Cow­boy Coun­try

101 Things to Do (Big Island) - - COWBOY COUNTRY -

75. Poke Around a Fun Cow­boy Town

Waimea’s his­tor­i­cal cow­boy roots in­spire a rus­tic kind of charm, re­sult­ing in a Western-Hawai­ian ver­sion of Aspen and Sonoma chic. Nes­tled among some of the is­land’s most beau­ti­ful homes and neigh­bor­hoods you’ll find art gal­leries, bou­tiques, won­der­ful lit­tle cafès and col­lec­tions in­spired by the rough and rugged Hawai­ian cow­boy, known lo­cally as pan­iolo.

Parker Ranch Cen­ter, in the heart of Waimea, of­fers a mix of invit­ing spe­cialty shops, restau­rants and ac­tiv­i­ties. Visit Parker Ranch His­toric Homes, ride the range on a Pan­iolo Wagon Tour or sit at the cozy Fire­side Food Court and count your bless­ings.

Waimea (also known as Ka­muela) is the per­fect town for a dif­fer­ent taste of is­land life.

76. Ex­plore a Work­ing Cat­tle Ranch

Parker Ranch rolls over 150,000 acres of scenic up­coun­try ter­rain. It is the home of the first Hawai­ian pan­iolo (cow­boys), a race­track where record-set­ting thor­ough­breds were trained and a still-func­tion­ing cat­tle ranch. Its col­or­ful his­tory can be traced to 1809, when Mas­sachusetts sailor John Palmer Parker landed in Hawai‘i, be­friended King Kame­hameha I and even­tu­ally mar­ried the daugh­ter of a high-rank­ing Hawai­ian chief. Af­ter do­mes­ti­cat­ing herds of wild cat­tle on Mauna Kea, Parker pur­chased lands that even­tu­ally be­came Parker Ranch. To­day, the ranch’s char­i­ta­ble trust helps sup­port schools and hos­pi­tals in Waimea.

In the early 1900s, Eben “Rawhide Ben” Parker Low, a fa­mous Waimea cow­boy, proved the pan­iolo’s worth when he com­peted in the Fron­tier Days cel­e­bra­tion in Cheyenne, Wyo. Low’s cousin, Ikua Purdy, took first place; his half-brother, Archie Ka‘au‘a, took third; and his brother, Jack Low, took sixth.

Ex­plore the ranch for your­self on horse­back tours, through an ATV ride or with guided treks.

77. Go Big-Game Hunt­ing

Year-round hunt­ing sa­faris are an adren­a­line rush at Parker Ranch— we’re not talk­ing about hunt­ing rab­bits here.

Wild Van­cou­ver bulls with 35-inch horns lurk in the ranch’s re­mote rain­forests, wait­ing for a chal­lenge. Poly­ne­sian boars flour­ish in rolling grass­lands and dense forests, while Span­ish goats roam in rugged ter­rain. Bil­lies and axis bucks carry up to 36-inch antlers and weigh 200 pounds. Game birds and turkey hunts are sea­sonal thrills as well.

Ex­pert guides help in field dress­ing the an­i­mal, and the ranch can pro­vide a list of is­land taxi­der­mists. Bev­er­ages and snacks are sup­plied on all hunts, as well.

Call the ranch at (808) 885-7655 or (877) 885-7999 to in­quire about nec­es­sary hunt­ing per­mits and li­censes and to make reser­va­tions. Or visit the Parker Ranch hunt­ing web­site at www. hunt.park­er­ranch.com for full ex­pla­na­tions re­gard­ing hunts, pric­ing and ranch do’s and don’ts.

78. Visit a School House Gallery

The Isaacs Art Cen­ter is a good place to get out of the sun and get a feel for au­then­tic Hawai­ian artistry. The gallery is af­fil­i­ated with the Hawai‘i Prepara­tory Acad­emy, a board­ing and day school that was es­tab­lished in 1949.

Isaacs Art Cen­ter con­tains a large per­ma­nent col­lec­tion of paint­ings, fur­ni­ture, rare books and Hawai­iana. Art pieces also are avail­able for pur­chase. The cen­ter is open Tues. through Sat. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is lo­cated at 65-1268 Kawai­hae Road in Waimea, next to the HPA Vil­lage Cam­pus.

PHOTO: HAWAII TOURISM JA­PAN (HTJ)

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