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Old February 7th, 2006, 11:09 AM
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leighuf leighuf is offline
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Default "Must buys" in Hawaii

What was your favorite or best purchase in Hawaii? I'm heading to Hawaii in May for my first time. This topic was brought up on the Europe board and it helped me greatly during my Med cruise last October.

Thanks in advance for your replies.
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Old February 7th, 2006, 11:22 AM
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Its always coffee for me....not that I 'visit' anymore.....I live here. But I find that stuff just collects dust. I like to get a sarong for the pool for wherever I may end up, some nice sandals....and an expensive bag of Kona coffee.

But something else that would be useful is a nice wooden bowl salad set. Or if you go to the swap meet they have these cool wooden bowl that are cut in a spiral so they lay flat when not in use but then expands to a bowl shape. Those are quite the conversation piece.
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  #3  
Old February 7th, 2006, 02:20 PM
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DonahCBrown DonahCBrown is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leighuf
What was your favorite or best purchase in Hawaii? I'm heading to Hawaii in May for my first time. This topic was brought up on the Europe board and it helped me greatly during my Med cruise last October.

Thanks in advance for your replies.
Foodstuffs:
Kona Coffee
Maui or Big Island wine - just for the conversation value - wine's not all that great - (or the winery tee shirts)
Kona chocolate - recently started making from locally grown cacao - very good
Macadamia nuts
Locally grown vanilla
Local white honey

Arts & Crafts:
locally made jewelry using volcanic glass
any local art that you like - a popular artist who has prints available is Peggy Hopper, there are lots of photographers doing volcano stuff - Brad Lewis is one of the better known ones, Victoria McCormick does lovely sea and landscape work.
anything made from Koa or Milo wood or bowls made from Norfolk Pine
Lauhala weavings - but make sure it is locally made - lots coming in from Southeast Asia and the Phillipines
Baskets made from coconut sheaths - the long bark type stuff from the trunks - very distinctive
Tapa cloth - this was an art form that had pretty much died out, but there has been a revival and there are some gorgeous pieces out there in some of the higher end shops
There are lots of things - from key chains to wall hangings and bronzes - made using the motifs from the petroglyphs, some are very elegant.
Hawaiian quilts are very distinctive and, if hand made here, very expensive. There are machine made knockoffs available, and there are some hand crafted smaller items using the quilt motifs that are readily available. There is also jewelry made in the quilt patterns, and a variety of small items like book marks, thimbles, pot holders, place mats, etc.
Ukeleles


Oils, perfumes, etc.
Plumeria is a popular fragrance, as is tuberose (although I find that one pretty overwhelming, personally)
Traditional oils and 'essences', both culinary and medicinal are available - kukui nut, coconut, ginger & noni are traditional - macadamia nut oil, while not traditional, is also available. Thre are a wide variety of products using these - just the straight oil, lotions and salves, soaps and creams, various culinary mixes, etc.
Lavendar is grown on the Big Island and there are a lot of widely available lavendar products from sachets to cooking herb mixes, lotions, bath salts, creams.

One of my favorite items to get while traveling is cds featuring local musicians - slack key guitar instrumentals would be a good choice here. The first Hawaiian music Grammy award went to a slack key album called Kohala. Dancing Cat Records has a lot of good slack key music, and one of my favorite artists is a local guy named John Keawe.

That should get you started, anyway!
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  #4  
Old February 7th, 2006, 04:51 PM
margaretmerrill margaretmerrill is offline
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Default buys

If you are in Honolulu, try the international market. It`s a fun place to shop, but you have to know to barter.
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  #5  
Old February 7th, 2006, 05:00 PM
churee churee is offline
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Smile Must Buys in Hawaii

Two of my favorite buys were local cds. "Alone in IZ World" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and "The Best of the Brothers Cazimero". I asked several Hawaiians who they would recommend and they all suggested IZ. (Also Gabby, but I never found his cd). I bought the Brothers cd because it was some of the music that was played via earphones on our Safari Helicopter flight over Kauai. (We booked it over the internet and I would give them an A+). I have been playing these cd's for the past week and love them!!!!!

We also bought a piece of fused and formed original glass art from the Big Island which we bought in Maui. The artist was Marian Fieldson. I also bought some notecards from Hawaiian artists.

Wished I had bought Macadamia nuts but didn't.

Joyce
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Old February 8th, 2006, 02:14 AM
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I agree - if you're going to buy just ONE Hawaiian CD, then it should be something by Iz. I would have recommended "Facing Future" but "Alone" is not bad either.

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Old February 8th, 2006, 11:32 AM
Suebee Suebee is offline
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We have "Facing Future"...yep its a good one. But there are also a lot of artists with very different styles....Jake Shimabokuro, Slack Key Guitarists, vocals, Jawaiian, local pop....lots to choose from.
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Old February 8th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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DonahCBrown DonahCBrown is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suebee
We have "Facing Future"...yep its a good one. But there are also a lot of artists with very different styles....Jake Shimabokuro, Slack Key Guitarists, vocals, Jawaiian, local pop....lots to choose from.
What kind of vocal music people might like is sort of a tough call, but I've never met anyone who didn't enjoy slack key. If you're looking for Hawaiian music, try the Borders stores, as they will let you listen first and you can sample before you buy. Falsetto is kind of an acquired taste...
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  #9  
Old February 9th, 2006, 02:05 AM
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morriscats morriscats is online now
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Haven't had the Big Island Wine but we love Maui Splash! Ice cold. Yumm
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  #10  
Old February 9th, 2006, 08:33 AM
FnyFACEnAL FnyFACEnAL is offline
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a beautiful flowered mumu...
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Old February 9th, 2006, 12:47 PM
Spikesgirl Spikesgirl is offline
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Default So many choices,so little room

Much of what used to be uniquely Hawaiian can now be found in local supermarkets, including Kona coffee and mac nuts (cheapest place on the islands is Long's Drug store). If you want something that is purely Hawaiian and will be on the Big Island, go to the Volcano Village general store and buy ohelo berry jam (or jelly if you prefer). Then walk around back and visit the quilting store - there are projects for both experienced and novice quilters, along with lots of other local gifts. Go to Volcano House and visit their stores - it's pricey, but they have very unique gifts. For something even more unique, walk over to the Volcano Arts and Craft Center. There are some beautiful bits and baubles there, along with art work, pottery, etc. You can even buy a koa wood rocking chair if you so choose.

Hawaii No Ka Oi,

Charlie
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  #12  
Old February 9th, 2006, 04:03 PM
cruzincraven cruzincraven is offline
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Talking Must Buy item

I always purchase a Christmas ornament that depicts the place that I visit. When I decorate my tree, it always reminds me of the great times I have had when traveling. I have a few Crusie ship ornaments as well.
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Old February 11th, 2006, 10:47 PM
kabookie kabookie is offline
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Quote:
I always purchase a Christmas ornament that depicts the place that I visit.

I'm not a knick-knacky person, so I've made it a practice to purchase earrings when I travel. I usually get something that reminds me of the trip or destination, and when I put them on months later, I always smile remembering where I was when I bought them.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 07:29 PM
HopkinsCruiser HopkinsCruiser is offline
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I do the Christmas Ornament thing, too, but I'm really enjoying all the suggestions. Like the salad bowl, coffee and nuts. We can't wait for our trip.

Thanks!
Tina
Pride of Hawaii
3/07
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  #15  
Old February 17th, 2006, 12:45 AM
Middleager Middleager is offline
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Default Buying coffee near cruise ship pier

If you like to buy Kona coffee and like to buy many lbs, can consider contacting one of the coffee farms. We had 6 people and actually arranged with 2 farms. We bought 13 lbs from one and I think 15 lbs from the other. They met us at the pier at 4 (last tender at 4:30), good timing.

Both of them roasted the coffee that morning and vacumn packed that day. It was one of the best buys we had.

I've had other coffees, Blue Mountain (from Jamaica), Costa Rica, Brazil, etc. Kona coffee is very very good (and expensive, but worth it).

If you like to try yourself, can contact:
www.smithfarms.com
or
http://www.koacoffee.com/coffeebeans.html
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Old June 8th, 2007, 09:28 PM
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grannynanny grannynanny is offline
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Has anyone purchased the "key chains" with the English name on one side the Hawaiian name on the other. I lost the ones we purchased a few years ago (they make great gifts) and can't remember where I bought them. I went on line to ABC Stores and Hili Hatties, but ddidn't see them on their sites.
If anyone knows where to purchase these, I would appreciate it if you would share that info with me.
Thanks,
Nancy
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Old June 9th, 2007, 12:27 AM
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Red dirt tee shirts - for any men or young men. Buy them a little large as my husband's shrunk. One shop on north shore of Kauai had sign for $10 but most are about $20. (These are shirts dyed by the red dirt of Hawaii -available on Kauai and Maui at least).
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Old June 9th, 2007, 01:05 AM
robinpow robinpow is offline
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Handcrafts are always nice.

The nut lei is very nice, cheap and easy to pack.

Red dirt t-shirts are defiantly different. As mentioned watch your prices... I saw them from $12 to $24.

As for the Kona coffee... I love the stuff, but didn't buy any. All the places I went to were charging way to much. Many of the growers sell online for about half of what the stores were selling it for. Use any search engine type "kona +coffee", trust me no shortage online.

Watch your nut prices too. Our local Walmart had (plain roasted) the same brand, for the same price.

The International Market in Honolulu, does have a couple of local craftsmen, however most is imported stuff. Tip, go out the back side and hit the Chinese restaurant... good food & cheap.
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Old June 9th, 2007, 04:26 AM
beachchick beachchick is offline
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Foodstuff:

The absolute best and freshest Kona coffee (Kauai coffee is good too); I'll pay the price to get the good stuff direct from the coffee farms. We've actually found a few Kauai-Kona blends which have been fabulous. (Our favorites vary from visit to visit because coffee beans, like grapes, have "vintages" as well as variances in the roasting. Too bad we can't visit every season. LOL.)

Alaea Hawaiian sea salt (it's red from the volcanic rock and has a wonderful flavor; it's my sea salt of choice). Hint: buy at a market or at someplace like Ward Center's farmers market building because it's less than half the price of the fancy tourist "gift" containers at the souvenier shops (e.g., 1 lb in plain package for $3 at Ward vs 10 oz in snazzy plastic tube thing with decorations for $6 at gift store).

White honey, Lehua honey, and pretty much any other locally produced honey--Yum, yum, and yummy!

Mac nuts, but only in the flavors I can't find on the mainland (butter toffee, jalepeno, etc.)

Good jams. We like to look for ones at farmers markets or roadside stands or anywhere that it is more home-made or small-batch produced, rather than mass produced.

Various locally made hot sauces and dressings (lots of good chili sauces and pineapple dressings, etc.).

Big Island Candies goodies. Can you really go wrong with great chocolate?

Pineapple (there are several sources where you can purchase pineapple approved for export and have it delivered to the airport); papayas (must be fumigated and approved); Maui onions (must be approved)--You can't just buy a pineapple at the store or a roadside stand and take it home.


Other items:

A sarong or two, not the ones from other places, the ones made in Hawaii.

Aloha attire (Sears is a good source with good prices, especially the one in Ala Moana on Oahu).

Any of the CDs listed above (and others like them); love "Facing Future".

Fresh leis (orchid ones last well for take home; put them in a plastic bag, sprinkle with a little water, and then "blow up" the bag before tying the top or keep in the box it comes in, but still sprinkle with a bit of water).

A pretty pair of earrings, a bracelet, or a necklace. (Macy's in Waikiki on Kalakaua has some nice ones which don't cost a fortune, but are designed by Hawaiian jewelry makers. I don't go for the mass-produced ones, but there are tons and tons of things at places like the International Marketplace; those are an especially good choice for teens because they are inexpensive and fun.)

I'd love at least one piece of truly beautiful authentic Hawaiian Heritage jewelry or a really intricate Ni'ihau shell lei, but alas, the budget says no (sigh).

There are any number of beautiful pieces in various media made by local artists that are available in various galleries and shops; although we're not much for those types of souveniers, we bought a really lovely framed tile at a fair one time.

Of course there are all kinds of lotions, soaps, perfumes, and so forth. Some are really nice. (I must concur about the tuberose fragrance; it's pretty strong, just like the flowers themselves. That's why I always recommend not wearing a tuberose lei to dinner or other meals; you end up "tasting" the scent--it's that strong.) Plumeria (natural plumeria, not artificial fragrance) is one of my favorite scents.

My first trip, I bought everyone at home ornaments for that Christmas. Those were a big hit. We have a nice one for ourselves.

Aside from food items and some new aloha attire, we don't really bring home many souveniers. (I even buy CDs online at home.)

Edited: Oops, forgot my "sentimental" silly item. Must bring home one lei from Hilo Hattie to commemorate each trip. (You know, the free one they give you for walking in the door.)

beachchick

Last edited by beachchick; June 9th, 2007 at 04:31 AM.
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  #20  
Old June 9th, 2007, 09:53 AM
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The one item I always get when I go to Hawaii is their Pikake cologne and body lotion. I love the fragrance of the Pikake flower.
Our son brought back a kukui nut lei.
Grannynanny, the first time we ever went to Hawaii in 1991, I got one of those keychains. I used it for years and years. We have been going back about every other year since 2001 and I have seen those keychains but couldn't tell you exactly where. I think they had them at the Whaler's in Lahaina on Front Street. We are going back in October for a week and I will be glad to pick one up for you. Let me know if you want me to.
Also at the Whalers gift shop I got shell trivets to bring back for gifts. Inexpensive and pretty. Travelgirl
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