Rolling green hills meet stunning mountains in Waimea.
Welcome to Kamuela/Waimea
For an off-the-beaten-path Hawaiian excursion, head to Waimea, a verdant smorgasbord of rolling green pastures and hazy purple mountains located inland from the volcanic Kohala Coast. Known as paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) country, the area has historically been home to cattle ranches and cowboys. These days, the community is also known for its local food culture and theater scene.
If you’re hankering for some of the best food in town, head to Merriman’s Restaurant. Helmed by Peter Merriman, a three-time finalist in the prestigious James Beard Awards for Best Chef and a founding member of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, the restaurant serves up fresh cuisine that is sourced from local farmers and ranchers. For the perfect power lunch, consider a Kalua pork sandwich, island fish sandwich, or prawns. If you’re looking for a more upscale dinner option, consider choosing the shared dinners ($79 per person, for a table of four or more). Served family style, the current menu includes starters of Caesar salad, shrimp, ahi ginger poke, and avocado and vine-ripened tomato as well as main course options of macadamia nut crusted filet, ahi, and grilled chimichurri alongside jalapeno whipped potatoes and misoyaki broccolini. Wash it all down with a ginger martini or Manhattan.
For another upscale dining option, head to Redwater Cafe. The fine dining and sushi joint offers a delicious dinner menu complete with red wine sauteed mushrooms, Berkshire pork cocktail kebabs, seared salmon, seared ahi, and coconut chicken curry. If you’d prefer to try some fresh seafood instead, the cafe also offers a wide range of sushi, sushi rolls, and sashimi. Pair your dinner with kombucha, sake, wine, or beer. Afterward, head to the beer garden to enjoy some live music.
Mexican food might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about dining options in Hawaii, but Big Island Brewhaus is popular with locals and visitors alike—and for good reason. In addition to fish tacos, grilled steak, nachos, and black bean burritos, the festive spot serves up beer created by Hawaiian brewer Tom Kerns at Hawaii’s highest brewpub, which is located 2,764 feet above the sea.
Once you’ve eaten to your heart’s content, enjoy a night out on the town at the Kahilu Theatre, a not-for-profit community arts and education center that can accommodate up to 490 guests. The historic venue serves as the backdrop for live stage performances, musical performances, and arts education workshops. To soak up the paniolo life that Waimea is known for, head to Parker Ranch, a working cattle ranch that is now run by a charitable trust. Every 4th of July and Labor Day, Parker Ranch hosts its own rodeo that is attended by thousands of participants. And in February, Waimea hosts an annual Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival to showcase the blooming of its cherry trees in Church Row Park. Festival attendees are treated to Japanese performances, craft fairs, and hands-on demonstrations of origami, traditional tea ceremonies, and mochi pounding. On December 5, the town will host its 60th annual Christmas Twilight Parade, which shows off colorful Christmas floats decorated by locals.
Residents would have access to high-caliber private schools, including Hawaii Preparatory Academy and Parker School.
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