It was December of 1992, Kelly and I wanted to celebrate our anniversary with a journey to a place we had never visited before. We looked at our frequent flyer miles, and saw that we could travel as far as Hawaii with all our unredeemed miles.
We hesitated. Wasn't Hawaii just surf and beaches? Overpriced resort hotels and staged-for-tourists luau feasts and entertainment? We needed to do some research before deciding.
To our surprise, we found much more to Hawaii, especially on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Gardens, museums, and a diverse and rich pre-history and history. Plus national and state historic parks, a magnificent volcano, and a Polynesian mythology that was spell-binding. And so we took a chance, redeemed our miles, and went flying to the Big Island.
Pan Am's Clippers were the early planes to Hawaii.
We did not know that his would be the beginning of what is now almost a 20 years love affair with the Island of Hawai'i. We have made many friends there: gifted and creative people with a passion for Hawaii. Teachers, museum curators and docents, Hawaiian musicians, historians, coffee growers, booksellers and art dealers.
And then there was the discovery of the Big Island of Hawaii's most wonderful hotel. Manago's. A historic hotel in the highrt elevation of the Kona coffee belt, Manago's is a place of genuine hospitality and authenticity. It was built by immigrants from Japan in 1917, and is now managed by the third generation of the Manago family. We have stayed at many of the plush Hawaiian resort hotels over the years, and none of them rate as high a Manago's. And so we chose it for our storytelling seminars.
Manago Hotel in 1917, from a photo on the wall of today's Manago Hotel
I have lived in Hawaii for one or two months most winters in the past twenty years. Kelly and I consider Hawaii to be our second home, though we do not own property there. And though we have rented condominiums and private houses for our long-term rentals, we have eventually chosen to make Manago's our home away from home.
Our Hawaii Storyfests usually happen only once a year, between November and February. This year it will be on January 23-20. We hope you can join us then.
Please visit this site for updates: stories, legends, history, and portraits of our various artists, historians, folklorists, musicians, and others who we visit when he offer our storytelling tours of the Big Island. This will be an active website with interesting postings,
See the bottom of the sidebar for information about the number of people registered, and the openings that still remain. Again, this Hawaii Storyfest is limited to a small group -- 12 person maximum.
Aloha from both of us.
Bob & Kelly Wilhelm