In 1947 William (Robbie) and Marjorie Robertson were looking for a place where Robbie could enjoy a respite from the stress of managing a sugar plantation on the Hamakua Coast. The Plantation Manager’s Beach House became their weekend retreat. They chose a lovely site with three beaches and a safe lagoon where their children could learn to swim and snorkel. Marjorie and Robbie welcomed guests from all over the world to their Kona beach house. Robbie’s favorite recreation was painting. He and his dear friend, Millard Sheets, the extravagantly talented California pleine aire artist loved to capture the ever changing light and movement of the Kona Coast.
When Marjorie and Robbie bought their lot, the Kona Coast was sparsely populated. They chose a magical site next to a sheltered lagoon teeming with small fish and other sea life. The house sits on 1/2 acre of ocean side grounds. Most of the stately niu, endemic Hawaiian coconut trees, were already mature sixty years ago. Many native plants used by Hawaiians for medicine, food, shelter, weaving and other purposes have been preserved on the grounds; we have reintroduced other native and endemic Hawaiian flora.
The four bedroom home is built in the classic Hawaiian mauka – makai (mountain – ocean) fashion. It is one room wide with 10 foot high ceilings designed to capture the sea breeze during the day and the mountain air at night. The shady indoor and outdoor lanais provide an extraordinary view of the ocean and the Kona Coast. The beach house is little changed from the 1940’s and 50s. Paintings by Robbie and friends hang on the walls. The Steinway Baby Grand that was Robbie’s wedding present to Marjorie is in the living room. Some furniture is from the grand Plantation Manager’s house in Pa‘auilo; other pieces are Marjorie’s heirlooms.
This is our place for rejuvenation. Barbara likes to play golf on one of the 17 magnificent courses on the Island. Dylan and Ian snorkel and scuba dive. We take amazing hikes down the Waipio and Waimanu Valleys. Ian’s fisherman friends fly fish for aku, ahi, and au (marlin). In the morning, one can join the runners on Ali‘i Drive and run the four miles to Keauhou, the finish line for the Ironman Triathlon. The less ambitious float in the lagoon just before sunset and then at the cocktail hour watch for the green flash from the open lanai. In the evenings, we often arrange for Tina Fay, our onsite caretaker, to cater a gourmet meal – something lean and healthy with organic greens, veggies and grilled fresh caught deep water ocean fish served al fresco on picnic tables on the lawn.
Having two adjacent homes is fun. It gives us an opportunity to introduce friends old and new (if they don’t get along, they can stay in separate houses.) It enables us to invite high school and college classmates for reunions. The houses are a wonderful site for weddings. Recently, Dylan married Katie Boyle. Friends came from all over the Country. 100 guests attended the ceremony on the point, had drinks at the Zen Cottage, and then dinner and dancing under a tent in front of the “big” house. They all said it was “The Best Wedding Ever.” Marjorie and Robbie would have been overjoyed.