Ron & Elena's 2007-2010 Travels travel blog

We never get tired of the view from our lanai. Here on...

Here on the leeward side of the island the tradewinds usually blow...

The largest coffee plantation in Hawaii.

The visitor center is constructed from two original old plantation houses with...


The greeter.

Coffee trees and the mill in the distance.

Some of the 16 varieties of coffee available for sampling today.

They also sell some tee shirts and other souvenirs - I like...

The croton grow like weeds here on Kauai!

And so do the ginger in dozens of varieties.



These large shades allowed everyone to gather and stay out of the...


This band entertained throughout the event.

Elena's cousin Randall had part of the MC duties.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho stopped by for some good food and, like all...

Earlier in the day there was a golf tournament - these guys...

Elena's aunt Olivia (on the left) with some of her friends.

Everyone enjoyed the beautiful weather and time to visit with friends.

Elena with a Hawaii state senator that stopped by.

Elena and her cousin Linda.

There was plenty of gooood food.


Some of the "local" entertainment.


A group of local kids performing an Okinawan drum dance. They were...



Later Elena's classmate Patrick sang a few traditional Hawaiian songs that got...

(Ron Writing) Yesterday we spent the morning relaxing at the condo. In the afternoon we went over to the Methodist church to help Elena’s cousin Priscilla and another lady prepare the mix for the malasadas they will be selling on the 4th of July at one of the local celebrations. They do this several times per year to raise money for the church.

On the way back to the condo we stopped at the Kauai Coffee Company in Eleele. We always like to make a stop here to taste their latest coffee blends and just enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area.

The economy of this island was originally built on the sugar and pineapple industries but those crops are no longer raised here. Now the largest agricultural industry is coffee. Kauai Coffee has the largest plantation in the state with over 3,000 acres of coffee plants. All 3,000 acres are automatically watered and fertilized with a drip irrigation system. This is a very sophisticated farming operation covering all phases of coffee production from the development of new hybrid strains of coffee to harvesting and processing. They have developed machinery that mechanizes and automates most of the operations to reduce labor costs and allow them to compete with coffee produced in the third world where labor costs are much lower.

This morning we went over to the Kaumakani park to help with the set-up for the plantation reunion. Then back home to change etc. Went back to the park around 4 PM to enjoy the reunion. It was a potluck dinner and there was a LOT of food. They had a band that entertained and also some of the “local talent” sang a few songs. They gave away dozens of door prizes and we won a $50 gift certificate for the Wrangler restaurant, a highly recommended local eatery.

Elena got to see and visit with many of her "old" friends and, after visiting here quite a few times, I even know quite a few of them. This reunion was a bit sad because less than a year ago, the Gay & Robinson Company harvested their last sugar crop on Kauai and closed the Olokele Sugar Mill at Kaumakani after 120 years of operation. This was also the last sugar plantation operating on Kauai. When Elena lived with her Aunt Olivia and Uncle Fred on the plantation at Kaumakani, there were several plantations and mills on the island. But, the economics of raising sugar cane did not allow them to make a profit in recent years and one-by-one they closed. In recent years G&R offered tours of the plantation and the mill. I’m glad we went on one of those tours a few years ago so I could learn something about the sugar growing and processing operations that were so much a part of the life of nearly all of Elena’s ancestors after they immigrated to Hawaii. Now it’s all in the history books. You can see some great photos that document this event here.

As is tradition, we stayed late to help clean up and take down the big awnings, tables, etc. We took a bunch of leftover food home with us and ended up with more food than we came with!

The attendance was light – about half as many as attended the 2008 reunion – but everyone had a good time and the weather was very nice.

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