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Volcano Village Lodge Reviews
Amazing Back to Nature Experience Jun 01, 2011
I was sitting in a fondue restaurant in a country known more for meat and potatoes than for Swiss cuisine when my dinner companion mentioned the Volcano Village Lodge on the Big Island of Hawaii. Back at my hotel I started researching the property. Yes, I’m a travel nut who jumps on any opportunity to explore something new. Considering the time of the year in my domain north of 40 degrees latitude my plans were set to visit the lodge long before the next sunrise.
I started my journey to the lodge from what must be the largest non-blatantly touristic town of Hilo. The 30 mile drive on HI-11 takes you from the business district of Hilo to tree lined driving that ascends a couple of thousand feet. The day started out hot in Hilo and quickly cooled off as I drove past the Mauna Loa macadamia nut factory (worth a visit) and the Akatsuka Orchid Gardens. By the time I made it to the village of Volcano I realized that I should have been dressed in long pants and a jacket.
When I made the turn off HI-11 onto Wright road I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into. While I realized that I wasn’t in the middle of nowhere, I knew I was close. When I arrived at the lodge my spiritual being transformed from the fast pace of globetrotting to a serene peaceful bliss before I even got out of my car.
My inner, happy child came out as I saw the walking path that led from the parking lot to the main lodge. There was no doubt in my mind that I was not visiting a typical Bed and Breakfast that I have crashed in on the mainland. The Volcano Village Lodge is unique, calming, spiritual and powerful. I believe a guest can arrive here and she either feels frustration or elation. Being absorbed in the foreboding rainforest could play tricks on the unsettled mind. However, those who wrap themselves in the comfort of enormous window views of shades of green and nature will welcome the inner peace and joy that transfixes a visitor such as me.
I was greeted by Innkeeper Kelsea who shared her warm mid-western charm by calling me by name and immediately confirming which room I had confirmed. She took time to give me a tour of the property and downloaded all the information I needed for my stay. She also made some suggestions, at my request, for dinner locations. From my standpoint the entire staff that I met while at the lodge was friendly, helpful and seemed enthusiastic about their property.
I stayed in the largest room on property primarily because it was the only room available when I made my reservations. It was charming. I enjoyed all the windows, the meditation loft and the old style heater that came in handy as the chill increased when the sun went down.
During my stay I sampled several local restaurants including: Café Ono, Kiawe Kitchen, Thai Thai,and Kilauea Lodge. I had a fantastic lunch at Café Ono with soup, salad and a vegetarian lasagna that was delicious. It was also fun seeing all the art in the store. I did lunch another day at Kiawe Kitchen and enjoyed the pizza and soup. If you like Thai food you will be happy at Thai Thai. The meat lover will be drawn to the Kilauea Lodge where I felt like I was at an upscale camp in Maine.
The Volcano is beautiful and majestic at night. The Jaggar Museum is my favorite because the gift shop carries some fun gifts and posters. At night, watching the volcano’s bold red and orange colors or looking up at an unobstructed star filled night made the journey to this part of the world worthwhile.
If you have time the Volcano Garden Arts in the center of Volcano was worth a visit. They had some good art that I purchased at reasonable prices.
The people at the Volcano Winery made the less than stellar wines bearable through the taste test. I wasn’t impressed by any of their wines, but the staff put a smile on my face as I made it a point to sample the entire selection.
Was the Volcano Village Lodge worth a special trip to Hawaii? I’m sure many people would be disappointed without the more touristic parts of the state. But, for me, it was paradise.
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