Their annual pumpkin patch is open again! They also have a small corn maze and farm-style mini-golf course. Check out their facebook page for more details. They are usually closed on Sunday – not sure about the schedule during pumpkin season. This is also a great opportunity to buy yummy locally grown fruit and vegetables!
This year’s fair is October 5-8 at the fair grounds in Kahului. It starts off with the annual parade Thursday late afternoon, and then is open Thursday and Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday all day/evening. The orchid show is supposed to be amazing. And then of course there are rides, food and much more…
This must be a new event – starting October 20th and running through Halloween in the old Hard Rock Cafe space at the Outlets of Maui in Lahaina. Don’t forget to get your parking validated when you buy something at the Outlets!
This is an annual event that takes place on Front Street in Lahaina. Yes, there are shuttle buses that run between Kihei and Lahaina, so look into that and get your tickets (for the bus) early. The event itself is free.
Drowning on Maui – what an upbeat topic, I know. No, there is unfortunately no pun intended. This is just a public service announcement, reminding you about the dangers of snorkeling and water activities. Not just here on Maui – anywhere really.
This past week there were two instances of visitors drowning while snorkeling at the reef just off Keawakapu Beach in South Kihei. No, there weren’t any sharks involved (to my knowledge). From what I’ve read in the media, both victims were snorkeling with their spouses (having a buddy system is very good). In both instances, one spouse returned to shore safely, then realized their partner wasn’t with them. Both victims (one on Friday, another on Saturday) were brought to shore and received CPR from other beachgoers until emergency services got there. Our condolences to the families.
Here are the two articles, one happened Thursday, the second Friday. Both visitors were in their 50s, no mention of them having had pre-existing health conditions.
Is drowning common? Well…. yes this is paradise, but it’s not Disney, and unfortunately that means stuff does happen…. from what I see in the news, it’s usually people cliff diving or the more middle-aged (and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all) people snorkeling. Cliff diving, well, ’nuff said….. but many don’t realize that snorkeling is actually a strenuous activity, especially for those who aren’t good swimmers or maybe aren’t as healthy as they wish they were.
Should you avoid the water altogether? Probably not. But do be careful and know your limits. Please be cognizant of your ability. Never swim alone – always go with a buddy and stay with a buddy. What an awful way to end your vacation.
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.
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.
Another option, if you are looking for the cultural story (and not the dinner), is the Ulalena – which is like a musical and indoors in a theatre. I highly recommend it – it is very good.
According to Tripadvisor, the Old Lahaina Luau ranks best. However, if you are staying in Kihei or Wailea, that’s a good 45-60 minute drive away if traffic is moving. That highway between Maalaea and Lahaina can get really backed up, and it’s just one lane each direction, so if there’s an accident, you could be a lot longer. Add the drive to the fact that drinks are included in the ticket price, you’ve got to figure that many drivers will have been drinking as you drive back to your condo (Maui County has strict don’t drink and drive rules, btw).
Grand Wailea luau
We let our visiting family choose, and they chose the Grand Wailea luau. Perfect. We got our tickets online at Costco.com (just do a luau search and it comes up). They email you confirmation numbers for each ticket, then you call the Grand Wailea and make the reservations. Children tickets (12 and under) you get a discounted rate directly at the Grand Wailea when you make reservations.
The food was good, show was fun, yes, there’s an imu pit with a pig roasting in it. Is it the most authentic experience? No. But in truth, none of the luaus are authentic. Authentic would be a feast with friends and family, not a commercial event. But, it’s fun and a nice way to spend an evening.
This past week the kids had a break from formal book learning and instead were out and about on Maui, experiencing and trying new things. One of the options was windsurfing lessons. The company the school contracted with is HST Windsurfing and Kitesurfing. This company offers private lessons but also does group lessons and kids camps in the summer months.
The lessons take place at Kanaha Beach Park which is right behind Kahului airport. To get there, you loop around the airport and then turn at the car rental facility. Just keep driving past the new cellphone waiting area and turn right at the T intersection. Then you take the third (and final) turn before the gate and drive all the way in to the right. When you have reservations, that’s where they meet you. Note, you do need to make reservations!
What do you need?
You will need a swim suit, sunscreen, water and a snack. They provide the rest. They have large beginner boards and small sails (they have other gear for the more advanced). They also provide wetsuit shirts (this time of year the water is a little cold, for us Maui people at least), water shoes and all beginners (kids especially) wear life jackets.
The instructor-student ratio was good (1/3). The instructors were right in the water with them. What particularly impressed me was that the instructors knew all the kids’ names by the beginning of day two of the camp.
Most of the kids in our group had not windsurfed before. I was amazed to see them on the board, learning to catch the wind, steer and manoeuver (clearly not windsurfing terms – I know nothing about this either).
Other things to know
Kanaha Beach is located on Maui’s North Shore and this area is popular with wind and kite surfers. There is also a homeless encampment on one end of this beach park though we couldn’t see them from where the kids were surfing. As always just use common sense.
Next weekend, Saturday February 18th, is World Whale Day. It takes place right here in Kihei.
The Parade of Whales starts at 9AM at the Alanui Ke Alii/South Kihei Road intersection and ends at Kalama Park. It’s not a big one, though last year was a lot of fun (it lasted about 45 minutes or so). Hint, sit or stand facing the ocean, that way you get a great view in addition to entertainment AND you don’t have the sun in your eyes!
Also, you guessed it, South Kihei Road is blocked off for the duration of the parade.
Following the parade there is a festival at the Kalama Park ball field across the street from Foodland. There are kids games, food, live music, a silent auction, local Made in Maui vendors and also a whale information gallery. As far as I can tell, the festival runs from 9:30AM – 6PM.
Admission to the festival is $5 (the parade is free, of course).
We’ve been meaning to go hiking in the Makawao Forest Reserve. This past weekend we finally made it there. Compared to the Olinda hike, this is quite an extensive trail system and is actually set up for mountain bikers. Some of the trails are strictly for bikers, so do pay attention to the signs.
The hike itself is a 6.5 mile loop in the forest. We didn’t go nearly that far, but hiked past the two sets of ramp areas for bikes and then through the ravine. I really enjoy seeing this different (non beach) side of Maui. There are tall pine trees and beautiful trees with stripped bark.
This trail is covered with leaves and often wet. Do bring sturdy shoes, slippahs are not appropriate here.
Getting to the Makawao Forest Reserve is a little adventurous.
From Kihei you are looking at about a 50 minute drive. Driving on Makawao Ave (from the Haleakala Hwy), go straight through the 4 way stop with Baldwin and then take your first right after the church and cemetery. Pass the Piiholo Ranch Ziplines and when you come to a Y intersection, turn left (Waiahiwi Rd). The road gets narrower, windy and there are very few signs. There will be a few ‘no outlet’ signs. Eventually you turn right onto Kahakapao Road (don’t go straight onto private Piiholo Ranch property). Eventually you get to park gates (open 7am-7pm). Now the road is quite narrow with some pretty good ‘dips’ in the road (they are marked, slow down). Pull into the second parking lot on the right (after the horse trailer parking lot). It’s a fairly large parking lot with good signage.
Bring your own snacks and water along. There is a port-o-potty.
Do not leave any valuables in your car.
If you are interested in mountain biking it, there are a few bike rental places on Maui – Krank Cycle is likely easiest as it is right in Makawao.
Did you know, the ukulele has its origins from Portugal? Over 130 years ago Portuguese sugar cane workers brought machetes (instruments, not knives) to Hawaii. A few tweeks and modifications later and Hawaii’s ukulele was born. It became a hugely popular instrument as it is small, portable and with four strings, easy to learn. By the way, ukulele is pronounced oo-kuu-leh-le (oo as in too, not you-kuu-leh-le).
At the local elementary school, kids take group lessons starting in second grade. It’s easier on the ears than recorders, trust me! They remain a popular instrument, especially with men. I am sure you have heard of one of Hawaii’s most legendary singers IZ who accompanied himself on the ukulele (Somewhere over the Rainbow). Also, check out Oahu’s Jake Shimabukuro.
If you are in the market for an instrument, you are in luck. Here on Maui you can find them everywhere. Try the ABC store or Whalers General Store for a cheap instrument. Or, if you are looking for a better quality or perhaps even hand-made ukulele, check out Mele Ukulele at their Shops at Wailea or Wailuku stores! They have instruments for all budgets and from our experience great customer service, from helping you choose your perfect ukulele to doing repairs. Yes, they service all their instruments. Remember to get a case to protect your instrument! You can even get an electric pick-up installed so everyone can better hear you practice (if you have an amp, I guess)!
Free ukulele group lessons!
On the fence about ukuleles? Mele Ukulele offers FREE group lessons at the Shops at Wailea every Monday from 5:30-6:30pm at the center courtyard (you may need to stop by the store to borrow an instrument). Learn how to play and how this instrument is part of Hawaiian culture!
Did you get into the Pokemon Go craze this past summer? I am apparently behind the times. This summer I downloaded the geocaching app on my phone to try some Maui geocaching. I know, this app has been around for years and some of you won’t believe I am new to the game. On the other hand, some of you probably haven’t heard of geocaching either. No worries, you aren’t alone.
Geocaching is a real-world treasure-hunting game using GPS coordinates and an app on your phone. You choose which cache you want to find, follow the directions on the app to get close, read the hint and then look for a physical cache. Some caches have small trinkets that you can exchange, others just a log to mark your find. Check out the geocaching website for much more information! I think it’s a lot of fun – you’re going on an adventure right in your back yard!
Kihei (and Maui) have a number of free geocaches. But if you sign up for their premium account (yes, I did – after all, it’s ‘educational’ for the kids), there are a whole bunch here in Kihei alone. Since downloading the app this June, our family has knocked out a few of the local geocaches. It’s been fun doing this with the kids. It makes going for a walk a lot more interesting. My hope is that they will become more aware of their surroundings as we do this, looking for treasure of their own! Hey, I can dream!
We found one at a duck pond in Central Kihei, one in a rock wall, one on a guard rail, another with a great sunset view near Keawakapu beach. We have also had a few ‘no finds’. Sometimes caches are discovered by ‘muggles’, people who are not aware of the game, who toss them because they think they are trash.
You do need data on your phone to go geocaching. If you have a Canadian phone plan, check on that. It may be a really expensive hobby to do while traveling in the US thanks to roaming charges. We have Tmobile with unlimited data in 100+ countries, so we were good to give it a go while traveling this summer.