The Big Island: A Week In Kona

Aloha! Wait, can I still say that after being back for nearly a week?
palm trees | hilton waikoloa |
Sure, why not? Because my mind and spirit still feel like they’re relaxing on a soft, sandy beach somewhere on the beautiful island of Hawai’i- The Big Island–and specifically in Kona. These palm trees are my new screen saver.  They remind me to breathe….and let the breezes of life pass through me.

This post is not only a visual travel log of my recent trip, but also a way of introducing a new feature of the site: a dedicated Travel page. Here you’ll find links to posts focused on travel destinations, whether near or far, cold or sunny, beaches or backpacks…..but always guaranteed somewhere worth exploring. These posts will be a bit longer than usual as they’re mainly photos.  Scroll and escape with me to parts unknown. Never fear, I’ll always tie-in food and drinks somehow.  Whether it be meals I’ve enjoyed, interesting culinary finds, or simple strolls through a local farmer’s market, like in this post. Maybe I’ll include a quick cocktail recipe too?  My eats & drinks bag is always packed and ready…. so, off we go!

sitting buddha | hilton waikoloa |

sitting buddha | hilton waikoloa

real dolphin | hilton waikoloa |

real dolphin | hilton waikoloa

dolphin statue | hilton waikoloa |

not real dolphin | hilton waikoloa

behind a waterfall | hilton waikoloa |

behind a waterfall | hilton waikoloa

hilton waikoloa | Big Island |

hilton waikoloa | big island

Spending a week in Hawai’i is always a special trip, but this visit in particular was even more memorable as we celebrated my parents 50th wedding anniversary. Yes, 50 years, can you believe it? What an accomplishment. Congrats Mom and Dad! Something we can all aspire to. We had family from WA State, Oregon, Tennessee, California and England join us in Kona to mark this momentous occasion. Lots of sun, surf, snorkeling and fancy drinks with little umbrellas!

DSC_0053-1papayas | big island |

papayas | big island


bananas | big island |

Had such a fun time at the Kona Farmer’s Market. It’s open Wed- Sunday 7am- 4pm and is in the center of Kona- you can’t miss it. They offer local artisan crafts, jewelry & apparel, flowers, ukuleles (in case you forgot to pack yours) and of course, lots of tasty tropical fruits and veggies. A foodie’s paradise! Got some great shots; even a Day Gecko!
mango | kona farmer's market |

guava | kona farmer's market |

guava | kona farmer’s market


lychee | kona farmer's market |

lychee | kona farmer’s market

rainbow papayas | kona farmer's market |

rainbow papayas | kona farmer’s market


green mango | kona farmer's market |

green mango – I think? | kona farmer’s market

"apple bananas" which the locals call "cooking bananas" | kona farmer's market |

“apple bananas” on top shelf which the locals call “cooking bananas” | kona farmer’s market

rambutan | kona farmer's market |

rambutan | kona farmer’s market

dragon fruit | kona farmer's market |

dragon fruit | kona farmer’s market

dragon fruit | kona farmer's market |
tropical fruit at kona farmer's market | big island |

gecho and melons

anthurium | kona farmer's market |

anthurium | kona farmer’s market


tropical protea | kona farmer's market |

tropical protea

I have no idea what this is, but it’s gorgeous!

On the day we visited the Volcano, we stopped at Ailani Orchards on the way back to Kona. Got to try fresh….and I mean *fresh* macadamia nuts…. right out of the shell. The farm is owned by Barney & Elizabeth Frazier who were so nice to us. Barney cracked opened several macadamia nuts with his nifty nutcracker. He explained how macadamias are grown and processed. They don’t bake theirs like most farms do. Instead, they slowly dehydrate their nuts over a 4-5 day period at low temps, thereby retaining the creaminess and the nut’s inherent oils. Amazing. The BEST macs you’ve ever eaten. We also tried their coffee… good! Oh, and up the road a ways….we saw these guys.

alilani Orchard | big island |

macadamia nuts |
DSC_0088-1-2 DSC_0096-1

Exploring the Kilauea Volcano and the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park was so neat. This was as close as we could get, due to the toxic gases that were emitting from the caldera. But still, what a sight to behold. I hear it’s even better viewing at night….next trip! And look at the gorgeous flowers & ferns we found at the overlook spot. That day we also did a quick detour over to Punalu’u Beach or Black Sands Beach. Boy, was that sand hot!
kilauea volcanoDSC_0066-1 kilauea vocano | big island |
DSC_0078-1 DSC_0076-1 DSC_0075-1 DSC_0073-1 DSC_0079-1-2


click to enlarge to find out what plaque above means ;>)

We had lots of other adventures including visiting a rare honey producer in Kumuela (near Waimea) and a vanilla bean farm in Paauilo. Those stories coming in future posts. But back in Kona: fishing, surf-watching, dolphins, beer, more drinks, and gorgeous sunsets. Mahalo for reading!
DSC_0071-1-2 DSC_0068-1 DSC_0061-1 DSC_0124-1

sunset 7.10.15-1

DSC_0073-1-2first night sunset






#picturebygrace. kona sunset first night. no filters.

p.s. this is not a sponsored post–just me giving a special shout-out and big mahalo to Gerrit and the folks at for their awesome website and personal recommendations to me for this trip. Their site is so comprehensive and made planning our activities so easy. Can’t recommend them enough!

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