Anyone who has lived here for awhile is aware of Bentley’s annual Christmas Open House. The gift shop is located in upcountry Waimea (Kamuela) on Highway 19, and is centrally located at Parker Square.
Any Kona Babe on island will try to make this event, which promises an evening of cool weather, lots of pre-holiday shopping opportunities, an added bonus of tasty pupu’s (that’s appetizers in local speak) , beer and wine bar and lots of hot gossip in the carpool on the way up. (actually, we Babes do not gossip – we simply confer).
By the time we arrived at Parker Square, Tina found a single parking space in a sea of vehicles. As in past Open Houses, Bentley’s provided a fabulous complimentary buffet just outside their entry. We were tempted, but decided to peruse the glittery and festive store before the crowds descended.
Christmas is my favorite holiday: full of excitement and promise for children; friends and family reconnect; self reflection and spiritual confirmation abound; stores bring on the sales to boost their end-of-year profits (did that sound shallow?); a broad sentiment of goodwill towards others coupled with many festive events - JOY!
Like giddy children set free in a toy store, we descended on the multihued and sparkling display of ornaments, knick knacks, jewelry, seasonal home décor, and holiday wearables.
I am not certain that each of us found something to purchase, however I am positive that we had lots of fun wearing hats, trying on clothes, trying to convince each other to buy that special item that we absolutely knew was right for them.
The sales staff (Emily, Lisa, Kathy & Susan) at Bentleys remembers all of our names even though we usually do not visit the store except at the Holiday Open House in the fall (WHY??) – afterall, it’s an hour trek from Kona! The same team has been there for years and through change of ownership – a sign that they are good at their profession! They really make you feel “at home” when you walk through the door, greeting customers with smiles, acknowledgement by first name (if they recognize you) and a big Thank You for coming in. Other shops – take notice!
The Open House is the start of Bentley’s (and Parker Square) holiday shopping season and you know it when you see all of the Christmas trees scattered around the store in various sizes and décor. There is even an upside down tree hanging over a table in the center of the back room! This is not a large store, but you can spend over an hour looking at all the glittery distractions!
The spread of tasty offerings on the lanai was the happening place to be. Quiches, dips, spreads, homemade pates, breads, fruit and cheeses were arranged on the tables, festooned with fresh cedar garlands from Waimea. A retired caterer shares her gift of cooking annually for this event and I have yet to learn her name. Everytime I tried to speak with her, she was occupied or chatting with someone else. Oh well – there’s always next year!
I spotted a holiday dessert table laden with cookies as well as a hosted bar. Besides a nice array of wines and beer, our jolly bartender mixed chocolate martinis, prepared with vodka, crème de cacao, plus a few other ingredients that vanished in the Waimea fog. I know that I wrote everything down, but can’t seem to find that darn torn envelope!
Bentleys is ‘the bomb’ (according to a young Lady Gaga lookalike munching on a handful of rum balls – trying to get a buzz, no doubt). I concur. Check out their website and register for their newsletter so you won’t miss next year’s Open House event.
A visit to Bentleys affords sojourns into neighboring shops such as Waimea Country Store, Gallery of Great Things (with their ultra-friendly watch cats lounging around on the lanai), Kamuela Goldsmiths, Sweet Wind books & Beads, Waimea Coffee & Company. There is a new boutique located in the space formerly occupied by Imagination Toys. We strolled in after having sated ourselves at the ‘pupu buffet’ and immediately got down to business oogling the unusual jewelry, clothing and accessories. I still dream about the stunning multi-stranded ruby-red beaded necklace that I passed up with the unusual bone clasp – at a nominal price too! Some days my frugality is my enemy.
Waimea Country Store always has a vast array of gifts and kitchen gadgets crammed into their back room, and is fun to explore. I guarantee you won’t get out of there any faster than we did! LOL
The girls were hungry again – I can’t imagine how that could have happened – especially so soon after the Bentley Buffet!
Follow us over to Huli Sue’s Barbecue and Grill, just across from the 56 mile marker on Hwy 19 in Waimea.