Was it only four weeks ago, that we left California for a ten-day trip to Hawaii? We had a lovely time on Maui, didn’t watch the news, didn’t give the Corona virus a thought. We concentrated on having a good time. So cavalier, so nice––until we got on the plane for home and saw a passenger wearing a mask and our thoughts were forced back to reality. We arrived home March 1, and how things have changed since then. Lucky to complete the trip unharmed, I feel almost guilty that we had such a good trip. I hope everyone will be able to travel carefree again, soon.
The best part of our trip, and one of our main reasons for our visit, was going to Molokai for two days, but that’s a later post. Watch for it. We stayed the bulk of our time at Worldmark Valley Isle, in the Kahana area of Maui. Every room has a sliver view of the ocean, which is nice, but I would say that, overall, the facility is mediocre. Although we had a small patch of sand at the resort, much of the beach along the Kahana area has been washed away.
Still, time on Maui is always good, Lahaina is always a treat.
On the opposite side of the banyan tree park, the Wharf Cinema Center features a few shops and many restaurants.
Yes, the unpleasant stuff is still there: too much traffic along the Lahaina to Kihei route; too many people in Lahaina. One can see why Molokai residents are resisting tourists: no one wants their island to become a big resort area.
Still, we found plenty of new-to-us activities:The ferry schedule to Lanai offers lots of options for a day trip or overnight to a laid-back, non-touristy environment. (Tip: enter Wharf parking on Wainee Street, save your ferry stub, and pay only $5 to park all day.) My Lanai blog post.
More luck. We were in Lahaina the last week of February, and learned about a free outdoor concert from the Hawaiian Airlines magazine: Hawaiian Music Series, on the lawn at Bishop House, 6 to 7:30, fourth Thursday of every month. The magazine said to bring your own blankets to sit on, but we arrived early and found plenty of chairs set up. Regulars told us that the concerts are always professional––this one certainly was.
Avoid trying to street-park in downtown Lahaina––the public lot at Front and Prison Streets is an easy walk from the Banyan Tree and from Baldwin House and allows free parking for three hours. We heard the limits are enforced, so note your time.(Tip: take Dickenson or Prison Street to and from the highway; the signal at Dickenson helps you turn left onto the highway when returning to Ka’anapali resorts north of town.)
The resorts at Napili Bay, a little north of the Kahana area, looked more desirable than ours. But windy winter weather plagued us most of the week, and the water at Napili Bay was too rough for snorkeling on the day we visited.We found the best snorkeling at Black Rock, the beach at Sheraton Resort. All beaches in Hawaii are public, the difficulty is finding parking along the Ka’anapali Highway. Even though signs say “No Beach Parking,” many people park at Whalers Village shopping mall. We skipped the mall with its too-small and too-few spaces (not to mention its too-ritzy shops), and found it easiest to park at the Sheraton garage and walk through their lawn area to the beach. (Tip: restrooms next to the beach are for Sheraton guests only––your lack of a red and white striped towel will give you away if you come from outside.)
Best restaurant in Lahaina: Star Noodle. From shuttle-mates on Lanai, we learned of Star Noodle, a shared plate restaurant in an industrial area of Lahaina.We heard about the place on Sunday. On Monday morning I logged onto Yelp to make reservations for the following Friday, and had two choices: 3:30 or 9:00––that’s how popular this place is. If you go, try the scallop shooters––you won’t be sorry. Star Noodle
We drove one day to the Paia area.
Mama’s Fish House is the most famous in the area, and also the most expensive. Yes, the grounds are nice, but we didn’t think the meal was worth what we paid for it a few years ago. We didn’t bother to go there again––been there, done that. Instead we headed for a friendly little place called Island Fresh Cafe and loved our breakfast there.
Our main destination in the Paia area was Ho’okipa Beach Park, to see the turtles. Fun place. You could picnic there if the weather permitted. We didn’t––too rainy.
Close to the airport on our last day, we had a tasty Sunday breakfast at Poi by the Pound. Three of the four of us are Caucasian, and we seemed to be the only ones at the restaurant, which was filled with locals.Not real fast service, though, so don’t go expecting to eat in 30 minutes on your way to the airport. The Kahlua pork hash patties are yummy, but super rich — hubby and I shared the hash plate and a short stack. It was plenty.
Take care, stay safe.
Try to survive Covid 19 with your sanity and health intact––and then, happy traveling!
Date of travel: February, 2020