You’re in Paradise – Eat Local!

While Maui sports many wonderful restaurants, and we’ll discuss our favorites in an upcoming article, a great way to save money and enjoy the bounty of Maui is to take advantage of the many local farmers markets. Shopping in Safeway may be convenient, but those mangoes you are anticipating may well have come from Guam. Why not get farm fresh ones? It’s also a great way to support local farmers and encourage more farm production on Maui.

Upcountry

On the hillsides of Haleakala, also called upcountry, are several great farmers markets.  One is known simply as the Upcountry Farmers Market and is located at the Kulamalu Town Center on Highway 37 near Long’s Drugs. This market is open Saturdays from 7:00am – 11:00pm and has local organic produce, fresh caught fish, tropical flowers, locally grown coffee as well as prepared foods that make a tasty lunch or dinner.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9:00am – 4:00pm,  the Makawao Marketplace farmer’s market offers local produce, local crafts, fresh and dried flowers, as well as lunch snacks. This market is located at 3654 Baldwin Avenue in Makawao.

Kula Country Farms is located on Kula Highway just past mile marker 13. Their farm stand is open from Tuesday – Friday from 10:00am – 5:00pm and on the weekends from 10:00am – 4:00pm and has fresh local fruit, vegetables and flowers. In season this farm also has u-pick strawberries.

 

Central Maui

Kumu Farms, also known as Maui Tropical Plantation, is located at 1670 Honoapiilani Highway in Wailuku, and is open Tuesday – Saturday  from 10:00am – 4:00pm.  Local fruits and vegetables are available for purchase and the farm will ship organic papayas anywhere in the U.S.

On Saturdays at the University of Hawaii in Kahalui, the Maui Swap Meet is held and has loads of fun items including local produce.  The swap meet operates from 7:00am – 1:00pm and is a great opportunity to try local foods and shop local crafts.

Also in Kahalui, at the local mall called Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, a farmer’s market runs every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00am – 4:00pm.  The mall is located at 275 West Ka’ahumanu Avenue; combine your produce shopping with buying souvenirs!

 

West Maui

Honokawai’s Farmer’s Market, also known as Farmers Market Maui, is located at 3636 Lower Honoapiilani Road in Lahaina.  This market runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:00am – 11:00am.  Chances are very high that a visit to Lahaina is on your to do list; incorporate this highly rated farmers market into your schedule.

 

East Maui

If your travels take you to Hana, stop in at  Ono Organic Farms which is along the road to Hana. This organic family-owned farm also sells its produce seven days a week at the roadside market in Hana next to the gas station. The market is open from 10:00am to 6:00pm.

Also located in Hana is the Hana Fresh Farm which grows over 100 varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs. The farm is located immediately behind the Health Center. Unfortunately the farm stand is currently closed due to construction of their new wastewater treatment plant.  We’ll post re-opening information when construction is complete.

 

South Maui

The bustling town of Kihei boasts three good farmers markets.  The first is the Farmer’s Market of Maui, Kihei which is located at 61 South Kihei Road. This market operates Monday – Thursday from 8:00am – 4:00pm and on Friday from 8:00am – 5:00pm.

On Saturdays from 8:00am – noon a farmer’s market may be found in the parking lot of the Long’s Drugs at 1215 South Kihei Road.

The busiest farmer’s market in Kihei seems to be the Lipoa Street Farmer’s Market which is open every Saturday from 8:00 to noon at 95 Lipoa Street.  All three markets offer a good selection of fresh, local fruit, veggies and flowers.

 

North Maui

Make a visit to the quaint town of Paia and be sure to check out the La’a Kea Community Farm which is open Monday – Saturday from 8:30am – 5:30pm.  The address is 639 Baldwin Avenue, Paia.  I find this farm to be especially worthwhile because it aids youth and adults with special needs and incorporates them into it’s farming community.

 

As you can see, there are many options to buy local farm fresh produce on Maui. One can support local communities, eat healthy and enjoy interacting with locals all while enjoying the laid back aloha feeling that is Maui.  Happy eating!

Direct Flights to Maui

Direct nonstop flights to Maui are available from more and more mainland cities.  Here is the current list along with airline and aircraft type.

Kahului Airport from the air.
Kahului Airport from the air.

 

Anchorage, AK ( ANC ) Alaska Airlines Narrowbody
Bellingham, WA ( BLI ) Alaska Airlines Narrowbody
Denver, CO  ( DEN ) United Airlines Narrowbody
Dallas -Fort Worth, TX ( DFW ) American Airlines Widebody
Los Angeles, CA  ( LAX ) American Airlines Narrowbody
Los Angeles, CA  ( LAX ) Delta Airlines Narrowbody
Los Angeles, CA  ( LAX ) United Airlines Narrowbody
Los Angeles, CA ( LAX ) Hawaiian Airlines Widebody
Oakland, CA ( OAK ) American Airlines Narrowbody
Oakland, CA ( OAK ) Alaska Airlines Narrowbody
Oakland, CA ( OAK ) Delta Airlines Narrowbody
Oakland, CA ( OAK ) Hawaiian Airlines Widebody
Portland , OR ( PDX ) Alaska Airlines Narrowbody
Portland, OR ( PDX ) Hawaiian Airlines Widebody
Phoenix, AZ ( PHX ) US Air Narrowbody
Sacramento, CA ( SAC ) Alaska Airlines Narrowbody
San Diego, CA ( SAN ) Alaska Airlines Narrowbody
San Francisco, CA ( SFO ) United Airlines Narrowbody
San Jose, CA ( SJC ) Alaska Airlines Narrowbody
San Jose, CA ( SJC ) Hawaiian Airlines Widebody
Seattle, WA ( SEA ) Alaska Airlines Narrowbody
Seattle, WA ( SEA ) Delta Airlines Narrowbody
Seattle, WA ( SEA ) Hawaiian Airlines Widebody
Vancouver, BC ( YVR ) Air Canada Narrowbody
Vancouver, BC ( YVR ) Westjet Narrowbody

This information was complied from multiple sources. Please let me know of any additions or corrections.

New Maui airline service from Seattle

Delta Airlines has announced that it will begin serving Maui’s Kahului Airport with daily nonstop flights from Seattle on December 20, 2014.  Delta will be the third airline flying this route, joining Hawaiian and Alaska.    Delta will be using it’s 757-200 aircraft, a  narrow body plane with three seats on each side of a single aisle.

A bit of extra competition is always good for travelers!

 

So What’s With all the Vowels?

If you’ve spent any time in Hawaii you’ve noticed that the Hawaiian language seems to consist only of vowels.  From the state fish, Humuhumunukunukuapua`a, to the road signs that seem almost as long, the words can be quite the mouthful. One time my husband and I were using Siri on his Iphone to give us directions; he had Siri set to be an Australian male voice and listening to the accent pronouncing the Hawaiian street names was hilarious – we couldn’t understand the directions at all but we certainly got a good laugh out of it.  Years ago, Dave Barry wrote a column  where he joked that the Polynesians encountered a big storm on their way to Hawaii resulting in their consonants washing overboard.  I laugh whenever I think of this column.

Interestingly enough, despite the heavy use of vowels, there are more consonants in the Hawaiian language.  This language consists of 12 letters – 5 vowels (a,e,i,o and u) and 7 consonants (h,k,l,m,n,p and w).

Despite the unfamiliarity of the language, there are some Hawaiian words such as aloha that have made it into our everyday language.  Aloha, with its multiple meanings of hello, goodbye, greetings and love has come to symbolize the whole experience of the warmth and friendliness of the Hawaiian islands.

Other words are very useful to understand. Some key words are mahalo which means thank you, lanai which translates to balcony or patio, and those vital bathroom signs – wahine – women and kane – men.  Island directions may use the words mauka, towards the mountain, and makai, towards the ocean.  One may also hear the words windward and leeward to describe the island. The windward side is exposed to the wind and is wetter; the leeward side is protected and is typically drier.

The humpback whales are known in Hawaiian as kohola and the infamous green sea turtle is honu.   One of my favorite Hawaiian words is pono which means proper or moral and I love this sticker:

Pono

Menus may list pupu which are appetizers and also describe food as ono which means good. Looking for a child’s menu? The word to use is keiki.   Signs saying  E komo mai mean welcome, come on in.

Most know the words hula for the native dance and lei for the beautiful garland of flowers visitors often receive.  One may hear the word haole which means foreigner, usually a Caucasian,  while kama’aina means a Hawaii resident.

These are just a few key words to help get you started or refresh your memory.  I always try to pick up a few words every visit. Leave me a comment and let me know what words you consider key.

Known as the shaka, this gesture means hang loose
Known as the shaka, this gesture means hang loose

 

 

Humuhumunukunukuapua`aGoi

Maui – More Than Just Fantastic Beaches

What comes to mind when you think of Maui? Chances are  that visions of white sand beaches and swaying palm trees dance through your head, unsurprisingly given that Maui has some of the best beaches in the world.   As part-time Maui residents, we can assure you that these beaches live up to their reputations.  Loving Maui as much as we do, we want to be sure your trip also includes the following highlights.

Haleakala

Haleakala, a 10,000 plus foot volcano on the eastern side of Maui, is an absolute must-see at sunrise or sunset.

Haleakala Sunset
Haleakala Sunset

 

Our family prefers sunset so that we can also star gaze; the sheer volume of stars visible is  truly amazing.  The drive to the peak is beautiful with outstanding vistas and dramatic changes in landscape and vegetation. Temperatures also change significantly- while you may have been sunbathing on the beach in the morning, you will want to bring warm clothes for this trip as temperatures drop to around freezing at night at the peak.   One can drive to the summit making it very accessible to most everyone, although those with respiratory conditions should keep the altitude in mind. While restrooms and drinking water are available, there are no food services or gas available in the park.   There are many hiking trails along the ascent as well as into the crater itself. Watch out for cattle while driving and keep your eyes peeled for hang gliders who often, weather permitting, use some of the turnouts along the ascent as launch points.  Tours offer “bike down the mountain” packages where they drive you up, provide the bikes and helmets, allowing you then to whiz down.   Be sure to look for the silversword plant which are only found at Haleakala. These beautiful plants live between 3 and 90 years, flower once and then die.

The Silversword only grows on Haleakala
The Silversword only grows on Haleakala

 

Road to Hana

The Hana Highway connects Kahului, where the airport is, to the town of Hana in east Maui.

Along the Road to Hana
Along the Road to Hana

 

This 68 mile long stretch of highway takes you through luscious rainforests with dramatic vistas and waterfalls at almost every turn. And there are a lot of turns. The Road to Hana is famous for its windiness – there are 620 curves and 59 bridges, many of which are one lane. Driving this route is not for the timid driver nor for those with weak stomachs.   Should you make this drive, we suggest packing a picnic lunch. There are numerous places along the way where you will want to stop, explore, and take pictures. Additionally, we have heard from locals and tourists alike to avoid the restaurants in Hana. There is also an alternate route to Hana which is discussed below.

 

Tropical Gardens

While flowers and flowering trees abound, there are several tropical gardens in Maui that are well worth the trip. Our favorite is the Garden of Eden which is along The Road to Hana. Even if you don’t make the entire Road to Hana drive, going to these gardens provides a good taste of the Road to Hana experience while also being a fantastic destination.  Unique flowers and rare trees are to be found along the trails including our personal favorite – the rainforest eucalyptus tree.

Rainforest Eucalyptus Tree
Rainforest Eucalyptus Tree

 

Also of note in these gardens is an overlook of the famous Kopuka Rock, featured in the helicopter descent scene in the movie Jurassic Park.

Kopuka Rock
Kopuka Rock

 

There are no food or beverage services available here. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the scenery but beware of the peacocks – they can be aggressive while begging for food.

 

Lahaina

Lahaina is an historic oceanside town on the western side of Maui with beautiful views of the ocean, the island of Lanaii and the West Maui Mountains.  It also has one of the largest banyan trees in the world.

Lahaina Banyan Tree
Lahaina Banyan Tree

 

There are loads of great restaurants, shops, and, if you are looking for nightlife on Maui, this is the spot.  Expect lots of other people to be enjoying this town too and keep an eye out for the cruise ships – when one is in port  there are thousands more tourists.  Our rule of thumb is to avoid Lahaina when a cruise ship is in town or a big activity such as a marathon is going on. The drive to Lahaina is on a busy two lane road with no alternatives and no where to go if you get stuck in traffic.  While there is free on the street parking, it is limited and hard to get. Expect to pay for parking but there are lots of parking lots available. For those who like outlet malls, one recently opened  just behind the main portion of town  known as Front Street.

Along with the shops, there are local artisans who demonstrate and sell their wares along Front Street. Our favorites are the wood carvers – often it’s a family tradition with techniques having been passed down for generations.

 

Whale Watch

This activity is obviously dependent on your visit being during “whale season” which runs from late September til mid May with peak  activity in February and March.  There are numerous tour companies that run whale watches from Lahaina and others that also run out of other towns such as Ma’alaea and Kihei.  Pay attention to the size of the boat and how many people will be on the tour with you. Some of the larger boats hold a large number of people and when whales are sighted, people all rush to the side of the boat with the best views and one can get stuck without much to see.  Tours can last several hours – most companies provide water and some provide food and assorted beverages.  For longer length tours it is nice to have shade available and bathrooms accessible.  Our favorite tour company is the Pacific Whale Foundation as it is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 to save whales from extinction.  PacWhale, as it is also known, operates a number of different size boats out of both Lahaina andMa’alaea. All tours are staffed by Certified Marine Naturalists who narrate and answer questions during the tour.

Humpback Whale  Breaching
Humpback Whale Breaching

 

Maui Ocean Center

Should you get a rainy day or need a break from the sun, the Maui Ocean Center in Ma’alaea is a wonderful aquarium.  It is open every day of the year from 9-5 and in July and August it remains open til 6.  The aquarium is home to hundreds of marine life including fish, turtles, and seals while providing tons of information and exhibits on many more creatures including humpbacks.  There are touch pools and an amazing tunnel where the fish and sharks swim up close and over your head!

Aquarium Tunnel
Aquarium Tunnel

 

There is a  nice gift shop and small stands to buy beverages and snacks. Buy your entry tickets online and receive a complimentary upgrade from a daily ticket to a week long pass.

 

Nakalele Point & Blowhole

On the west side of Maui, north of Kapalua, is  Nakalele Point,  the northernmost portion of Maui. While this point is as scenic as most of Maui, the real star here is the blowhole.  Waves produce water spouts from the blowhole that can rise as high as 100 feet.  While stormier days produce more dramatic geysers, even on relatively calm days, there is still lots of activity.

To reach Nakalele Point, take Highway 30 north from Kapalua. Signage for the blowhole is not great, but look for mile marker #38 and the dirt pullout; other cars are undoubtedly parked there.  The blowhole is visible from just a short walk from the parking area, but one may also hike down to it. The roundtrip distance of the hike is about a mile and a quarter. While it is not a strenuous hike, the terrain is rather rough and should be done wearing hiking boots or sturdy shoes. Loose rocks make slipping a real hazard. Safety signs warn of the hazards of getting too close to the blowhole and, indeed, people have died from being sucked in. There is no need however to risk any such danger as the blowhole is clearly visible from many safe vantage points.

Nakalele Blowhole
Nakalele Blowhole

 

While some folks just come for a short visit, others bring folding chairs and relax for longer periods. There are no facilities here and if you plan to visit for a while, bring water.

 

Bamboo Forest

Hiking the Pipiwai Trail is a great opportunity to see a number of waterfalls including a 200 foot one known as Makahiku Falls and a 400 foot one known as Waimoku Falls. The glory of this trail is that not only do you get to see these falls, but you also get to experience a spectacular bamboo forest.  When we hiked this trail, we knew to expect to see bamboo, but to be immersed in a bamboo forest is an experience not to be missed.  The hike to the bamboo forest is about a mile; if you proceed on to the Waimoku Falls, you will have hiked for about 2 miles.

Bamboo Forest
Bamboo Forest

 

This trail is in Haleakala National Park  located just past mile marker 42 on the Piilani Highway.  Park at the visitor center and be prepared to pay an entrance fee or show your park pass. There are restrooms and picnic tables available.  The trailhead is located just across the highway.   One may reach this area by driving  the Road to Hana and continuing, or taking the alternate, or back road as its known.  To drive the back way, take the Haleakala Highway from Kahalui to Kula. Bear right at the fork in the road in Kula near Grandma’s Coffee House. The Haleakala Highway eventually becomes the Piilani Highway. While much of it is paved, there is a five mile stretch of road that is graded dirt that at times may be very rough or washed out from rainfall. The views along this drive are beautiful and the landscape changes dramatically from lush to arid and back again.

 

Surfer/Kiteboarder Watching

Take a trip to Hookipa Beach Park, known as the windsurfing capital of the world. This beautiful beach isn’t a good spot to go swimming but it is a wonderful location to watch surfers, kiteboarders and windsurfers strut their stuff.

Windsurfers at Hookipa Beach
Windsurfers at Hookipa Beach

 

This beach is located just minutes down the Hana Highway from Paia at mile marker #9.  There are restrooms and picnic areas available but we recommend watching from up higher on the overlooks so that viewing is optimal. If you have folding chairs, bring them and enjoy the live tv.

 

We know that this is a long list of must see activities and many want to spend time just relaxing on the beach and by the pool.  If you don’t get to all of these spots, keep them in mind for next time. Look for rainbows while on Maui – local legends say that seeing one means you will be lucky enough to return to this magical island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here Today, Gone To Maui

For many people, Maui is the ultimate trip to paradise.  Readers of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine have voted Maui as the Best Island in the World for 20 years.   In Hawaiian, Maui no ka ‘oi means “Maui is the best”  and, once you visit, we think you will agree. From the pristine, white beaches to the towering peak of Haleakala, the scenery is unparalleled.

So, when to visit? Many visitors are  traveling with children and thus  working around school vacation schedules. This often  seemed to our family to translate to traveling with everyone else and paying the highest prices!  Luckily, in Maui, some of the “low” season prices occur during school vacation schedules.   While there are  variations in what time periods comprise both “high” and “low” seasons, generally “high” season runs from mid December to the end of April with peak rates around the holidays.

Another factor to consider is the weather, but the year-round temperature doesn’t vary much.  The average daytime high in summer is 85F while in winter the average daytime high is 78F. Nighttime temperatures are generally 10 degrees cooler.  Of course, where you are on the island matters – the “dry” side or the “wet” side.  The western side of Maui is the leeward side; with the protection from the wind, this side of the island is generally hot and dry. The eastern, or windward, side of Maui receives the full force of the wind and is usually cool and moist – if not rainy.  The wonderful thing about Maui is that these areas are not far apart – generally folks stay on the western side where the world-famous beaches and resort areas are and travel to the east side to experience the lush rainforest, including the infamous Road to Hana and the bamboo forest.

Another huge consideration of when to visit is the opportunity to view humpback whales.  These amazing creatures migrate from the Alaskan waters each winter to mate and give birth in the warm Hawaiian waters, with the waters off Maui’s western side being the best location in all of Hawaii to view these whales. During the winter, these whales may be seen from shore with the best shore views being from the southern and western sections of Maui, including the towns of Makena, Wailea, Kihei, Ma’alaea, Lahaina and Ka’anapali.   Additionally, whale watch tour opportunities abound with many tours leaving out of Ma’alaea and Lahaina.   The humpbacks begin arriving in late September or October and are generally gone by the end of May with the peak season being February and March.

Whenever you choose to visit, we know you will have an amazing experience and generate memories to last a lifetime.

 

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing Your Hawaiian Island Vacation Destination

Congratulations! You’re dreamed about it and now you are going to make your vacation in Hawaii a reality. You can feel the warmth of the sun, the sand between your toes and hear the wind rustling the palm fronds. Whether you fantasize about lying on a white sand beach, lounging by a pool, playing a round of golf, or enjoying the ocean, Hawaii has a myriad of  activities to enchant virtually anyone. But which island to choose?  Most tourists travel to one of the four main Hawaiian islands – Oahu, Kauai, Hawaii (the Big Island) and Maui.

 

Hawaiian_Islands
Hawaiian_Islands

 

Oahu

Oahu is the busiest of the islands with the majority of the Hawaii’s population calling this island home. The state capitol, Honolulu, is on this island as are several iconic landmarks such as Pearl Harbor and Waikiki Beach.

Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor

 

This island boasts big city life complete with high end shopping and a vibrant night life.  With big city life however, comes typical big city traffic.   Gorgeous island beauty awaits the traveler to the North Shore where the mountains meet the coast and pro and amateur surfers alike frolic in the summer waves.  Wild winter surf conditions are best left to the pros.

North Shore Surfers
North Shore Surfers

 

We recommend Oahu for vacationers who are looking for an active vacation filled with shopping and nightlife; if serenity is your goal we would suggest looking to another island. On the plus side, Oahu is generally the easiest island to access when booking airline tickets.

 

Kauai

Kauai, the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, is perhaps the epitome of serenity.  Kauai is a laid-back isle with a more rustic feel to it. Certain areas boast of no cell or wi-fi coverage. Home to dramatic natural beauty such as the Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the West, and the majestic cliffs of the Napali Coast, Kauai appeals to rugged outdoor enthusiasts.

Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon

 

Napali Coast
Napali Coast

 

Much of this natural beauty is inaccessible by car and thus the more adventuresome will explore by foot, by boat or by helicopter.  An open door helicopter ride over this island remains one of our family’s most awe inspiring events in a lifetime of travel.  We recommend this island to those travelers seeking a more “off the beaten path” Hawaiian vacation.  A caveat is that Kauai has a well deserved reputation for being rainier than the other islands.

 

Big Island

Hawaii, also known as the Big Island for good reason as it is larger than all of the other Hawaiian islands combined, is famous for being home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes.  Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983 and is a very accessible tourist destination.  The visitor center is open daily and the 10 plus mile Crater Rim Drive lets virtually anyone experience the drama and sheer primal force of an active volcano.

Kilauea Lava
Kilauea Lava

 

The Big Island also boasts black sand beaches, rainforests , and snowboarding – yes you read that right!  While there are no ski resorts or ski lifts, Mauna Kea is a 13,796′ volcanic mountain that sometimes receives enough snow to enable skiers and snowboarders alike to experience their winter activities while on a “summer” vacation.

Snowboarding in Hawaii
Snowboarding in Hawaii

 

The Big Island has fewer beaches than the other islands, and most of these beaches are black or gray so if you are envisioning a white sand beach this is not the island for you. Additionally, there is often “VOG”, which is like smog but derives from the volcanic emissions and can leave a gritty taste in your mouth if the winds are blowing towards the area you are in.  The area around Kona is a frequent recipient of this VOG.   We recommend tourists choose this island if Kilauea is on your bucket list or if you want to experience an island vast enough to reportedly hold 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones.

 

Maui

Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands and is often rated as having the best beaches in the world. Additionally, every winter humpback whales migrate to mate or give birth in the warm waters and whale watch opportunities abound.  Seeing a sunrise or sunset on Haleakala should be on every tourist’s agenda but be sure to dress warmly – it’s often below freezing at the summit once the sun goes down.

Sunset at Haleakala
Sunset at Haleakala

 

The “Road to Hana” is an approximately 52 mile drive through a lush rainforest but is not for the faint of stomach. Despite numerous trips to Maui, I have yet to survive this trek. The road is narrow, windy, with numerous curves, one lane bridges and eye popping scenery, but it can make travelers very queasy, hence the local, popular “I survived the road to Hana” t-shirts that abound in tourist shopping venues.

Road to Hana
Road to Hana

 

Another popular tourist destination is Lahaina, once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the early 19th century, now on the National Register of Historic Places, this quaint town is full of fun shops and restaurants as well as one of the largest banyan trees in the world.  This isle has been rated very tourist friendly with easy flights, second only to Oahu, great resort areas, and a great mix of activities. Maui is our recommended isle for families, first time Hawaii visitors and those looking to satisfy those white sand beach urges.

Lahaina
Lahaina

Whichever island you choose, we wish you safe and happy travels.

Aloha!