Tag Archives: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hula with vets on holiday – and super Thai near the Volcano in Hawaii

A cryptic flyer posted on the wall of the Kileau Lodge where we’re staying landed us in what looked like a camp cafeteria watching five hula musicians, several playing the ukulele and about 10 hula dancers perform traditional selections from all over the islands. It was great. The flyer mentioned something about hula at KMC – which turned out to be Kileau Military Camp, which we’d passed a few times while visiting the National Volcano Park and wondered about. We learned that it’s a camp for veterans and active military and their families for R&R. There’s another such camp on Oahu. The hour long performance was free and very entertaining. I was pleased to see that some of the hula dance movements I used to do when fooling around as a kid are pretty close to the real thing. How or where did we learn this stuff as kids (Elvis movies? Hawaiian punch commercials? Hawaii Five O?) Visiting Hawaii has made me realize all the stereotypic pop culture stuff I know about the islands – even though I knew very little about the real Hawaii (including which island Honolulu was on.)

After the hula performance we had an excellent meal at Thai Thai – one of the few restaurants in Volcano.

 

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Where to stay on Hawaii’s Big Island: can the mags/books/websites be trusted?

So I’m elbow deep in thick guidebooks trying to figure out the best (my “”best” definition: the most interesting/authentic, least expensive/resort/chain-like) place to stay on Hawaii’s Big Island and fine myself torn about two B&Bs in Volcano, Hawaii (right by the National Volcano Park).

I’ve gone to the websites for each and watched the videos and slide shows and scanned the maps and read the testimonials. I’ve looked at one room after another, even one B&B’ s  floor plans. Does it really make a difference if the proprietor was born and raised in Volcano – or a relatively recent transplant from Oklahoma?  Do I care that one serves a hot breakfast, the other a cold; one serves organic fruit, the other fruit not billed as organic? And to think I used to just travel without booking a place to stay – let alone the absolutely perfect place to stay, whose every crevice I am familiar with in advance.

This researching also raises the question of whether to trust the opinion of various travel magazines and guidebooks.  Having written for both, I sometimes wonder what their criteria is for choosing “the 25 best” or “the 10 places we love” etc.  (A recent example – Forbes Magazine recently selected the Des Moines neighborhood I live in as one of America’s 12 prettiest. It’s nice enough but one of the top 12? Looking closer, I saw that a Des Moines magazine editor helped do the picking.)

Back to Hawaii: B&B#1  appears to be the darling of the travel mags (two have given it a major thumbs up) and it is the cheapest. But judging from the websites of each, it  looks rather drab compared to B&B #2 which is more cheerfully decorated, gets respectful reviews in two guidebooks (as does B&B #1) ,  has its share of local “Best of” awards, and was selected as a stopover by a respected walking tour company. True it’s $70 more a night, which one guidebook says is a “con” because it’s overpriced for the area.  But I may just have to go with my gut on this one.

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Walking the Big Island in Hawaii

I’m starting to think we should visit the Big Island during our trip to Hawaii in January, which will start with a conference in Honolulu.  I’ve gotten some suggestions from VBT’s walking tours catalog – including visiting Pu’uhonua o Hanaunau,  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hamakua Coast/Wilamea/Anna’s Ranch , Kohala Coast, Hilo and staying at: Kilauea Lodge, Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Hapuna Beach Prince Resort.

Any other suggestions welcome!

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