Escape the Ordinary on Maui
Add some surprises into the season with an island-hopping vacation to Maui, Moloka’i and Lana’i. Whether you come for a wedding, honeymoon or relaxing break from the daily grind, there is much to explore on the isles of Maui Nui. Read on for tips on what to see and do this season, and for a special recipe straight from one of Maui’s organic farms.
With Maui as your home base, you can easily plan a variety of day and overnight trips to either Moloka’i or Lana’i using the 45-minute Lahaina to Lana’i Expeditions ferry or the 90-minute Lahaina to Kaunakakai Maui-Moloka’i Ferry, “the Moloka’i Princess.” Consider developing a themed vacation, especially if you have a strong interest in a specific subject, such as horticulture or island history.
Maui’s rich volcanic soil is home to flourishing farms and charming botanical gardens. Upcountry, traversing the misty slopes of Haleakala, Orchids of Olinda presents award-winning blooms in a very informational walking tour with lunch. Shim Coffee, Protea and Botanical Farm Tour offers a visit to a working coffee plantation, which also grows exotic protea flowers and provides a short lesson on the history of Chinese immigrants in Kula. And Ali’i Kula Lavender features an outstanding display of 45 varieties of the fragrant herb to be discovered in a variety of combo tours.
Maui Nei Tours in Lahaina covers pre-contact times to the Plantation Era during their walking tour through historic West Maui. Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum examines Maui’s sugar industry, camp life and the plantations’ influences on island water resources. For a history of the pineapple plantations and a taste of the sweet Maui Gold Pineapple, take Kapalua’s Pineapple Plantation Tour, which goes straight into the fields. And for a trip back in time to rural small town America, visit the Hasegawa General Store in Hana, established in 1910.
To enjoy nature’s stunning beauty along with a relaxing local lifestyle is to get to know Lana’i. Formerly a pineapple plantation, the island’s main town of Lana’i City remains a snapshot of small towns from the 1950s and ’60s. Family owned and operated general stores, cafes and “plate-lunch” diners encircle the town square, offering a real aloha-style experience. The island is also a study in natural wonders, many of which are steeped in ancient Hawaiian history. A short road trip in a rental jeep or via a tour will lead to Keahiakawelo, the “Garden of the Gods,” an unearthly vista of windswept red soil punctuated by unusual rock formations. A short walking trail maintained by The Nature Conservancy meanders through Kanepu’u Preserve, where native coastal dry land plants still thrive. Down toward Kaiolohi’a Bay, a field of Hawaiian petroglyphs is etched into boulders overlooking the beach with its famous shipwreck. For an adventure on the water, go with Trilogy Lana’i Ocean Sports, which follows the footsteps of Hawaiian royalty to King Kamehameha’s summer retreat at Kaunolu and Kaumalapau along the southern coastline.
Lauded as “Hawaiian by Nature,” Moloka’i is the island where you can discover the archaeologist within. A necklace of ancient fishponds is strung for miles along the pristine waters of the south shore, offering a fair picture of former lava rock pens that once teemed with wild fish. In modern times, Kumu Farms always has something interesting and delicious happening. You can explore the herb gardens and marvel at their rows of banana and papaya trees. Learn about sustainable practices and get culinary tips.
In the lush, tropical East End of the island, a new crop of taro is being cultivated. At the end of the road is mystical Halawa Valley, filled with rugged cliffs and cascading waterfalls. Guided hikes to the falls and to numerous archaeological sites are available in the morning on a regular basis. Two weekday morning plantation tours have been created by “Coffees of Hawaii.” The tour through the Moloka’i Coffee Plantation is a great activity for active eco vacationers and families as it includes a bag of fragrant Moloka’i coffee.
On Maui, the traditional walk down the aisle can be anything but. A couple’s fantasy wedding can be a custom experience tailored to reflect a personal passion, significant place or memory, or once-in-a-lifetime thrill. Choosing to exchange your vows at an unusual or remote site requires a little extra planning, finding a willing officiant, and some creativity. The sky is the limit (not literally, of course, read on…).
Sure, many Maui weddings take place outside, but do you envision yours on a remote sea cliff or high atop a mountain waterfall? Professional helicopter companies like Blue Hawaiian and Sunshine have years of experience assisting bridal couples in making their dreams a reality. Plus, if you don’t have a specific spot in mind, they may be able to suggest a good location. Keep in mind: the area must be safe to land at, permission from landowner must be granted, and your guest list will be very, very short (as in the bridal couple and an officiant, in most cases). Hiring a helicopter for your nuptials is certainly more expensive than a limo, but then again, the sweeping aerial views during the ride, the thrill of landing in an isolated area, and the experience of exchanging your vows in a secluded pocket of Maui’s natural beauty are all elements of a truly memorable day.
If the allure of sailing Hawai’i’s trade winds sweeps you off your feet, chartering a boat for your wedding will be a breeze. As an island in the middle of the Pacific, Maui has enticed many a talented sailor to set anchor. Luckily, this means you’ll have a wide selection of boats to choose from, depending on how large your guest list and how formal or informal you want your wedding to be. Luxury yachts like the 65′ Shangri-La out of Lahaina, complete with wait staff, burnished Koa tables and Oriental rugs, offer an elegant affair at sea, while Paragon’s 47′ performance catamarans are perfectly suited to the wild and wind-swept couple looking to punctuate their wedding day with full sails and saltwater sprays. No time plan your wedding? Then take a Wedding at Sea package from Trilogy. Exchange vows on your own private catamaran while traveling north up Maui’s scenic coastline to secluded Honolua Bay or float down the West Maui coastline followed by a sunset reception and sail.
Do the two of you have a really deep connection? Gurgle “I Do” underwater with the help of Maui Ocean Center. If you are both SCUBA-certified, the aquarium’s 750,000-gallon Open Ocean Exhibit is a perfect ceremony tank, that is, site, and comes complete with graceful stingrays and well-fed sharks gliding by. Your guests, dry and comfortable, can view the ceremony from inside the tank through a 54-foot acrylic tunnel or at a large viewing window. As an added convenience, a reception may be planned right on the aquarium grounds.
Roasted Beets at O’o Farm in Upcountry Maui
O’o Farm is situated in the rural Waipoli district of Kula, The 8.5-acre diversified natural farm is owned and operated by the Pacific’O and I’O restaurants located at 505 Front Street in Lahaina, which are under the direction of Chef James McDonald. Up at the farm, the lunch tours showcase a farm-to-table culinary experience. Gourmet lunch tours are $50 per person and run every Wednesday and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. hot apple cider and pastries are served before a delightful tour of O’o Farm’s natural and biodynamic practices. The tour is followed by a delicious lunch made from the produce gathered on the tour. Chef McDonald graciously supplied the recipe for the yummy Roasted Beets we had after a recent O’o farm tour. For more information on the tours, please go to www.oofarm.com. For reservations call 808-667-4341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leafy Greens at O’o Farm
You can see a great variety of green leafy vegetables at O’o Farm. Pictured above is lettuce, which includes red and green leaf varieties, red and green oak, romaine, butter, mesclun, and radicchio, cabbage: the Chinese won bok, bok choi, pak choi, and the gourmet tat soi; spinach: a buttery type of Bloomsdale known as Melody; arugula: also called Rocket; and chard: the colorful rainbow Swiss chard.
Roasted Beets with Macadamia Pesto
(Yields 6 portions)
1 lb. beets, skin on, stems removed, scrubbed
2 tsp. sea salt
½ c. + 1 tbsp Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 c. basil leaves, loose pack, fresh
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp ginger root, rough chopped
¼ c. macadamia nuts
1 c. feta cheese crumbles
½ c. pine nuts, toasted
½ c. raisins
Ground pepper, to taste
1 sheet foil
Place beets on foil, coat in 1 tablespoon of oil, season with 1 tablespoon salt, close foil around beets and place into a 400-degree oven until beets are almost tender when pierced with a toothpick, approximately 1½ hours. Remove them from oven and allow them to steam in foil for approximately 30 minutes. Remove skins and slice beets into desired shapes.
Make pesto by adding½ cup oil, basil, garlic, ginger, macadamia nuts and remaining salt into a blender. Puree for about 10 seconds until ingredients are roughly smooth.
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat; add pesto and beets and cook until warmed, approximately 1 minute. Season with ground pepper and arrange on individual plates or serve in a bowl. Sprinkle feta cheese and raisins over top and serve.
We are avid golfers and we are looking forward to playing the courses on Maui’s Golf Coast. However, we are wondering if there is a central place to book golfing tee times on Maui, Moloka’i and Lana’i?
Best Regards, Ralph and Doris
Aloha Ralph and Doris,
The folks at Maui Nui Golf courses are always happy to speak with enthusiastic golfers about their courses and tees times, so feel free to call any of them directly. We understand that you might want a central website and phone number for this information, so for Maui and Lana’i courses you can go to TeetimesHawaii.com or call 866-927-1453. For the Ironwood Course on Moloka’i you will need to call them at 808-567-6000 for information.
Hello Maui Insider,
My family and I are planning to visit Maui this fall and our friends have told us that the Ulalena show is quite entertaining. Can you please tell us a little bit about the show? We know it is not a luau but we are not quite sure what it is.
Sincerely, The Woods Family
Aloha Woods Family,
Ulalena is a colorful and exciting theatrical show that explores the relationships between people, nature and mythology. The use of metaphors integrates Hawaiian chants and dances, original music and choreography, lighting and projections to support the talents of unique performers. It takes place in the evening in Lahaina at the Maui Theatre. For more information go to their website at www.mauitheatre.com or call toll free 877-688-4800.
We will be visiting Maui during this winter and we are wondering what special events will be taking place during the holidays. We are especially interested in holiday shows and holiday craft fairs. Thanks so much for your help.
Best Regards, The Lockes
There are many holiday festivities on Maui Nui. You should ask the concierge at your hotel or condo for the latest list of special events. You can also check our website for updates at www.VisitMaui.com. For shows you can go to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center listing at www.mauiarts.org or call them at 808-242-SHOW. The local craft fairs are usually listed in the local newspapers, such as the Lahaina News, Maui News and Maui Time Weekly.
Our first visit to Maui was 2008, for our 30th anniversary. It was by far the best vacation we had ever been on and the most relaxing. We were there 12 days, stayed in the Upcounty of Maui, we went everywhere, but never felt rushed or exhausted! We were treated extremely nice and was made to feel very welcome. We will definitely be back!! Our daughter and her friend went on to the Big Island for a wedding for 4 days then we all went and had fun!! They totally enjoyed Maui!!
GL & ML
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Holiday Lighting of the Banyan Tree
Lahaina Town, Front Street
Lahaina’s historic Banyan Tree is lit up with thousands of Christmas lights for the entire holiday season. Santa makes an appearance, island-style, and community choirs sing Christmas carols. Enjoy a holiday arts and crafts fair along with Hawaiian musical entertainment. Tenants of the Old Lahaina Courthouse host children’s holiday art activities and cookie decorating workshops. Free admission. For more information, please go to www.visitmaui.com
Holiday Pops! With Maui Pops Orchestra
Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Castle Theatre, Kahului
In this annual holiday concert, Music Director James Durham and the Maui Pops Orchestra will play traditional classical, holiday favorites and Broadway selections. For tickets and more information, please go to www.mauiarts.org
The Plantation Course, Kapalua Resort
January 3-9, 2011
PGA Tour champions from the previous year compete in this season-opening golf tournament at Kapalua’s Plantation Course for a $5,600,000 purse; televised four days. The Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) is the title sponsor. Portions of the proceeds benefit Maui charities. There will be free admission for spectators. For more information, please go to www.kapalua.com
Cecilio & Kapono with the Maui Pops Orchestra
Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Castle Theatre, Kahului
The contemporary Hawaiian musicians, Cecilio and Kapono will share their many talents and favorite songs with sounds of the Maui Pops Orchestra and Music Director, James Durham. For tickets and more information, please go to www.mauiarts.org
Maui Oceanfront Marathon
Wailea Resort to Lahaina
The 3rd Annual Oceanfront Marathon starts in Wailea and runs along the oceanfront to Kamehameha Iki Park near the Banyan Tree in Old Lahaina Town; 26.2 miles of beautiful oceanfront and mountain vistas. In addition, a marathon Walk, Half Marathon, Maui 15K and 5K runs are also available. For more information, please visit www.mauioceanfrontmarathon.com
Kaanapali Champions Skins Game, Pro-Am Golf Tournament
Kaanapali Golf Courses, Kaanapali Resort
January 27 & 28
This year’s Pro-Am will take place on the stunning Kaanapali Golf Courses. For more information, please visit www.kaanapaliresort.com
Kaanapali Champions Skins Game
Kaanapali Golf Courses, Kaanapali Resort
January 29 & 30
Hosted by the Kaanapali Golf Resort, this tournament features four pairs of the world’s most admired Senior PGA pros playing on the Kaanapali Golf Courses for up to $800,000 skins purse. There will be free admission for spectators. For more information, please visit www.kaanapaliresort.com
Chinese New Year Celebration
Lahaina Town, Lahaina
The Lahaina Restoration Foundation will be hosting a celebration with traditional Chinese Lion Dances and cultural displays. For more information, go to www.lahainarestoration.org
Run for the Whales
Makena Beach & Golf Resorts
Runners and walkers are invited to join in a Run for the Whales along the scenic coast of South Kihei. The race will start at the Makena Beach & Golf Resort in Makena. There are four different events: a competitive Half Marathon, 5K Run, 5K Competition Pod (a team of 3 to 6 friends running together while holding onto a rope), 5K Walk, and a 2K Fun Run for the kids. For more information, race descriptions, times and location, please go to www.mauiwhalefestival.org
Kealii Reichel: Kukahi 2011 with Halau Ke alaokamaile
Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Castle Theatre, Kahului
February 12 & 13
One of Hawai’i’s most popular recording artists, Kealii Reichel is an award-winning performer. His music, chant and hula represent some of the best of Hawai’i’s traditional and contemporary poetry and dance today. For tickets and more information, please go to www.mauiarts.org
Whale Day Celebration
Maui’s largest celebration of whales is an all day family celebration that starts off with the Parade of Whales from 9am to 10am traveling south along South Kihei Road on Maui, ending at Kalama Park by the big whale statue. It features live entertainment all day, including hula and performances by some of Hawai’i’s most popular musicians. A Hawaiian craft fair will feature the work of local crafters. Enjoy a children’s carnival, great food by Maui restaurants at the many food booths. There are informational displays about whales, the ocean and Maui’s natural environment. For more information, go to www.pacificwhale.org
The Great Maui Whale Count
North, South & West Maui Shores
Join the Pacific Whale Foundation’s researchers and count the humpback whales seen from Maui’s shores. For more information, please visit www.pacificwhale.org