We are returned from our anniversary trip to the Big Island. Wherever we’ve gone in Hawaii we’ve loved the climate, culture, and natural beauty, and this trip was no exception.

We stayed in a vacation cottage about 10 miles north of Hilo. It was just about paradise, so calm, quiet, and peaceful. Below us was a spreading fruit orchard.

Avocado tree with baby-size avocadoes.


All around us were grazing horses, cows, and goats.

Our cottage.

BUT, for us, being the dog people that we are, one of the very best features was the frisbee-loving, sweet, affectionate, huggy border collie Lilly!

The green one is her favorite.

Just waitin’ on you!

Lilly came to greet us, give us hugs and kisses, and hang out with us throughout our stay. Dog love = bonus!

Nor far away were the beautiful Akaka Falls. On the way down we saw:

A banyan tree.

Pineapple ginger.

Fiddlehead ferns.

Akaka Falls.

As soon as we went into Hilo town, I sought out the quilt shop, Fabric Impressions.

Beautiful pa'u skirts in the window.

Inside were luscious batiks, island prints, Hawaiian patterns, kits, and quilts hung everywhere.

Dana liked the way they packaged their fat quarters… like stars!

I picked up a brochure for an upcoming summer camp, Quilting on the Beach. Oooh!!! It’s July 21-26 at the King Kamehaha Kona Beach Hotel. I can’t make it, but maybe you can!

One morning we signed up for a Segway tour at Botanical World Gardens. I had always wanted to ride a Segway, and this was my chance! OMG, I loved it! Our instructor told me I was a natural and I really did feel as though I took to it like a duck to water. It all depends on where you put your weight, and once you get the hang of it, it’s like you just think what you want to do and it does it. Very cool!

We toured the gardens and were given tastes of many fruits picked fresh off the trees. There was one that tasted like brown sugar, yum, one that was supposedly like chocolate pudding, not so sure about that one, and several that were too tart for me but that Dana liked. We zipped here and zipped there, learning about various plants and trees. We saw a rainbow eucalyptus, amazing!

Dana did very well also, but he did have one unscheduled dismount, and I did not, so I am the official Mackenzie Family Segway Champion!

One day we drove the two hours to the other side of the island to visit Kona-Kailua. We were sitting in a coffee house drinking cool libations and looking out over a street fair that was going on that day. Right across from us was SusunGallery Art School on the Beach. All of a sudden, Dana says, “I think I’m Facebook friends with her.”

Can you believe it? Susun used to live in Santa Cruz and studied hula with the same instructor as Dana! We went down to say hello and she recognized him immediately. Wow, universe, sometimes you really know what you are doing.

She told Dana about a drop-in hula class the next night that was in the kahiko (traditional) style. Even though it was our anniversary, I urged Dana to go, because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you should have seen the way his eyes lit up. I skipped the four hours in the car and stayed home with Lilly. :) After all, number one on my agenda for our trip was to relax. We each had a fantastic time.

Our last day, we visited the active volcano at Kilauea.

They say that at night you can see the glow from the molten lava, but we were flying out that evening so had to settle for a daytime visit.

I sought out the nearby quilt shop, Kilauea Kreations.

A quaint little shop that felt just like home to a quilter. Many gorgeous fabrics, quilts, kits, and patterns, and also a little bookshop that Dana enjoyed.

Check out Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam, Island Style.

And then it was aloha to Lilly and our other hosts, Bob and Cady, and off to the airport for the long trip home.

In case you’re interested, the Sun and Moon Orchard Suite is Listing #512344 on VRBO.

Aloha nui loa,
By Kay Mackenzie