Take a Road Trip to Hip Hawi

101 Things to Do (Big Island) - - TOURING -

The hip lit­tle en­clave of Hawi is only about an hour drive north of Kailua-Kona, but this up­coun­try ham­let (pop­u­la­tion 938) is worlds apart from its neigh­bor­ing city.

A ma­jor piece of Hawai‘i’s his­tory is tied to this tiny vil­lage. Hawi is the birth­place of King Kame­hameha I, the great war­rior king who united the Is­lands and laid the foun­da­tion for to­day’s state. A plaque des­ig­nat­ing the king’s birth­place is lo­cated on the grounds of an an­cient sac­ri­fi­cial tem­ple near a small coastal air­field.

Be­yond its his­toric sig­nif­i­cance, Hawi demon­strates a pro­cliv­ity for a self-suf­fi­cient life­style spiced with a sense of hu­mor. Find a take-home trea­sure cre­ated by lo­cal ar­ti­sans at El­e­ments Jew­elry and Fine Crafts. The store features jew­elry cre­ated by owner John Flynn, as well as pot­tery, paint­ings, prints and pho­tog­ra­phy by other artists.

Light­house Del­i­catessen is a buzzy NY-style deli that can cure hunger pangs both small and large with choices from a house-made soft-baked pret­zel to a sat­is­fy­ing salad or a meat­ball parme­san hero.

The Ko­hala Cof­fee Mill churns out 100-per­cent Kona cof­fee, gourmet ice cream and an ar­ray of sand­wiches, pas­tries and Hawai­ian gifts.

The Bam­boo Restau­rant is a Hawi in­sti­tu­tion. The pop­u­lar restau­rant and gallery is a taste of vin­tage Hawai‘i that never grows old.

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