Visitors can see and taste authentic Portuguese sweetbread baked in an outdoor stone oven. // © 2015 Marty Wentzel
Feature image (above): See coffee trees at Kona Coffee Living History Farm. // © 2015 iStock
Not sure where your client should stay while visiting Kona? One option is longtime favorite Royal Kona Resort
Kona isn’t just another pretty place in paradise. It’s rich in history, with plenty of tales to tell about the past. Kona Historical Society (KHS) is passionate about sharing those stories with Hawaii Island visitors. Centered on the island’s west side, KHS provides clients with a vivid look at the people and lifestyles of the Kona region more than a century ago.
Following are three KHS attractions with particular appeal to travelers interested in the heritage of Hawaii.
Kona Coffee Living History Farm
In 1913, the Uchida family emigrated from Japan to Kona, where they started a 5.5-acre coffee farm. Today, at this living history site, clients chat with costumed interpreters who bring the family’s everyday tasks to life.
In the farmhouse, which is preserved to look like it did a century ago, a guide shows guests how the housewife cooked. Outside, a farmer demonstrates daily agricultural activities, and guests get an up-close look at the coffee trees still thriving on the property.
H.N. Greenwell Store Museum
Clients play the role of customers in this carefully restored 1880s emporium, which is also Kona’s oldest surviving store. Garbed in period dress, a shopkeeper barters with guests while helping them gather their supplies, from tobacco and rice to denim trousers and saddle soap.
Visitors also learn about the Greenwell family who ran the store and its surrounding acres in the heyday of Kona ranching. Some of the store’s furniture is original, adding a timeless quality to the experience.
Portuguese Stone Oven Baking
In the 1880s, when Portuguese immigrants came to Kona to work on its ranches, they brought a recipe for sweetbread that’s now cherished among locals. KHS keeps this culinary tradition alive each Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Workers prepare 100 circular loaves, each made from seven balls of dough. Then, they place the pans of dough in a stone oven called a “forno.” Clients can watch the process and buy a loaf for an authentic taste of days gone by.