Lucky We Live Hilo

Years ago, Mother Earth News recognized little Hilo as one of “Eight Great Places You’ve Maybe Never Heard Of.” The introduction noted selection criteria as “setting high standards for livability, sustainability, and civic pride.” Yet again this year, we received a special accolade as Merrie Monarch was recognized as the best cultural festival in the US. How cool is that! Neither are a surprise to those who live here!

Peaceful Departures

In 2009, Miles and I opened his little snack bar inside the secure area of our airport. We never expected to see what happened each year as participants departed. We were treated to non-stop spontaneous entertainment (only in Hilo could this happen in an airport). Without exception, visitors were overwhelmed with emotion about leaving. They reflected on their visit as one of the most peaceful experiences of their lives.

Hilo’s Unique Charm

Let’s put this in perspective. Most were participants in the most intense and physically exhausting 4 days of their lives. They bunked where they could yet even in a sleep deprived state, Hilo put them completely at peace. The Mother Earth News article notes our Farmer’s Market, our many parks, the ethnic mix, our University, Imilo’a and, of course, Hilo’s commitment to going green!

Recognitions and Accolades

Here’s the thing. This is not the first time Hilo and East Hawaii were heralded for all things perfect. At one time National Geographic included the drive along our Hamakua Coast among the most beautiful in the nation. Outdoor Magazine also recognized rainy Hilo as one of the best outdoor places to live. The number of movies using East Hawaii as a backdrop is testament to the beauty that surrounds us.

Embracing the Rain

A few years ago, Hilo even hosted part of the World Cliff Diving Championship series. There’s always something going on. We are just coming out of what is typically our rainy winter season. I still grumble when I get into my car to show property during a downpour, after which I remind myself I could be on the mainland where it’s either steaming hot or freezing cold!

Capturing the Essence

Yep, the rainy season may leave us feeling mildew weary but all-in-all, we still live to hear the night rains and waking to the chorus of song birds each morning. We love the fresh air, the stars so close we can almost touch them and the rainbows with colors so intense it’s hard to imagine why UH would ever want to be called anything else!

Experience Hilo for Yourself

But here’s the thing, even with all the wonderful ways that Hilo has been recognized, capturing the essence of Hilo is still really best experienced first- hand and although my tenure at the airport has ended, I will always cherish the special memories created during Merrie Monarch! Thank you all for loving Hilo!

About the Author

Denise Nakanishi

Denise Nakanishi is a REALTOR Broker with Hawai'i Life. Denise Nakanishi is one of Hilo's most acclaimed real estate agents. She reached the rank of Major in the US Army and is now known by many as "Major Mom." The nickname fits–not only does Denise bring the discipline and mission-oriented attitude you'd expect, she's also caring and compassionate, always looking out for her clients like they're her own family. Having made the Big Island her home since 1987, Denise combines her extensive knowledge of the area with a sharp focus on customer service and the results speak for themselves. She's the recent recipient of the Best East Hawai`i, Best of Zillow, Chairman's Circle Award, President's Circle, Top Producing Agent since 2001, and Realtor of the Year awards. Denise stays ahead of the curve because she's passionate about education–she served as Education Chair for Hawaii Island REALTORS® for many years. She's one of Big Island's best real estate resources, known for her weekly article in the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Denise leads Team Nakanishi for Hawai`i Life, who is committed to their family, work, and community. In her little time away from work, Denise is a committed runner and Grandy. She also devotes many hours to various Veterans' Organizations, the East Hawaii Cultural Center, and the Hawaii Island REALTORS®. You can email me at denise@hawaiilife.com or via phone at (808) 936-5100.

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