Take a Road Trip to Hip Hawi
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.