The last time I posted on Fifty Authors from Fifty States, I wrote about New Jersey. And though New Jersey is where I live, you’ll find my heart on the Island of Hawaii (often called the Big Island, and not to be confused with the entire State of Hawaii).
There are so many reasons to love the Island of Hawaii. Where do I begin?
Probably the most obvious place to begin is with the weather, particularly along the west side of the island, much of which makes up the Kohala Coast. The temperature fluctuation all year long is within a very narrow range. It gets a bit hotter in the summer, but for the most part every day is in the eighties. Overnight it gets into the seventies. When the trade winds are blowing, it’s nothing short of heavenly. You don’t notice the heat and your body is comfortably cool even as the temperatures rise. On those days when the trade winds don’t blow, it can get a bit uncomfortable, but just wait it out—the winds will return.
The next thing people think about when Hawaii comes to mind is the lush vegetation. The east side of the Big Island is covered in rainforest. And the waterfalls you see online and on television and in magazines? They’re all real and you can visit them. The flowers are heartbreakingly beautiful, and there are different varieties in bloom all year long. My favorites are the birds of paradise, but I also love the bougainvillea, hibiscus, plumeria, tuberose, and ginger. The west side of the Big Island is dry and sunny and not as lush as the east side. There are other islands in the State of Hawaii which offer luxuriant green everywhere (think Kauai), but the Big Island has a more varied climate system.
And those beaches. There are no words. There are coarse sand beaches. There are soft, almost powdery, sand beaches. There are black sand and green sand beaches. And by law, all beaches in the State of Hawaii are public up to the vegetation line.
One of the most fascinating things about the Island of Hawaii is that it’s made up of extinct, dormant, and active volcanoes. From the northernmost part of the island, you’ll find Kohala (extinct), Mauna Kea (dormant), Mauna Loa (active), Hualalai (active), and Kilauea (active, flowing since 1983). And here’s something even more interesting: about 22 miles southeast of the Island of Hawaii is an undersea volcano, called Loihi. If Loihi continues to erupt at its current level, it will break the surface of the Pacific Ocean between 10,000 and 100,000 years from now, becoming a brand new Hawaiian island.
In addition to all these things that set the Island of Hawaii apart from almost everywhere else on earth (with the possible exception of the other Hawaiian islands), there is the food.
Hawaii has a cuisine all its own, and it ranges from humble poi (from the root of the taro plant) to loco moco (a mouthwatering concoction of rice, covered with two hamburger patties chock full of chopped onions, covered with brown gravy, topped with a fried egg), to fresh fruits including coconut, papaya, guava, lychee, pineapple, every imaginable citrus, rambutan, dragon fruit, and the list goes on. And then there are the fish, which are as fun to pronounce as they are delicious. There’s opakapaka, ahi, he’e, ono, opah, mahi mahi, kumu, and opihi, to name a few. My favorite way to eat fish in Hawaii is raw—take some cubed ahi tuna, add some soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions, chopped or sliced onion, a little bit of Japanese mayonnaise, some sriracha sauce, and a little bit of masago (an orange roe) for topping. Called poke (and pronounced “poh-kay”), it’s Hawaii in a bowl.
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I wish I had more time and space to devote to telling you more of what I love about Hawaii, but I’ll leave that for another time. If you’ve never visited the Islands of Aloha, I hope you get a chance someday. My guess is you’ll lose your heart there, too.
USA Today bestselling author Amy M. Reade is a recovering lawyer living in southern New Jersey. The House on Candlewick Lane is the first of The Malice Novels, Amy’s gothic suspense series set in the United Kingdom. The second book in the series, Highland Peril, will be released in the fall of 2017. She is currently at work on the third book. Amy is also the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of Hanging Jade, all standalones of gothic suspense. She loves reading, cooking, and traveling.
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