Down To The Desert

Sunshine and palm trees- what could be better! A few weeks ago, I made a bit of an impromptu trip down to Palm Springs. It had been raining here in Sonoma County for days and days….and days, so I decided to shake the wet weather, get out of dodge and find some sun pronto! I grabbed my good friend Miss LJ, loaded up the car and off we went! Read more

The Big Island: A Week In Kona

Aloha! Wait, can I still say that after being back for nearly a week?
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palm trees | hilton waikoloa | whiskandmuddler.com
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 | whiskandmuddler.com
sitting buddha | hilton waikoloa
real dolphin | hilton waikoloa | whiskandmuddler.com
real dolphin | hilton waikoloa
dolphin statue | hilton waikoloa | whiskandmuddler.com
not real dolphin | hilton waikoloa
behind a waterfall | hilton waikoloa | whiskandmuddler.com
behind a waterfall | hilton waikoloa
hilton waikoloa | Big Island | whiskandmuddler.com
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!

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DSC_0053-1papayas | big island | whiskandmuddler.com

papayas | big island

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bananas | big island | whiskandmuddler.com

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 | whiskandmuddler.com

guava | kona farmer's market | whiskandmuddler.com
guava | kona farmer’s market

 

lychee | kona farmer's market | whiskandmuddler.com
lychee | kona farmer’s market
rainbow papayas | kona farmer's market | whiskandmuddler.com
rainbow papayas | kona farmer’s market

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green mango | kona farmer's market | whiskandmuddler.com
green mango – I think? | kona farmer’s market
"apple bananas" which the locals call "cooking bananas" | kona farmer's market | whiskandmuddler.com
“apple bananas” on top shelf which the locals call “cooking bananas” | kona farmer’s market
rambutan | kona farmer's market | whiskandmuddler.com
rambutan | kona farmer’s market
dragon fruit | kona farmer's market | whiskandmuddler.com
dragon fruit | kona farmer’s market

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

gecho and melons

anthurium | kona farmer's market |whiskandmuddler.com
anthurium | kona farmer’s market

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tropical protea | kona farmer's market | whiskandmuddler.com
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…..so good! Oh, and up the road a ways….we saw these guys.

alilani Orchard | big island | whiskandmuddler.com

macadamia nuts | whiskandmuddler.com
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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 | whiskandmuddler.com
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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!
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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 www.lovebigisland.com 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!