Naaleau, Big Island, Hawaii, May 4 – May 11, 2017
We took a turboprop plane to the Big Island, which I wasn’t too sure about doing. Mike thought it would be cool because you fly lower and can see a lot more. I’m glad we did it, because we could see 4 of the other islands as we flew over them — Moloka’i, Lanai, Maui, and Kaho’olawe.
After landing at the Kona airport, we picked up our rental car (a Renegade Jeep, good for 4WD!), met Ricardo the Rental Car Rooster (he showed up one day and never left) and headed south…way south.
We stopped for lunch on the way at the Strawberry Patch Restaurant, a great little spot with delicious dishes made with fresh, local ingredients and a whimsically decorated interior with gorgeous chandeliers, quirky salt and pepper shakers, and various mix and match tables and chairs. (Note from Mike: I am vehemently opposed to the use of the word “whimsically.”)
Our house, between Oceanview and Naaleau was close to the southernmost point of the U.S.! In fact, a coffee shop down the street is the southernmost coffee shop, a bakery in Naaleau is the southernmost bakery, etc. 🙂 The neighbors who take care of the house came to say hello, introduce us to their beautiful (and funny bird) Belle, and gave us a tour of their amazing garden full of flowers and fruit and nut trees!! Unfortunately, L and G all of a sudden were being eaten alive by mosquitoes, so we had to head inside…but not before they generously gave us some bananas, limes, papaya, and oranges!
We spent an afternoon at Punalu’u Beach (a black sand beach) playing in the sand, building rock towers, climbing palm trees, hiking, watching green sea turtles, and playing in the waves.
While G and Mike went for a short hike for another view of the beach…
L climbed coconut trees!
As we were getting ready to leave, we spotted a turtle in the rock pools and watched it for a long time. G was very concerned about its welfare, but Mike looked up info about sea turtles and rock pools, and we were convinced the turtle was fine and doing what he wanted to do — relaxing and eating algae on the rocks.
On our way back to the house, we stopped in Naalehu at Taco Tita’s (a new Mexican taco shop), as the house neighbor recommended it. Unfortunately, it had closed shortly before we arrived. Fortunately, the woman working there (originally from Hungary!) still had all the food out, so she let us order! As we were getting ready to leave, the woman asked if we knew what “Tita” meant in Hawaiian, and then told us that it’s a woman or young girl who doesn’t “take crap from anyone. You don’t like our tacos. Don’t come back!” 🙂 The tacos were delicious, so we knew we’d be back!!
We went across the street to the Punalu’u Sweetbread Bakery (the southernmost bakery in the U.S.) but a tour bus was there, so we walked over to the Will and Grace Variety Store, which was a small food market, where in addition to finding some pineapple juice and coconut milk that we wanted, we found some canned squid, which we didn’t want!?!
We walked back over to the bakery and each chose a treat — an eclair for G, a vanilla cream puff for L, a macadamia nut cinnamon pinwheel with cream cheese frosting for me, and a chocolate malasada (Portuguese donut). Soooo tasty!!!
Down the street from our house was Paradise Meadows Orchard and Bee Farm. We’d driven past the signs several times, so decided to check it out one morning. They were sampling their Hawaii’s Local Buzz deliciously smooth coffee and lots of their tasty macadamia nuts, cookies, and honey! We also got a tour around the gardens and orchard, which was fun!
Just next door was this beautiful inn, and I couldn’t resist taking a picture of it.
We continued driving about 10 miles south to South Point, which is the southernmost point of the Big Island of Hawaii and of the 50 United States. We past a giant wind farm on the way and when we got to the point, we watched several building diving from the cliffs, despite the warning signs! 🙂
For dinner, we enjoyed fresh papaya and pina coladas with our pizza. 🙂