Almost a year ago popular tourist destination Iao Valley State Park experienced heavy flooding, washing away some of the trail system, a portion of the parking lot and damaging people’s homes and yards. As a result, the entire area has been blocked off for nearly a year as the State worked to stabilize the area again. While their efforts are not yet complete, the State recently re-opened the park on a temporary basis while they wait for some further permitting to be approved. Yes, the State Park will close again in the next few months to continue the work.
Yesterday our family drove to Wailuku to check out the historically significant Iao Valley State Park with its Iao needle and the stream.
This is the location where in the late 1780s Kamehameha I from Big Island conquered Maui, the beginning of a series of wars to unite the Hawaiian Islands under himself. The battle is said to have been particularly brutal with many casualties on both sides. When in the valley you can imagine the fighting and how the screams must have echoed in the narrow canyon.
While there, do read the signs for more information about the historical significance. This site is sacred to many native Hawaiians, so please do be respectful of your surroundings while there.
It is a gated State park (7am-6pm) and they charge $5/vehicle for parking. The foot trail is significantly shorter since the flooding, with the lower loop through the forest cut off/washed away. You can still cross the bridge and climb the stairs to the Iao Needle lookout and it looks like they are working on restoring the native plants area, though there wasn’t much taro growing yesterday.
Second Wettest Place in Hawaii
This area, particularly the head of the valley (Pu’u Kukui peak) is the State’s second wettest area with an average of 386 inches of rain a year (the wettest is on Kauai). Contrast that to Kihei’s average 8-11 inches of rain a year. Our drinking water in Kihei is piped over from this valley. In true form, it started pouring rain shortly after we had finished our walk.
For additional things to do, check out the Kepaniwai Park & Heritage Center is just down the road (free admission) which pays tribute to the different nations of immigrants who came to Maui to work in the sugar cane fields. We haven’t stopped in a number of years, at the time it needed some TLC but was still interesting.
Do you enjoy an outdoor movie? I love the ambiance of sitting outside – watching the movie, checking out the stars and enjoying the cooler evening temperatures.
Gannon’s, the clubhouse restaurant at the Wailea Gold and Emerald Golf Courses, is hosting another Movie under the Stars event on Saturday August 19th at 8PM. It’s a James Bond event – they will be showing Skyfall. Movie night takes place on their lower lawn. Tickets are $7/person and can be purchased at the door. Tickets include a chair (usually you have to bring your own low-back chair to these sorts of events).
Do bring a light sweater or a beach towel to wrap up in, just in case you get a little chilly.
It sounds like this is a different location than the Maui Film Festival movies which are shown on the golf course’s driving range. This outdoor movie is said to be shown on the ‘lower lawn’ at Gannons. Come early and I’m sure they will point you in the right direction.
They will be serving $5 Bond Martinis at Gannon’s Red Bar beforehand. If you haven’t checked out Gannon’s Red Bar, do have a look at their happy hour menu which has been expanded in the past year or two.
Gannon’s Red Bar
We just had dinner at the Red Bar last week. While Gannon’s dinner menu is quite pricey (for that matter, most dinner menus on Maui are pricey), the Red Bar happy hour menu (3-8pm) is quite reasonable ($6-$14 range). Do tell the seating hostess that you are here for happy hour and (as of the writing of this blog post) they will seat you at a table with a red/orange candle (as opposed to the white candles).
My favorites on the happy hour menu? The volcano fries are amazing!
Have you sampled your way through Maui coffees? We have a number of coffee growers and roasters here on Maui, and I suggest that when here you give them a try. After all, Starbucks will still be there when you get back home. But in the mean time, you may discover a new favorite coffee, and you’ll have fun searching for it while on vacation!
Yesterday was the 9th annual Statewide Cupping Competition. I have never made it to one of these, though I think – as a coffee lover, that would be really cool to go see. This year’s took place at the Maui Tropical Plantation here on Maui.
This year’s winner in the creative category is a local coffee grower/roaster in Olinda – Olinda Organic Farm. I just checked out their website, looks like they may only sell at certain Farmer’s Markets, but do contact them and see what they say.
Which Maui Coffees to try
I’ve written about coffees in the past, if you type coffee in the search bar on my blog, you’ll come across a number of them. I love Maui Oma’s coffee, if for no other reason than the name (Oma means Grandma in German). Grandma’s Coffee House up in Keokea on the way to the Ulupalakua Ranch has some great home grown/roasted coffee (with delicious deserts to go with it). Kula Botanical Gardens is a new one I discovered this spring – though it was quite a dark roast (I prefer medium).
Costco carries some nice local roasts, though likely not as fresh as the ones you’d get directly from the roaster – my current favorite at Costco is by Kauai Coffee Company. My husband Sig was at their farm on Kauai this past May and brought home a bag of their freshly roasted beans (so delicious). Interestingly this past spring Costco in Western Canada was carrying this coffee also. I discovered this when visiting my cousins in Edmonton!
I’m curious – which is your favorite Maui coffee? Where did you buy it? I’m always interested in trying something new!
Maui is of course known for its fish – both raw and cooked. I will not pretend that I know much about sushi and poke at all. Let’s just say – I just enjoy eating it.
Sushi you’ve heard of, but what is poke? Poke is raw marinated fish (usually ahi). If you don’t mind the texture of raw fish or have shellfish allergies, do try it. It is absolutely amazing.
Here are some of my favorite places for raw fish…
Koiso Sushi Bar
Our neighbors invited me to join them at Koiso Sushi Bar a few weeks ago. This is a tiny restaurant that seats less than 20 people in Kihei’s Dolphin Plaza (same building as Pizza Hut). You must make reservations usually several weeks ahead of time.
I could not tell you what this platter is called – but I loved the selection and it was really good. Thank you to our neighbors for a lovely dinner treat!
Miso Phat Sushi
This is a new sushi bar in Central Kihei that according to social media is very good. I wasn’t sure what to order and got the poke bowl (poke and rice). While not my favorite poke (I prefer more sauce), the ahi was incredibly fresh. Wow.
Rodeo General Store (Makawao)
This is a take-out deli on Baldwin Avenue. While I’ve had sandwiches there before (which are great), this was my second time trying their poke bowl. They only have a few kinds (on my day they had two), but it is truly great! Your choice of brown or white rice. Very reasonably priced.
Curious to try poke but not ready to commit? Go to Foodland. This is my favorite grocery store place to get poke. They will let you sample a few of their selections (and they have lots).
This was my first time at the Maui Film Festival. I’ve been meaning to go ever since we moved to Maui seven years ago. I enjoy watching movies under the stars. But you know how it goes – there are family commitments, it’s late in the evening (once it’s dark enough to watch an outdoor movie), I’ve been unsure about parking etc…. so I’ve never gone.
Last night I joined neighbors in going. Tickets can be bought online – mine was $25. Of course, had I pre-planned and bought these a few weeks ago, it would have been cheaper, but in retrospect $25 isn’t a bad deal. It covered my parking, the shuttle bus and two movies under the stars.
I grabbed one of my low beach chairs, a jacket with hoodie (and at last minute a towel), drove to Wailea and parked on the lawn with the streetlights. I’m sure you’ve seen it, across the street from the new Wailea Marriott, kitty corner from the Monkeypod Restaurant. I’ve always wondered why it had a driveway and street lights in the middle of a nicely manicured lawn. Well, turns out it’s an overflow parking lot for Wailea events. From there I caught a shuttle bus to the Wailea Gold and Emerald Golf Course’s driving range (this is next to Gannon’s). There set out on the lawn was a large screen and hundreds of movie goers in their chairs.
Turns out, last night was the first time in their 18 year history that it rained during a movie. It wasn’t too bad, and eventually stopped. I was thankful for my jacket and towel to keep the worst of the rain off.
The movies we saw were Dean (with Kevin Kline) and Class Rank. I enjoyed them both and would see them again.
Note: not all Maui Film Festival movies are shown at the Celestial Cinema (aka the driving range). A number of them are also shown at the Castle Theater (Maui Arts and Cultural Center) and one (free) evening takes place on Wailea Beach (between the Four Seasons and Grand Wailea).
Would I go again? Yes – it was a fun evening! Would I bring the kids? It depends on the movie – I would check the trailers. Last night was definitely an adult crowd.
My hunny loves to go for an upcountry drive. In fact, we used to go about four times a year – every time we had company visiting us. Finally I stopped going – it’s a beautiful day trip. It’s just – well, it takes up a good chunk of my day 🙂
Today we went for his favorite upcountry drive as a family. It was drizzling as we left our house – that seemed a bit ominous since our ultimate destination, Ulupalakua Ranch is just 3 or 4 miles above Kihei/Wailea. And sure enough, it rained lightly for the majority of our day. But it was still a beautiful drive and fun family day!
We drove from Kihei to Kahului, taking Hansen Road by the old Sugar Cane Factory to Hana Hwy and then continuing up Haleakala Hwy (which becomes Kula Hwy). We drove all the way to Grandma’s Coffee House where we took a little detour to a side road to drive by Oprah’s house (well, one of them I’m sure). Then back down to Grandma’s Coffee, a little detour to where Oprah’s private road down to Kihei starts (no, you can’t drive it – there are several locked gates). Then we continued to Ulupalakua Ranch
Ulupalakua Ranch‘s General Store is one of our favorite places to eat. They grill burgers to order made from their own meat. There’s something about eating fresh burgers at Ulupalakua.
Then we walked across the street to Maui Winery. Two reasons – the bathrooms are over there (the burgers were a little juicy) and a wine tasting. I picked up a case of their Mele red wine. They have a brand new wine – the Kula which according to their website is a rose white wine. It was really good. Be sure to check out ‘The King’s Room’ in the tasting house which tells some of the 150+ year history of this famous Maui ranch.
Next we headed back to Grandma’s Coffee House for some coffees and carrot cake. They roast their own coffee, make great sandwiches and have delicious baking.
This time we passed Kula Field’s farm stand, turned left on Oma’opio Road (a VERY winding road) and slowly followed it down to the Surfing Goat Dairy and Ocean Vodka (right next door).
Curious – go for a drive! See a part of Maui you didn’t think you’d find!
Coming to Maui this summer and looking for something for the kids to do? How about enrolling them in kids golf lessons? Our friends Renee and Eddie Lee run the golf lessons at the Wailea Golf Academy, located at the Wailea Emerald and Gold golf course. While you can definitely book private lessons for the kids (they can also set you up with adult lessons, by the way), they are running six summer camps this summer (in June, July and August) – for beginner and more advanced students.
Our kids have taken many lessons from Renee. She is great with kids of all ages, patient and in control.
Their lessons are in a private setting at the top of the Emerald & Gold Course’s driving range. For us parents, it has the most beautiful view of the ocean.
The beginner camps are held from 9am-12noon daily on
June 14, 15 & 16
July 12, 13 & 14
August 16, 17 & 18
The intermediate camps are also from 9am-12noon daily
June 21, 22 & 23
July 5, 6 & 7
August 9, 10 & 11
Not here for all three dates in a set – no problem, you can also sign up just for one day of the camp. For more information about the camps check out their website or call them at 808-875-7450. Prices are posted with a discounted rate for residents (parents must hold a valid Hawaii driver’s license).
Additional kids golf lessons
The (cheaper) Maui Nui Golf Course in Kihei also offers kids lessons from time to time and I believe is offering summer camps also. Please inquire directly with them for further information.
After yesterday’s Junior PGA golf game, we decided we needed to reward ourselves with Gannon’s Happy Hour.
Gannon’s is one of our favorite lunch spots in Wailea. It is located on the beautiful Wailea Emerald and Gold golf courses with a stunning view of the ocean and Molokini.
On Maui lunch is typically the more reasonable time to eat out and that definitely applies at Gannon’s – lunch is significantly cheaper than dinner. However, Gannon’s Happy Hour is even more reasonable than lunch. The caveat is that you need to sit in their Red Bar area.
They have significantly increased the Gannon’s Happy Hour menu since the last time I went. There were 8 makai (to the sea) and 10 mauka (to the mountain) choices.
I ordered the poke bowl. This is a bowl of raw marinated chunks of ahi (tuna), onions and avocado on a bed of rice. It is honestly delicious.
My son claimed the burger (naturally). He said it was great – though the double kobe burger on the lunch menu is a bit better (the Gannon’s Happy Hour burger is cheaper).
Before seeing the size of our pupu (appetizers), we also ordered the volcano fries. These are amazing – roasted garlic and seaweed crumbles topped with sriracha mayo.
While the volcano fries were delicious, the size of our poke bowl and burger would have filled us just fine. The cookies and ice cream desert was definitely over the top. But the cookies were delicious.
Yes, you read that right! Maui has a new weed control program. Actually it’s a pilot weed control program. As of a few days ago there is a herd of 50 goats eating weeds along the side of the Honoapi’ilani Hwy (near the Maui Tropical Plantation). Naturally as former dairy farmers we had to go check it out.
No, we did not stop, though we may have slowed down to take the picture.
It is pretty cool though. This is a new pilot program – the Department of Transportation here on Maui has partnered with Beyond Pesticides and Goat Green to manage weeds on the shoulders of some highways.
What? I will admit I had visions of temporary fencing right up on the shoulder of the highway and goats escaping, or worse being stolen. Unfortunately that (the stealing) happens here on Maui. Why would anyone steel a goat? Beats me.
When we drove by, the temporary fencing was actually set back quite a ways and the herd of 50 goats rather difficult to see in all the weeds. Nonetheless, there they were, doing what they do best – eating weeds and fertilizing the weeds…. oh yeah that…. I’m not sure just how successful this program will be – it seems to me, the goats may just be increasing their demand in that way.
So… if you see goats alongside the road, smile. Please do not honk, don’t stop and definitely don’t park alongside the road. Goats at work, after all.
I just had a call from a guest who needs to cancel his June 2-9, 2017 booking at our beautiful Maui Kamaole I-103 condo!
How about a Maui getaway? We just renovated this condo this past fall. It is an over-sized one bedroom, two bathroom condo. California king bed in the bedroom and a queen Murphy bed (the kind that hides in the cabinet) in the over-sized living. No need to sleep on a pull-out couch!
Sleeps 4 guests.
$160/night plus $135 cleaning and 13.417% tax. Minimum stay is 4 nights.