Overlooking the Kona Coast and the town of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island from Mt. Hualalai at a height of 1,300 feet, tiny Holualoa Village is a historic site, where retailers, farmers and artisans have gathered to create a unique cultural enclave. Members of the Holualoa Village Association have set up galleries, cafys, inns and crafts shops in over two dozen historic buildings from Hawaii's past. They also organize annual events that draw crowds of locals and tourists alike.
Surrounding Holualoa Village are Kona coffee farms. It was the coffee industry that first drew settlers to this area and caused the old buildings to be erected. From Dr. Nakamaru's old dentist office to Tom Gouveia's butcher shop and the old Holualoa Theater, these structures are a testament to Hawaii's plantation past. Historic photos and information have been posted within the buildings to help visitors understand their roles and importance over time.
While strolling through Holualoa Village, visitors will immediately sense the relaxed upcountry lifestyle that pervades the community. Life goes at a slower pace here. Priorities are focused on the here and now.
Each year, the Holualoa Village Association conducts a "Summer Farmfest and Ukulele Jam.'' Shop owners host local farmers for a huge open market, selling vegetables, fruit, flowers, cheeses, eggs, fresh baked goods and more. Tents are set up, and ukulele music fills the air. There is dancing, too, as local groups perform in the street.
Another annual attraction is the Holualoa Village "Coffee and Art Stroll.'' Since 1998, this event has been held on the first Saturday in November, offering free samples of over 30 different local coffees from West Hawaii farmers. Some 2,000 visitors attend, walking through the center of the village, browsing the galleries, listening to a capella tunes, and enjoying the fresh mountain air.
Each December, the entire village lights up and a special Christmas Tree is set up in front of the old Public Library for the "Music and Light Festival.'' Singing and ukulele music fill the air, as everyone embraces the holiday spirit. There are free "bounce houses'' for children. Vendors offer hotdogs, pupus, cotton candy, and face painting. Traffic on Mamalahoa Highway is reduced to a single lane to make way for the celebrants who crowd the village center.
Apart from the annual events, Holualoa Village merchants conduct a weekly farmers' market each Saturday. Art studios specialize year-round in woodworking, oil painting, home furnishings, fine prints, ceramics, photography, gourd craft, shell work, and more. And there is coffee - lots and lots of fresh coffee - in the small cafys and numerous mill shops around the village.
Other local businesses include a holistic health center, a gift store, and three cozy bed and breakfasts: The Orchid Inn, the Hale Maluhia Country Inn, and the Holualoa Inn. The latter is actually a more of a boutique hotel, combining the tranquility of a private coffee estate with all the amenities of a Polynesian retreat.
Holualoa Village is just a three-mile, 15-minute drive up winding Hualalai Road from Queen Kaahumanu Highway (State Route 190), which ends at Mamalahoa Highway (State Route 180) and the Kimura Lauhala Shop. Turn left (north) to pass through the village.
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