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Des Moines, Iowa
May 14, 2008
by smmmarti guide
September 9, 2002
Sure, the winery has won awards and even produces a Brut Champagne, but unless you like your wine made from pineapples instead of grapes, it might be best to stick with other vineyards and vintages. Nevertheless, the trip to the 150 year old ranch and its much more recent vineyards is sure to be a memorable experience.
Especially if you are interested in seeing bicoastal views of Maui from 2-3,000 ft elevations, to experience the cool clear air that spills from higher altitude cloud forests and to witness dozens of ecosystems in your short one hour drive from any of the island’s coastal areas. Here on the 23,000 acre ranch, seeing cows lowing in the pastures and horses tended by the cowboys (paniolos) you’ll be tempted to imagine this might be Wyoming. But then you encounter a incongruous patch of lava rock poking through the pasture lands and you know you aren’t in Kansas -- or anywhere else you‘ve ever been -- any more.
Besides the magnificent beauty of the trip to this bountiful upcountry locale at Ulupalakua Ranch you will have the opportunity to embrace a historical record of the island which is kept in the little museum room adjacent to the wine tasting cottage. You’ll learn that it was here that the last king of Hawaii came to be quieted during turbulent times. In fact, this cottage was built specifically to host the monarch and the grove of trees planted in the front yard are named the "hula grove" because they were carefully arranged to serve as a hula stage during his visits.
The Makee family created the ranch in 1849 and the enterprising Captain James Makee, his wife and five daughters transformed the ranch into "one of the grandest and most serene spots the state would ever know." Planting 150,000 trees imported from around the world along with expansive rose gardens, they were obviously hosts with the most and the stories recorded at the museum tell of the details of their life. One of the most moving pieces you‘ll ever read is written by one of the Makee women and recounts the events of a child’s burial. It tells of the beautiful ceremony and a more gorgeous attitude toward life and death as officiated by the native Hawaiians.
Stop at the Ranch store for delightful picnic supplies and have a seat under the magnificent grove of trees. Looking into the distant vistas it’s easy to imagine what life must have been like to those early white settlers. Mainly because it really hasn’t changed all that much.
That is, if you discount those grape vines and ATV and jeep tours they take through the ranch these days...
From journal Maui - Hikes and Upcountry Delights