Check out all the beautiful sights and delicious food we enjoyed while spending a week on Maui for my sister-in-law’s wedding!
Check out Part 1, a recap of our time on Ohau and Kauai.
After island hopping on Ohau and Kauai, we few out to Maui to meet up Scott’s family and kick off the wedding celebrations! On Maui, we stayed in Lahaina, the best town for shopping on the island and also the ancient capitol of Hawaii. Front Street, which goes along the oceanfront, is lined with art galleries, cute little cafes and, of course, souvenir shops. It looks like a touristy town, but there’s so much hidden history. Scott and I can’t walk by a historical marker without stopping to read, and we’re so glad we did. Things that looked like a run down old building or a abandoned field turned out to be an old missionary house or the site of a ancient Hawaiian temple.
After arriving in Maui, we grabbed lunch at Pacific’o, an upscale beachfront restaurant with farm to table cuisine. Our waiter told us how a local fisher had carried a freshly caught, giant mahi in during happy hour the day before, right through the middle of the restaurant. So obviously we both got mahi! Scott ordered a mahi sandwich with sriracha aioli while I had a tom kha-style mahi in a creamy Thai coconut sauce.
From there, we spent a couple hours on the beach with family before heading out to the Old Lahaina Luau for a welcome dinner. For someone who generally avoids shows at all costs on vacation, this was actually really entertaining! And the food was really good too! We had some Hawaiian dishes we enjoyed earlier in the trip on Ohau, like pork laulau, poi, lomi lomi salad and ahi poke (double portions plus seconds of the poke, obviously!), and also got to try a few new ones like chicken long rice, purple sweet potato, and pahole (fern) salad. Afterwards, a big group of us went out to a bar in Lahaina and probably stayed out a bit later than we should 😉
The next morning we had the best hangover food breakfast of all time – fried rice with fried eggs and Portuguese sausage loco moco at 808 Grinz Cafe. And lots of coffee, of course. Then we headed off to Olowalu Plantation House for the rehearsal. Y’all, you could not dream up a prettier place for a wedding (see evidence below).
From there, Scott and I jetted off on a solo adventure driving around West Maui. We heard it was even prettier and more rugged than the popular road to Hana, and it definitely didn’t dissapoint! The road takes you on a sparsley populated road that circles the coast of West Maui and cuts through central Maui. Big chunks of it are a one-lane, cliff hanging, hair-pin turning road. Good think I only get airsick, not car sick (see Kauai post!)
After driving through miles of sugar cane fields, we stopped at Iao Valley State Park for a quick hike to see then Iao needle. Then we grabbed lunch at narby 808 on Main (trendy spot, food was only so-so). For there, we hit the coastline, stopping at every cutout we could find to enjoy the view. We went hiking on Kahakuloa Head, even through there wasn’t exactly a trail! The views were worth stomping through knee high shrubs! From there, we went swimming in the Olivine Pools, deep tidepools in a volcanic rock cliff. Forget beaches – I’d take this over sand any day! From there, we drove out to Nakalele Point to see the blow hole and hike around. The blowhole was neat, shooting water about 50 feet up in the air! What I loved the most was hiking around that area. Our guidebook described it’s appearance as ‘an alien acid warzone.’ We thought the author was maybe on something, but after seeing it, I can say it was a pretty accurate description of the terrain!
For dinner, we went out to Down the Hatch in downtown Lahaina. If you find yourself in Maui, I hope you’ll stop by! I was friends with one of the owners at Clemson, so it was great to catch up and see the awesome place he’s created! It’s perfect if you’re looking for a place to eat dinner and to go out afterwards. I had the ahi tacos and Scott had the lobster and crab grilled cheese sandwich, which I am drooling thinking about right now.
The next day was Caroline and Neil’s wedding, which was absolute perfection, for an absolutely perfect couple 😉 Truly, I am hard pressed to think of a couple that complements each others strengths and weaknesses than the two of them. The ceremony was underneath huge palm trees overlooking the ocean. Scott was one of the groomsmen and I was one of the bridesmaids, so it was fun to walk down the aisle together again 🙂 From there, we enjoyed sunset cocktails, dinner, then danced the night away!
The day after their wedding, we had planned to do the Road to Hana, but we had a wee bit to much of the delicious Martinelli wine (Caroline’s sister in law’s family vineyard in Sonoma) and the idea of winding roads didn’t sound so smart. Instead, we finally tore ourselves out of bed for some deep dish pizza at Lahaina Pizza Company then spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach. Hey, gotta have one day of doing nothing on the beach! For dinner, we went to Lahainaluna Cafe where I had a salad with avocado, almonds and a lilikoi vinaigrette while Scott had a Korean barbecue plate. The best shave ice on the island was right next door, so we had to split a cup. We went full on Hawaiian with a scoop of macadamia nut ice cream with li hing mui, passion fruit and pickled mango syrups for our ice!
The next day, the whole family took a boat tour out to Lanai, the smallest of the populated Hawaiian islands, most of which is owned by CEO of Oracle. Must be nice! We spent the afternoon snorkeling at Hulopoe Bay, one of the best spots for snorkeling in the world, and exploring nearby Princess Point, where supposedly an ancient Hawaiian princess was buried by her heartbroken lover.
The last day on Maui was definitely my favorite on the island! We woke up bright and early (like, 2:30!) and drove 1 1/2 hours out to the summit of Haleakala Crater to watch sunrise ABOVE the clouds. It was absolutely incredible watching the horizon, first with the faintest bit of red then slowly exploding with colors.
From there, we took an 11 1/2 mile hike from the summit, down through the crater and back up the crater walls on the other side. We didn’t see anyone on the trail for the first 7 or so miles that weaved through the 7 X 2 mile wide, 2,000 foot deep dormant (but not extinct!) crater. The scenery was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It felt straight out of a set for The Martian. Prepare yourselves for the massive photo dump ahead – there were so many beautiful spots I just couldn’t pick which ones to share!
For the last 3 uphill miles of our hike, all I could think about was ahi poke. Seriously, I think I would still be passed out on the trail if it wasn’t for the motivating factor of fresh fish! Luckily, the best ahi poke on the island is right by the airport at a food truck called Like Poke? We got classic soy-sesame poke and spicy poke, perfect way to refuel before our long flight back home. We thought it would be rough hiking 11 1/2 miles then immediately hopping on a plane, but it was actually a great idea because we slept the entire way and arrived in South Carolina feeling relatively refreshed!
Have you ever been to Maui? Would love to hear your favorite places on the island so you can give us an excuse to go back 🙂