Oahu’s give island residents many lifestyle options. From beach towns to hidden valleys and family-friendly communities, the island of Oahu has it all. This is where you’ll learn more about Oahu’s wonderful neighborhoods
Nestled comfortably between Wilhelmina Rise and St. Louis Heights, between Kaimuki and the mountains, you will find the reasonably priced and close-knit neighborhood of Palolo Valley. In addition to the farmers in the agricultural parts of the valley, young adults who once grew up in Palolo are moving back, families are moving in, and the personality of this neighborhood remains small town Hawaii. The neighborhood is a popular less expensive alternative to Kaimuki, St. Louis, or Manoa areas.
The median sales price of a single-family home in Palolo has nearly doubled since 2000, from $291,000 to $570,000 today. Yet even with rising home values, affordability remains one of Palolo's greatest assets - with home prices in neighboring areas much higher.
"The bulk of the sales activity for Palolo takes place in the relatively affordable $400,000 to $650,000 range," says George Krischke, Realtor with Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. "Relatively affordable if you consider the convenient in-town location."
Elaine M. Shinagawa, Realtor Associate at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, agrees. "Affordability and proximity to jobs, educational centers, and accessibility to urban activities top the list of why residents chose to make Palolo home."
Shinagawa compared year-to-date sales activity of 2010 with 2011.
"Year-to-date to mid November there were 34 sales in 2010 compared to 33 sales in 2011," says Shinagawa. "The median sale price of $547,000 in 2010 was up to $570,000 in 2011, an increase of 4 percent over 2010.
"The highest recorded sale in 2011 was a newer, 2-story home with 7 bedrooms and 4 baths on 10th Avenue that closed on September 29th for $1,082,000," says Shinagawa. "The home's layout allows for extended families to live together with 4 bedrooms and 2 baths upstairs, and 3 bedrooms and 2 baths downstairs. Other million dollar sales to date have been mostly parcels with multiple dwellings."
Krischke says it's the small-town feel, where people take care of each other, as well as the proximity to Waialae Avenue and the Kaimuki businesses that attract buyers to Palolo.
"Palolo has a pleasant, almost country feel to it, where time appears to stand still," he says.
"Some of the parcels are zoned agricultural at the head of Palolo Valley," says Shinagawa. "Thai basil and other herbs sold at the Farmer's Markets are harvested from plots under cultivation along Lai Road. On harvest days, the fragrance of basil wafts in the valley's breeze."
Vina Marcello, Realtor Associate at Coldwell Banker, grew up in Palolo and remembers playing at the park, riding bikes and swimming at the pool.
"Folks are returning to their parents home, like myself, due to the traffic and also to care for parents," says Marcello.
Many homes are being renovated to accommodate multi-generational families with increased living areas and updating living areas.
"The value of real estate in Palolo is increasing," says Marcello. "People are moving in, renovating and rebuilding. Palolo is a unique, hidden valley where values are continually rising at a moderate speed."
Mu Ryang Sa Temple
Whoever it was that said, "Whenever you come to a fork in a road, take it" must have known that this country lane less traveled to the back of Palolo Valley was well worth the drive. Near the road's end, you'll find the peaceful grounds of this Buddhist temple are the perfect place to discover a deeper connection to nature, or simply get away from the stresses of rush hour traffic and cell phones. Relax and appreciate the architecture and artistry of these beautiful and historic hand painted buildings.
Only two miles mauka from Waialae Avenue, take 10th Avenue to Waiomao Road and bear right. The Temple is on Halelaau Place.
You don't have to know your yin from your yang to appreciate the Mu Ryang Sa Temple's serene atmosphere - the perfect place to relax, refresh and rejuvenate … and to practice yoga.
Yoga instructor Dai Kim has experienced different styles of yoga since she was 16, but started Ashtanga practice in 2001. She became a certified teacher in 2004, and has studied with Guruji and Sharath. In 2009, she traveled to India to attend the renowned K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute.
"I feel very blessed to be able to teach a practice that is very healing and meditative in a special and very beautiful location like the Mu Ryang Sa Buddhist Temple," says Kim. "It is only two miles from the main street, Waialae Avenue, yet once you arrive on the Temple grounds, one can't help but feel transported. It's an environment conducive to healing and meditation.
"I think being able to practice yoga at Temple Yoga is a special experience because there is a special energy there," says Kim. It's set off the beaten path, so we do not have distractions of traffic noise and the normal sounds of city life. We are lucky to be surrounded by the natural beauty of the mountains and the fresh air."
Ashtanga yoga incorporates aspects of Vinyasa, which uses breathing and movement for internal cleansing.
"In the context of a yoga class, very simply put it is a vigorous, dynamic practice that synchronizes movement with one's breath," says Kim. "Through this practice of correct breathing, postures and gazing point, we can gain control of the senses and a deep awareness of ourselves. By maintaining this discipline with regularity and constancy, one acquires steadiness of body and mind."
Classes are held daily (except Fridays) from 9 to 10:30 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursday evenings from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday afternoons from 2:30 to 4 p.m.
It is recommended to wear comfortable clothing that you can stretch and move in. Bring your own yoga mat, if you have one.
Remember to be mindful of Temple rules and to conduct yourself in a quiet and respectful manner.
Carlos Long Tract
At the back of Palolo Valley, there is a family neighborhood of cozy cottages referred to as the "flower streets" - identified by street names like Gardenia, Orchid, Ginger, Jasmine and Magnolia. Also called Happy Valley, this section of about 350 homes is a mix of newer and older homes built in the 1950s. Young professionals and families are moving into this hilly neighborhood and across the valley along Waiomao Street and vicinity, according to Elaine M. Shinagawa.
The median price of a single-family home in Carlos Long Tract ranges from the low $500,000s up to $600,000.
Waiomao Stream Cluster Development
Also in the back of Palolo Valley, you'll find an "under-the-radar" development of about 10 houses, which straddle Makaulii Place down to Waiomao Stream.
"The last sale in this complex was in 2007," says Shinagawa. "It was a 3-bedroom, 2-bath detached single-family residence that closed at $905,000."
A nearby hiking trail to Ka'au Crater featuring beautiful waterfalls along Waiomao Stream is a "must see" for hikers.
Palolo Valley District Park
With basketball courts, a softball field, tennis courts, volleyball courts, a gymnasium, a playground and open spaces and shaded trees, this family-friendly community park has something for all age groups. Palolo Valley District Park is an 11-acre recreational area centrally located on Palolo Avenue, and is well used by neighborhood residents, dog walkers and joggers.
The annual Palolo Pride celebration is held here.
Palolo Valley Swimming Pool
Located adjacent to the Palolo Valley District Park, this swimming pool truly is Olympic size - 50 meters by 25 yards - and is home of the Rainbow Aquatics swim team. The pool is open to the public with specific hours for lap swimming for those wanting to swim the 50-meter lengths and separate hours for those wanting to swim the 25-yards widths. Recreational swimming is also designated for a part of each day. For specific pool hours, call 733-7362. Or for information about Rainbow Aquatics, call 395-1041.
Pool admission is free.
Kawamoto Orchid Nursery
A trip to Kawamoto Orchid Nursery is well worth the visit. The Kawamoto family has been in the orchid business since 1947. And today, they export thousands of varieties of Hawaiian orchids worldwide. Exploring the 2.5 acres of verdant orchid houses is a colorful and aromatic experience. The blooms are coddled, pampered and lovingly cared for by the third generation of the Kawamoto family.
Orchid enthusiasts and plant lovers will get lost in the beauty of Dendrobiums, Cattleyas, Oncidium, Vanda, classic Phalaenopsis, the rainbow of lavender, yellow, orange, red and green colors and the fragrant, magical setting.
Take a walk through the nursery's blooming greenhouses, nestled off a winding Waiomao Road in upper Palolo Valley, just past the Mu Ryang Sa Temple.
Nursery hours are Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, call 732-5808.
Palolo Chinese Home: Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
"Established on 15 acres in Palolo Valley in 1917, the center was originally designed to care for elderly and homeless Chinese men who had immigrated to the islands as contract laborers and who did not have family to care for them," says Shinagawa. "Today it is a private 501©(3) nonprofit adult residential care home."
Major additions and renovations were completed in 2009. The facility also offers senior daycare.
Much Aloha to Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties and Island Homes Collection, Who bring wonderful neighborhoods and some of our favorite dining options.