ing as well as ideal for growing macadamia nuts, coffee, tropical
HILO, GATEWAY TO EAST HAWAI’I
Our adventure on the east coast began in
Hilo, the island’s largest city. Not dependent
upon tourism, Hilo is a step back into the
mid 1900s and quite reminiscent of its 19th
century plantation heritage. The open-air
market is a great place to shop for native
wares. Sig Zane, the island’s premiere designer of fashionable clothing and accessories, is
just down the street. A cultural practitioner
whose inspiration is derived from the Pele,
the volcano, and hula which he finds inseparable from the natural world, he creates a
limited amount of each cloth design, which,
when exhausted, is permanently retired.
Sig Zane’s packaging designs for other
companies including Big Island Candy are
also highly valued. Producers of some of the
finest chocolates worldwide, a stop at the Big
Island Candy factory and gift shop brimming with beautifully-packaged, mouthwatering confections you can carry or have
shipped home to loved ones is a must.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND DINING
You’ll not find lavish hotels or resorts on
the eastern side of the island. This is a place
for escape, meditation, nourishment for the
soul. Hotels in Hilo are adequate and B&Bs
along the rugged forested area known as
Coastal Puna provide the basic comforts.
There are just a couple of exceptions.
One is the Falls at Reed’s Island. Our
home for the first three nights, this extraordinary rental home is nestled in a rainforest
just blocks from downtown Hilo. Originally
built by two San Francisco architects as
their refuge from the world, the three-bedroom structure runs the length of a ridge
centered in a deep river valley. The décor is
elegant simplicity with continuing walls of
glass inviting nature’s magnificence into
every room. The window of a large lounge at
Called Eden by some, ground access is limited to Waimanu but from the air, this hidden
valley of virgin waterfalls and verdant vegetation can be easily enjoyed.
PHOTO BY STEVEN HODGES/SUNSHINE HELICOPTERS
W E S T L A K E M A G A Z I N E / F E B R U A R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 0 7
ing as well as ideal for growing macadamia
nuts, coffee, tropical fruits, flowers and
diverse range of activities.
The landscape may change from rainforest to arid as you travel from east to west, but
the island’s cultural heritage and mystical
energy are omnipresent. Beginning with
ancient beliefs brought by the first
Polynesian settlers some 1500 years ago and
influences of Christianity that took root in
the early 1800s, people throughout the
island still practice beliefs and art forms
passed down through the centuries. You
sense it everywhere -- in the dance, the arts,
pattern of a dress, or a short prayer spoken at
the beginning of your Lomilomi – an ancient
Hawai’ian massage technique -- in your luxury resort spa.
PHOTO COURTESY OF HIVB/SUNNY TAKEISHI
Blazing sunsets silhouette the observatories on 14,000-ft high Mauna Kea.