Downtown Lahaina

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by sc2318 on September 15, 2006

Lahaina is about a 10 minute drive from Ka'anapali. We drove there several times during our Maui trip. One of the most famous sites is the Banyan, or ficus benghalensis, tree in downtown Lahaina. It takes up the entire block, so its breadth is difficult to adequately capture on film. According to the signs near the tree, it was only 8 feet tall when it was originally brought over from India in 1873 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Lahaina's first Protestant Mission. The magnificent Banyan tree covers the equivalent of approximately 2/3 of an acre.

Some places of interest in Lahaina include the front of the Bubba Gump restaurant, where you can pretend to be Forrest Gump sitting on a bench with his shoes and suitcase, complete with the requisite box of chocolates. There are several ABC and other stores to pick up souvenirs for friends and family back home. Be sure to check out Na Hoku for unique Hawaiian jewelry. There is also a large selection of restaurants to choose from in downtown Lahaina. None of the restaurants where we dined were particularly memorable or noteworthy.

On one of our trips to Lahaina, we embarked on a Lahaina historical self-guided tour. The Masters Reading Room was originally a storeroom for missionaries and their families. Ship captains used the facility as an “officers club,” while the sailors filled the grog shops. The unique building is made of coral blocks and blocks of hard “blue rock,” and has reportedly been preserved exactly as built by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation, the organization which currently occupies the space. We stopped by the Ho Hing Society, which was a social hall built as a place to worship and mingle for Chinese workers, who were brought to Maui to harvest sugarcane. I enjoyed witnessing a part of Asian American history. We stopped to take pictures of the remains of the old fort walls of Lahaina, which looked old and crumbly. The fort formerly protected the royal capital in the 1820s. Our last official stop in Lahaina was the coral wall. Upon conclusion of our tour, we saw a ship in the Lahaina harbor.

Maui, Hawaii

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