Archive for the ‘Maui’ Category

Contemplating Lahaina, Maui

Lahaina is steeped in history and offers some great photo opps. I recommend taking a moment to check out some of the interesting sites around town.

The Jodo Mission

The Banyan Tree planted in 1873, The Baldwin Home, The Reading Room, Wo Hing Temple, The old prison, the courthouse, etc. There are quite a few great websites to fill you in on the history of Lahaina. If you can see beyond the tourist traps of Front Street, there are some pretty cool places to check out in between.



Kula Lodge Maui

At 3,200 feet above sea level, Kula Lodge is a refreshing breath of air perched high above the beach towns of Maui. Initially it feels as if you are walking into an old west lodge where one might expect to find a bison’s head mounted over the fireplace. It takes a moment to register that you are in fact still in Maui. Smoke tantalized my senses from the wood fire pizza oven and though I did not order one, I wish I had after seeing a pizza delivered to the table nearby.

The lodge is located near the base of Mt. Haleakala, or rather part way up the mountain in the town of Kula. It is located near the turn off that takes you up the side of Haleakala Crater. A perfect place to grab a late lunch after visiting the National Park. There are windows outlining the entire dining area overlooking the island. You can see both sides of the island and by sunset, it may be one of the best views on Maui. The interior is a little rustic, but that is what I liked about the place. Below the restaurant is the Curtis Wilson Cost Gallery. It’s a little hobbitish climbing down the stairs into the gallery. It’s something not to be missed. The art is pretty impressive. I have never witnessed a purple tree until Maui – and they truly do exist – not just in the paintings.

The outdoor eating area is enchantingly whimsical. I loved the grounds and the plethora of plant varieties. When you pull into the lodge, you are treated to trumpet trees. The grounds are breathtaking.

The lodge does offer rooms, though I have not stayed here yet. It appears that they do not have TV’s or internet, so if you are looking for a quite escape, this might fit the bill. It appears that they will be remodeling soon and I’m hoping that they are able to maintain the charm. I should note that other reviews of the rooms are mixed. Having not stayed there myself, I can’t recommend one way or the other.

The food is great and reasonable, though the service was a tad slow. I have to remind myself that we are on island  time. This is truly one of Maui’s hidden gems and I highly recommend making a stop.

Kula Lodge

Kaukini Gallery – Kahakuloa, Maui

Kaukini Gallery is a must stop if you travel to the remote town of Kahakuloa in Maui. It sits overlooking the quaint town of Kahakuloa – just at the edge of Kahakuloa Head. Featuring a wide variety of artisans, it’s so far the best place I have found to pick up a few souvenirs. It’s better than any of the junk you will find clogging the touristy shops around Maui. They have a nice selection of art, jewelry and useful items for the kitchen etc. You won’t find any carved coconut monkeys here.

It’s also a great spot to get some fantastic photos above Kahakuloa and the bay below. It is a one lane road up the side of the sea cliff, but try to look ahead as much as possible. There is a chance you might have to back up a bit to let someone by, but take a deep breath and drive with caution. The staff at the gallery are really friendly and it’s a great spot to pick up a cold soda or better yet – a frozen banana!

Check out their website at – Kaukini Gallery 

Breakfast in Kaanapali – Castaway Cafe

My favorite spot for breakfast in Maui is The Castaway Cafe. The prices are great for touristic Maui and you are right on the water! It doesn’t get much better than this! Good food, reasonable prices and an ocean view. I’m a little surprised that it’s not a bit more expensive given the fantastic real estate – but hey- let’s not let them know that. You finish breakfast and walk right down to the beach. It’s fantastic!

Kahakuloa, Maui

Kahakuloa is one of my favorite off the beaten path places in Maui. Not for the faint of heart, getting there is a bit white knuckling, but well worth it. To get there, you have to drive down a one lane paved road along a sea cliff without guard rails. If you run across another car, someone has to back up to a wide spot in the road to let you by. Remember, the person going downhill has the right-of-way. Before heading down into Kahakuloa, stop at the little shaved ice stand at the top of the hill. You will get great views of the town below and Kahakuloa Head – also known as King Kahekili’s Leap.

The legend is that mid-1700’s Maui’s last independent ruler, King Kahekili, the chief rival of Kamehameha,  spent time in this area. It is said that in the early morning, the King would climb up the hill and “leap” into the ocean below from about the 200 foot height. There is supposedly a trail along the head, but it’s supposed to be very narrow and dangerous. Besides, who wants to take that risk when there’s better things to be doing – like eating banana bread below in town.

Which brings me to my next point – definitely stop for the banana bread. Their claim to fame is that it’s the best banana bread in the world  and well – it just might be. I’m writing this and eating banana bread as we speak. It’s pretty darn good!

Last time I didn’t stop and pick up banana bread – and now I know that I missed out. There are a few different places to sample the local banana bread, but I stopped at the little green stand near the other end of town. The nice local lady also had some tasty coconut candy to sample.

Traveling up the hill and out of the other side of town is also a one way paved lane. Make sure you look ahead to see if another car is coming and drive slowly. There are quite a few blind corners. Up on top of the hill is my favorite art gallery in the world. Yes – it’s definitely worth the trip! I’ll post more about the gallery later.