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Hawaii (Big) Island
Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
Behind the stone-loading platform of the once-famous Hilo Railroad, constructed around the turn of the 20th century, the former manager's house is a poignant reminder of the era when sugar was the local cash crop. The railroad, used to transport sugar from the plantations to the port, was one of the most expensive built in its time. It was washed away by the 1946 tsunami. Today one of the vintage switch engines is on display at the museum, and on special occasions even runs a few yards on a short Y-track. www.thetrainmuseum.com. COST: $6. OPEN: Weekdays 9--4:30, weekends 10--2.
Local Big Island artwork is featured at this historic gallery, an 80-year-old fire station at the intersection of Lindsey Road and old Mamalahoa Highway, directly across from Waimea Chevron. Supporting the Waimea Arts Council, the gallery is home to annual juried shows as well as solo and group exhibitions by its many award-winning multimedia artists and artisans. www.waimeaartscouncil.org. OPEN: Wed.--Sat. 11--3.
Run by local artists Peter and Jeanette McLaren, this Honomu gallery showcases their woodwork and photography collections along with beautiful ceramics, woodwork, photography, glass, and paintings from other Big Island artists. The McLarens also serve up plate lunches, shave ice, homemade ice cream, and espresso to hungry tourists in the adjoining café. Their shop next door, called Same-Same, But Different, features made-in-Hawaii clothing and small gifts. The historic building still has a working soda fountain dating from 1935. www.woodshopgallery.com.
A Big Island-born artist whose verdant landscapes and paniolo (cowboy)-themed paintings have become iconic throughout the Islands, Harry Wishard's gallery at Parker Ranch Center showcases his original oils, plus works by such local artists as Kathy Long, Tai Lake, and Lynn Capell.
In this quaint gallery in a vintage house, you can find finely crafted wooden bowls, koa furniture, paintings, and jewelry—all made by local artists. There's also a great little café where you can pick up a sandwich or ice cream before descending into Waipio Valley. www.waipiovalleyartworks.com.
Watercolorist and oil painter Patrick Louis Rankin showcases his own work in his shop in a restored plantation store next to the bright-green Chinese community and social hall, on the way to Pololu Valley. The building sits right on the road at the curve, in the Palawa ahupuaa (land division) near Kapaau. www.patricklouisrankin.net.
Located in Kailua-Kona, this one-of-a-kind shop features the bronze creations of Charles Moore. Inspired by the vintage hula-girl lamps of the 1930s, Moore creates art pieces sought by visitors and residents alike. Mix and match with an array of hand-painted lamp shades. www.hulalamps.com.
This venerable gallery has been enticing visitors for more than 20 years with a vast collection of paintings and sculptures by more than 150 Big Island artists. There are also antique maps and prints, stone artifacts, wooden bowls, paddles, koa furniture, jewelry, and glasswork.
This gallery carries the work of more than 200 local artists, most of which hail from the Big Island. Expect to find fine art, furniture, ceramics, glass, and decorative pieces made with koa and other native woods. Price ranges vary. Stroll in after dinner as they are open until 8:30 pm. www.harborgallery.biz.
Woodworker Cliff Johns can often be found on the front porch of his cool gallery in the heart of Holualoa Village, chatting with fellow artists or working on a new piece. The gallery features an array of works by Big Island artists, and an inventory of wood scultures, paintings, furniture, and other crafts that's decidedly different from the standard fare.