Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why we wrote “Your Ideal Hawaii Island Vacation” Guide

A couple of years ago we started on a travel book for Hawaii Island: Your Ideal Hawaii Vacation.  We wanted to tell visitors about the island’s rich history and guide them to the all amazing places we have visited.  We were frustrated that most island guides leave out large areas of the island and they dedicate much of the content to paid activities and out-of-date ratings for hotel rooms  and restaurants.  Hawaii Island deserves a travel guide similar to the ones we used when touring countries in Europe.  They had detailed descriptions of places with stories of the people and events that made the sites important and meaningful.

We set out to write an island guide that covered all the places we love that are easily accessible by a regular car.  We ruled out many sites that other guides include that direct visitors to hike through overgrown jungles, walk multiple miles to remote beaches with no cell service, and jump off ocean cliffs or into river lava tubes.  We started with the places we knew about around the island and found many more that we did not know about.  We visited each site to provide an accurate description, verify our car could make it, get detailed driving directions, and take photographs.  While researching the people and events that shaped the history of the island, we found multiple versions of many of the events, so we used original sources where ever possible.  We drew maps and created guided driving and walking tours.  Halfway through the project, we realized there were at least twice as many places than we originally planned that absolutely had to be included in the guide.

We read the diaries of Lucy Thurston, who lived in Kailua-Kona in 1820, and William Ellis, who walked  around the island in 1823.  We read the reports of investigators assessing the infrastructure and historic sites on the island after Hawaii became a territory in the early 1900’s.   We read Frank Godfrey’s 1899 tour guide of Hilo, “the Queen’s City”  and Yasuo Goto’s history of Kona’s Coffee.   Reading about the Kings, Queens, Chiefs, and Chiefesses of Hawaii Island and about the early explorers, missionaries, ranchers, and plantations owners gave us a new dimension to the places on the island.  We drove to the lava fields where historic battles were fought that shaped the history of Hawaii.  We looked for the old heiaus (temples) where Ellis mentioned that he saw them on his walk in 1823.  (How could we have missed the massive stone heiau towering above Punaluu Black Sand Beach; we have visited that beach at least 50 times and never noticed.)  We went to the Buddhist temple visited by the Dalai Lama; we investigated the ghosts reported in MacKenzie Park; we marveled at the old Kapoho lava flow’s abrupt stop just a few inches from the Cape Kumukahi lighthouse; and we found the church with paintings of Saint Damien.  We identified the sacred rocks: Maui’s Canoe in Wailuku River, Mookuna rock under Rainbow Falls, Pohaku o Pele (Pele’s Rock) at the bottom of Akaka Falls, and Kamehameha’s Rock on the way to Pololu Valley.   The more we looked, the more we realized how much there is to know about this extraordinary island.

Our hope is that Your Ideal Hawaii Island Vacation helps visitors enjoy all the island has to offer and that the stories and legends give a deeper appreciation of Hawaii’s history and people. 

Check out the contents in “Look Inside”.   If you read some or all of it,  let us know what you think.


photobug said...

Wow -I just stumbled on your book while looking on Amazon and it sound like just the thing I am looking for. We are arriving in November and staying in Kea'au so a large section on the East side of the Island is a big plus. Can't wait to get it, read it all and dream of the island!

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