As Bellingham natives, Ken and I both understand the deep and terrible need for sunlight that overcomes PNW residents in around January. Too many days driving to and from work in the dark, walking the dog in the pouring rain, and long dark evenings dedicated to Black Butte Porter and Netflix binges can make you batty. Now that Alaska Airlines has added a seasonal Saturday flight direct from little Bellingham airport into Kona through April 1, the dream of sunlight can easily be fulfilled!
Let me paint a picture for you…you board the plane with the bleak gray northwest sky as your backdrop. You settle in and enjoy a coffee, a book, and then - an easy five or six hours later (depending on wind) - you land on the Big Island. As you approach the island you’ll see the shining blue ocean, and maybe even the gleaming black back of a humpback whale. The land will look strange at first, and you might even wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into. The plane touches down at quiet little open-air Kona airport. Immediately, you’ll feel the hot sun on your sun-starved skin and a soft, velvety ocean-breeze hug. Singapore white plumeria trees surround the airport and their scent permeates the air. You’ll claim your bags, get your car, and head south, first through the vast old lava flow of Kohala and Hualalai mountains, then through the little tourist town of Kailua Kona, then up into the green coffee country of South Kona. You will begin to see how wild our island is, how natural and undeveloped it has remained. As you turn down Napo’opo’o you may think of Chuckanut Drive, although instead of conifers, huge monstera leaves and giant shade trees line this winding mountain road. You will smell warm damp earth, flowers, smashed fruit, and perhaps roasting coffee. Here you are surrounded by small local farms, primarily macadamia nut, fruit, and coffee, and miles of undeveloped raw land and protected shoreline. It will be silent here, except for the Kona wind, the distant sound of waves, the chattering of birds and buzzing of busy insects. Here is the sun and warmth and quiet that you are seeking.
Are you ready to book yet? All Whatcom County guests receive 10% off their stay because we understand and know you need this getaway more than ever!
If you’re here to race and you’d rather not stay in the hot, expensive, touristy crush of Kailua town, please consider joining us here in South Kona. Sixteen miles south of Kailua, South Kona is still a peaceful, quiet, rural farming community with gorgeous nature and pristine water.
Looping Napo’opo’o, Middle Keei, Painted Church, and Keala O Keawe by foot and/or on the bike provides a stunning and difficult hill workout. These quiet country roads are lined with lush tropical plants, giant old trees, and cattle pasture. Swimmers can enter Kealakekua Bay via lovely little local Manini Beach, and enjoy clear water, pretty coral, and a stunning backdrop of golden cliffs. Captain Cook Monument trail is two steep miles offering up dramatic views of the whole South Kona coastline you can add to a Bay swim (Kealakekua is one mile across) or a Napo’opo’o run for more hill work. If you want a longer ride, you can always head south on Highway 11 towards Miloli’i and Oceanview, through cooling green forest for a change of pace from the hot Queen K.
There are plenty of restaurants in South Kona as well as a nice supermarket. We enjoy Manny’s Mexican, The Fishbowl, Annie’s Burgers and Beer, Strawberry Patch, Loko Wraps, Manago Hotel, Poke Shack, Big Jakes Island BBQ, Circle J’s, and Teshima’s.