Another guest post from our friends over at 365 Kona!

What do we do when we have a long holiday weekend on Hawaii Island? We go on a variety of fun adventures and discover new places and Thanksgiving weekend 2020 was no exception!
Friday-We started the weekend with the technical hike down to Kealekekua Bay via the Ka’awaloa Trail and jumped in the bay for some excellent snorkeling. We then did the "not the best time to hike up a trail" experience of hiking up the trail at 1 pm! The hike is infinitely better when you get an early start.

Saturday-We discovered the Hamakua Tree Forest and cut down on our Christmas tree after searching through the four acre Portuguese Cypress farm/forest with an amazing view of the ocean. We also had a chance to chat on video with the "forester" and owner of the Tree Forest so you could learn more about the trees and the company.

Part of the fun of visiting the north portion of the island is the coast and Waimea. We stopped by the Big Island Brewhaus and for their tasty Famous Green Chili Stew and the locally well known vine-ripened WOW Farms tomatoes topped with Hawaii Island Goat Dairy fresh cheese and Olakino Farm locally grown micro-basil, with a drizzle of balsamic reduction and extra-virgin olive oil. Add to that one of their tasty ales and you can call it a very good day on the island!

Sunday: We took some friends to discover the recently opened Byron Ledge Trail and to do some wine tasting at the Volcano Winery.

We found that if you drive from Kona to Volcano by way of Nahalehu, you can stop at Punulu’u Bake Shop for malasadas, and then drive Saddle Road home for a full experience of the island and easier road home when you are tired at the end of the day.

We thought the trail, located in Volcanoes National Park, would be a look out to the Halemaʻumaʻu crater which is a pit crater within the much larger Kīlauea Caldera. Little did we expect to actually emerge onto the floor of the crater from the trail! It was epic!! The hike was about two miles from the Desolation Trail Head parking lot to the bottom. Not too hard and you just won’t beat the view. (You also won’t find it on the Park’s website since they JUST re-opened it after closing it in 2008.)

From there, we went to the Volcano Winery, which is the southernmost winery in the US. We enjoyed tasting about ten different wines with a cracker and cheese board. The staff member who explained the wine was very knowledgeable and he was so full of personality, he is in the video. One of the interesting things to do was to try the 2018 Pinot Noir that was flavorful survivor of the 2018 Kilauea eruption! The grapes had been covered by the sulphur and ash, you won’t get to tasty anything else like it!

If you go to Volcano, bring a jacket because at 4000 feet, it is pretty chilly and you may encounter fog and rain at times, too.

Remember, if you snorkel or swim to wear mineral based sunscreen (avoid chemical sunscreens please and save our reefs) or wear a rash guard.

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