Best Things to See and Do on Hawaii’s Big Island

Friday November 26, 2010 at 12:12 AM | 3 Comments

King Kamehameha, Big Island, Hawaii, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Come to Hawaii’s Big Island, Get Your Picture Taken with King Kamehameha

My favorite tips and locations for the Big Island in Hawaii.

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park! (HVNP)

When I crave Big Island cuisine, I turn to Hilo Farmers Market.

To escape work I go to  Kalapana. I like the Hawaiian Lava Daily blog for what’s currently happening with the lava flow. The official site is the County of Hawaii site.

For complete quiet, I can hide away at Waianuhea Inn in Honokaaa.

If you come to the Kohala Coast, get your picture taken by the plume coming from Halemaumau Crater, or the black sand beach at Kalapana or the King Kamehameha statue in Kapaau.

If you have to order one thing off the menu at Hilo Bay Cafe, get the Blue Bay Burger.

The Kohala Coast is my one stop shop for adventure. On my recent visit I swam with dolphins and sea turtles, went horseback riding, took a helicopter ride over lava flows and watched my friends go zip-lining!

Hawaii Paso Finos, horseback riding, Nancy D. Brown, travel, Hawaii, Big Island

Go on a horseback riding vacation on Hawaii’s Big Island

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to Café 100.

For a huge splurge, I go to Monette’s at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

Photo ops on the Big Island include HVNP, sunsets on the Kohala Coast, boats and giant cleats on Kailua Pier, Ahuena Heiau, the Puna coastline, Hapuna Beach, Puukohola Heiau, the pastures and ranches of Waimea and sunsets at Mauna Kea summit.

The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Mauna Kea.

The most random thing about the Kohala Coast is the Kona Coffee & Cultural Festival – this is its 40th year.

On the Big Island, an active day outdoors involves walking or hiking the Kilauea Iki Trail, HVNP, horseback riding, swimming with dolphins and sea turtles or surfing.

My favorite walking route is the Ala Kahakai Trail along the Kohala Coast or Queen Liliuokalani Park in Hilo.

The Big Island’s best museums are Imiloa Astronomy Center and Lyman Museum.

Kona Village, luau, hula dancers, Hawaii, Big Island, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Kona Village for an authentic Hawaiian Luau

For a night of dancing, go to Lulu’s in Kona.

Ken’s House of Pancakes in Hilo is the spot for late night dining.

To find out what’s going on a night or on weekends, read the  Hawaii Tribune Herald –Saturday section has the Calendar of Events. West Hawaii Today and Big Island Weekly, as well.

You can tell a lot about Hawaii’s Big Island from visiting the Kohala Coast
and watching Outrigger canoe racing events.

In the spring you should attend Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, if you can get tickets!

In the summer you should attend Queen Liliuokalani Canoe Races in Kona and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in Kona.

In the fall you should visit Kona coffee country.

In the winter you should go to Mauna Kea. The volcano could be covered in snow!

Mauna Lani Resort, Love Pond, Hawaii, Big Island, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Hidden gem on Hawaii’s Big Island is the Love Pond at Mauna Lani Resort

A hidden gem on the Kohala Coast is Love Pond at the Mauna Lani Resort.

For a great breakfast treat or espresso, go to the Island Lava Java on Alii Drive in Kona

In Hilo you can visit Rainbow Falls or Akaka Falls, just outside of Hilo. Have lunch at the Hilo Bay Café, or What’s Shakin’ in Pepeekeo.

The best way to see the Kohala Coast is by car and helicopter.  You are able to walk around in Hilo and Kona, but to get around the island, you gotta have a car.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss: going to Hapuna Beach State Park or to Imiloa Astronomy Center.

What are your favorite things to do on Hawaii’s Big Island?

Lava flow, Hawaii's Big Island, Hawaii, Kohana Coast, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Take a helicopter ride over Hawaii’s Kohala Coast and flowing lava

Thanks to Big Island Visitors Bureau and Jessica Ferracane of Irondog Communications for assistance with this post. You may also follow the Hawaiian Island on Twitter or become a Facebook Fan of Hawaii. I was a guest of Big Island Visitors Bureau. Article, YouTube video and photos by Nancy D. Brown

Related Posts:

Best Things to See and Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

Horseback Riding Vacation on Kohala Coast, Hawaii


Things to Do in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Friday November 19, 2010 at 12:12 AM | 2 Comments

Mariachi music, Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Southwest musicians play Mariachi in Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico

Things to Do in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Old Town Albuquerque, where the city was founded in 1706. With a festive Southwestern environment featuring shops, galleries, musicians, restaurants and museums, there are plenty of things to see and do in Albuquerque.

Hop on an Albuquerque Trolley  for a city tour and taste some New Mexican cuisine at a local restaurant.

When I crave Albuquerque cuisine there are many options:

  • El Pinto, Sadie’s, Los Cuates, Casa de Benevidez

To escape work I:

  • hike or bike in the mountains
  • enjoy a spa treatment at La Bella Spa & Salon
  • take my dog to one of several dog parks
  • take a float trip down the Rio Grande with the Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures

For complete quiet, I can hide away at:

  • The Los Poblanos Open Space or Open Space Visitor Center
  • One of 17 public libraries around the cities
  • Casa Rondena Winery in the North Valley
New Mexico, Albuquerque, chile ristra, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Get your picture taken with a Chile Ristra in Albuquerque

If you come to Albuquerque, get your picture taken

  • at the Turquoise Museum
  • at the American International Rattlesnake Museum
  • in a hot air balloon
  • get your picture taken at Wagner Farm in Corrales with a ristra

If you have to order one thing off the menu try:

  • El Pinto – chile ribs appetizer
  • Sadie’s – blue corn enchiladas or green chile cheeseburger
  • Los Cuates – carne adovada blue corn enchiladas
  • Casa de Benevidez – sopaipilla burger

Albuquerque is my one stop shop for hot air ballooning at the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to Little Anitas.

For a huge splurge, I go to Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse.

San Felipe de Neri Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nancy D. Brown

Photo ops in Albuquerque include San Felipe de Neri Church

Photo ops in Albuquerque include:

  • San Felipe de Neri Church in Old Town
  • Sandia Peak Tramway
  • Nob Hill neon signage
  • In front of the dinosaurs at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
  • Holding a chile ristra
  • 4,000 square foot torreon fresco at the National Hispanic Cultural Center

The best vantage points are taken by taking the Sandia tramway to the top of Sandia Peak (10,378 ft)

The most random things about Albuquerque are:

  • Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (9 days each October)
  • Days & Nights of Route 66 in Nob Hill (each summer)
  • We have the largest flamenco event outside of Spain (Festival Flamenco each summer)
  • Home to North America’s Largest Pow Wow
  • Day of the Tread annual Halloween biking and running event
  • National Fiery Foods Show
  • Duke City Docfest – Documentary Film Festival
  • Duke City Quest – scavenger hunt
  • Lavender in the Village Festival
  • Quilt & Wine Fair in Corrales

In Albuquerque, an active day outdoors involves:

  • Hiking the La Luz Trail to the top of Sandia Peak (hiking trails are 20 minutes from most anywhere in the city)
  • Biking along the Paseo del Bosque Trail, a 16-mile one-way trail that winds along the Rio Grande in the middle of the city with uninterrupted right-of-way
  • Hiking at Petroglyph National Monument to discover some history along the way
  • Skiing at Sandia Peak Ski Area in the winter months
  • Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing during the winter
  • Mountain biking among the many trails in the Sandia Mountain foothills

My favorite walking route is the Old Town to Downtown Walking Tour or the Paseo del Bosque Trail.

Albuquerque has 19 museums covering everything from turquoise and rattlesnakes to fine art, personal computers and nuclear science.

For a night of dancing, go to:

Salsa Baby Dance Studio

Tango at Hotel Andaluz

One Up

Frontier is the spot for late night dining.

To find out what’s going on a night or on weekends, read Local IQ or Alibi and www.ItsATrip.org of course!

Special Shapes, Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico, Noah's Ark, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Visit the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

You can tell a lot about Albuquerque from visiting Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta –  the hot air balloon capital of the world!

In the spring you should attend:

  • Gathering of Nations Pow Wow
  • American Indian Week Pueblo Days
  • Restaurant Week
  • Women & Creativity
  • Albuquerque Annual Wine Festival
  • Run for the Zoo

In the summer you should attend:

  • AAA Albuquerque Isotopes game
  • One of the many live music concerts at the Rio Grande Zoo, Botanic Gardens or Albuquerque Museum
  • Downtown Grower’s Market
  • Savor Albuquerque cultural festival
  • Annual Folk Festival

In the fall you should visit:

  • Albuquerque International Balloon
  • McCall’s Pumpkin Patch and haunted house
  • Taste of Albuquerque
  • Albuquerque BrewFest
  • New Mexico Wine Festival
  • New Mexico State Fair
  • Globalquerque

In the winter you should go to:

  • NM Symphony Orchestra or one of the many performing arts events
  • Holiday festivities – especially in Old Town & Nob Hill
  • New Mexico Thunderbird basketball games
  • Weems International Artfest
  • New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico Pottery, Albuquerque, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Hand painted pottery in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Hidden gems in Albuquerque are the Fresco Torreon at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the Native American dancing at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

For a great breakfast treat or espresso, go to:

  • The Grove
  • Flying Star
  • 66 Diner
  • Gold Street Caffe
  • The Grove

Just outside of  Albuquerque, you can visit:

  • The Turquoise Trail and have lunch at the Mine Shaft Tavern
  • Acoma Pueblo and have lunch at the Y’aak’a Cafe

You’ll  need a rental car to see Albuquerque, but Old Town, Downtown, Uptown and Nob Hill are very walkable neighborhoods.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss:

  • Albuquerque BioPark – zoo, botanic gardens, aquarium and Tingley Beach
  • Explora Science Center
  • New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
  • Cliff’s Amusement Park
  • Hinkle Family Fun Center
  • Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum

What are your favorite things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico?

Thanks to Megan Mayo of Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau for assistance with this post. You may also become a Facebook Fan of Albuquerque and follow them on Twitter. I was a guest of  Albuquerque. Article, YouTube video and photos by Nancy D. Brown

Related Posts:

Horse lovers guide to Albuquerque

On the Road with Nancy Brown: Up in the Air in Albuquerque

Passports with Purpose 2010 Prizes

Monday November 15, 2010 at 12:12 AM | 2 Comments

Help Passports with Purpose Build a Village in India

Passports with Purpose 2010

The power of community is strong. No more is this evident than in the vibrant travel blogging community.

Passports with Purpose is celebrating their third year of fund raising for a cause. I’m pleased to say that this What a Trip travel blogger has supported Passports with Purpose from the start and I continue to be involved in 2010.

Last year we raised nearly $30,000 to build and supply a school in rural Cambodia.  The Passports school opened in early October of 2010.

This year, more than 100 travel bloggers from around the world will participate in Passports with Purpose 2010.

Together, with your support, we are building a village in India. This year, we’re supporting Land for Tillers’ Freedom or LAFTI, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of the Dalit (untouchable) population in India.  Raising $50,000, we will provide homes for those who have never had a roof over their heads!

Passport with Purpose Prizes

This week you will be able to see a list of prizes on the Passports With Purpose website. Each donated prize will link back to a full description of the prizes on the blogger’s website

Your purchase of a $10 raffle ticket will help support Passports with Purpose and ultimately build a village in India. For each $10 in donations that you make to LAFTI, you will will be entered to win a prize (or prizes) of your choice. The fundraiser begins on November 15th and closes on December 15, 2010. All proceeds go directly to LAFTI.

Hurtigruten, Norwegian Coastal Voyage, Nancy D. Brown, travel

Hurtigruten's MS Trollfjord on a Norwegian Coastal Voyage

What a Trip Passports with Purpose 2010 Prizes

Thank you to my generous sponsors and Passports with Purpose Platinum Sponsor BootsnAll.  This year I have prizes donated from Hurtigruten and Briggs & Riley.

Norwegian Coastal Voyage on Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten is donating a seven-day Norwegian Coastal Voyage or the six-day Southbound Voyage for two aboard one of Hurtigruten fourteen cruise ships.  The suggested retail value of this Hurtigruten cruise is $1,037 pp. Thank you Hurtigruten for your $2,074 donation.  Read my posts about the many ports we visit on this Norwegian Coastal cruise.

Briggs and Riley, 22" carry on, travel gear review, Nancy D. Brown, luggage

Briggs & Riley Explore 22" Upright Carry-on Luggage Review

Briggs & Riley Luggage Donation

Briggs & Riley, a second year sponsor for What a Trip, is donating their BRX Explore 22″ Carry-on bag. I reviewed this 7.5 lb. bag and highly endorse it. The suggested retail value of the upright is $290. For a $10 donation to Passports with Purpose, you may be able to own this piece of luggage.

Seasons Greetings from What a Trip

Check back often to see our progress for the 2010 Passports with Purpose and thank YOU for making a difference! Seasons Greetings.

Related Posts:

Discover Authentic Norway on Hurtigruten Coastal Voyage

Briggs & Riley BRX Explore Upright Carry-on Luggage Review

Travel Tips on raveable