Often overlooked by tourists driving around the island, Anna Ranch is very much worth the stop. A little piece of island history preserved as it was.
At the ranch the paniolo and ranching history of the Waimea area is preserved. The complex of buildings are the heart of a classic Hawaiian ranch. This was the headquarters of a large cattle operation for over a century.
If you catch one of the two daily tours you get to see the interior of the house and hear stories about the history of the ranch. The tour is really the best way to properly visit Anna ranch.
You will hear about the indomitable Anna Lindsey Perry-Fiske who ran the ranch through much of the twentieth century. A horsewoman and cattle expert she successfully kept the family ranch profitable, creating the ranch you see today. It was her dream to see the ranch preserved as a heritage center. Now run by a non-profit organization the ranch is listed in the Hawaii State Register of Historic Places, and on the National Register of Historic Places.
After the tour you can roam the gardens and the short “Discovery Trail” that leads behind the buildings. Along the trail there are interpretive signs that provide another view into the history of the area. This includes a bit on a historic battle that occurred on the hills behind Waimea.
Unfortunately the smithy was not open for our visit. I have always enjoyed watching a blacksmith at work. Nothing like a forge and hot steel, one of the oldest technologies, to catch the fascination of an engineer like myself. I will have to stop in again some time.
The daily tours are conducted at 10am and again at 1pm. The cost is $10/person and reservations are highly recommended. You might find a spot on a tour at last minute, but do not count on it. Otherwise visiting the ranch is free, unless you stop in the little gift shop.
After so many years of driving past, I am glad we stopped in to see this gem of Waimea history.