Sunday, July 14, 2002


Sit in the yard with a good book and a glass of wine, and watch the world go by.

Waimea B&B
is quietly comforting

Enjoy the panorama of Parker
Ranch in the lap of Mauna Kea

By Tim Ryan

WAIMEA, Big Island >> Minutes before sunrise, I'm sipping steaming Kona coffee and eating fresh macadamia nut bread while gazing across thousands of acres of lush Parker Ranch pasture land below the highest mountain in the world.

Dawn's glow turns the observatory domes on 13,796-foot Mauna Kea into giant, pinkish golf balls sitting on a fresh layer of snow. From sea floor to summit, Mauna Kea measures more than 5.6 miles high.

The patio is surrounded by hibiscus, orchids, ti plants, ferns and impatiens. Finches chirp in a nearby jacaranda tree covered with purple flowers. Four large gobbling turkeys march single file down the center of the street.

On the advice of a friend, I chose to mix pleasure with business for accommodations. Rather than stay at a resort, I opted for a new bed-and-breakfast in upcountry Waimea where my friend assured me I would be able to work in private and quiet without the normal B&B banter.

One aspect of hotel stays I do appreciate is being left alone when I have work to do. Although B&Bs can be more comfortable and homey, I've never particularly enjoyed talking to people whose only connection with me is coincidentally sharing the same accommodations.

And in this instance I also wanted to escape the heat and humidity at sea level for the exhilarating coolness at the 2,500-foot elevation.

The living room at Cook's Bed and Breakfast is furnished with antique and collectible koa furniture.

My gamble paid off with the most enjoyable B&B stay I've ever had.

PATTI COOK'S 40-year-old home five minutes on the Hamakua side of Waimea is surrounded by mature ohia, koa, magnolia, cypress and avocado trees on the southern slope of the Kohala mountains. The two-story home has a breathtaking view of Mauna Kea.

The 1,100 square-foot "Waimea Suite" is on the first floor and connected to Cook's quarters by an interior flight of stairs with privacy doors. The "suite" is larger than most Hawaii apartments: two bedrooms, large bathroom and shower with a huge pulsating shower head, living room with color television and fireplace, private entry and patio, and a full kitchen stocked with essential food and all the appliances you'd need to cook an extravagant meal.

"I don't cook breakfast, but everything you need is here," Cook said during a brief introductory tour.

Directions and details

What: Cook's Discoveries' "Waimea Suite"
Where: 64-5246 Iokua St., Kamuela, HI 96743
Call: 808-885-3633 for shop; 808-885-7502 for B&B
E-mail: or write P.O. Box 6960, Kamuela, HI 96743

Many of the goodies like tea, coffee, cookies and bread come from her nearby store, Cook's Discoveries. But the refrigerator is also stocked with eggs, butter, bacon, orange juice, milk and cereals.

There was even a bag of frozen shrimp, which I prepared for dinner with Hawaiian alae salt, soy sauce, chili pepper water and wasabi.

There's also a rice cooker, chopsticks, lau hala place mats and several Hawaii cookbooks including dozens of recipes for making your own fresh poke or Spam fried rice.

I had milk and enjoyed Cook's Discoveries' crisp oatmeal-coconut-macadamia nut cookies for a bedtime snack.

Patti has furnished the all-koa living room with antique and collectible furniture, turn-of-the-century Hawaii art, retro lamps, a pineapple motif Hawaiian quilt and Hawaiiana library. Inside the suite were games such as Scrabble, Monopoly, playing cards and konane, or Hawaiian checkers.

The unit's phone line worked perfectly for my Internet connection. I watched the sunset light up Mauna Kea, caught an L.A. Lakers game on television in front of a crackling fire with a bottle of Merlot, and came and went undisturbed through a private entrance.

The hand-made ceramic kitchen clock says it all: Its numbers are piled around the 6, and in big letters it reads, "Who Cares?"

A clock captures the “no-rush” spirit of Cook’s Bed and Breakfast in Waimea.

If I had had more time, I might have taken in some community events. A supplied community calendar is updated weekly with information about Upcountry rodeos, special events and performances at nearby Kahilu Theatre, Parker School Auditorium and Hawaii Preparatory Academy's Gates Performing Arts Center.

This slice of undiscovered paradise costs $125 a day for two plus tax. There's an additional charge for a third and fourth guest of $15 for keiki under 12, $25 for all others. The maximum number of guests is four.

If you stay six nights, the seventh is free. Guests making a direct booking receive a $20 gift certificate to Cook's Discoveries' made-in-Hawaii shop.


Check-in: During normal business hours, check in and get your keys at Cook's Discoveries' made-in-Hawaii shop at 64-1066 Mamalahoa Hwy. (Highway 19) at Cook's Corner, the third stoplight when traveling East through Waimea town. If approaching Waimea from Hamakua or Hilo, Cook's Discoveries is at the first stoplight. Shop hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays and holidays.

After-hours check-in: From Waimea town, stay on Mamalahoa Highway heading east for exactly two miles past the stoplighted intersection at Cook's Discoveries. Or, watch for the green mile marker No. 55 and go exactly three-tenths of a mile further and make a left turn (north) onto Iokua Street. If you get to Puunani Drive, you've gone too far.

Getting there: From Hilo/Hamakua, stay on Mamalahoa Highway heading west for exactly seven-tenths of a mile past the green No. 54 mile marker. You'll be making a right turn (north) onto Iokua Street. If you get as far as the Hawaiian Homes Hall (Kuhio Hale), you've gone too far.

Visible landmarks: There's a low stone bridge-like wall on both sides of Iokua Street where it meets Mamalahoa Highway. Both walls have reflectors on them for nighttime visibility. There's also a tall row of ironwood trees running parallel to -- and to the south of -- Mamalahoa Highway in this area. At night there's a bright yellow street light at this intersection. Once on Iokua, look for the third house on the right, a large two-story green-and-white home with a large, sweeping lawn. It's about halfway up the hill; there are several vacant lots on the street. Park in the driveway.

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