A walking tour of Historic Kailua-Village unveils a unique history that encompasses ancient religion, European-style royalty, and Hawaiian Christianity, circa 1830s.
Located near Kailua Pier at Kamakahonu, Ahu‘ena Heiau is the town’s most historically significant site. This centuries-old temple and royal complex served as the first capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom during the reign of Kamehameha the Great. Restored with the original boulders retrieved from the bay in the 1970s, the temple stands sentry over Kailua Bay, and is an iconic site in Historic Kailua Village.
The oldest church in the state of Hawaii, Mokuaikaua Church retains the original lava rock and coral/limestone mortar utilized in 1837 when the church was built. Across the street, Hulihe‘e Palace is one of only three royal palaces in the United States, the other two located on Oahu.
Built in 1938 by John Kuakini (the second governor of Hawaii Island), the palace was remodeled by King David Kalakaua in 1885 to replicate the palaces of European royalty he had seen on his travels. Beautiful antique furnishings, priceless Hawaiian artifacts, paintings and sculptures make Hulihe‘e Palace one of the most treasured landmarks in all of Kona.
The historic downtown village brims with shopping and dining destinations. Oceanfront restaurants like Huggo’s, Daylight Mind Coffee Company, Kona Inn restaurant, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., and Don the Beachcomber offer incomparable views of Kailua Bay morning, noon and night.
An open-air farmers market in the center of town provides plentiful opportunities to purchase fresh flower arrangements, leis, locally grown produce and souvenirs. Dotted with hotels, condominiums complexes and vacation rental homes, the downtown village area makes a perfect central location for vacationing visitors.
Each year in June, the town celebrates King Kamehameha Day with a floral parade along Ali‘i Drive. The parade starts at the Royal Kona Resort and works its way past the Coconut Grove MarketPlace, Hulihe‘e Palace, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel and up Palani Road to Kuakini Highway. Historic Kailua Village is also home to the Ironman World Championship triathlon, the annual Queen Liliuokalani International Canoe Race, and the Kona Coffee Festival Parade.
©Karen Anderson (image / article).
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