Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hawaii-Journey to the Big Island Part 4-Kona

We’ve been using the belt highway, and this day was no exception. The road passes the southern most point on the island as well as in the U.S. The bakery, advertised as the southernmost bakery in the U.S. enticed us with aroma of fresh bread baking. I had to get two items, an éclair and a Bismarck (chocolate and lots of it).

The road turns northward parallel to the ocean with plenty of glimpses of what is known as Blue Hawaii, for good reason.

We turned off the road on a hunch that the Beach Park shown on the map might be unusual. It was. Milolii has a sandy beach, but most impressive is that the local library is here. We wandered a bit. JoAnne pulled out her pastels and began to sketch the ocean, sky and rocks. I roamed looking for sea turtles. After the pause, we proceeded to our rest stop for the next three nights, the Areca Palms B&B in Captain Cook.

Our host and hostess were Steve and Janice Glass. We arrived at the end of the third quarter of the Super Bowl and had the luxury of viewing the final, exciting quarter. There was little TV for us. Maybe I’ve weaned myself from the obnoxious news programs I have the habit of viewing and falling asleep.

Janice loves to bake. One night when we returned I could almost eat the air it was so rich. Her breakfast preparations had panache. The emphasis was on fresh fruit, breads and yogurt. Both she and Steve provided excellent guidance for our stay. The first was the recommendation for dinner at Mi’s. Morgan (the M) had been a cook for a Four Seasons Resort of the Island. The
meal was gourmet.

On our first day in South Kona we visited the “Painted Church.” The walls and ceiling depict various Biblical scenes. The second stop was further down the hill on highway 160 to what is billed as a coffee farm tour. There was no one to take us on the tour, but we received a lesson in Kona Coffee and why the pure bean is so expensive. I bought three varieties to test if I could tell the difference.

We proceeded to the base of the highway and the “Place of Refuge (Pu’uhonua o Honaunau). This is a Natural Historic Park under the Park Service. There is a trail called ‘1871’ that is a short hike through time. The ruins of old villages and an overview of the ocean slamming into the lava rock that has displaced it.

On returning, Steve provided us with another recommendation for dinner. He didn’t steer us wrong on this one. The Keei Café sits above the road in a cluster of shops. I had a broiled
swordfish with seasoning that was just perfect. It was served in a salad with strips of sliced green papaya. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

On the third day we drove into Kona. The recommendation was to visit the park near the old airport. Kona is the second largest city on Hawaii and we found a Target where we could stock up
on snacks and get two beach chairs so we could sit with back support.

Driving in the vicinity we spotted a community swimming pool. I truly wanted that exercise and what we discovered is that there was no charge for the facility. It is separated into a 25-yard section with about 8 lanes and a 25-meter section that also has 8 lanes. It was not busy so I had a lane to myself.

We used our chairs (for the first and last time) on the beach. At the end of our stay, we walked around a 0.7-mile course for runners and walkers. Half of the area is planted and maintained by various community groups. The place has at least one resident mongoose.

In the distance I spotted smoke. A fire had erupted on the main highway. As we left to return to Areca Palms, the traffic was backed up forever. There was no alternative. Cars from the main highway had been diverted to this smaller tributary and was bumber to bumper.

After breakfast we bid good bye to our hosts as we moved on to Waimea (next blog).

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