Posts Tagged ‘things to do’

The Kohala coast seems to stretch almost endlessly on the Big Island of Hawaii. And nothing might be more memorable than seaside dining at sunset. The restaurants along this coast have maximized their seating and arrangements for the best viewing. While almost all feature local seafood, you will be surprised at the variety of options, which give you a memorable meal with an even more interesting view and setting.

Ulu

Ulu at the Four Seasons Hualalai sits directly adjacent to the gentle surf beach with no table being a bad table. Combine breakfast, lunch or dinner with the crashing waves and with their stellar menu. Working with a bevy of local farmers and fisherman, you will get an upscale Hawaiian meal. Make it fish with Charred Hawaiian Hapu’upu’u – lemongrass creamed Hilo corn, romesco, and yuzu beurre blanc. Add mushroom fried rice, and you can bet on the aaahhhh factor.

Rays on the Bay

If you want to see the ocean and marine activity, head to the south side of Kona to Rays on the Bay at the Sheraton. Not only do you get to see the sunset, the manta rays come out for feeding under the lights. With music, a spacious lounge/bar area and the local wildlife, that would be enough. But wait, start with an Orchid Breeze with Domaine Chandon Brut, Distillery No. 209 Gin, and guava liqueur. The most unique entrée is Hilo Wild Boar with slowly braised ragout, hand-cut pappardelle pasta, grand padano cheese and rosemary.

Hau Tree

Where the coast takes a northwestern turn to Kawaihae, the Hau Tree at the Mauna Kea Beach Resort gives you toes-in-the-sand dining for lunch or dinner. A little more casual, and you can just come in from snorkeling or swimming for lunch, while every Saturday is the legendary Clam Bake (Yes, Elvis is reported to have made an appearance). Lunchtime favorites are the tater-tot nachos and just about any burger.

Mi’s Waterfront Bistro

When you have a yen for pasta, get to Mi’s Waterfront Bistro for innovative Italian with an ocean view. And, they make all their pastas and sauces. You get classically prepared dishes with a Kona twist such as Crab Manicotti combining three kinds of cheese, green beans, tomato and green chilies baked in marinara with Italian bread crumbs. Another perennial favorite as you watch the waves is the Herb & Cheese Ravioli with broccoli florets, toasted pine nuts, and a blue cheese cream sauce. Deserts get the same creative touch with their Tiramisu, an award winner from the Kona Coffee Festival.

Huggo’s

Huggo’s is one of the original restaurants in Kona, and sunsets are unique because the restaurant deck is essentially its own pier. The iconic view draws you in, but the food and drink make it the complete experience. While there is plenty of fish on the menu, the real stopper is the Signature Teriyaki grilled flank steak with local Asian greens and bamboo rice. And, in the morning, a Hawaiian breakfast calls with seaside omelets.

Coast Grille

The Hapuna Prince is a classic Hawaiian hotel, so expect the Coast Grille to have some classics with an exceptional sunset view. 40% of the menu includes locally sourced ingredients. For example, many of the vegetables and herbs used in the Poke Nachos coming from the Hapuna garden. Here the menu is less fixed and more about what is available and fresh at the time with a classic sunset view. They offer the Big Island’s only oyster bar combined with a design-your-own-Poke menu. The Coast Grille hosts a regular wine and other spirits dinner, one of the few restaurants on the island to give the traveler this option.

Lava Lava Beach Club

The Lava Lava Beach Club sits right on the edge of Anaehoomalu Bay. A cozy combination of beach, sand and open air dining. Nightly entertainment of guitar and hula compliments the spectacular sunsets. The menu does rotate a bit, so start with the edame appetizer or the standing Ahi nachos. While everything tends to taste wonderful as the waves roll, the Hook, Line & Sinker is the chef’s inspired fish creation of the day and never fails.

Kamuela Provision Company

Whale watching season is always a little more exciting at the Kamuela Provision Company because you can easily see them breach the water on their migration. This might be the best spot on the Big Island for a romantic dinner, as they have just upped their cocktail offerings to include jet-fuel potent signature martinis in the adjacent Blue Lounge. The Hudson Farm Kumato Tomato Salad takes that little starter to new heights with the shaved Kula onions and blue cheese. The Ginger Infused Steamed Monchong (a local fish) gets a treatment of cilantro, carrot, green onion, kabayaki treatment, sizzling peanut oil, and sushi rice cake.

Fishhopper

If you want a large variety of local catches, the Fishhopper in downtown Kona gives you a great bay and people watching combined with innovative seafood. They have the Big Island’s longest happy hour, starting at 2 p.m. with both food and drink specials. Consistently voted the best Mai Tai on the island, so you can’t go wrong with that libation. The best fish combo is Local Monchong with creamy risotto, which takes the broiled Monchong, and then adds creamy risotto mixed with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and spinach. Top the whole creation with Beurre Blanc sauce. This is one of the few places where you can get fresh fish and chips made with local Kona beer!

Information for this blog taken from A Luxury Travel Blog written by Neil Wolkodoff

safari3Safari Helicopters motto is safety first.  Safari utilizes the toughest, most robust helicopter in Hawaii because the safety of passengers and pilots is paramount. Our state-of-the-art Safari A-STARs are flown nowhere near full power; another built-in safety precaution because if the pilot needs a little extra lift, the power is right there. Safety first, then an exciting and unique helicopter adventure is next.  Conditions change daily and even hourly. You can expect Safari Helicopters pilots to fly the safest and most scenic route for the given day. Pilots monitor combine weather data with their intimate knowledge of the varied micro-climates in Hawaii. Each day is different, and that’s where experience comes in.  All Safari Helicopters are FAA Certified, and all pilots all have instrument ratings and extensive experience in all forms of flights throughout the world. Owner Preston Myers requires that all his Safari pilots adhere to the same high standards of professionalism that he personally has carried out over the years. Preston believes that the best way to safely navigate the skies of Kauai is to have new top-of-the-line helicopters, experienced pilots, and a rigorous maintenance schedule with attention to every detail on every flight.  Safari always makes it standard practice to balance the aircraft and make general inspections for each and every flight. “Safety is in the details, not by chance” says Preston Myers. Our policy is to exceed safety standards and practices set forth by the FAA.   For you as our valued customer and precious cargo, know that we’ve gone to great lengths to ensure the quality and comfort of your experience.  Safari combines the right equipment, practices and experience to make this the safest and most comfortable experience possible. After all we want you to relax, and be awestruck at the amazing sights we’re going to show you.

Take a flight to the World’s most active volcano. The Big Island has been erupting almost continuously since 1983, pouring red-hot molten earth into the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean.

All Hawaiian volcanoes are produced by a plume of lava known as the Hawaiian magmatic hot spot. This plume of lava rises up from deep within Earth’s mantle and burns through the seafloor crust to form volcanic mountains that eventually rise above the surface of the sea to form Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian Islands are actually just the summits of these massive volcanoes that grew up from the ocean floor as much as 18,000 feet below the water’s surface.

The Big Island is the youngest Hawaiian Island, less than a half a million years old, and its two major volcanoes are Mauna Loa (which includes Kilauea Voclano) and Mauna Kea. These massive volcanoes are a sight to behold from the vantage point of a helicopter (when clouds do not interfere). Mauna Kea rises to 13,796 feet above sea level. Mauna Kea is considered the tallest mountain on Earth if measured from base to summit, towering up more than 6 miles from the ocean bottom.

The volcanic activity of the Hawaiian hot spot lava plume continues today on the Big Island at Kiluaea Volcano, and a Safari Helicopters tour will survey the diverse array of volcanic formations throughout the whole area where this activity has recently occurred and also where it is happening right now!  The aptly named Chain of Craters Road descends 3,700 feet from the summit of Kilauea Volcano to the sea, and has repeatedly been blocked by lava flows with more than 9 miles of the road covered since 1986. The Pu’u O’O Volcano flows into the ocean (fluctuating between Chain of Crater Rd and Kalapan Back Sands Beach) and sends up plumes of volcanic gas and smoke. From a helicopter this is a most impressive sight to behold.

There are four main districts in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park including: the Upper Rift Zone; the Mauna Ulu Zone; the Hilina Pali Zone; and finally the Coastal Zone, which is where the lava from Kilauea Volcano meets the sea (note: our Hawaii helicopter tours do not visit all districts – we only fly to where the current volcanic activity is taking place).  The Upper Rift area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is where the road begins and where many old craters are located. The landscape in this area is also very lush as it receives much rain. The Mauna Ulu area is only a few miles down the road from the Upper Rift Zone but is much more sparse in vegetation because of lava flows in the mid 1970s.

Also sparse in vegetation is the Hilina Pali zone which has steep cliffs caused by huge landslides. The Coastal Zone is also very sparse with vegetation because of little rainfall and very recent lava flows. Expect to be absolutely amazed at the incredible sights you will see from a Hawaii volcano helicopter tour. There are so many unique land formations and visible volcano history before your eyes that it is difficult to encapsulate it all in words.

If you go online to make your reservation, they will give you a substantial discount.  You must arrive 45 minutes before you flight to go over the safety instructions.  This is a must do when on the Big Island!

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I just returned a week ago after staying at Su’s condo and wanted to share my experience.   The last time Liz and I were in Hawaii was 30 years ago for our honeymoon. During the past 30 years we have raised 3 wonderful adults and decided it was time to treat ourselves.

Su’s golf course home is conveniently located about 20 minutes from the Kona Airport in the Waikoloa Beach Resort.   The area is beautifully developed with mature trees, colorful flowers and many wonderful areas to walk and explore.  It is a private home on the 3rd hole of the Waikoloa Beach Course.  We enjoyed watching the golfers while eating breakfast or sipping wine on the lanai.  We played the Beach course on Monday and enjoyed the discounted rate Su offers her guests. We had a wonderful dinner that evening at The Sansei Seafood and Sushi Bar which was a short walk across the street at the Queens Shopping Center.  The following day was our official anniversary date and we had a special dinner at Browns Beach House at Su’s recommendation.  We arrived early and enjoyed drinks and live entertainment while we watched a beautiful sunset at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel balcony.   The food, service, and ambiance at Browns Beach House was spectacular. They even gave us a free mud pie which was a nice surprise.  We spent the next day at the Hapuna Beach State Park and enjoyed the comfortable Tommy Bahama beach chairs and snorkel gear that was in the garage.  That evening we went to the Lava Lava Beach Club and had Mai Tais and appetizers and watched another beautiful sunset.  Make sure to get there early because a lot of people have the same idea.  The following day we did a road trip across the island to Hilo and visited Volcano National Park and walked thru the Lava Cave.  At the Visitors Center, we learned about the history of volcanos and how the islands were formed.  We splurged and did a helicopter tour over an active volcano and beautiful waterfalls.  That was the highlight of our trip.

I give Su my 5 star rating for the condition, location, and amenities offered with her golf course home.  The home was beautifully furnished with comfortable furniture, fast Wi-Fi, television with surround sound, and many nice extras.

Take it from me, you will be very happy staying at Su’s hawaiigolfcondo while in paradise.

Dave and Liz Beckmann

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