The Kilohana Plantation family

The Kilohana Plantation family. Photo by Keri Cooper

by Anne E. O’Malley

On the July For Kaua`i Cover. Standing in front of the train, (l-r): Pepe Trask, general manager, Kaua`i Plantation Railway; Fred Atkins, general partner, Kaua`i Kilohana Partners; Kaimana Kinzie, conductor /guide with Kaua`i Plantation Railway; Doug Jackson, engineer, Kaua`i Plantation Railway; Manny Sanchez, Limited Partner, Kaua`i Kilohana Partners.

On the train (l-r): Jordan Harris, conductor /guide, Kaua`i Plantation Railway; Jonathan Pflueger, executive chef, Gaylord’s Restaurant; Nani Marston, entertainment director, Luau Kalamaku; Jessica Amas, manager/Luau Kalamaku; Gino Quintana, food & beverage manager, Gaylord’s Restaurant; Bruce Labok, engineer, Kaua`i Plantation Railway; Bob Gunther, president, Koloa Rum Company; Rae Hiramoto, operations and group sales, Kaua`i Kilohana Partners. Photo by Keri Cooper. View more photos in the gallery below. To read more about the development of the railway, click here.

Fred Atkins

A Plantation for All to Enjoy

by Anne E. O’Malley

Welcome to Kilohana Plantation, where cutlery has clinked against crockery at lunch and dinner seven days a week since 1986 as patrons of Gaylord’s Restaurant enjoy dining al fresco.

Where 100,000 lu`au guests a year attend a lu`au that tells a Polynesian migration story with fire, flash, dazzle and hula.

Where shops sparkle with gems and pop with colorful art or ooze rum in cakes and chocolate.

And where an historic sugar train puffs its way along a narrow gauge railway through pasture in pursuit of the past.

This is Fred Atkins country, but don’t tell him that! As the general partner of Kilohana Plantation, he’s got a personal profile lower than sea level — and he likes it that way.

Still, he’s been at the heart of bringing the place back from obscurity since he started with his mentor, Manny Sanchez, and a couple of other general partners 25 years ago. The others have since moved on. He holds fast the collective dream — an ag-tourism-historical-cultural marketing focus that keeps residents and visitors moving through this last bucolic green belt in Lihu`e.

Fred Atkins

Fred Atkins in front of Kilohana Plantation. Photo by Keri Cooper

Once, Kilohana Plantation was a 700-acre cattle r