A brightly-lit stream seen through moss-covered trees.

The Onomea Scenic Drive passes through jungle that covers the road like a living green tunnel. Photo © Brock Roseberry, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

The options in this area are beyond few and far between so plan accordingly.

Halfway through the Onomea Scenic Drive you’ll come across the glorious oasis of What’s Shakin’ (27-999 Old Mamaloahoa Hwy., Pepe‘ekeo, 808/964-3080, daily 10am-5pm, smoothies $7, lunch $10). It might sound like a lot, $7 for a smoothie—but I can almost guarantee that it will be the best smoothie you’ll ever have and they are filling enough to split between two people. The fruit is all grown on the farm that houses this stand, and you can taste the freshness in every sip. The food, usually a daily special as well as their standard menu of nachos, salmon burgers, and burritos, is equally delicious with huge portions and several vegetarian options.

Note: If you are coming from the Kona direction, you’ll pass a different smoothie stand as you turn right onto the scenic drive—What’s Shakin’ is just two minutes up the road from there.

Farmers Market

On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, stop by the corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Mamo Street for the Hilo Farmers Market, perhaps the best farmers market on the island. This is a lively affair, great for local color, where you can get healthy, locally grown produce and bouquets of colorful flowers at bargain prices. It’s not all locally grown; ask where it comes from if that’s important to you. Across the street at The Market Place and also a few steps up the road under the big tents are more vendors selling flowers, arts and crafts, and other gift items.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.