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New York, New York
September 15, 2006
From journal Maui on a Whim
November 10, 2005
Lahaina buzzes with a happy energy. The setting is lovely, and no matter how busy it is, you always feel relaxed. Lahaina loosely translates into “cruel sun.” I’ve been there in the summer, and that’s no lie! The trade winds that keep the rest of the island cool and comfortable flow around the north and south ends of the island, missing Lahaina completely. The summer season in Lahaina can be stifling. It is situated on a natural harbor and, at one point in its long history, served as a whaling port and the royal capitol.
Lahaina is quaint and has retained much of its historical charm. The harbor is a hub for many different boating activities. There was a fishing tournament going on while we were there. It was fun to watch the fishermen bring their catch in to be weighed.
Front Street is the main drag lined with shops and restaurants. Okay, let’s get down to the business of shopping. Shopping in Lahaina is fabulous. Every other store on Front Street is a jewelry store. I was in heaven and finally purchased the black Tahitian pearl pendant of my dreams. I got a screamin' deal on it too. Hawaii Jewelry, ask for Michael. If you are looking for a new swimsuit, this is the place to shop. If you can’t find one here, you won’t find one anywhere. I’m partial to Maui Waterwear. There are clothing stores that run the gamut, from Tommy Bahama to el cheapo and everything in between. There is a Hilo Hattie’s here, but it reminds me of an island version of JC Penny. Art galleries abound, but be prepared to leave a chunk of change. You can also buy locally made island goods, like a carved bone Maui fishhook for your favorite skateboarder, shark-tooth jewelry, and lots of things made from Koa wood.
If you get hungry, there are lots of restaurants to choose from. My favorite is Kimo’s. They make the best Lava Flow on the planet. If you are an ice-cream lover, make sure you try a scoop from Lappert’s.
Lahaina is definitely a party town, and things get livelier as the evening wears on. I have heard that Halloween in Lahaina is really something to behold. There is a parade somewhat akin to Mardi Gras. The people who live on Maui really get into Halloween. It’s kind of refreshing and makes you feel like a kid again.
The downside to Lahaina is everybody loves it. Consequently, it is always crowded, especially on cruise-ship day. Parking is a nightmare. We did discover the secret free three-hour parking lot. It’s on the corner of Prison and Front streets. Be prepared to fight for a spot, though. It will take you more than one trip to get the complete Lahaina experience, but that’s a good thing.
From journal Marvelous Maui
January 4, 2004
Lahaina, with a very walkable waterfront area and a mixture of historic sites and tourist attractions, is a great place to spend the afternoon or evening. Stroll along Front Street, where galleries and tourist shops abound. Stop by one of the many restaurants and drinking holes and have a "Maui wowie," a delightful drink with a combined taste of mai-tai and pina colada. Dining in Lahaina is very diverse, with lots of fish and seafood on the menu; restaurants feature everything from Hawaiian cuisine to the latest culinary trends. Do not miss Lahaina's famous Banyan tree planted in 1873 - it now shades 2/3 of an acre.
Drop by Lahaina Cannery Mall, an air-conditioned shopping center featuring some 50 shops selling jewelry, fashion, gifts and crafts, and international dining and food court. There is free keiki hula show every Saturday and Sunday at 1pm and hula shows on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm.
For lovers of the art, every Friday night, from 7 to 10pm, art galleries in Lahaina celebrate Art Night. This is a great opportunity for visitors to meet resident artists and see their latest works as well as enjoy refreshments served at the galleries. Lahaina is also a prime point of debarkation for whale watching, snorkeling, and sailing tours. The harbor is busy, with dozens of catamarans, sailboats, and ferries to Lanai sailing out daily.
From journal Rainbow over Maui
Little Rock,, Arkansas
June 26, 2001
From journal Marvelous Maui!
May 14, 2001
After the walking tour take a stroll down the shop filled streets. There are many fine galleries to look through and some great restaurants as well. Lahaina makes a good day trip for a little fun away from the resorts.
From journal Maui Wowie
by Gwilym Owen
November 6, 2002
Before the Europeans arrived, Hawaiian chiefs and kings ruled this hot and dry ocean region. At one point after King Kamehameha had united all the Hawaiian islands, he made Lahaina the royal capital. Thus it remained until 1845, when Kamehameha III moved the capital to the larger town of Honolulu.
During the 1840s the whaling industry was at its peak and hundreds of ships docked at Lahaina every year. Front St. would have swarmed with drunken sailors 24 hours a day in search of bars and brothels in which to spend their hard-earned money. Herman Melville, the writer of Moby-Dick, must have been able to research much of his material in Lahaina.
Lahaina’s next boom, a mere twenty years later, transformed the town into a sugar mecca. Most prominent was The Pioneer Sugar Mill Co., which still exists today.
Today it is now the hordes of tourists who crowd Lahaina’s mile-long drag, browsing the boutiques, art galleries (such as the excellent Curtis Wilson Cost Gallery, where you buy breathtaking paintings of Maui Landscapes!) and trendy bars or touring the historic sights. Probably the most popular landmarks include: the enormous Banyan tree planted in 1873, which fills an entire block and provides shade for artists to set up their wares beneath it; The Pioneer Inn, adjacent is a beautiful bar reminiscent of a bygone era; and docked across from the Inn is the Carthaginian, a replica square-rigger museum ship.
Lahaina makes a great day-trip away from the resorts and is also the venue of 'Old Lahaina,' probably the best Lu’au on the island of Maui, but also one you have to book days in advance, even during the off season. Another consideration is that car parking gets very scarce, so make sure you get there early!
From Lahaina’s wharf, you can also enjoy an ‘island hopping’ trip to either Molokai (perhaps the most untouched Hawaiian island), or Lanai, the former Dole Pineapple plantation island.
From journal Maui No Ka Oi
Victoria, British Columbia
February 22, 2001
What once was an old whaling town is now a popular spot to spend the day. Visitors come to browse its shops, art galleries, resturants and walk along the ocean front sidewalk.
If you are interested in historical sights, start at the Baldwin House and they will give you a map of other historical sights.
Make sure to stop by and check out Lahainas Banyan tree, planted in 1873 by the sherrif of Maui. Artists and merchants set up their goods underneath it.
If you are looking for nightlife, Lahaina is the place to go. This is where you will find Maui's most upbeat pubs and bars like Moose McGillycuddy's, Longhi's and Maui Brews. Cheeseburger in Paradise also has nightly entertainment.
From journal 3 Months on Maui
September 6, 2003
The shops range from high class jewelry to typical touristy. You can get some great ice cream and eat a Cheeseburger in Paradise. Watch out for the guys selling activities -- you can get better deals at the condos/hotels.
We've been to Maui on two separate trips now and each time spent more than one afternoon ambling along Front Street.
From journal Hawaii 2001: Maui