"" Writer's Wanderings: Maui - Lahaina

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Maui - Lahaina

The area we like to stay on Maui is just north of Lahaina on the northwest coast of the island. Lahaina was once the whaling capital of the mid-Pacific. As the story goes, the whalers would put into the Lahaina harbor, enjoy the native girls, and then put out to sea again. And then the missionaries arrived. They worked against all odds to clothe the natives and teach them their morals. Needless to say it did not make the whalers happy and it is said that one cannonballed the missionary’s home on occasion.

The town’s name means “cruel sun.” There is not as much rain on this side of the mountains although during our trip you couldn’t tell that. But the rain falls in spurts much like it does in southern Florida. As a matter of fact, usually the sun is shining as it rains creating some spectacular rainbows. No wonder the license plates here have a rainbow on them.

There are fertile fields on the mountain sides watered by abundant freshwater springs. Kamehameha the Great liked this area so much, he established the capital here after his conquest of the island. Hawaii’s first constitution was drafted in Lahaina in 1840.

There are lots of historic buildings and places in the old town tucked in between all the shops and restaurants. There is often a colony of artists and crafts people set up under the huge banyan tree that sits behind the old Lahaina courthouse. The town is a great place to explore on a warm afternoon and swells with people when the Ocean Princess anchors just off the harbor.

The harbor is also the place to find all sorts of water activities like snorkeling, diving, fishing, dinner and sunset cruises and the popular whale watching tours.

If you happen to be here in Lahaina, our recommendation for the sweet tooth is Longhi’s Restaurant just across from Bubba Gumps. Their specialty is a huge cinnamon roll—at least 6 inches across and some of the best coffee you’d ever want. Oh, and their waffles aren’t bad either. Haven’t tried lunch or dinner there but if breakfast sets the mark, the rest must be good too. Ah, so many places to eat—so little time. . .

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