Maui, Hawaii

Tag: Lahaina

Elvis in Hawaii!

How about an Elvis show while on Maui?

This past week we had family visiting and wanted to see a show as a group. Unfortunately it was windy and cool and an outdoor luau next to the ocean was going to get a little cold.

An indoor show was the alternative. Did you know Maui has its very own Elvis impersonator show? Darren Lee (who is originally from Edmonton) and his Burn’n Love show perform several nights a week at the Maui Theater in Lahaina, the same theater where you can also see the popular Ulalena show.

Yes, our family has a bunch of Elvis lovers ~ in fact, we have Elvis lovers that span the generations. An uncle and aunt who were actually at Elvis’ ‘Aloha from Hawaii’ concert in 1973 (the first concert to be live-broadcast ever), a few Elvis lovers in their 50s and even my elementary-aged son. It makes me laugh. Okay, so yes, I too enjoyed this show – watch the keyboard player, he is great and plays numerous instruments!

We saw Darren Lee’s Elvis show several years ago and figured – sure, it was a fun performance then, let’s try it again!

Darren Lee again didn’t disappoint. He has a great band, fun dancers and his Elvis act is great! In 1997 Darren Lee was ranked the ‘#1 Elvis Tribute Artist’ in Memphis and performed as Elvis in Las Vegas for eleven years. His Maui Burn’n Love show has been running for three years now and focuses on Elvis the King in his Hawaii days, showing old photos and video footage.

But Cara, an Elvis impersonator? Yes, I admit…. for the first ten minutes I thought – this is just a little cheesy, watching an Elvis impersonator croon Elvis tunes. But after a little while, you stop overthinking it, start singing along (perhaps in your head), grooving to the tunes, dancing in your seat….

If you at all enjoy Elvis, check it out!

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Another fun Maui artist – Beth Cooper!

Have you ever bumped into someone you know in a completely different setting? I tend to compartmentalize my friends and acquaintances – then I when see them in a different place, it honestly confuses me, often I don’t recognize them…. how embarrassing! (If I’ve done this to you, I am so sorry).

Beth Cooper art
Beth Cooper with my new acrylic painting of Kamaole III beach park!

This afternoon we were browsing the Lahaina Art Society Fine Art Fair under the Banyan tree, when all of a sudden – boom! There was someone from the ‘condo compartment’ of my brain selling her beautiful paintings in front of the Old Lahaina Courthouse under the Banyan tree. Fortunately my brain made the connection and I recognized her – Beth!

We checked out Beth Cooper‘s table and I bought a beautiful acrylic painting of Kamaole III beach park with Kaho’olawe in the background. I love it! I have just the spot picked out for it in one of the condos…. but…. we’ll see, it may stay at our house.

Beth is a local artist (and outrigger canoe paddler/surfer/art teacher) and specializes in oil paintings. There is something for every budget – from originals to prints to note cards to shower curtains (!!). Check out her website!

The Lahaina Arts Society is an organization that showcases and trains local (Maui) artists. They have two galleries in the Old Lahaina Courthouse, and several times of month host Fine Art Fairs (featuring their artists) under the Banyan Tree! The next fair is Sunday Dec 27th – yes, Beth will be there!

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More Christmas activities

Christmas season is in full swing around here – just in case you want to do something other than the beach 🙂

Saturday, Dec 5th 9am-7pm Lighting of the Banyan Tree in Lahaina

Saturday, Dec 5th 10am-3pm Christmas in Makawao (includes parade, kids activities etc)

Sunday, Dec 6th 8:30-9:30 and 11-noon Keawalai Congregational Church Crafts Faire and Bake Sale

Sunday, Dec 6th 2-5:30pm All is Calm – women’s event and Lovely Market at Hope Chapel

Sunday, Dec 6th 3pm Maui Pops Orchestra ‘Holiday Pops’ at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center

Where does she find all these events, you ask? Check out this Calendar Maui website – full of events 🙂

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Luaus

So here’s a question we sometimes get – what is a luau, and should we bother going?

A luau is a traditional Hawaiian feast, typically scheduled to celebrate an occasion (such as a baby’s 1st year birthday luau). It will include lots of food and music and sometimes hula.

There are several good tourist-oriented luaus on Maui. These will typically be served buffet style, include an imu-roasted pig and other Hawaiian ethnic foods and include a cultural presentation in form of song and dance. Usually they take place next to the ocean at sunset. They are really neat. Our first year on Maui we attended three (yes three) with family who visited us. Three luaus (all at the Grand Wailea) in four months was a little much. But the food was awesome!

Picture taken at the Honua’ula luau in Dec 2010.

It’s a fun way to experience a bit of Hawaiian culture (even if it is totally geared to tourists). If you don’t care so much about the food but want a bit more of the culture, check out the ‘Ulalena show in Lahaina. It’s an indoor (no ocean setting) live show with song and dance, definitely worth seeing!

According to online polls the most popular luau is the Old Lahaina Luau which takes place near the Lahaina Cannery Mall at 1251 Front Street. Friends just went on Sunday and said it was very well done. Keep in mind, from Kihei/Wailea you need to plan on at least an hour’s drive to get there. Please do not drink and drive.

Closer to home, we currently have two luaus in Wailea. The Grand Luau at Honua’ula (at the Grand Wailea hotel) is on an oceanfront lawn. The second is the Te Au Moana Luau at the Wailea Beach Marriott. A friend posted a recent review with lots of pictures for the Marriott luau.

There goes the Honua’ula’s imu pig to be carved for dinner – yum!

Yet another option which is a sit-down dinner as opposed to buffet is the Feast At Lele (also in Lahaina).

How to choose? Read up on the different luaus – Tripadvisor is often a great source of information. Look at the pictures and read the reviews. Our friends really enjoyed the Old Lahaina Luau, however, they preferred the Honu’alua luau which they had seen two years ago as it included fire dancers (they have boys).

So how do you book a luau, and do you need to book ahead? Yes! If this is a must-do on your list, please book ahead! Luaus are typically not held daily, and particularly in high season you may be out of luck if you wait until you arrive on Maui to book. Luau tickets are typically in the $100+ range which usually includes a large buffet dinner (come hungry), drinks and entertainment. You can either book directly or through a concierge which may offer special deals. Do be wary of ‘luau tickets for $20’, there will usually be a hitch, such as a time share presentation involved. Some people don’t mind, others do. Costco offers discounted tickets for the Honua’ula luau (Grand Wailea). You can buy these online or in the store, but then will have to call the resort to confirm a date.

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Maui Memories in Lahaina!

For numerous years my Austrian friend Dany had a beautiful store (Maui Memories) at the Wailea Gateway Center, directly below the Monkeypod Restaurant in Wailea.

This past December she moved her store to Lahaina! This is a bummer for me, because I loved stopping into her store, picking up Maui-designed greeting cards, local art, Maui-made jewelry and even Desigual dresses (no, those are not local, but Dany and I both like them!) There are locally made Christmas ornaments, doggy treats, original art, t-shirts, ukuleles…. something for everyone, perfect for a family shopping for souvenirs!

Dany in her new Lahaina store location!

I am happy for her! Her new store is located at the Pioneer Inn (the historic Best Western at Lahaina Harbor), right across the street from Lahaina’s famous Banyan Tree. The store is slightly larger and the location is awesome!

The new Maui memories store front in the Pioneer Inn

Today Sig and I played tourists in Lahaina and visited Dany’s new location! If you’re in Lahaina – check it out! Who knows what you will find!

Maui Memories is full of treasures – check them out!
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Art in the Park – under the Banyan Tree!

Looking for that perfect locally made souvenir? Sadly I have some news for you – chances are you won’t find it at the convenience store, you know the one I’m talking about! Instead, check out the Art in the Park fair, hosted this Saturday (February 21st) by the Lahaina Arts Society under the Banyan Tree.

What will you find? Ceramics, original oils/watercolors/acrylics, hand-made jewelry, photographs, baskets, glass sculpture, fine-art giclees etc. Something for every budget!

Not on Maui this weekend? No worries – these fairs are held on several days each month. Meet the artists, check out the variety!

Can’t make it to Lahaina for a fair? Check out the two Lahaina Arts Society galleries in the Old Lahaina Courthouse (right next to the Banyan Tree) – the Banyan House Gallery and the Old Jailhouse Gallery.

What is the Lahaina Arts Society? This is a volunteer organization which started in the 1960s, continuing to operate with a mission to promote the fine arts on Maui, host free children’s art classes and offer partial scholarships to Maui’s high-school students.

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Driving the Hono’api’ilani Hwy to Lahaina

You may say – the WHAT? hehehe. Yes, the Hawai’ian language can be a little tricky to read, never mind pronounce. If you speak any German, try pronouncing it as you would in German and it will be more or less correct. At least, that’s my trick.

The road (there, that’s easier) from Ma’alaea (Ma-a-lie-a) to Lahaina (La-high-na) is a beautiful one, with gorgeous oceanviews as it winds along the beach around the West Maui Mountains. The speed limits vary, going from 35 mph at the windy parts just past Ma’alaea, the forested part at Olowalu and several intersections, to 45 mph and even 55 mph in some stretches. These 55 mph stretches are exciting for those of us who live here, because this is the fastest you are allowed to go anywhere on Maui. Yes, top speed limit on this island is 55 mph (in a few select areas). Driving on the mainland is culture shock for us as we adjust to the faster speeds.

This Google map shows the Hono’api’ilani Hwy

Unfortunately, the gorgeous scenery and the frequently changing speed limits mean that many miss signs or worse yet, get distracted by the whales and water…. Most of this road is one lane in each direction with hardly a place to pass. This means traffic can back up badly when someone cruises at 35 mph, even worse when there’s an accident.

Please, don’t be that driver! If you notice traffic backing up behind you, pick it up a little (if safe to do so). And please, resist the temptation of staring at the ocean while driving. That just never ends well.

Enjoy the drive! It’s a beautiful one!

traffic backed up under the trees at Olowalu – due to tree pruning (not an absent-minded driver)
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Meet Maui Artists at the Maui Open Studios Events

It’s coming up…. the annual Maui Open Studios event. Or should I say – events?

Maui Open Studios kicks off on Saturday January 31st with an opening celebration and preview exhibition at the Maui Tropical Plantation.

This is followed with three weekends in February where you can visit local artists’ studios, watch them work and talk with them. This is such a neat event! And it’s free!

Pick up one of these free guide books, or check it out online (the website has a few blips currently, but I did manage to find the list). Kihei (and West/South Maui) is on the first weekend – Saturday, February 7 & 8th.

Don’t miss it! And perhaps bring home the most unique souvenir you’ll find (with a story about meeting the artist to tell)!

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Severe flood warnings on Maui – stay out of the ocean please

It is winter and technically rainy season in Hawaii. Though in Kihei we tend to forget about that – last year we had a grand 8 inches of rain for the year. We were up in Kaanapali yesterday evening and on the way home it sure was raining… We aren’t used to this rain in Kihei!

This morning my phone buzzed with a ‘severe threat alert‘. There are flash flood warnings throughout Maui, the alert advises to check the local news.

What is a flash flood warning? It is when it rains heavily enough that water doesn’t absorb into the ground but instead runs off the island into the ocean. Newer developments have gulches that should be able to handle the run-off, but some areas and roads in Kihei will flood – particularly in North and Central Kihei. If you see flooding, please stop and turn around, do not try to walk or drive through it. Remember, it may not be raining at your part of Maui, but if it’s been raining up the mountain from you, you can see run-off.

Most importantly, it is important to STAY OUT OF THE OCEAN during and after storms until the water is no longer murky.

I know this is hard when you’ve come all this way and all you want to do is play in the ocean. As long as the water is murky from the extra run-off and change in currents (caused by the storm), this is also prime shark feeding time. Please, for your safety, stay out of the water.

Wondering what to do instead? Here are a few ideas: check out the condo pool, do some last minute Christmas shopping, scope out where you want to eat Christmas dinner (and make a reservation!!), go see Santa swimming with the sharks at the Maui Ocean Center, do some outlet shopping at the one-year-old Outlet mall in Lahaina, hang low at the condo and nurse that sunburn (remember, we have netflix, a small DVD collection and a few books), check out the movies in Kahului (at Maui Mall and Queen Kaahumanu Mall), watch the waves roll in on the North Shore (near Paia, just don’t go in). Check out a show in Lahaina – Ulalena, Elvis – or Warren and Annabelle’s magic show….

Stay safe!

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