The Big Island
The State of Hawaii is comprised of a chain of volcanic based islands. The largest land mass, also named Hawaii, is often referred to as The Big Island. Population on this island is approaching 200,000. In comparison, the population of Oahu where Honolulu is located is approaching one million even though the size is about a third that of the Big Island.
Recently, I spent time on both islands and while I have favorable things to say about Oahu (Look For future posts) I fell in love with the Big Island. I spent a limited amount of time in the tourist areas, although you can read about a favorite stop in the Kona area in Quilt Passions. My favorite region is the ranch land which centers on the north central part of the island. The town of Waimea acts as a base for this industry.
On my first drive into the area I stopped at Anna Ranch. The old homestead has been turned into a museum and has an event center which is used for local special occasions. I was fortunate that the grounds were open because on a later trip the gates were closed. For tours, call in advance. The ranch has been in operation for generations. The land is named for Anna Lindsey Perry-Fiske (1900-1995) and was founded in 1848 by James and Ka’ipukai Fay. A creek runs through the property and the pastures are beautiful. There is a self- guided tour with informative signage and a donation box. For more information visit the ranch website at https://www.annaranch.org/
I did not take the time to get on a horse, but several opportunities for trail rides and horseback riding can be found in this area. Two stables I passed while on my cross island drive were Horseback Above Waipi’o Valley and Na’alapa Stables. Each offers opportunities for riders of different skill levels. Reservations need to be made in advance. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to reach this part of the island.
A small shopping center anchored by the Parker Ranch store can be found in Waimea. A food court in the middle provides public restrooms. In addition to small stores and a Starbucks, is a grocery store. This is a great place to take a break from driving and do some shopping. From this point you can either head to the wet Northeast coast or the dryer Northwest section of the island.
On that first drive, I stopped at the lookout point over the Waipi’o Valley. The view from the overlook is incredible. The drop into the valley requires 4-wheel drive. So, venturing into the valley will have to wait for a future trip.
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