The beauty of the Big Island


When you land at the Kona International Airport (KOA) on the Big Island, you are greeted by the unique beauty of West Hawaii. This is the island known for its active volcano, gorgeous coastlines, diversity in climate and natural, rugged beauty. Once in a while, you find yourself stopping to take it all in, such as when you discover an orchid thriving in a bed of lava rocks. As you explore, the scenery is difficult to describe or categorize. Ocean views or a trip to the 4,200-meter high summit of the Mauna Kea Observatory. Snowboarding or surfing? It’s your choice. The Big Island of Hawaii lives up to its name. It will call you back again and again.


Orchid House on Lana’i

While the Polar Vortex of 2014 brings record-breaking, dangerous and bitter cold to much of the United States, it’s nice to know that there’s a place on earth where orchids bloom year-long in paradise—a flower lover’s dream come true.


On social media today, the comments about the cold snap are filled with humor: “Actual thought in my head just now: -14 degrees, that’s not too bad. What’s wrong with me?”

“Strangely, -14 isn’t really that bad if the wind isn’t blowing.”

And the one that Midwesterners often ask ourselves this time of year, especially when we are dealing with a predicted high of -13 for tomorrow: “Why do we live here again?” (Usual answer: Family, roots, the people, or the glorious fall and summer weather. And, even today, it’s brilliant and sunny despite the Polar Vortex gloom and media reports.)


So it’s nice to know that somewhere out there, on the meticulous grounds and gardens of the Lodge at Koele on Lana’i, sits an Orchid House filled with hanging and potted orchids and tropical flowers–yet one more reason to love the Aloha State.


Orchids, orchids everywhere

Orchids at the Keauhou Farmers' Market on the Big Island

Orchids at the Keauhou Farmers’ Market on the Big Island

Elegant, exotic and diverse, orchids are plentiful in Hawaii.

They are often seen in vases at your restaurant dinner table. They are sold at the local farmers’ markets.

They are used to make gorgeous fresh flower leis. Or, they may adorn your dinner entrée or tropical drink.

Personally, I love orchids for the fact that my wedding bouquet was a gigantic collection of orchids—a bursting spray of purple and white dendrobium orchids along with yellow popcorn orchids, and more. I also wore them in my hair, which I highly recommend at least once in your life.

An orchid section at the Kona Costco

An orchid section at the Kona Costco

We even saw an orchid section at a big box retailer on the Big Island. (As often as possible, we try to shop at local, smaller or independent stores while we are in Hawaii, but still I found this a fascinating discovery.)

Soon, I’ll be posting a sampling of the orchids from the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden on the Big Island—an orchid lover’s paradise.

Orchids flourish in Hawaii’s tropical climate. Online, you’ll find many orchid growers in the Hawaiian Islands and many of them will ship—a good way to bring some aloha to your home.