For our second week in Hawai‘i we moved from Kailua to Hilo. Rather than staying in a bed and breakfast we ended up renting a wonderful old house up the hill from downtown.

It had all kinds of plants—we missed lichee season but were able to pick pineapples and even tried monstera—and a fantastic lanai where we ate most of our meals. The neighbor’s cat would come by for visits and aside from one very scared field mouse who clearly did not want to live in the house, things were nice and peaceful.

Being based out of a house meant that we could actually buy groceries and prepare food. So we all got spoiled by loaves of Punalu‘u bread, Kukui Sauasage Company kimchi sausage, and all kinds of fruit from the farmers’ market. We definitely still went out to eat a couple times but as in Kailua it was at local spots like Cafe 100 or Kozmic Cones.

The effects of the pandemic were a lot more visible in Hilo as the town shut down for the entire weekend and many of the more tourist-focused restaurants and stores had limited hours and help-wanted signs.

The town itself remains the sleepy time capsule of old buildings that no one wants to upgrade because another tsunami will come some day. We didn’t just walk downtown too as we spent a morning walking around the Lili‘uokalani Gardens and out to Coconut Island.

What we did not do on this trip though was go to the Mauna Kea Visitor Center. On the drive over the saddle road from Kona airport we could see signs of the telescope protest and Pu‘uhonua o Pu‘uhuluhulu at the access road and all agreed that that was kapu for us.


Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at njwv.wordpress.com, and the web at vossbrink.net

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