This Life...

Friday Snippet: The Let’s Explore The Big Island Edition

My writing view from the lanai tonight

And so we did! It’s our first full day on the Big Island of Hawaii–a much different place from Honolulu and Waikiki. Right off, it’s more laid back, not the hustle and bustle of a big city or a tourist destination like Waikiki. And maybe a little bit wilder, more natural, more of a small-town vibe. No less expensive, though, and that needs to be said. Son asked if I thought I could live here. Although it is gorgeous and amazing, if I lived here, I’d be on the street with a tin cup and shopping cart. There’s no place in Hawaii I could ever afford to live. I’m not at all sure how the people who live here and work in everyday jobs afford it.

But visiting is wondrous, so I’m going to celebrate that! We started out early, went down the street for breakfast, and then headed south toward the bottom of the island, which also happens to be the southernmost point in the United States of America. Along the way, we stopped in at Heavenly Hawaii Kona Coffee Farm for a fascinating tour and some tasty java (Son is standing by an old Willys Jeep on the coffee plantation). I’m officially a fan of 100% Kona coffee. I made it all the way through the tour of the farm, despite having to do some hills and steps. The tour guide was fun and we learned a ton about how coffee growing and production on a small farm.

After that, we got on a highway going south and rambled–stopped along the way at things that looked interesting, including a fabulous Huli barbecue place that was set up in a tent by the side of the road. It made a delicious lunch, although I couldn’t even begin to finish all they piled on my plate. We stopped to look at the lava flows and the gorgeous views of the Kailua Bay and the ocean. The lava flow areas looked like you might imagine another planet might look–just dark stretches of rock… the volcanos left nothing living in their wake.

Finally, we got to the Southernmost Point and walked down to the coral beds where we watched the waves on the tidepools, in awe that if we went farther south from there across the ocean, we’d ben in Antarctica. Wow–talk about feeling small in a huge world!

We picked up some coral and left them as prayers in the heiau, which is the Hawaiian word for temple. There was a circular one made of the lava rocks there at the site. The surf was so beautiful and wild–we watched for quite a while. Son decided to step up to the top of the world on the edge of the cliff–Mom was only slightly panicked…argh!

After that we drove on around the end of the island to a black sand beach, which was pretty fascinating. The sand is a different texture than white or beige sand–more like Kosher salt than sugar. The history in this state is an entire education in itself. We’ve been using an app called Big Island Revealed to take us to little out-of-the-way spots on our drive and Andrew Doughty is an excellent travel guide and storyteller.

We got home a little while ago, happy, maybe a tad sunburned from riding with the top down, although we did apply a bunch of sunscreen, wiser about the Big Island, and ready for naps. It was a long, but delightful day!

We need to think about supper–not sure what that will be, but we’ll wander down into town and see what looks good. Thank you all for coming along with me on this journey. I’m so excited to share it with you!

Stay well, and tomorrow is another day in paradise, so stay tuned!



  • Liz Flaherty

    The Big Island sounds wonderful! As someone whose son stood at the very edge of the Cliffs of Moher, I get the panic thing, although it’s more of an “okay, you can come back now” when they’re adults. What a day!

  • Janine

    I have always wanted to go to the Big Island. I have been to Oahu, Kauai and Maui. The Revealed book you mentioned are good guide books. My ex swore by them when we used to go to Hawaii. He moved to Honolulu in 2002 and loves it so much, he won’t come back to Texas.