We researched Hilo extensively, and really thought we may live here some day. And we may! Marnie LOVES this place even more than I do. I like to call it “Quarky-Cool.” And that’s what it is. It’s quarky, meaning it’s different than any place you’ve ever been, and it’s VERY “cool,” because it is extremely cool. Let’s start with “quarky.”
First, Marnie and I have traveled a lot. All over the U.S. and Europe. I’ve been to South America, and a few of the islands south of Florida, but I’m having a tough time finding anywhere to compare to Hilo. Locals have a tough time describing it also. “Rains a lot,” is a phrase we hear often. “Artsy,” “Historic,” “Unique” are other terms. It makes me (personally) think of a place suspended in time, showing you how things used to be, and still offering you all the pleasantries of modern-times.
Let me give you an example. Anyone who’s ever traveled to London knows what I mean. (I haven’t been to London for about 7 years, so maybe things have changed?) London is/was kind of caught in a time warp. The taxis are really old looking, the phones are old, the styles are retro. The building are very old. The history is plush, the pride runs high. It’s just different. You have a hard time putting your finger on it. Don’t mistake my description for saying London (or Hilo) are “out of date,” or “old,” that’s entirely
wrong. But if you’ve ever been in a “fake-ville,” (row upon row of constructed housing, fake villages, stores, etc, - this is the OPPOSITE of London or Hilo. You can’t fake London or Hilo, no-way. You can’t “make” a “development” called Hilo, or a sub-division like Hilo. You just can’t. As an example, as we walked downtown Hilo into the shops, they are all so unique, you can’t even compare it (vaguely) with anywhere. Sure, you can say, (like my daughter did,) “this is like Broadripple,” or maybe Buckhead (if you know Atlanta,) or even Sixth Street in Austin, but it’s not just right.
My daughter compared it to Broadripple, but one thing is for certain, we felt safer in Hilo than anywhere we’ve ever been. And another thing, walking downtown Hilo (even 4 or 5 blocks away,) you’re still within crawling distance of Hilo Bay, and the beautiful Pacific Ocean. And one last point: you will have a hard time finding a place where people are so genuinely nice and caring. Crime and Capitalism (although I firmly believe in Capitalism (not crime:)) are the furthest thing from people’s minds. Perhaps to the point that keeping Hilo “commercialized” has been a negative. If investors really understood this area, it would probably not last this way for long!