My guy and I flew non-stop from Anchorage on Thursday (29). The plane was full with the usual fun assortment of Alaskans thrilled to be escaping what has been a cold and snowy winter. We left a town looking to break the all-time record for biggest snowfall! When our plane arrived at two in the afternoon, it was amazing to be back again. I swear I was so happy I wanted to scream ALOHA MAUI! This time we will spend our nine nights without our DD (24) or DS (22). They are usually with us for ten nights or so of our vacation. This time we are celebrating an April Fools Day 30th anniversary and they had to stay home. Let the fun begin...
Our plan had been to grab the car and quickly run to Costco and then relax at the condo until sunset. My guy stayed with the luggage and I hit the shuttle with about 50 or 60 other people in the line. Ouch....I was hoping they weren't all going to Budget! I have never seen them that busy in five trips but I got my aloha together, gave the nice young lady my name and was shocked to be called within 20 minutes. Tip: just cause they are busy doesn't mean it will take forever. Joe with Budget didn't push the upsell and I was on my way in ten minutes with a car two levels above what I had reserved .
Picked up my guy from the airport curb and quickly decided to skip Costco, buy a pop and iced tea from condo vending machine and just lay in the sun on our lanai until sunset. This is the third year we have reserved the same condo on ground level at Koa Lagoon and it was like walking into our home away from home. There were my same beach chairs, boogie boards and massive amount of hangers we bought three years ago for the five week vacation. In other words, all the comforts of home but in a warm, tropical paradise facing the ocean across from a gorgeous, green lawn! Koa Lagoon is not a luxury resort by any means but it is comfy, friendly and so affordable. We both grew up camping and staying at grandma and grandpa's house on vacations, so upscale, resort style accommodations aren't necessary to make us happy. Two lounge chairs on our huge lanai, facing the beautiful ocean, made us ecstatic on our first day!
So my guy noticed lots of whales jumping and we heard our upstairs neighbors gasping at seeing the same action. "That's more whales than I've ever seen before and they're jumping like crazy" says my guy. His eyes are better than mine, so when I looked in the binoculars, it felt like my anniversary present early! Awesome first day treat!
The sunset set, the conches blew and we decided to brave Costco and Safeway. We have never been in Costco or Safeway so unbusy. Maneuvered the aisles with unbelievable ease and finished in time to be the last customers at Coconuts Fish Cafe for the fish and chips take- out. Thank you tripadvisor for steering us to a place we never noticed before. So good!
Woke up early on Friday and we were on Po'olenalena Beach by seven with no more than five other people. This was the first beach I walked on with my guy on Maui and it will always be "our beach"! Played in the water, swam and simply enjoyed each others company listening to the waves and being warm. My guy is much better swimmer than me and he heard lots of whale songs. Left the beach by ten to avoid too much sun and decided on LaHaina for our next adventure.
Lovely drive from Kihei and always amazed at the beauty of the ocean heading to LaHaina. Parking lot at Aloha Mixed Plate so full we had to park at the Cannery Mall. Thought we beat the crowd by getting there before 11:30 but it was a full house. Once again impressed with how fast the line moved and we were soon seated on the lower non-alcohol level. It seemed as though they were short-handed but our waitress had our order taken and smoothie and iced tea very quickly. My Coconut Shrimp pupu and mini terriyaki plate was as yummy as always and barbecue plate was enjoyed by my fellow. The staff here is always friendly and it's a
first stop for us every trip.
The next important stop for my happiness is Honolulu Cookies and browsing the Village Gift and Fine Arts shop on the other end of LaHaina. We drove to the pay parking lot on Shaw and were getting ready to buy our ticket when an awesome local gal said she would give us her spot that was paid until 5:30. She was awesome and we told her so! I love that my two favorite places in LaHaina are so close to our usual parking space. It was crowded and I just get stressed trying to share a sidewalk with people that insist on not single filing when passing other walkers. That will be my only crybaby moment in this extremely long trip report! The way I avoid that stress normally is to hit LaHaina by nine in the morning and it is much quieter.
I freaked out the two fellows at Honolulu Cookies by buying enough milk chocolate shortbread boxes to get me two free variety 18 count boxes of cookies! I have simplified life on the return home by buying our kids and special folks those cookies and they love them. And I eat them the whole trip until time to go home. I usually have enough for a week at home but I refuse to buy online. They are a Maui treat.
Next stop Village Gifts and Fine Arts. Lord, I just wanted to go crazy but instead I headed to my favorite beaded bracelets and picked out three. Didn't want to make my guy nervous about my spending habits on day two especially with the swap meet the next day! He always loves that I know what I want and I find it fast! I need to save money for Maui Art Guild in Pa'ia and wandering upcountry art galleries. It is our 30th after all!
We stopped at Leoda's and picked up a couple of chicken pot pies and a lemon meringue pie. Both were terrific and we once again enjoyed them in our condo. Thanks trip reporters for letting us know about this spot.
Today was day three and the swap meet. It's so fun to wander the aisles and look for unique art items to bring home to remember our visit. Looked for the Art by Loyd booth to add to my colorful collection but they were not to be found. Instead I ended up at the Maui Ceramics booth and met the wonderful artist Albert and bought a beautiful turtle ceramic wall hanging. Also bought our daughter and her guy tikis and enjoyed another visit with the tiki carver and his wife. Bought one for our son two years ago and it was special enough to him to take to college in Oregon. That was a better gift than another T-shirt for both of them! The swap meet is a must do on Saturday morning!
On our way back to condo, we stopped at Stillwells for breakfast but they were so crowded. Wow, Maui seems much busier this year and it must be because of Easter like everyone was saying it would be. Went to the next stop, Four Sisters Bakery for cinnamon rolls and malasadas. We love their bakery on Vineyard in Wailuku. It's a little hole in the wall but if you park in the Wailuku Banyan Tree Park parking lot and walk downhill a block, you will find a little yellow house with the friendliest people and best baked goods ever!
Home to pack a picnic lunch for an afternoon at Big Beach. Stopped by Sally Ann's in Kihei and scored three vintage mumuus and a pineapple print already framed. It's not for everyone but we truly love looking for treasures in thrift stores on Maui. My mom is going to love one of those mumus and I may give her a second one if she likes them enough. My parents were married on Oahu in 1958 and I grew up with a grandma and mom who loved their mumus bought from back in the day. I now love to find unique mumus and on occasion I bring one home crazy enough to be called Mrs. Roper but mostly they are beautiful, comfortable and make me feel like old school Hawaii. (I was born on Oahu in 1959.) You should see my guys vintage Aloha shirts! Literally they are the only shirts he packs for Maui. And all were bought for wonderful prices at home and in Hawaii thrift stores! Look for Made in Hawaii tags and you can't go wrong.
Big Beach was so fun watching the local kids boogie board and enjoy their week-end. One terrific young couple set up camp close to us and they brought their CD player. They had a playlist of beautiful Hawaiian music that drowned out most of the teen girl drama we had listened to for a bit too long! I will always remember that young couple (18-20ish) and the music they treated us to on our first visit to Big Beach this year. Thank God I brought the umbrella and lots of sunscreen so my guy could enjoy swimming and I enjoyed my kindle all afternoon! Break was crazy and I do not play in that water. It's fun to watch everyone else! Stopped by Coconuts Fish Cafe for fish tacos and another eat in dinner! Another awesome meal watching the sunset!
So the vibe of this trip so far is to go to our favorite places and look forward to finding new places as the week progresses. Tomorrow is our anniversary and we will celebrate by eating at Mala's in LaHaina. That will be a first and I made reservations after one awesome trip report describing their special dinner watching the sunset. It seems surreal that we are able to celebrate on Maui. Our honeymoon was in Fairbanks and if you know anything about Alaska, you know we are considerably warmer here! Life has been good.
P.S. Thanks to all the folks who posted trip reports and answered questions that helped me plan our trip and kept me sane waiting to leave. I think this might qualify as a "long trip report" but I hope it helps someone else pass the time and plan their fun trip! Until Part 2, take care.