|All Photos From Hawaii in Brief unless otherwise noted|
The Ka'awa Loa Plantation is nestled - yes, nestled - on the side of the steep hill overlooking Captain Cook. It's so nestled, in fact, that you can't see the monument from the place. It's so nestled that the driveway is only wide enough for one vehicle at a time. If it were any steeper they'd have to forgo the driveway for a monastery's basket and rope system. Greg and Michael assured us that cars almost never crossed paths, however (in fact out of the half a dozen or so uses of the driveway we only came upon another vehicle once; our first time, of course).
Greg and Michael are the proprietors and hosts of the plantation, where 29 different kinds of fruits are grown, including ridiculously delicious pineapple, bananas, and dragon fruit. They also grow their own coffee. Damn.
The house itself is impeccable. Huge, airy, every room seemingly glowing with Aloha. The nick-knacks that are sprinkled throughout accomplish with elan what I in the past have completely failed at with action figures and Happy Meal toys. The bed in our room was a welcoming embrace the two nights we were there, softly cradling us to sleep in tropical comfort. The half-bath in our room did the job, and though there is a shared shower for guests indoors, they recommended we use the outdoor Lava-rock shower. So we did.
(shower photos provided by the Mrs.)
For you literalists out there, the name refers to the building materials, not the nature of the cleansing. The rock walls were home to a number of bromeliad species, clinging and blossoming happily as they drank in the shower's water supply - hot water was solar-heated from morning til evening, and electric-heated the remainder of the time. How cool is that? It was refreshing to shower outdoors and not have to stand on pallets, an ingenious solution used at longer SCA Events like Pennsic (how I miss thee, o War). The beauty of the grounds did not end with the showers, mind you.
There's a hot tub and a Hawai'ian sauna a short walk from the showers, between which there is a small stand of banana trees with a rubber tree or two mixed in, in tropical style (I can only hope my rubber tree lasts so long!). Near the hot tub there is a statue of a buxom mermaid in all her glory.
Mangoes, avocados, and COFFEE trees all grow right near the house, with flowering bushes and a green lawn completing the look as they are bisected by a wall running parallel to the house itself. There is a swing tied to the mango tree in the yard, the tree dropping fruit on the ground as I was snapping pictures or sharing a quiet moment on the veranda (lanai?) with the Mrs.
The veranda/lanai (let's roll with lanai - it is the name of one of the islands, after all) wraps around one side and the entire back of the house, multiple doors leading out to it. There are a few small tables for dining or enjoying a cup of their on site coffee, some rocking chairs, and a large daybed perfect for whiling away hours with a good book, or contemplating the Pacific, readily visible from your vantage. The panorama from the lanai is nothing short of breath-taking. One can only wonder what Captain Cook himself thought of the view from down there as he came into Kealakekua Bay for the first time. You know, before he got himself killed.
Down on the shore there's reportedly good snorkeling, the aforementioned monument, a good beach (show me a beach in Hawai'i that isn't good), and the town of Kailua Kona is a short (20 minute?) drive away for your other needs. We honestly didn't explore the shore area much because we'd already made other plans.
We're going back there, and I recommend you go there, as well. We didn't realize how much there would be to do there, or else I think we would have planned more of our stay around the immediate vicinity rather than driving back to Kona. We're going back because we fell in love with the place (almost as much as the island itself), and because we want to explore the local area, though we plan to do so in a rental car (convertible) so that I'm not mistaken for Lono.
Ka'awa Loa Plantation
Captain Cook, HI 96704
Hosts: Michael Martinage & Gregory Nunn