Also, a Short Secction on the Big Island

Hawaii is an area I return to again and again. (As a reminder, these are personal ones for which I receive no remuneration.) Should you travel to that part of the world and use them, I would appreciate feedback. Please let me know whether you agree or not.

Sights and Activities – As recommended last year but worth repeating, be sure to watch the windsurfers from Hookipa Beach, travel the entire road around Hana (not for the timid), ride a bike from the top of Haleakala (You only need to pedal about ten times until arriving in Paia.), take a whale watch tour (winter months only), enjoy the beaches (Makena and Baldwin, my favorites), and of course, simply chill.

Visit the I'ao Valley and the Eye of the Needle, simply beautiful, and spend several hours at the Maui Ocean Center, an extremely well done aquarium.

Paia Restaurants and Food – Here are some Paia restaurants that continue to remain on my list: Milagros (for a Mexican twist), and the Paia Fishmarket (much less pricey than Mama's Fish House. We eat here weekly.). Expect a line no matter the time of day. A must stop for fish lovers! Cafe Mambo located at 30 Baldwin Ave. in Paia (579-8021) serves some unique but very tasty fare. As with everyplace in funky Paia, the service is laid-back and friendly. You will see many locals dining there, for me, a sign of good food. The tapas, paella, and fajitas are delectable. One syllable describes the 7 Vegetable Stew, YUM! The sauces and broths are beautifully seasoned. I enjoyed numerous dinners and lunches there. If you desire, you can bring your own bottle of wine, no corkage fee. At Cafe des Amis the crepes are marvelous, the dessert ones – decadent. We have eaten there numerous times. We love this place. For very good pizza containing all organic produce, visit the Flatbread Company near town center. The crust is unique in the most positive way.

Typical view along the west coast
View from Hookipa Beach
Cafe Mambo
Malasadas at Komodo Bakery

Bakery: Komodo Bakery in Makawao, a small artist community upcountry from Paia, is where you can enjoy delicious malasadas (take my word – you will love them). Arrive in the morning while they are still warm. The cream puffs are also wonderful! (The poem above on "sinning" was inspired during my one of several visits there.)

Coffee: Frankly, I am not much of a coffee drinker. I prefer tea. However, my trip companions, Janice and Barbara, love their morning brew and are very particular about its taste and strength. They claim that some of the best cups of java that they have ever had were at Anthony's Coffee Company on the main drag of Paia.

Gardens and Galleries: 1) I continue to recommend a visit to the Ali'i Kula Lavender Gardens in Upcountry. Getting there is as much fun as the gardens themselves. A word to the wise, get directions first. What views! Besides viewing the flora, be sure to take home some special jams with hints of lavender. Incidentally, if you plan to eat lunch there, reservations are a must. For more info click here. In speaking with the owner, Alii Chang, he stated that the gardens are continuing to expand.

2) If you love watercolor as I do, then a visit to Sherri Reeve's Gallery in Makawao is a "must add" to your list. Sherri's paintings are filled with vibrancy and details uncommon to many watercolor artists' work. She has done so many creative things with her art that any budget can afford examples of it. A real plus, the staff are very friendly and accommodating. Sherri on specific days is in the studio and will sign her work, whether it be a large limited edition print or a small art tile.

3) The Curtis Wilson Gallery located downstairs from the Kula Lodge Restaurant. The gallery is small but contains some of the most magnificent images of Maui or of anywhere else I have seen. Though I cannot afford a traditional print of this talented artist's works, I have purchased beautiful cards and small framed copies that are within everyone's budget. Incidentally, the restaurant above serves very good food with a stunning view.

Artist Sherri Reeve at work
Other Upcountry Options

To Do: 1) Drive to the top of Haleakala, spectacular. 2) Drive to Tedeschi Winery in Upcountry. A fun time even if you don't drink wine! Be sure to stop along the way to take pictures and visit the little shops and stores. 3) Enjoy lunch (very low key and informal) at The Ulupalakua Ranch Store just across the road from the winery. (If Johnny is cooking, tell him that Bob sent you.) 4) But don't turn around there, as most tourists do; instead drive at least 10 miles farther down the road to see the dry side of Maui and the black volcanic remains. The farther you travel, the more isolated you become. Eventually, the road becomes unpaved and single lane. (Caution: Some rental car companies forbid you to drive this back section of the Hana Road.)

For a delectable gourmet experience, have at least one meal at the Hali'imaile General Store (tel. 808/572-2666). Many restaurant critics rate Bev Gannon, the chef - owner, as one of the best in Hawaii. Based upon our numerous lunch visits, we could not agree more. This Epicurean experience is located upcountry, about a 15 minute drive from Paia. (The evening pricing is much steeper.)

A restaurant that sets back off the street in Makawao is the Fresh Market Bistro at 3620 Baldwin Avenue. As another reviewer stated, "Chef Justin learned from the best in NYC, and here he gets to set his talent loose." We have enjoyed several lunches there. The food is primarily locally grown and raised. The mahi-mahi sandwich with fresh greens and the chicken salad sandwich flavored with rosemary were delectable. There were vegetarian options as well. The place is not fancy but serves very good food.

Another small restaurant that takes some detective work to locate is La Provence on Lower Kula Road (Hint: it is a couple doors from the gas station.) There is a small bakery inside so save some room. Chef Michelier truly knows how to deliver creative French cuisine. Beware that the restaurant is only open Wednesday - Sunday.

Nina at Paia Inn suggested visiting the Surfing Goat Dairy. "Wait," you say, "a goat dairy?" Yes, for an unusual fun time, find this hard to locate dairy. It is funky in layout from the old surfboard signs that greet you to the small open ornate reception area. Organized tours are available for those so inclined. If you enjoy delectable varieties of award winning goat cheese, then this is a must stop. (For the uninitiated, goat cheese is mild and smooth in texture.) For a few dollars you can also purchase a small carrying case with a frozen ice pack to transport your purchases home. Now, I make at least one visit there per return.

Haleakala Crater
Tedeschi Winery
Road beyond winery toward Hana (dry side)
Surfing Goat Dairy
Places to Stay - Paia

Obviously, I can't travel to this paradise without offering some suggestions. I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel there many, many times. This time, I tried to search out some new venues for you. I will also mention a few that have proven their staying power over multiple visits. All the below are on the Island of Maui.

  • Places to Stay: There are two places to add to my list. Both are in the Paia area away from the maddening crowds, and both will set you back a few shekels, the first less than the second. The Paia Inn is relatively new on the tourist map and is situated in the heart of Paia. You are very near a beautiful beach and have a guaranteed parking place, which, trust me, is a real plus in this small town. The rooms are tastefully decorated with original art. The cottages, which cost a bit more, offer a spaciousness that I believe is worth the extra expense. Nina, a lifelong Maui resident, and the staff will do everything possible to make your stay an enjoyable one as well as offering knowledgeable sightseeing ideas. In fact, several suggestions in this section came about due to conversations with her. (For fans of Trip Advisor, this inn receives top ratings from those who have stayed there.) The second location is the Inn at Mama's Fish House. The restaurant has been a Maui dining icon for decades. When the owners decided to create an inn, they went first class all the way. The interior decor of the room where we stayed was splendid to behold. I cannot fault anything from the suite size, beach view, furnishings, or decor. For a splurge, it is a beautiful place to stay. (Disclaimer: Ordinarily, I do not stay in such upscale places as Mama's but was able to through travel points I have collected over the years.)
Gracious Nina from the Paia Inn
Friendly service at Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm – Deborah and Toni


  • MauiGrown Coffee Company Store: What a great discovery, and I don't even drink much coffee. However, after my visit that is going to change. Tom will give you samples of coffee made from the different beans and explain the nuances and subtleties. Fascinating!
The company store is located just outside of Lahaina. After
tasting the coffee, take the self-guided tour through the
the coffee fields. The views are spectacular.

More Recommended Restaurants

Kihei: There are many choices. Here is one: Monsoon India is the place for excellent Indian dishes along with friendly service. Eskimo Candy is a fish market that serves delicious plate meals, you guessed it - fish. (More will follow in 2012 when we will spend six weeks in Kihei.)

Monsoon India, Kihei – What a view, delicious food,
superb service!

Wailuku: This small town has several I am sure you will enjoy.

  • Tasty Crust is the place if you love pancakes. The restaurant advertises itself featuring "World Famous Pancakes." I do not know about the accuracy of the hyperbole, but they are good. The batter is a family secret. Worth a stop for breakfast!!

Lahaina: This former whaling town has some of the best restaurants in Hawaii. However, we don't visit there often enough to generate a comprehensive list. But there is one I would like to mention, Penne Pasta. It was a surprise. The interior, order at the counter process, was not impressive. But when the food arrived, any doubts turned into taste delights. If you enjoy Italian, especially flatbread, be sure to stop by.


Grandma's Maui Coffee Houseis open 7 days a week, from 7am to 5 P.M. and opens for dinners Wednesday through Saturday, 5pm-8pm. Everything is baked fresh daily. What taste treats are served! When we travel Upcountry and arrive at the small picturesque community of Keokea, we always stop, often for breakfast. This is a place to savor old Hawaii.

Purchase Char Pope's newest album Every Road. Type in her name in iTunes or Amazon and the album will appear. Char is the person who provided the beautiful background music for A Walk in Upcountry. What talent she has! Click here to hear more samples of her work.





The Big Island

Recommendations '08 Big Is.

Big Island: 1) If you get over to the Big Island, be sure to add a visit to the Hawaiian Vanilla Company located in Paauilo, HI 96776 – (808) 776-1771. Signup for the gourmet lunch (by reservation), one of the best I have ever had. Vanilla is integrated into each of the five courses. A tour of the farm is included. Owner Jim Reddekopp along with his family will make you feel welcomed. 2) If you love chocolate, be sure to visit the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory located in Kailua-Kona – 808-322-2626. It is the ONE chocolate grown, harvested, processed and packaged in Hawai'i. Since location of the factory is on a working farm, tours are scheduled by appointment only. Owner Bob Cooper really knows his stuff.

Rec 2013 – A few suggestions: If time permits starting in Kona take a trip around the belt road–a long day or even better spend an overnight in Hilo and take time to see the falls in the area. Historic downtown Kona is a fun place to take a stroll. The Saddle Road is also a beautifu drive along with Rt. 250, a favorite of mine.. There are many magnificent beaches from which to choose.

Sushi Rock in Hawi on the Big Island is quite a surprise. In this very small town on the northern edge of the Big Island is a small, friendly sushi restaurant that is a wonderful stop for lunch or dinner. The food was delicious. I hope to return again next year on our visit to the Big Island.

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