Our one and only family trip to Hawaii was by far the most relaxing trip I've ever taken. The Big Island and its rural beauty and multi-climate setting are idyllic. Yet, the ranch... oh the ranch... that's what truly enveloped me. I didn't think about anything but taking in the ocean air, the rainbows and the tropical fruit... or maybe, uh... taking a dip, gathering vegetables and eggs, reading books and sharing the land with the animals. As cliche as it sounds to describe Hawaii, this place was paradise for everyone in the family.
Far away from the resorts, but close to the sweet little town of Hawi, is the beautiful Puakea Ranch. On acres of lush land, there are 4 private bungalows. All of them completely unique and distant from the other so you feel like you own the land yourself. We never even saw or spoke to the owners... the door was open and waiting for us. The only time we realized that there were others there with us is when we showed up to gather the morning eggs from the hens and they had already been snatched! You have to get up early to be the first to the coop...
We stayed in a large bungalow built in the 1940s by a 3rd generation ranch foreman, Yoshi's house. It felt like we had gone to another era in the beautiful plantation house with an expansive porch that looked out to the Pacific. The horses roam freely right in front of the house which just adds to the majestic feel of it. There's a perfectly placed tree swing that each of us spent quite a bit of time swinging on while not in the amazing lava rock swimming pool.
I cannot forget to mention another sweet indulgence, the detached bathhouse with copper tub... I got lost in that tub most nights after the rest of the family went to bed.
Apparently the ranch offers every service you could imagine including a private chef, massage and childcare, however we didn't take advantage of any of that... I mean, how much more relaxed & pampered could we get? If you're looking for an authentic Hawaiian getaway that will take away all your life's worries for a while, this is truly the place to be. Mahalo!
food & libations: sushi rock, kohala coffee mill
cool for kids: gathering eggs, a sweet & stocked "toy house", playing with the animals, the pool
must visit: Waipi'o valley black sand beach, Waimea (Hawaiian cowboy country)