Black Friday is my idea of shopping hell and a sad testament to the out of control consumerism that Christmas has become. Though many people spend Thanksgiving day cooking, eating, and generally being grateful for the blessings in their lives, for some, it’s a day to fuel up for what’s coming next: Black Friday. Every year, thousands flock to retail stores to get their hands on a fantastic deal. The lines between need and want blur away as the shopping lists are checked off, check-out lines grow longer and longer, people get angrier, and retail staff try to stay out of the fray. Okay, rant done…Looking for a different experience, we decided to take a drive to Holualoa.
Nestled among the cool slopes of Hualalai Volcano, just south of Kailua-Kona, is the quaint artist community of Holualoa. This charming village is as picturesque as a community can get, with a windy two-lane road lined with art galleries, coffee shops – the perfect antidote for Black Friday.
This isn’t the mega mall experience where people are lined up at 3am with the masses to participate in a gluttonous shopping frenzy. Instead, Holualoa galleries and shops offer a quiet pace with the opportunity to chat with local artists who are passionate about their art.
Although Holualoa Village is a trendy hub for artists in the Kona Districts, it’s maintained a small-town charm that’s rare to find in today’s contemporary, hustle and bustle world. Visitors can stroll through the shops to discover local art like handcrafted woodwork, paintings, sculptures and photography. The charm of Holuloa is also the old buildings that ooze character from a decade gone by.
If you want to indulge in a gourmet meal, check out Holuakoa Gardens and Cafe. One of the best-kept secrets on the Big Island, this slow food establishment offers high quality cuisine in an ethereal setting of twinkle lights that feels like you’re dining as a character in a fairy tale. Bring a sweater in the evening as is is always much cooler up in Holualoa.
We were a bit to early for the the annual Holualoa Music and Light Festival which is usually held the first Saturday in December. Visitors and town folk gather for the lighting of the town Christmas tree, listen to live Christmas music and sample treats from the charming galleries and shops. Word is that you may even get a surprise visit from Santa himself. It doesn’t get much better than that!