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Archive for hawaii

The Road to Hana

By Linda Tancs

Hawaii’s Hana Highway (Highway 36) is more than just a road; it’s the top tourist destination on the northeast coastline of Maui. That’s because the drive is filled with eye-popping scenes from waterfalls, lookouts and lush forest along with fruit trees, cane grass and verdant pastures. It’s a journey best taken in stages although you could blow through it in three hours from Wailea. If you choose to stop along the way, then consider the aptly-named Garden of Eden Arboreturm (mile marker 10), the lookout point with a beautiful view of Maui’s north coast at Kaumahina State Wayside Park (mile marker 12) and Kahanu Garden (mile marker 31), boasting a view of Pi’ilanihale Heiau, the largest temple in Hawaii. The road is often snarled in traffic; start before sunrise for the best experience.

America’s Only Royal Palace

By Linda Tancs

A National Historic Landmark, Iolani Palace is the only official royal residence in the United States. Located in Honolulu, Hawaii, it was built in 1882 by King Kalakaua and was the home of Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. The mansion was ahead of its time, outfitted (even before the White House) with electricity (the first electric lights in Hawaii) and a telephone. A tour of the first floor consists of the public reception areas: the Grand Hall, State Dining Room, Blue Room and Throne Room. The second floor showcases the private suites, including the King and Queen’s suites, Music Room and the Imprisonment Room, where Queen Liliuokalani was sentenced to house arrest for eight months following a failed coup by royalists in 1895.

Seeing Green on the Big Island

By Linda Tancs

Hawaii has more naturally colored beaches than anywhere else, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that verdant landscaping is not limited to lush tropical forestry. Indeed, just head to Papakolea (popularly known as Green Sand Beach) for a matcha-like heap of sandy shore formed thousands of years ago from an eruption resulting in volcanic olivine silicate crystals. Not too far from South Point (the southernmost point in the United States) on Hawaii’s Big Island, the beach is accessible via a vigorous two-and-a-half-mile hike.

A Treasure Chest of Science

By Linda Tancs

Located 1,000 miles south of Hawai’i, Palmyra Atoll is one of the most spectacular marine wilderness areas on Earth. Declared a national marine monument, its pristine and unoccupied environs are jointly managed by The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. As a center for scientific study, research there helps inform island conservation efforts around the world. Imagine a place where sharks still dominate the reef ecosystem, a place where over a million nesting seabirds and the rare coconut crab find refuge. Although it has never been settled, its history is nonetheless interesting. Named after an American shipwreck, it was claimed by the sovereign Kingdom of Hawai’i in 1862 and came under United States jurisdiction following the annexation of Hawai’i in 1898 (Hawai’i later entered statehood in 1959). Nonetheless, it was privately owned and even used by the U.S. Navy as an air refueling station during World War II. The Nature Conservancy acquired Palmyra from the Fullard-Leo family for $30 million in 2000. Because the atoll is specifically excluded from the State of Hawai’i, it was the only privately owned territory in the United States. These days its inclusion as part of a new national Pacific marine monument increases the amount of protected ocean wilderness surrounding Palmyra from half a million acres to 13 million acres, including nearby Kingman Reef.

The History of Coffee

By Linda Tancs

Hawaii’s Kona Coffee Living History Farm tells the story of Kona’s coffee pioneers during the years 1926–1945. America’s only living history coffee farm, it tells the story behind Kona’s gourmet crop. A self-guided experience, take a walk among the coffee trees or learn how farmers milled and dried their world-famous coffee. At the end of your visit, be sure to sample the farm’s 100% Kona coffee. No doubt you’ll pack a little extra for the trip home.

Preserving Hawaiian Heritage

By Linda Tancs

Formed in 1996 by preservationists Sam and Mary Cooke, the Mānoa Heritage Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, is a center for preservation of Hawaii’s natural and cultural heritage. The Center consists of four distinct areas: a native garden with a collection of 30 to 40 species, a Polynesian-introduced garden (also known as canoe plants), a heiau (the only intact ancient Hawaiian temple in the district of Waikiki) and a Tudor-style house built in 1911 and presently the private residence of Sam and Mary Cooke. The heiau and historic home are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Currently, only guided tours of the heiau and garden are available, but the house is being readied to become a historic house museum.

The Most Hawaiian Island

By Linda Tancs

Moloka’i is often referred to as the most Hawaiian island. That’s probably because native cultural practices and traditions remain pretty much intact with but one hotel and few restaurants to distract tourists from its Polynesian splendor. Even the national park, Kalaupapa, is restricted. State law requires all individuals to secure a permit prior to entering. The park is a place of remembrance for a community in isolation. When Hansen’s disease (leprosy) was introduced to the Hawaiian islands, King Kamehameha V banished all afflicted to the isolated Kalaupapa peninsula on the north shore of Moloka’i. Intrepid visitors seek out the three-mile mule trek, descending down a dizzying mountain to the former leper colony.

The Cliffs of Kauai

By Linda Tancs

Sheer cliffs with crayon hues descending into the deep blue sea, playing host to an array of dolphins, sea turtles, whales (in season) and colorful fish. That’s the promise along Na Pali, the rugged coastline on the northwest shore of Kauai, Hawaii’s oldest inhabited island. Widely acclaimed as one of the most beautiful views in the world, it is best viewed by sailing, rafting or hiking the Kalalau Trail (an 11-mile trail that leads from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach). Rainbows are virtually guaranteed.

The Legend of Twin Rocks

By Linda Tancs

Although identified plainly as “a garden in a valley on the ocean,” the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is anything but ordinary. A natural greenhouse, the 40-acre valley just miles north of Hilo on the Big Island features nearly 200 species of palms alone and over 2,000 species of tropical plants from around the world overall. Its location on the site of the ancient village Kahali’i at Onomea Bay gives rise to the legend of twin rocks. According to the tale, two young lovers were recruited to stand guard over the bay during the night to protect against enemy sails spotted by the local chieftain. When day broke, the lovers were gone and two attached rock formations stood in their place, forever standing sentinel at the head of the bay. These days the enemy sails are just cruise ships, and passengers will be glad to know that garden staff will meet you at the pier for a day’s visit.

Happy New Year

By Linda Tancs

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou.  That’s Happy New Year in Hawaiian–and what a wonderful time to visit!  Those tubular waves made famous in print and film are in full vigor this time of year.  Surf’s up.  Are you ready?

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