Spent an amazing week in Maui last week – it was beautiful, relaxing, tiring, rejuvenating, discovering, remembering … all the things a vacation should be! I don’t want to be “commercial” but there were some wonderful places that I would love to share with you should you ever find yourself on the Valley Isle. I was so pleased to see that while there has been unavoidable growth in the last 30 years, the essence of Maui has not changed. Much about Maui has not changed. I am so happy to have been able to introduce my friend, his son, daughter and daughter’s boyfriend to this world I love.
We arrived Tuesday afternoon and after checking in to the Aston Kaanapali Shores Hotel and an ocean view 2-bedroom condo (with 5 of us, an essential!), we did the perfunctory grocery shopping at the Times Supermarket right across the street. After resting up a bit, we met up with my niece’s ex husband (who lives the single life here) at Leilani’s ( www.leilanis.com ) in Whaler’s Village a few miles down the road. Though we missed happy hour, the beverages were QUITE refreshing and the fish tacos to die for! We sat in the bar area beachside, much more relaxed than the upstairs dinner house. A great way to end the night!
Wednesday was local style breakfast at (name) – Son was dying to try Spam ‘n Eggs for breakfast so this delightful little local hole in the wall fit the need perfectly! Hawaiian plate lunches …. or breakfasts … ONO! In addition to spam and eggs, we ordered portugese sausage, eggs and rice; portugese sausage omelette, fried rice, and loco moco (rice, hamburger patty, eggs and gravy all in a big pile).
The afternoon took us to Iao Needle – the first introduction to Hawaii beauty – and of course the clouds were misting and making rainbows!
On Thursday we rented some snorkel gear for $2.50 a day (mask and fins) from a little place next to the hotel and headed north from Lahaina/Kaanapali to Honolu’a Bay – which is private property but the owners allow you in to snorkel. They operate as a nature conservency, protecting the reef in the bay and the marine life in a serious way. The really cool thing is that they encourage visitors to snorkel to the point of providing free snorkel gear and boogie boards to float on as you have to swim out a ways from the beach to the reef in order to enjoyo the incredible variety of marine life. Honu (Hawaiian for turtles) abound! Along with dozens of variety of fish, eels, manta rays, and stunning coral reefs. Be sure to lather up with sun screen before walking down to the beach (they discourage use of it to avoid polluting the water and harming the environment) – you’ll easily lose track of time on your belly and your backside will get SUNBURNED! And be sure to leave a donation to their wonderful efforts to preserve this beautiful spot!
Friday late morning we all jumped into the van and took off for Haleakala …. 10,000 feet of extinct volcano, at least three geographic climate zones … sun, clouds, rain, sun again … beautiful vistas and stunning views … the best time to be there is either for sunrise or sunset – but I have honestly never made it for either! Also, dress in layers … it can be 85 at the beach, and 35 at the summit! Or not … it was beautiful and sunny when we were up there, though we came through rain!
Friday evening we went to Old Lahaina Luau ( www.oldlahainaluau.com ) – after researching a bit, I was looking to go to the most ‘AUTHENTIC’ luau, and not a Polynesian Extravaganza …. Old Lahaina offered the most authentic Hawaiian food selection (Kahlua pork, lomi lomi salmon, sweet potatoes, lau lau, squid luau, chicken long rice, haupia, POI, along with the lighter tourist fare …) and Hawaiian dance. The entertainment was a bit subdued – no fire-eating, sword throwing Samoans, or entertaining Maori warriors dancing – but it was enough – and a history of Hawaii through dance.
Saturday was a hang out day for us – lounging around the pool and beach, or napping in the room – daughter and boyfriend took off in the van for Hana – and son was dropped off at a nearby disc golf course where my niece’s ex husband met up with him to play and party. I enjoyed being a lizard in the sun by the pool more than anything! Daughter and boyfriend took the car and headed off to Hana … we didn’t see them or son again till 9:30 that night but they had an awesome day on their own.
Our turn to go to Hana on Sunday – a beautiful, mild Hawaiian day – it is a beautiful (albiet strenuous) drive to Hana – and it is not about the destination (Hana is a simple, small fishing village of no particular distinction) but the 38 miles of driving there are spectacular – thus “The Road To Hana”. You go through bamboo forests, rain forests, see and smell hillsides of beautiful wild yellow ginger – waterfalls everywhere … and the two-lane road alternates to one0lane road and smaller one-lane bridges. Believe the signs that say “Yeild to oncoming traffic”!
Monday was our last day and typically spend doing last minute shopping for goodies to take home … spending more time at the pool … Boyfriend and friend took scuba lessons in the pool (as neither had ever been scuba diving before) – it was quite amusing … as you can see ….
And Monday night we capped it all off by a wonderful dinner at Longhis in Lahaina ( http://www.longhis.com/ ) Longhi’s has been on Front Street since about 1980 – and with good reason! Amazing, wonderful food – delightful libations – relaxed yet eloquent ambiance …. it was awesome!
And then came Tuesday ….. aloha to Maui but not for another 30 years …. I’ll be back again, sweet Maui – and as always …. Maui is NO KA OI! The best!
Aloha and namaste ….