moco. While you are there, be on the lookout for Meatloaf and Lambchop, the resident cats. www.kilauealodge.com
- Daniel Thiebeaut – Located in the restored century-old Chock In Store, this restaurant features an eclectic décor that includes lots of vintage Hawaiiana – but its best feature is the menu. Entrees include grilled bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin in a Thai red wine sauce with herb spaetzle – and the always fresh daily specials, many of which are vegetarian. www.danielthiebeaut.com
- Monettes – Kobe beef tastings. Winemaking. Whale watching. Benefit events. Monettes has it all, including a new menu each day centered on local ingredients and paired with international items. And let’s not forget the award-winning wine list of over 1,000 labels. www.monetteshawaii.com
- Bamboo Restaurant – Despite its common name and being slightly off-the-beaten path, this restaurant is a favorite among the locals – and gets rave reviews from tourists regularly as well. The menu features fresh, locally caught fish prepared in a variety of ways, and there is local music on Friday and Saturday nights. While you’re there, be sure to order one of their trademark passion fruit margaritas.
For the Nature Lover
Like the other islands, the Big Island is full of natural beauty – and with myriad ways to experience it you’ll never be bored.
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – This park houses two of the world’s most active volcanoes, the most famous of which is Kilauea. You can tour the volcanoes, but also make time for the 10.6-mile Crater Rim Drive that traces Kilauea’s caldera. Make sure your time in the park also includes a stop at the Thomas A. Jagger Museum, the Thurston Lava Tube and the Puu O’o vent. nps.gov/havo.
- Pu-uhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park – Right on Honaunau Bay in south Kona, this park is a true immersion experience. The park was once a refuge for ancient Hawaiian outlaws. If the lawbreakers could make it to this area, they could undergo a sacred ceremony that would allow them to return to society. Take advantage of the walking tours that include a hike down the black lava shoreline, past ancient carved wooden images of the gods and a sacred temple called Hale Okeawe Helau. nps.gov/puho
- Sadie Seymour Botanical Garden – A relatively small botanical garden, the Sadie Seymour is located on just 1.5 acres on the grounds of the Kona Outdoor Circle Educational Center. The gardens were founded to help beautify the Kona community and feature the plants of Hawaii arranged in 11 tiers according to their geographic origin. The gardens also contain an archeological site called Heiau, once used for the construction and blessing of canoes. Find out more on the Kona Circle Web site, konaoutdoorcircle.org.
- Imiloa Astronomy Center – The Hawaiian islands are well known for being near-perfect places to observe the night sky, with their high peaks and clear, warm weather that allows for year-round observations. The astronomy center explores the origins of the cosmos and Earth’s role in that development, as well as space explorations throughout history. There are daily live presentations on a variety of topics. While you are there, be sure to visit the full-dome planetarium – the surround sound will leave you feeling as though you are floating amongst the stars themselves. www.imiloahawaii.org
For the History Buff
If you prefer to spend a bit of time taking in the history of the Island, there are many museums and historical areas that you might want to explore.
- Lyman Mission House & Museum – The mission house was originally built in 1839 by missionaries from New England, David and Sarah Lyman. In 1931, the property was established as a museum and the home was completely restored. Today it houses exhibits including a collection of fine art artifacts and pieces revolving around the natural history of the area. There are also special exhibits throughout the year that demonstrate life as it was for missionaries 150 years ago. www.lymanmuseum.org
- Hulihe’e Palace – For the latter half of the 19th century, this two-story palace was used by royalty as a vacation home. In 1925, the government purchased the property and today it is maintained and operated by the Daughters of Hawaii as a museum. The home showcases period furniture and historical items and the grounds contain several gardens and fish ponds. Each month, the museum sponsors a public concert dedicated to one of Hawaii’s monarchs. www.huliheepalace.org
- Kona Historical Society – The Kona Historical Society brings history to life on a 19th century coffee plantation. You’ll also visit the H.N. Greenwell store, experiencing a general store as it existed in 1890. Look into the jeep and boat tours of the area and stop in at the stone oven to watch a bread baking demonstration. The society also offers a walking tour of historic Kailua village. www.konahistoricalorg
As you can see, every island in Hawaii has unique experiences to offer. Plan a day trip, a weekend or even a week – no matter which you choose, you’ll experience something fantastic.
“Mrs Lally was very aggressive with advertising and putting our home out there. She sold our house 5 days after listing. Wow! We were excited and very impressed with her quick sale. We will definetly use her services again when we sell our next home.”
“Aloha! Calen at Team Lally has worked with my husband and I since day 1 of our search for our home. She was always so prompt with emails, house listings and also giving us an unbiased and honest opinion. She’s extremely knowledgeable about real estate and was constantly patient if we had any questions. She would always make sure that we could get the most bout of our money and would constantly be negotiating for us with our best interests at heart. She was on top of things and I didn’t have to go hunting for her or feel alone in this process. Our experience with working with Calen at Team Lally has been such a pleasant and personal experience that anyone should be blessed with! Elizabeth and Justin Munson”
“Adrienne and Howard and their team were amazing for us. We both bought and sold our home thru them, and they helped us through every step, every time. They were understanding, knowledgeable and professional. they made what would have been a grueling process easier, and I can say how much we appreciate all their hard work! Highly recommend!!!”
“Team Lally are great. I have not had the chance to buy a house yet but I know that whenever we walk in the office we are considered not only a valued customer but as family. I am lucky to have them on my side.”
“Aloha, My name is Bryon Tucker. My wife and I sold our home via Short Sale with Remax Team Lally. We are very pleased with the sale! I have had the pleasure of working with Adrienne & Attilio for the past several years. They work hard and educate themselves. There is nobody in this business that works harder, studies more, and has the experience to sell your home.! And their marketing systems is second to none!! They make it easy….they handle the banks for you…so you don’t have to! When it comes to selling your home in distress, do what I did! Sell your home with Remax Team Lally! Yay!!!!”
“Team Lally helped me with the shortsale of an underwater, upsidedown mortgage. I am so glad I found them. Thanks.”
“Team Lally sold a condo-hotel unit for us in Hawaii. We live in California and did not actually know or observe what was happening with the sale. They took care of the showings, finding buyers (3) and negotiating with the bank. They took care of all of the paperwork – sending us what we needed and arranging for docusign whenever possible. We were kept in the loop as much as possible and as much as we needed to be. It was a very stressful time for us and they (patiently) explained procedures to us, since we often did not know what was necessary or what the next step was. Team Lally was very professional in all dealings with us and we are very grateful for their consideration of us as stressed absentee sellers and for negotiating a great deal for us.”
“Adrienne and her team is one of a kind . They have advocated well for me and helped me navigate the scary world of short selling. It was an uncharted territory for me but they”re so keen of putting me at ease by answering all my questions. (redundunt may it seems)with remakable patience. During the whole process I felt confident that somebody in Hawaii is looking out and working hard for my best interest. Now that its over I can truly say that I can enjoy the holiday with peace of mind. More power to you guys…God Bless.. Thank you so much again….”
“My husband and I worked with Cherie Fikani. Amazing customer service. She was always available to answer questions in person, emails, texts and phonecalls. My husband and I never had to wait on a response or ask for an update. She was always well prepared.I like that she was patient… understanding even. She listens to the specifics and works with us on it without rushing us through. This experience could have been a scary ride but Cherie made sure nothing takes away the excitement of buying a home.Mahalo Nui Mrs. Fikani I would most definitely recommend TEAM LALLY to family and friends.”
“The pros of Team Lally simply cannot be surprised in the real estate world. They have done and seen it all. I was astounded and relieved to see them address all my concerns and even accurately predict what would happen next. The mark of a true professional is to be so in tune with your chosen field that to a lay person like me, it looks like magic!”