Posts Tagged 'hilo'

Hawaii Five Adventures – Hilo’s Open-Air Market

Hawaii's heart shaped tropical flowers for sale in the Hilo Market

Among the Best Open-Air Markets in the West

Open-Air Markets Hilo

Hilo blossomed from a village centered around the mission church to a boom town when sugar production flourished. Businesses came and went – whaling, coffee farms, sugar plantations, the occasional cruise ship and a budding tourist industry. Modern Hilo has a current population of forty-thousand-plus but the economy has been on a downward slide since the demise of sugar plantations. It’s a town that has made and remade itself after booms, busts, earthquakes and tsunamis. Many locals believe that their quality of life isn’t so much what you do to make a living as what you do for fun. Surfing and family time are celebrated recreations.

The attitude of “living life to its fullest today” may come from living next to an active volcano. The pace on this side of the island is slower than in the more populated tourist destinations.

Among the Best Open-Air Markets in the West

Plan your trip to Hilo to coincide with the Wednesday or Friday Farmer’s Market. Consistently touted as one of the best open-air markets in the country and possibly the world’s best for spectacular exotic flowers and ultra-fresh produce, the 22-year-old market features more than 200 island farmers, chefs, honey-makers, local goat and feta cheese producers, floral artists, and crafters who display their good in a space covering two blocks. It’s open “from dawn ‘til it’s gone.”

Vivid scarlet, pink and white anthuriums erupt from green plastic buckets. Vendors of hand-made beeswax candles chat with the growers of fiddle-head ferns. I can’t resist the tropical flowers so I buy a $6 dazzling floral arrangement in a coffee can wrapped with folded Ti leaves. Pink ginger, burgundy and crimson anthuriums and heliconia are tucked into moist, green foam in the bottom of the can.

Handmade jewelry for sale at the farmers' market

Gourmet products from the Hilo Farmers' Market

Hawaii Five O. Plantation-style inn.

Palm Cliff House, Luxury Inn set in a stunning tropical garden

Finding the Old Hawaiian experience

Exotic birds soar from palm to palm as we wind our way down the drive to the Palm Cliff House, a luxury inn located 14 miles from Hilo. Perched on the cliff’s edge 100’ above crashing surf, the plantation-style house is nestled within verdant acres of its own tranquil estate. Every room has views of the ocean below, where humpback whales and spinner dolphins frolic in the waters of Pokakumanu Bay. Waves crash on the cliffs and birdsong fills our spacious suite as I eye the two-person sunken Jacuzzi with views to the ocean, the four-poster bed and the comfy chairs on our private porch. This is the perfect way to start a vacation.

The gorgeous gardens at the Palm Cliff House

Warm Hawaiian Hospitality from the owners. Cocktails, fresh salsa and fabulous breakfast on the verdanda.

Hawaii Five O -5 Outstanding Adventures on the Big Island of Hawaii

If you think Hawaii is only about resorts, pools and beaches, think again. The Big Island of Hawaii has so many active adventures outside the gates of the resort. You can hike to waterfalls, bike volcanoes, paddle with dolphins, and snorkel with Manta Rays.

Hawaiian sunset.

To get a feel for the rich diversity of the island, fly into Hilo and out of Kona.
As the jet makes its arching descent across Hilo Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii, we‘re mesmerized by the tropical tableau below – translucent blue water fringed with green rolling hills. The couple across the aisle compares the scenery to Ireland. But when my husband and I step off the plane the floral fragrances and warm trade winds leave no doubt that we’re in Hawaii.
Next blog: Where to stay to get the feel for the real Hawaii.

About Marybeth Bond

Marybeth Bond is the nation’s preeminent expert on women travel. She is the award-winning
author-editor of 11 books.

Marybeth has hiked, cycled, climbed, dived and kayaked her way through more than seventy countries around the world.

She was a featured guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Marybeth has appeared on CBS News, CNN, ABC, NBC, National Public Radio and National Geographic Weekend.