Hello Friends and Family,

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The Big Island: Waimea

In the higher elevation of Waimea, one finds the headquarters for the Parker Ranch. It is one of the oldest ranches in the United States (founded in 1847) and one of the largest. The ranch is still in full operation and is now run by a charitable trust.

Shown here is Puuopelu, the "Hawai`ian Victorian" manor house that was purchased by John Parker II and became the family home for six generations. It is now used as headquarters for the operations of the Parker Ranch.

Inside, the great room is finished with period furniture and ranch artifacts. It is truly elegant and visitors are free to wonder about and take photos.

As a former woodworker, my eye was caught by the gorgeous koa wood doors. The room inside appears to be a conference room now — there were managers meeting in there when I first arrived but after the meeting broke up, I was able to capture the elegant doors and door frame.

The kitchen is still functional and these ladies appeared to be making snacks for the workers. No, they did not offer me any.

But what really caught my attention at the far end of the kitchen was this old telephone. In its day, I'm sure that folks considered this a technological marvel — being able to talk to someone miles away. Yes, we are spoiled these days when we carry an iPhone that permits one to be nearly anywhere and both talk to someone but also to see them at the same time — even if that person is halfway around the world.

Next door to Puuopelu, is a carriage house, complete with carriages.

These carriages hearken back to a simpler time when live moved much more slowly. And there is something to be said for that.

Next door is Mana Hale, John Parker's original home on the ranch. It originally stood elsewhere on the ranch but was dismantled and moved to its present location next to Puuopelu where it was reassembled piece by piece.

And inside, one immediately encounters a portrait of founder John Palmer Parker himself.

One of the very interesting features of this house is that it is constructed completely of koa wood — walls, floors, ceilings, furniture. This is like heaven to lovers of koa wood like myself.

Koa wood is somewhat scarce and thus expensive but people in Hawai`i are now trying to reestablish stands of koa for use by future generations.

One friend told me of an acquaintance of his who owns a very nice home above Kailua-Kona — both home and furniture are lavishly constructed with koa wood. Further up the hillside, he has purchased a large parcel of land where he is growing, you guessed it, koa trees. Thus he hopes to have a ready supply of koa should his home or furnishings need to be repaired or replaced.

Next door to Mana Hale is another home — this one appeared to be occupied, a caretaker perhaps?

Nearby in Waimea stands the original Merriman's Restaurant (you may recall my fondness for the relatively new Merriman's Kapalua). From their website, "A Big Island treasure for over 20 years, Merriman’s Waimea is Chef Peter Merriman’s flagship restaurant". This day I decided to be a bit adventurous for my lunch and ordered the Pork Belly Saimin —
Iwamoto Family Noodles, Egg, Kalua Pork, House Cured Bonito Dashi Broth, Local Garnishes. It was a marvelous choice. I will be back.

To be continued.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com