Enchanting Waipi’o Valley, Hawaii, the Big Island

IMG_1122The Waipio Valley of Hawaii’s Big Island is lush and historic. Referred to as the Valley of the Kings, it’s an important place in Hawaiian culture and history. From the Waipio Valley Lookout, you will discover one of the most beautiful places in the world.

The Waipio Valley is sparsely populated, but remains home to approximately 50 residents.

Steep cliffs, a black-sand beach and a fertile valley filled with waterfalls, streams, taro fields and spectacular views surround you. Even on a cloudy day, the bright greens with the sound of the pounding waves are a feast for the senses.

The Waipio Valley lookout is located off Highway 240 at the town of Honokaa. Follow it to the dead end. The road down from the lookout is accessible only by four-wheel drive and is very steep. The grade of this road is approximately 25 percent, so a regular car is out of the question.

There are other options such as a an official tour–shuttle service in a four-wheel drive van followed by a tour with experienced guides on horseback in the valley.

Hiking is also an option if you have the time and ability to spend hours and make the mile-long trek, which is certainly more difficult on the way up than on the way down.

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Malasada Monday

IMG_6069For nearly a decade, we drove by TEX Drive In during our visits to the Big Island without stopping. We had no idea what we were missing until a friend told us that we must stop. We were missing malasadas.

Malasadas are Portuguese sweet bread and fried donuts. You may order them up with or without a filling. With a filling, they are about $1.50. When we arrived mid-morning, they had a sign on the counter with the flavors available that day. They were served warm and fresh, sprinkled with sugar.

IMG_6070Located in Honoka’a, TEX Drive In opened in 1969 and specializes in “ono Kine grindz,” or local Hawaiian food. Along with the world-famous malasadas, they have a menu of breakfast items, burgers, wraps, stews, soups, sandwiches and salads.

No, the malasadas are not health food. Yes, you should have one and then plan an extra long hike later that day in paradise. Order one up with your filling of choice and grab one of the outside tables for a view of the Pacific in the distance.IMG_6073

TEX Drive In is located at 45-690 Pakalana Street, Hwy. 19 in Honoka’a. It’s a great place to stop on a drive between Waimea and Hilo. They are open every day, except for Christmas, from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.