As my 3 month Hiatus comes close to an end, I decided that I needed to cleanse my soul and my body. I hit the beach 2 days in a row and now I’m the poster child for the song Rock Lobster. Having cleansed my body I knew I needed to get away and cleanse my soul and I couldn’t think of anywhere more potent for such cleansing as Waimea , Hawaii.
Waimea, located on the Big Island of Hawaii is ideally located at the foot hills of beautiful Maunakea, a dormant volcano and home to the beautiful Goddess Poliahu. It is also the setting for a true Hawaiian Cowboy novel, as the largest privately owned ranch in the world, The Parker Ranch, gently takes up a huge amount of land up there in God’s country. But the true beauty of Waimea isn’t just its absolutely lush foliage, green grass, sleepy town feel, majestic Maunakea in the background, amazing food, and starry nights, it is in the warm smiling faces of the people of Waimea.
Waimea is also known to many locals as Kamuela , which is actually the name of the post office. Acreage and acreage of land make up this beautiful country style living, and many residents enjoy a few acres for themselves.
But the true reason fro my visit, besides soaking up the fresh air, and relaxing along side beautiful plants and sky, was to visit someone I haven’t seen in quite some time.
Antonnette Reed ( or Aunty Toni as most people know her by) was my mentor and the reason why I’m in such a wonderful position in life. She is like my second mother and has taught me everything I needed to know to be a successful costumer in the movie industry, but also to be a humble servant to humanity. She has taught me many life lessons , of which never pertained to work, but to my life and I have always been so grateful for her tutelage and unconditional love and I couldn’t wait to see her.
When planning for this mini vacay, one of my best friends Clint Hew-Len and I were trying to figure out where to go, what to do , and where to stay. We came up with Kona, and the Big Island, with the intention of visiting Aunty Toni. So I called up Aunty or rather texted with her, and told her that we were coming up for a visit and would love to see her. Her first response was…. “Where you guys staying?” ” you come stay with me, that is final, DONE” Oh ok aunty ….. 🙂 OMG who wouldn’t want to stay on her lovely estate deep in the Hawaiian Homes section of Waimea? Ecstatic, I told Clint that we have accommodations so pack your sweaters.
We left on a mid Friday morning on Hawaiian Airlines , one of 2 airlines serving Kona area. A quick 30 minute flight and we were landing in sweltering Kona International Airport. Ok not that sweltering, but hotter than Honolulu. The land is as it has always been since recent memory serves me, a small town ( Kailua Kona) surrounded by homes stretching up the mountains, and neighboring a vast lava field .
We picked up our rental and started our 45 minute journey up and up to Waimea Valley. We stopped for a quick visit to Waikaloa’s Queen’s Shopping Center, and in 5 minutes of being outside, we dashed back to the car to head up to cooler country.
The ride was lovely and shortly we were arriving into Waimea Town, with cowboy statues, and that lovely cool air. First stop, Aunty Jade’s house. My drop dead gorgeous aunty Jade is such an athlete and an amazing school teacher. She raised 4 boys all on her own, after loosing her loving husband at such a young age. I’m always amazed when I see her. She’s always in such great spirits and still serving us a gorgeous mug and hair, and deadly hula girl body. She’s so sweet to me and I appreciate the times I get to visit with her outside of Face book hahahaha.
Making our way past all the houses with their lush green yards , horses grazing , and the little drizzle blessings that keeps this place so green, we arrived at Aunty Toni’s house.
Once we pulled in I rushed out to give her a huge hug. Ahhhh its always so lovely seeing loved ones …
Aunty Toni’s house is gorgeous. A plantation style property with beautiful birch wood floors and walls, a gorgeous Antler Chandelier, and lovely space, It is a perfect haven for happiness. The new thing though besides her daughter Mapuana’s dog Zuki, was 3 new or rather for me new, Greenhouses .
Being the active and creative lady that she has always been, she took advantage of her property and decided to grow vegetables. But not just plane ole vegetables, Drop Dead Gorgeous and Delicious Heirloom Tomatoes. This is what she has recently become famous for. Her company MO BETTA FARMS have seen much success. Because her Tomatoes are 100% organic, Pesticide free, and GMO free and of course absolutely stunning, it is no wonder why Whole Foods try to buy her out. Demand for her tomatoes are so high, that she cut back on Whole Foods and concentrated on providing the top restaurant Chefs on the island , quality produce. Such as the Four Seasons Hualalai and Sam Choy’s. But she doesn’t just produce Tomatoes, oh no, there is her purple Bell Peppers, Raddish, Shiso leaves, Taro, and so much more. It is amazing. She is currently building 2 more Green houses to keep up with the demand. And no wonder, because everything she touches turns to beautiful Gold. She’s amazing …
. After a lot of catching up and coffee, we thought it time to go for a nice lunch.
Lunch was at Red Water Cafe (http://www.redwatercafe.com), a restaurant that Aunty Toni worked at many years ago when she first moved up to Waimea in the late 70’s. It has seen different owners and names, but all good things come back full swing and this place is really good. A bottle of wine, lots of absolutely delicious food later, we were stuffed and decided to head back to her house to rest, relax and do more catching up. Ofcourse we already had dinner on our minds, so because Waimea is small yet very popular with locals and tourists alike, we knew that in order score a table at the number one restaurant in the area, Meriman’s Waimea, we had to make a reservation. That done we relaxed and talked and talked and talked and it was so wonderful. This was what Clint and I needed rest and good conversation.
Shortly before dinner, Aunty Toni said come on lets hop on my gator and go for a cruise in the neighborhood. Weeeeeeee.
Dinner time came by fast, and thank Goodness for that as I was already starving. I don’t know why, but I’ve been constantly hungry …. Oh gees.
We arrived at Meriman’s Restaurant (https://www.merrimanshawaii.com/waimea/)to a packed house. Everyone in their touristic Aloha attire with their golden hair was enjoying their dinner, and it seems that we were the only locals there. It is a bit on the pricier side, but you get what you pay for there. Cocktails first as we skim through the menu. 2 flights of Wine tastings for me and Aunty Toni, and Clint was enjoying a beer after his cocktail. Clint ordered the Lamb Butcher’s Block style, Aunty Toni the New York Steak, and I, the Macademia Nut encrusted Mahi Mahi. The meal was delicious albeit the wine flights as I didn’t find their wine selections to be to my liking. Never-the-less, dinner was fantastic .
When we arrived back at the estate, the stars where on full show. Another advantage of being in Waimea is that you can see ALLLLLLLLL the stars, and Clint and I were in amazement as we don’t really have that opportunity back in busy Honolulu. It was a celestial heavenly experience.
We retired to the guest house which is located in the front of the property , a cute car drive away and retired into deep slumber under the stars and with the cool winds coming from Maunakea to caress us to sleep. Heaven.
Saturday morning we awoke ready for some lovely coffee . The sky was clear and beautiful and the sun was shining in all his glory. Aunty Toni had a full day planned for us today, but the only thing I asked for was breakfast at the Waimea Farmer’s market.
When we arrived at the market, I was so shocked to see how empty it was. Gone are the days of full vendors selling their beautifully fresh produces and creations. We decided to check out instead another Farmer’s market located at the Parker’s Ranch Stables. Teaming with activity, this is where everyone went. We sat and ate at the famous Korean owned breakfast ladies ( I can’t remember their names ) pop up diner with free Kim Chee and a baked good that sits on each table. They are so generous and their food is so delicious.
After, we headed back in the direction of the former Farmer’s market to attend a small but profound graduation at the Punanaleo O Waimea Hawaiian Language school. Aunty Toni came to show her support for a young man named Kumano . Punanaleo is such a wonderful school as it strives to promote, teach, integrate and perpetuate.the Hawaiian Language and culture which was so surpassed even when I was growing up here in the islands. The parents have to be equally involved as only Hawaiian is spoken and taught in this school, so should it continue at home to get a more constant and thorough education. Just think of what it was like when you went to school and learned vocabulary and came home to your parents who could speak it and understand it too. This is the same idea. I got so emotional at this graduation, and felt so blessed to be there. As Clint told us later, he too was emotional to see these young keiki ( children) preserving our heritage through oral fluent language and performance. It was something to witness. I got extra emotional staring at these young kanaka kids just dreaming of what it would like to have one or 5 of my own. Nobody told me I was supposed to bring tissue paper to this. It was beautiful , magical, and so necessary….
After that emotional and cultural uplifting event. We “were” going to go back to the estate for a nice rest before the next thing on her agenda, “but” we made a quick stop back at Red Water Cafe for a “cocktail” which turned into 2 Li Hing Mui Margaritas each and then lunch. OMG we were so stuffed and buzzed and so happy. The service is really amazing there. Kanani makes the best margaritas , and PiliAloha didn’t skip a beat with our service. They were both amazing and Aunty’s two favorites there.
Finally we reached back to her house and attempted to rest for a good 15 minutes before we were needed to be at Aunty Noe’s house. We laughed and rested and jumped into her truck for some off road spinning up to Aunty Noe’s house.
Clint and Aunty Noe go way back. As a hula dancer ( an amazing one at that) he danced to her beautiful voice all over this great big world as ambassadors for Hawaiian Airlines, sharing our culture and inviting all to come and visit Hawaii. Their satires and stories were so full of wonderful moments . When we arrived at her ranch style home we were greeted by one of the best lei makers in all the islands Buzzy, and the most sensual and beautiful hula dancer who just happens to always remind me of a polynesian version of Linda Carter, Michele Tomas.
Aunty Noe’s house is amazing. It is like a museum , truly! She has artifacts from the golden days of early state hood, music from legendary song stylings of Hawaii’s premier entertainers and it was like stepping back into time. Aunty Noe provided us with a lovely spread of food and even more wine to match. She’s such a lovely, bubbly, and absolutely witty personality. She’s a totally hoot and someone I was honored to meet. Her husband uncle Alika was also so sweet and kind and you could feel all the love of everyone present it was just beautiful. We were joined later by Aunty Luana and uncle Alika Lincoln. Such kind and festive people. Really this is what the soul needs.
As the wine turned in our warm tummies, the music started and the hula commenced , all with the gorgeous back ground of Waimea just taunting you to reconsider where you are in your life and where you really should be, there.
Evening was upon us, and it was time to go, but not without sharing much more love and aloha to each other. It was a good day .
When we got back to Aunty Toni’s there was still a rumble in my tummy. So of course we dashed out to catch some ramen before it’s too late. As you guessed it, everything in Waimea closes early , even on a Saturday night. A SATURDAY NIGHT. Oh us spoiled Honolulu people. Ramen was just what we all needed to help sooth the throat from all that wine and cocktails.
Later that night and after dinner, Clint and I put some music on and just talked and talked for hours. I treasure these moment with him , as once my work year starts, I literally don’t have much time for even brushing my hair. Occasionally when we meet its over cocktails and loud music so its not very often we can truly catch up the way we did. It was so necessary and so lovely.
Morning came on our 3rd and last day in Waimea. Our flight leaves at 1:47 pm and there’s a fricken marathon going on in Waikaloa which means we have to take a different route to the airport. Breakfast and coffee with aunty was lovely and yet, it’s always hard to say good bye isn’t it? We decided to leave early and check out Kailua Kona for a quick bit and to be closer to the airport should the marathon have affect on our timely departure. With that being said and long hugs later, we bid adieu to Aunty Toni and her heavenly abode and all the encouragement and uplifting words of advice she gave me and headed down to Kona town.
Hot, stuffy, and full of vog , we drove through kailua Kona Town, and chilled out in Keauhou for a bit. I decided to check out a mall or 2 as we still had a good hour before we needed to be back at the airport . However, we ended up checking out Huli’he’e Palace. Once belonging to governor of Kona, Kuakini and then passing on the many Kings and prince’s this small but amazingly historic palace was just what I needed. More cultural understanding , historical references, and a resting place for our beloved Ali’i ( chiefs/ Kings and Queens) is what this wonderful palace not the water’s edge provided. It was a lovely way to end our day.
Our islands are so special and very unique. Each island provides and boasts so many spectacular sights to see and experience. It is so wonderful to know that within 30 minutes by plane and 45 by car, I could be soaking in the cool and loving ambience of Waimea , Hawaii and sharing good times and loving moments with their treasured inhabitants.
Mahalo Nui Waimea , Mahalo Nui Aunty Toni, and Mahalo Nui Clint…