A travel journal
to Maui by smmmarti guide
Quote: Although you’ll want to treat the kids to some of Maui’s fantastic excursions, this insider’s guide reveals how local families and frequent visitors enjoy paradise without going into debt. You, too, can have a vacation filled with low-cost and satisfying kid-friendly activities and dining. But promise you‘ll keep them secret!
Though well worth the money if your budget allows, it is good to know there are plenty of low-cost alternatives to keeping the kids entertained and your life savings spared. Chances are your children will in not feel short-changed if you select at least a few of the options I‘m including in this journal, as it wouldn’t even be good for the family to spend every day on a site-seeing treadmill. It is very tempting to want to see it all, but Maui time connotes taking it slow, spending some quality Ohana (family) time together.
So make a lei, pick a pineapple, play giant checkers with coconut shells, catch a wave, take a history walk, learn about whales, and yourself save some puka shells!
When you see these notices, pay attention. Keiki is the Hawaiian word for children and keiki are highly accommodated in Hawaii. The number of free Keiki Hula shows and competitions are one indication of this, and by the way, the first on the list of enjoyable and free activities that you and the kids will always remember.
The beaches and pools are other obvious choices, and although the little people seem to be capable of passing all day every day splashing in the water and digging in the sand, they will eventually need sheltering from the sun. It is parents who are more likely to require a change of scenery now and then. Follow some of the suggestions listed in this journal and you are sure to find engaging, interesting opportunities for fun by exploring things that are unique to the island.
Additionally, there are special events held on Maui regularly. Holiday events, festivals, local celebrations, and kid-friendly demonstrations are typically low-cost or free. Check listings in the Maui News, Lahaina News and Maui Times before your trip or as soon as you are on island.
Restaurants in Maui are notoriously and fittingly expensive. The "island factor" is often cited as the reason but considering that many island restaurants proffer bountiful and delicious food for half the price of the typical tourist locales, one might presume the cost of real estate better accounts for the increased tab.
For most, it’s important to find a few restaurants suited to the family budget. No need to subject yourself to the typical junk food that many kids-friendly menus seem compelled to offer. Many restaurants offer tasty, price-worthy, and even balanced menus for children that are satisfying and healthy for the paying adult as well.
For those evenings when adults need a break to enjoy fine dining options or if you simply want to participate in activities unfettered by little ones, I’ve also included options for a number of camps and reputable babysitting services. Chances are the kids won’t even miss you, assuring you’ll all have a fabulous vacation.
Restaurant | "Penne Pasta, Mama's Ribs, and Honolua Store"
Even if you’ve rented a condo equipped with cooking facilities, surely you won’t want to spend precious vacation time shopping, cooking and cleaning up.
Instead, do as the locals do -- serve your family wholesome, delicious take-out meals at one of the many seaside beach parks that line Honoapiilani Highway from Lanipoko (a few miles south of Lahaina) to Fleming Beach (at the far north end of Kapalua.) The advantage goes beyond saving on the server's fee; kids won’t need to wait idly for their food or become bored if the adults linger. An added bonus- watch the sunset without having to monitor children’s table manners in an upscale restaurant in order to dine with a sunset view.
These suggestions for tasty carry-out in West Maui are based on portability, general appeal and value:
1) Mama’s Ribs and Rotisserie
No, it isn’t Carson’s Ribs, but it ain’t bad. When the order of the day is carry-out and the cry of "what to eat?" echoes through our house, Mama’s often gets the nod. Chicken and Ribs are the specialties and can be ordered family style or as individual meals. The combo half-rack of ribs and chicken plate comes with a choice of rice, beans or macaroni salad for $7.50. A full rack of ribs is $15.99; whole chicken, teriyaki or traditional roasted, is $9.99 and sides are $2.50 to $3.99. Take your dinner to Airport Beach where lovely covered tables are sheltered by the best public facility on the West side, and let the kids run in the surf while you catch the last rays of sunset…and your breath!
2) Penne Pasta Café
A tiny storefront on Dickenson Street houses one of the best new finds in Lahaina eateries. Chef Mark Ellman of Maui Taco fame, stirs up Italian sauces like somebody’s nana. The baked penne is delicious, the puttanesca pasta outrageously tasty, and bravo to the bolonese! Pastas are large enough to share and priced from $6.95 to $9.95. Pizza margarita makes me want to sing Verdi at $4.95. Salads, sandwiches, including a unique roasted eggplant parmesean option, and the classic Italian desserts, Tiramisu, Panne Cotta and lemon tart, are also bargains especially considering the high quality and flavors.
3) Honolua Store
Recent visits netted plated dinners of char sui chicken, chili and rice and Salisbury steak for $3.95 each. Large enough to serve two, they are decided winners in the bargain meal category.
After a full day of sun, surf and fun, children will be ready for sleep soon after sundown. You, too, can rest easy knowing you had this much fun without squandering the college fund.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 13, 2003
My kids, being adventurous, voted thumbs up when I suggested a stop for dinner. "Looks pretty funky!" they chimed, expectantly. We tried to peak into the windows to prepare ourselves, but the film on the windows made it impossible. I hesitated. "Go in!" they urged, daringly.
A long counter lined with chrome stools separates the smoking sections from the family section. Though the smokers looked as if they’d been there for awhile cheerily talking story across the booths, the air was surprisingly clear. A miracle of Maui?
Noticing a "please seat yourself" sign, we headed toward an open booth but were escorted promptly by two smiling waitresses who seemed genuinely happy we’d come in. Once seated in the non-smoking family section we were given the bill of fare, a hand printed paper wedged between a smeared plastic promising the Hawaiian version of the "Greek menu."
Choices ranged from all day breakfast, everything from
eggs and spam to macadamia nut flapjacks (the specialty of the house), to fried egg sandwiches, miso soup, reubens, stuffed cabbage, honey fried chicken, liver and onions, Kim chi, and a dozen other dinner entrees including Hawaiian and ethnic specialties offered with the ubiquitous two scoops of rice and macaroni salad. Or a tossed salad, should you be the health-nut type. A sidebar note said, "if you don’t want fries with a sandwich, take $1.15 off." Considering the fried egg sandwich was $2.95 complete, that made dinner the deal of the century.
My stuffed cabbage (specialty of the day) was a satisfying choice for $6.50. Mr. Adventuresome ordered a milkshake ($2.50) and, having somehow charmed the waitress, got a hand-whipped half-gallon of ice cream that stood up not only to a spoon, but to his brother’s fork!
Dishes were brought to the table as they were prepared regardless of who had been served and who hadn’t. One son got his sandwich long before his soup. His only complaint was that the miso broth was missing the tofu chunks, but I reminded him it was $1.50 soup and he was okay with it.
The verdict on the food from picky eaters anonymous? Fantastic.
The verdict on the ambiance? A throw-back-retro-immersion into local color. Prices? Can’t be beat, for Maui.
Would I suggest this for a first date or gourmet introduction to the islands? Not really. But if you do take a date and he/she finds Tasty Crust a hoot, pop the question! It’s guaranteed your new spouse will be very low maintenance and plenty fun.
Later, you can bring your kids to the place where you fell in love. It’ll be here.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 14, 2003
1770 Mill Street
At Take Home Maui, visitors find a grand array of hand-chosen specialties that represent the best of Hawaii’s bounty. Fresh tropical fruits including guava, papaya, mango and pineapple are displayed along with many items you may have come to know and love during your stay. Maui onions, although originally imported from a similar Texas onion, thrive beautifully on the slopes of Haleakala and are infused with the sweet island environment making them even superior to their origins. Li-hing-mui, the dried, sweet plum powder used to accentuate everything from candy to popcorn is an acquired, exotic flavor that is a favorite of children in the islands and sold in various forms here. Macadamia nuts and protea flowers, actually raised on the Big Island, are Take-Home Maui mainstays. What java addict could leave Hawaii without a satchel of Kona coffee, especially at such reasonable price? For tea lovers, a wide variety of island flavored blends and Maui’s famous cookies make gift-giving easy with one-stop shopping.
To stimulate even further envy in those you left behind, send them a videotape of the road to Hana or Hula girls competing at the annual Merrie Monarch festival. Any and all of these items can be packed and shipped in a custom gift box order. For a smaller treat that packs a wallop, ship someone a full-sized coconut through the regular U.S. mail service.
Even if gift shopping is not your motive for stopping in, smoothies are. Take Home Maui’s version of the mom-approved treat are known locally as the best on the island. The four-fruit combo includes fresh, ripe, sweet strawberries, banana, papaya and pineapple whipped up to order with a bit of ice and POG (pinapple, orange, guava juice), providing a full daily supply of tropical style vitamins and little extraneous nonsense. Surfers, divers and paddlers often add a dose of protein power, making it a meal in a glass. Also on the menu are custom-made deli sandwiches with a of choice fillings and five different breads, topped-off with the outlet’s specialties; ultra-fresh veggies; Maui onions, (what else?), lettuce, tomato, avocado and sprouts. Prices are reasonable (sandwiches, $5.25, smoothies, $3.25) and the street side seating on the plantation style porch is an ideal place for people watching, especially on "boat days" when the cruise ships bring in hoards of browsers to downtown Lahaina.
The talking mynah bird on the front porch is a favored attraction for keiki. Listen as he cackles wisecracks such as "get yer own!" in a remarkable mimicry of my son’s voice. Also, like my son, he is one smart bird dishing up very sound advice. Drinking those four-fruit smoothies could be the secret source of their surprising wisdom.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 29, 2003
Take Home Maui
While slowly riding through groves of mango, banana, papaya and star fruit trees, a native Hawaiian guide enthusiastically describes the crops of her homeland while sharing amusing and fascinating information. Did you know that macadamia nuts were brought to Hawaii from Queensland, Australia, or that ti leaves were used for everything from hula skirts to raincoats? You will learn that sugarcane, a crop essential to the Hawaiians for 1,500 years, was used to clean teeth and sweeten herbal medicines. Although the arabica coffee of Kona typically only grows at higher elevations, you will see the beans on the trees planted at the plantation in Waikapu, Maui. Orchids, heliconia, multi-hued ti plants and taro all thrive on the 30,000 acre working plantation in Maui’s fertile valley and visitors view them on the vine in their full splendor with the misty West Maui mountains providing the enchanting backdrop.
Half-way through the tour there is a stop at a demonstration platform where the guide cracks a coconut using only a scraper and pick. Did you know that coconuts have more water than any other fruit or vegetable? Sixteen ounces of the mildly sweet, nourishing liquid is housed inside each coconut and provided the elixir of life to the ancient Polynesians as they made their way across the ocean in search of Hawaii. Today, one needs only to tap the "mouth" to find instant refreshment in the clear, pure water. If you find instead a chalky or milky fluid, beware! That’s considered bad water resulting from insect infestation.
After the guide sings an unabashed, heartfelt rendition of "Aloha Oi" and leaves you on your own, wander over to the "village" with it’s peaceful gardens, koi pond and windmill. The collection of clapboard, vine-covered buildings is really a self-guided informational museum about the major crops of Maui’s plantation days. If you’ve had enough facts for one day, meander toward the pond to feed the ducks and koi. Don’t neglect the monkeys. They have little to do all day but to watch your antics!
The plantation gift shop is chocked with Hawaiian products, including superior Maui Gold pineapples, coffee and sugar cane sticks. Lei makers, glass blowers and musicians add a tourist-trap touch at the end of the tour. But don’t let the trinket hawkers and busses dissuade you from a visit. You will develop a greater appreciation for the many crops and their uses, and gain insights into the cultures of the plantation workers who made Maui what it is today. Bonus - you may learn some essential survival skills.
Waikapu on Hwy.
Attraction | "Learning about Whales"
1) Whalers Museum
Since it is so easy to take things for granted, it may be particularly difficult for children to imagine that humpback whales were once nearly extinct. After a visit to the free whaler’s museum exhibit, they will develop a new appreciation for the giant cetaceans who continue to migrate to Maui from Alaska each winter.
This free, fascinating exhibit focuses primarily on the Golden Age of Whaling during the 1800’s. Tales of young men who were cast unwary to the oft-times wretched life at sea will hold school-age visitors'' attention, while the fascinating information about the myriad former uses of whale components may even astound adults. Prior to the development of electricity, it was whale oil that kept most of the world’s lamps ablaze, and whale bones that cinched corsets. A short feature film loops continuously and exhibits of scrimshaw, sailors’ knots, and a 40 foot whale carcass make a stop here noteworthy.
2) Pacific Whale Foundation
Even before they arrive in Maui, children can be introduced to the world of whales via the Pacific Whale Foundation website where they are invited to listen to the "song" of a male whale, submit whale-centric artwork, and read the enchanting book entitled, "Willie the Whale." If they dream up the monthly question for the marine biologist they receive a $10 gift certificate.
But this is only beginning. Once on island, close encounters and adventures await enthusiastic visitors. It starts with an extensive number of whale celebrations held early in the season and continues with inexpensive tours that are worth a fortune.
Kids go free with paying adults on many of Pacific Whale Foundations’ award winning tours including the Wild Dolphin and Snorkel Eco-Adventure, Molokini/Lanai Dolphin Encounter, and the Wild Whale and Dolphin Adventure. Food, drinks, posters and junior naturalist posters are included in the free deal.
If you smell French fries while onboard, is not your lunch; it’s the smell of biofuel burning. A few years ago the foundation began using recycled cooking oil as a non-polluting biofuel to propel their boats. Environmental awareness is the hallmark of this organization. Even more impressive is that all profits are donated to help save the oceans.
PWF staff guides are stationed at Maalea Harbor, McGregors Point and Kaanapali, where additional free information is available.
3) Maui Ocean Center has a marvelous Whale Discovery Center perhaps more extensive in scope than any exhibit on Maui. Click the link for details.
Before long the kids will be bursting with whale Aloha and ocean awareness.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 13, 2003
Pacific Whale Foundation
Kealia Beach Plaza
Maui, Hawaii 96753
+1 808 879 8811
Enter the Hyatt Kaanapali grounds through the back lot near the spa, where free parking is almost always available, and stroll into the Japanese Gardens. Enormous koi swam in the tranquil pool below the waterfall. Notice the flock of fluffy, feathered long-legged birds strutting and preening across the way. The flamingoes roam freely on the tidy grounds amid ancient-looking statuary and tropical blooms. Approached stealthily, the birds are undaunted by the face to face encounters with little tourists. But
keep walking, there’s more.
Stroll over the bridge that spans two ponds where black and white swans huddle in their separate ends of the water and proceed over a traditional Japanese footbridge. In the garden, waterfalls spill down a lava boulder collection and a sprawling tree begs for climbing. Kids enjoy straddling the spreading branches situated at the ideal height for little people. How long has it been since you sat in a tree? A path leading up a hill toward a little lookout point becomes a momentary secret hideout. But there‘s more.
Swans, flamingoes and parrots, not indigenous to Hawaii, could have been the "special thing" on your treasure hunt, but there something else waiting. Continue on past the towering sculpture of the acrobats, an impressive bronze navigational globe, the swim-under waterfall and reflective grotto caves of the hotel pool and sailboats. Look around. You found the surprise!
Penguins! In a shady, cozy nook adjacent to the Banyan Tree Café, your kids will be delighted to happen upon the troop of teeny, little African penguins who waddle about merrily posing for pictures. An educational placard explains that all penguins are from the southern hemisphere, but many live in climates not unlike Hawaii.
The Hyatt’s bird collection is so extensive that full time employees care for them. With luck, you might happen upon feeding time. Watch as the handlers take the macaws, parrots and toucan from their cages. More often, there are birds on display in the lobby where pictures ops are free, unlike what you’ll find on Front Street.
At the pool level there is a food court selling a grand assortment of beachside snacks, but beware! Soda here is $2.50 a can and two Goodhumor bars rang up at over $6. Instead, head to the ABC store at Whaler’s Village just a short walk from here, where the same soda is $.79.
That is, unless the free menagerie visit is leaving you feeling a bit flush. If so, splurge on a smoothie or shave ice and linger on the beach until sundown. The kids will love you for it.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 13, 2003
Hyatt's Bird Collection
Hyatt Regency Hotel
The first order of business was to clear up a misconception. The Tiki Gods positioned at the entrance and rear of the Hale Kahiko are not authentic, as Hawaiians worshiped only spiritual gods, those with natural representation; the wind, the rainbow, the sun, the ocean, the shark, the mele-mele. Tikis are from Tahiti, you see. Though my guide clearly did not like this misrepresentation of the facts, she offered a quick and gracious explanation for the misstep. The man who designated this tribute to the live of pre-contact Hawaiians and their way of life just happened to like the carved wood figures. Who would deny him this indulgence for all he gave in return?
At the Hale Kuku, the women’s and children’s craft house, I learned that women passed their days weaving laulau into mats and vessels, and pounding kapa, a versatile and useful cloth made from the bark of mulberry trees. After the kapa dried, it was decorated using dye made from kukui nuts or breadfruit tree roots. Often the dye was scented with the fragrant maile fern. Examples of all these plants, so important to the indigenous Hawaiians, are represented in the gardens surrounding the hale.
Our next stop was the Hale Moe, or family sleeping quarters. Thatched on three sides, the fourth side was latticed to keep out unwanted visitors, yet allowed plentiful air and light into the structure. Immediate family members slept side by side on woven mats but only the head of the household was allowed the sumptuous bedding made from great mounds of grassy stuffing.
"Wasn’t there enough grass to make everyone comfortable?" I wondered, logically.
"It has always been a man’s world," my laughing host reminded me.
"But here you find good news for the women," she announced as we walked into the Hale Mua. "This is the men’s house. As you see outside the door, the Imu pit is tended by the men, who did all the hunting, food preparation and cooking."
Behind the men’s quarters she excitedly pointed out a small tree laden with ostrich egg sized fruits.
"This is the gourd tree. When these dry, the seeds inside rattle, make music," she said, shaking an example, "music good for hula!" and she launched into a hula demonstration, laughing afterward from the depths of her mana.
At Hale Kahiko, the docent doesn‘t do research to learn the difference between poi and laulau; she simply lives it.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 16, 2003
900 Front St
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761
+1 808 667 9216
Dancing along the shirttails of Haleakala is a gorgeous farm called Nanea a’o Kula. It isn't easy to find, so follow the website directions. When I went recently, I'd driven twenty minutes past the landmark down a winding eucalyptus lined road where the only signs of life were cattle grazing. My ears were popping in earnest as I headed straight up Haleakala, the vistas giving clear access to both coasts of the Valley Isle, when I wondered if I’d missed the turn somewhere about twenty minutes back.
"Have I missed it?" I'd asked anxiously via cellphone.
"Keep going. Watch for Waipoli lane and just go all the way up."
The two lane road gave way to an even narrower road and then reduced further to a one lane drive hugging the side of the mountain and meandering through stunning meadows and farmlands. Soon, a stout and impossibly cheerful man waved me into a parking spot adjacent to a clapboard house. A Japanese garden, potted plants, oriental antiques and Buddha’s, and other artfully placed object d’art du jardin competed for my attention.
"See, we just planted these two weeks ago and see how the lavender loves us!," Ali’I Chang pointed to the lavender he nurtures like his children. A tour of the farm and gardens with Ali’I will give enough information to start your own enterprise.
Ali`I had worked for years in Hana’s Protea Farm before he took a turn at doing things his way when he bought this former Protea Farm in Kula. Drought made Protea farming unappealing, so he seized on the popularity of lavender as a cash crop and struck gold. Not only did he find that more than 20 varieties of lavender thrive in the Kula climate, their presence also rejuvenated many failing Protea plants. Who’d have thought Protea and Lavendar make good bedfellows?
A young sous chef from Mama’s Fish House arrived in time to prepare lunch using many of the items for sale at the gift shack; herbs de Kula (lavender, rosemary, sage, sea salt, that is divine), and lavender/tarragon/rosemary dressing. On the lanai he prepared seared shrimp on delicately seasoned slaw, before diners took seats under umbrellas to enjoy a luscious lunch of all things lavender, from the tea to scones, to Kula greens accented with crispy sweet wonton slivers. Lemonade tinted with the flower flowed throughout the afternoon.
A tiny boutique shed tucked into the gardens sells every manner of lavender infused lotion, salve and jam. Eye pillows, pillow liner, wreaths, wands for bringing relaxation to all corners of your life, and a lover’s potion, (an edible lavender scented gel that heats up when you blow on it) tempts further.
Ali'i and his staff are the most personable hosts we've ever encountered. Kids love them and mine admitted the feeling here was so warm and inviting, they would come every day. Actually, I think they want to live here.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 14, 2003
1100 Waipoli Lane
Call on these baby care and nanny agencies during your Maui visit and you may change the order of your favorite island wonders since these rank right up there with waterfalls, rainforest and sunrise on Haleakala! Finding the help you need to care for your keiki is top priority to making your vacation a dream.
Baby’s Away rents quality baby equipment such as cribs, strollers, car seats and even a handy jog stroller! Leave yours at home and save some space in that overhead bin for souvenirs.
Nana Enterprises also rents baby equipment and links with Baby Travel Solutions to deliver everything you need for babies and toddlers during your vacation. Considering the cost of these items in the resort areas, the convenience could be worth the cost.
Baby Sitting Services
We’ve used this service and never been disappointed. Every sitter has arrived with a magic bag of tricks including videos, games and crafts. Because they often babysit in hotel rooms where not many other distractions are available, they come prepared. These ladies are typically what Hawaiians refer to affectionately as "Aunties," that is, wise women who love your children even though they aren’t related.
Sitters are CPR trained, bonded, licensed and fingerprinted. Most of the major hotels use this very service when you request a sitter through the concierge. Fees are $10/hr. plus $2/hr. for each additional child. Usually requires a four hour minimum and travel expenses may be additional. All have their own vehicles.
Another trustworthy agency for child care on Maui is the Nanny Connection . Read what past customers have written about their experiences with this company and your concerns will be put to rest. I, too, was a bit reluctant the very first time we called on this service when we were staying in a hotel and our boys were younger, but within seconds the kids were enchanted by the warmth and care showered on them from these outstanding caregivers. There really must be an abundance of aloha in the nanny business because bless our stars, we’ve never had a single dud.
Screening for nannies includes background checks, references, fingerprinting and training. They are obliged to have prior child care experience before joining the Nanny Connection and are trained in first aid and CPR by the agency if they do not have the certification coming in. Fees start at $12/hr. with a 3 hour minimum and $1/hr. extra for each sibling. Non-siblings packed into the session are $5/hr. extra. Holidays and after midnight generate extra fees, and cancellation policies are strict and enforced. A credit card is needed to secure a reservation, but nannies accept cash only, so don’t spend all your cash during your festive night on the town. You’ll surely want to tip the lady who made your marvelous night out possible.
Children's Sitting Services
All throughout Maui you will notice little bonsai plants adorning the tables of restaurants and retail establishments. At some point you may begin to feel that a table without a bonsai is missing an essential design element. It’s quite possible that you will begin to want a bonsai. Then you will automatically head to Dan’s Greenhouse, the exclusive supplier of the lava rock Fuku bonsai in Hawaii.
Many years ago I had happened upon Dan’s while rounding the corner from the Activity Warehouse on Front Street after claiming tickets to Ulalena. I’d stopped in unsuspecting and ended up purchasing a good luck bamboo and sprig of a tropical plant to take home to the kids. After moving to Maui, when the kids developed their inevitable interest in bonsai growing, I remembered my long forgotten purchase.
Dan’s is more like a funky garage than a nursery or retail store. Dozens of wind chimes hang from the ceiling clacking in the breezes that pour in from the street through the door that never closes. A sharpei puppy sleeps in the entryway or, if traffic becomes too intense, scurries off to continue its nap in the side room.
In the back of the store sits a wire pen filled with pot-bellied piglets. Pig "food" is for sale and visitors are encouraged to help plump up the little fellows into their adulthood prime. A number of tropical bird personalities are perched about the store, one more beautiful and fascinating that the next. Macaws, cockatoos, and other hand-fed exotic birds raised on Maui for adoption and sale tempt and tease visitors with their much-touted sweet dispositions and entertaining conversation. Descriptive placards tell the story of each bird and advise visitors that cameras are encouraged, (even flash photography.)
Though Plumeria plants were imported to Hawaii during the nineteenth century, they have become the flower and scent most associated with the islands. At Dan’s you can buy the plants that produce that heady, sweet scent or have them shipped anywhere within the Continental U.S. Even more tempting is the broad variety of orchids available for purchase or shipment.
Although it was the Fuku Bonsai that we brought us here, it was the accessories that delighted us most. We learned that every lava rock bonsai needs a teeny clay cottage, and every clay cottage needs a replica of the Xi’an Terra Cotta soldiers to guard it or a little old Japanese fisherman icon to sit beside it.
Bonsai’s aren’t inexpensive and our accessories were just as costly. But learning the story of the mysterious clay warriors and their discovery was an unexpected surprise of the visit to Dan’s. The feathered friends and porcine pets we met that day are awaiting our next visit, which is sure to be soon.
133 Prison Street
Attraction | "Hiking from Napili to Kapalua along the Ocean"
Kapalua Bay is located directly in front of Coconut Grove and the Kapalua Bay Hotel. To reach this beach take the Lower Honoapiilani Hwy. and turn at the Napili Kai sign just next to the Kapalua Club entrance. After you’ve giggled with delight while watching kids maneuver from shore to sea in flippers and masks, and heard enough excited shrieks as they discover the underwater bounty of the brilliantly varied and colored fish, you might tear yourself away from this idyllic beach, amazingly graced with a coral reef accessible by anyone who can swim, and do some poking around.
Hike past the Kapalua Bay hotel toward the Kapalua Bay Villas or drive and park in the public parking lot next to the hotel. At the first oceanfront villa, walk along the path and find a gorgeous natural area called Hewae Point that changes its appearance from a typical coastal refuge to the surface of the moon in a matter of minutes! Natural grasses and sandy paths give way to deep coves and sharp, barren lava rock. Hold on to little ones here, as it can be very windy with steep drops into the ocean. Older kids will want to venture near the edge of any of the coves on the point. Swimming would be treacherous, but it is here that sea turtles regularly congregate. You are almost guaranteed to see them if you are patient.
From here you will encounter a second beach, known as Oneloa. It fronts a development of luxury homes and is less sheltered or visited than Kapalua Bay, yet it is another divine spot to swim or snorkel. If the kids are holding up, continue past the manicured, sweeping lawns of the Ritz Carlton stopping, if you are bold, to play a game of croquet or bocce balls. Walk down the hill respectfully past the sacred protected Hawaiian burial site and toward the long lava rock peninsula jutting into the ocean. This is a wonderfully unique section of rock known as "Dragon’s Teeth," where a glance at the photos explains the moniker. Complete with lava tubes, blowholes, and tide pools, again, caution is advised as swells and surges frequently pound this point so adults and kids alike must keep a safe distance from the edges.
Wrap up your ocean hike adventure with a dip in D.F. Fleming beach waves, West Maui‘s most exciting. Build a campfire on the beach when the sun begins to set. Surf, sea turtles, dragons’ and s‘mores; what more could a kid (or anyone) want?
from Napili to Kapalua along the Ocean
It’s likely that after stopping to tour the Sugar Cane Museum and examining the important role this plantation crop played in Maui’s development, the attitude toward the smokestacks of Hawaii’s largest working sugar factory would change. It was the plantation life built around Hawaii’s major crops, sugar being the most prolific, that brought the great cultural diversity and pidgin’ that makes Hawaii so unique.
Tucked down the tree lined lane off Pu`unene Highway and Hanson Avenue, the six-room museum has been created in a beautifully restored home of a plantation manager by a non-profit organization dedicated to "preserving and presenting the history and heritage of the sugar industry and the multi-ethnic plantation life which it engendered."
A volunteer accepts the $5 admission fee and invites visitors to explore the exhibits and watch the ten-minute video. Fascinating examples of plantation life, including archival photos, workers’ costumes, and even an old "mess kit," made up of empty tin cans and recycled bull Durham sacks, gives an intimate glimpse into a bygone lifestyle.
Another exhibit tells the story of the original sugar plantation founders and their dreams. Alexander and Baldwin, both sons of missionaries to the islands, formed this company after building extensive irrigation systems that redirected water from the West Maui mountains. Prior to their feats of engineering, only the wettest parts of the island were suitable for growing sugar, as the plant requires great amounts of water. Many personal artifacts, including Mr. Baldwin‘s desk and Mr. Alexander‘s strongbox are on display.
After watching the video on sugar production, be sure to check out the scale model of the refining equipment. Additionally, study the detailed map designating the origin of the plantation work force from Portugal, the Philippines, Germany, China, Japan and other countries around the world. Each brought and retained their own indigenous culture while cohabitating on the plantation village. Eventually, these cultures cross-pollinated and a unique and entirely new culture in terms of food, activities and even language, emerged. The results are considered "Hawaiian" by today’s standards.
Bring along a picnic lunch to fully enjoy the picturesque grounds. Giant ancient trees line the little lane leading to the museum and shade the adjacent yards. A sugarcane harvesting truck borders the expanse of the backyard giving a decidedly rural and old-world romance to the quaint setting.
The museum’s small gift shop deserves attention. Even locals who’ve grown numb and unimpressed with the traditional tourist schottisches will find unique items from books and games to poi dog t-shirts and money cats. Purchases help to support the efforts of this exceptional "Kahili" award winning preservation sight.
Sugar Cane Museum
3957 Hansen Road
Attraction | "Whaler's Museum"
This is not a large museum, but the information from the self-guided audio phones, which are available in four languages, and the extensive collection of photos and descriptive placards reveal a compelling picture of the whaling trade. Here visitors learn about the men from all walks of life, young and old, experienced and "green," who signed on the for the extensive and exhaustive journeys that promised perils from every direction. From the risk of scurvy, to unending bouts of seasickness, from the challenge of sharing the cramped, foul quarters with thirty disparate men onboard the vessel, to braving wicked seas and fighting the interminable boredom between kills, the journey itself was treacherous. But that was just the beginning. As the crew went about the business of capturing whales, unimaginable hazards abounded.
Beware the graphic black and white photos depicting the preparation of the whale for market. Although the little boys with me were rapt, especially awed by the authentic tools of the trade on display, I felt my stomach go into knots and searched for more pleasant information. An enchanting looping video spotlighting sea turtles and restoration of the Henry Morgan settled me immediately. Focusing on other whaling paraphernalia, a full-scale recreation of the sailor’s berths, and smaller scale model of a typical whaling ship, provided welcome and fascinating relief from the more gruesome aspects of the business.
The museum also offers a thorough explanation for why men undertook such perilous journeys in order to hunt whales. Before the discovery of petroleum, whale oil was the primary source for oil in lamps and candles. Additionally, the baleen was used in high-demand products from umbrellas to corsets.
With the discovery of alternative fuel, depletion of the whale population and destruction of whaling ships during the American Civil War, the whaling industry was essentially brought to a halt. The Whaler’s Museum neither condemns nor condones the past; it doesn’t preach or glorify. Rather, it presents an authentic and respectful account of an era and way of life in an entertaining and educational forum that both young and old can appreciate.
Amid the glittering jewelers, upscale shops and restaurants at beachside Whaler‘s Village, it is easy to overlook the real gem of the mall. Take the stairs or the elevator, located in the middle of the center, up to the third floor. Admission is free, but you will likely find a video or souvenir, including unique scrimshaw pieces, in the gift shop at the entrance to the museum. Proceeds from sales help to support one of America’s finest historical references to the Great Age of Whaling (1825 - 1860).
Whalers Village Museum
2435 Ka'anapali Parkway
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761
+1 808 661 5992