Mile Marker 91 Roadside Lava Cave

 Lunch break at  Da Poke Shack

Lunch break at Da Poke Shack

a drive up to the north end

Akaka Falls State Park

Helicopter ride over the northern coastline

 Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini Dress,  Cuero & Mor Sandals

Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini Dress, Cuero & Mor Sandals

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Before Chef Fest at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, we had two days to explore the Big Island. We rented a car and drove up the coastline to the northern end as well as to the east side just short of reaching Hilo. There were extreme differences to the various parts of the island; the west side being made up of volcanic ash and the east being tropical and lush with waterfalls. As we explored, we were truly taken by the landscapeโ€”it seemed unreal and like Mars in certain areas! We took a helicopter ride one morning, which also gave us a nice overview of the island. Since it was about a month after the volcanoes last erupted, there was still smoke coming up from the ground and we could see the molten lava flow remains where it impacted nearby towns. It was so crazy to see this IRL, and also sad as people have lost their homes. The ride itself was two hours, closed doors, flying out of Kona Airport that was 15 minutes from our hotel. I almost wished we did the 1.5โ€“2 hour drive over to the east side to take the open-doors ride. We rode experienced this in Kauai a few years ago, and it was seriously life-changing. We also had to get local poke while we still had the car, but since it was Sunday and Monday, most places were closed. One of the few places that was open was Da Poke Shack, which was really, really good! A bit pricey, but super fresh and flavorful. Until we meet again, Hawaiโ€™i!

Photos by Hoon Kim and I

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