Saturday, April 30, 2011

Maui 2011: Day Six; Going Up Country, Breakfast with Willie

Pa'ia is a funky little bohemian town on Maui's north shore. Just down the road lies Hana (been there, done that) or you can head to "up-country" and begin your journey to the rim.

First stop....the world's best macadamia nut pancakes at Charley's where rumor has it...Willie Nelson appears frequently (he owns a home in Pa'ia). We've yet to see Willie, but we keep coming back for the pancakes. We call hole covers.

Haleakala is the world's largest dormant volcano. It's expansive crater stretches 7 miles long, 2.5 miles wide and 3,000 feet deep. The name Haleakala is Hawaiian for House of the Sun.

Twenty-seven thousand acres are designated as the national park to preserve its unique features. The twisting park road was just the adventure we needed on Friday.

Up country was wet on Friday and a thick band of clouds hung like gauze at 5,000 feet. We climbed and climbed (sometimes is white out fog reminisant of the pacific NW) and were rewarded to some decent "peeks" at the top.

Haleakala Crater Road offers views of the island at every turn. As you climb, towering eucalyptus groves and silvery grasslands give way to forest of fir and short scrub vegetation.

We hiked just about as far as you can go after 9,740 feet....a small trail from the rim about another 150 feet for a better look inside.

Bird watching to get my Citizen Scientist Badge

We participated in the Citizen Scientist program where we helped with a weather observation and a bird survey and I earned my Citizen Scientist Badge.

After the crater, we continued down the Kula Highway to Ulupalakua Ranch, home to Maui's winery, Tedeschi Vineyards. The tasting room is located in the King's Cottage a guest cottage specifically built for the celebrated visit of King Kalakaua in April 1874.

We ended the day with a mystery solved. For years at sunset, we've heard the sound of conk shells. It turns out to be two retired gentlemen (one carries his conk shell in an old bowling ball bag). They pay tribute to the end of a beautiful day on the valley isle nightly at sunset.

A long day, but well worth it! Tomorrow is our last day and I don't want to talk about it.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Maui 2011: Day Five; Hiking "the needle"; Bev Gannon and Stealing Tees

One of the main themes for this Maui adventure was to get in some outdoor exploring and hiking.
The Iao Valley (Hawaiian for "cloud supreme", pronounced similar to "EE-ow") is a lush, stream-cut valley in West Maui. The state park is located on 6.2 acres and the Iao Needle (Kūkaemoku) is a famous landmark in the state park, a vegetation-covered lava remnant rising 1,200 feet from the valley floor. The needle is surrounded by the cliffs of the West Maui mountains, an extinct volcano.We took a short trail to the overlook for some amazing photos before checking out the botanical gardens below.

The Hawaiian god Kane is considered to be the pro creator and the provider of life. He is associated with wai (fresh water) as well as clouds, rain, streams and springs. Kanaloa, the Hawaiian god of the underworld, is represented by the phallic stone of the ʻĪao Needle.

After the needle, we stumbled upon the Maui Tropical Plantation, a 60 acre working plantation where visitors can explore the lush grounds and look out to see crops of avocado, apple-bananas, guava, pineapple and mangos.

Great opportunity for some photos!

We then heading into Kihei and Wailea for some exploring and lunch at one of Bev Gannon's fine restaurants.

Bev's is Maui's most prestigious chef's and owns three restaurants on Maui including the Hali'maile General store (which I visited with family back in 2004).

Overlooking the water above Wailea is Gannon's. We had a wonderful lunch while enjoying the breathtaking views of Molakini.

Brian's Prawn Stuffed Crab Cake with Lemon Dijon Mustard Sauce - $9

Stacy's Grilled Shrimp Summer Salad - $16

On our way out the door, I spotted Ms. Gannon sitting in the bar with another gentleman. It appeared to be a business meeting and I didn't want to come off as some crazed foodie stalker, so I just stared at her for about three minutes and realized I was too chicken to walk up to her, tell her I am a huge fan...that one of my vacation highlights was eating at one of her restaurants (not to mention the possibility of meeting her). Brian kindly helped me find my way out the door before I truly embarrassed myself. Oh well.

Kihei is the hottest and driest part of Maui and it lived up to it's name on Thursday. It gets less that 10 inches of rain a year. Stinkin' sweaty hot!

Wailea is at least three times the size of Kaanapali but it doesn't seem that way when you drive through it. It's home to some of the most exclusive beach resorts on Maui.

Wailea's Old Blue, Emerald and Gold Courses are among the top rated golf links in the United States (Gannon's restaurant is at the Emerald Course).

Yes, Pop....we got your tees!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Maui 2011: Day Four; Check out Kaanapali and a Sunset Sail

Pre-sail drinks at the Pioneer Inn

Just a short drive north of Lahaina is a beautiful, three mile stretch of golden beach and the first destination resort built on Maui, Kaanapali.
Landmark Pu'u Keka'a (commonly referred to as Black Rock) was once a sacred site to native Hawaiians. They revered it as a place where the spirits of the dead went to leap from this world to the next.

There is a nice walking path that takes you along the water and through some of the resort hotels that line the beach.

One of the highlights of our time in Maui is any second of the trip that we can be out on the water.We both thought the shine had worn off the apple, but I surprised Brian about a month ago and booked us on the Champagne/Sunset sail aboard the Scotch Mist II.

The crew said that it was one of the best sunsets this month.

Thanks to Mike for snapping this photo on his IPhone and e-mailing it to us


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Maui 2011: Day Three; Total Relaxation and Swimming with Fish

They say it takes about three days to totally relax on vacation. We have our routine down pat. Up with first light (or when the first bird chirps) and a huge pot of yummy coffee, followed by a brisk walk and a hearty breakfast.

Tuesday was another quiet day in Kahana. You can't come to West Maui and not have breakfast at the Gazebo. You might wait in line for upwards of an hour, but the food is wonderful and the views of Napili Bay outstanding.

The Gazebo for breakfast; 40 minute wait but the best Portuguese sausage in town

I had a 2PM lomi lomi massage at Napili Kai Beach Resort. Talk about total relaxation. Brian took the time to enjoy the quiet and clam waters for a bit of snorkeling. Napili Bay is protected from big waves most of the year.

Napili (refers to the pili grasses that once grew in this area in abundance) is marked by a string of small bays, leading to Kapalua. This areas offers some of the most beautiful coastline views in West Maui.

In the evening, we walked down to the beach for sunset (6PM) and cooked dinner on the BBQ....some wonderful fresh vegetables, Maui corn, broccoli and salad with some herb chicken.

Did I mention that the stars are amazing? I wish I could take a picture of the night sky.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Maui 2011: Day Two; Lahaina and Birthday Dinner at Roy's

My Birthday Sunset...amazing!

Monday we awoke to some pretty thick clouds and very humid conditions, but that didn't stop us from our morning walk along the beach road and past some amazing flora.

We stayed away from the beach on account of the clouds and headed into Lahaina.

First stop...the gym where they play the Maui Invitational Basketball Tournament every November.

Dodge Lee at the wheel

Centuries ago, all sea roads lead to Lahaina, capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom and home to the Hawaiian Royal family.

Lele, as the ancient village was called, was once described by a European explorer as "the Venice of the Pacific" because of it's network of waterways and canals.

A visit to Lahaina town is always a high on our "must-do list". Monday was quite warm and really sticky!

Fine art galleries, world class restaurants and interesting boutiques are a wealth to this area. One of our favorite places is a local hangout called Lahaina Coolers.

Brian and I stumbled upon it on our first trip to Maui back in 2006 and it's one of our favorite places to grab an afternoon cocktail. It's off the beaten path in downtown Lahaina, so it's where you run into a cast of local characters.

We ended our day with dinner at Roy's...just a few steps from our front door.

The food and service is amazing. We love to grab a spot in the bar, peruse the appetizer menu and go to town.

Here is what we ate....

Coconut Crusted Mahimahi with Fruit Salsa
Maui Glazed Beef Short Ribs with Asparagus and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Anjou Pear, Blue Cheese Salad with Caramelized Pecans
Crab Cakes with Spicy Beaurre Blanc Sauce
Chocolate Souffle with Vanilla Ice Cream and a Raspberry Glaze

Monday, April 25, 2011

Maui 2011: Day One

Easter Sunday and my birthday, so we opted for a quiet day near Kahana.

we found these bananas growing wild along the side of the road on our morning walk

Up very early (jet lag or excitement, not sure which) at 5AM and a huge pot of chocolate macadamia nut coffee and watched the stars fade into the new day.

A walk up to the Maui Farmer's Market for fresh papaya and ripe bananas followed by a wonderful breakfast on the lanai.

Lot's of time in the sun by both the pool (my preference) and the ocean (Brian's preference). Brian bought a snorkel set to bring with him so he hit the reef just off our condo. The winds were quite brisk and the current a bit strong so he stayed pretty close to shore.

A great day to check out the Maui Brewing Company which is located in the strip mall across the street from our condo. I just couldn't wait to try the coconut porter....yum!

We grilled steaks on the communal BBQ and watched the sunset over the Pacific.

Day one in the books! A 16+ hour day.