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Click for Lahaina, Hawaii Forecast

Day or Night there is always something happening in and around Lahaina.  The front street is a bustling place of action.  During the day most of the museums, art galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants are open early.

You can enjoy your day under the banyan tree in the center of town where there is plenty of people watching to be had.  Each day there is something different going on from markets, to events, to presentations, tournament related events and even festivals.

Throughout Lahaina there are plenty of cafes and bars that are open late.  There is something for everyone in your group, from country to hip-hop dance.  Check out the hotel concierge often to see what’s going hot on what days.  There is no club that is going off every night so plan your days and check out things ahead of time to be sure you have a great night out.  Since most people are on vacation, waiting to the weekend to have a great time is not always necessary like in the cities.  Every day can be a party night in Lahaina.

This is the historic capital of the Hawaiian Islands so it has a lot more history. The old buildings, canal setup and unique architecture is a wonderful place to hang out for a day. This is much more of a tourist town then Kihei. There are little museums, galleries and many shops, cafes and restaurants.

The large banyan tree in the centre of town at the waterfront is a great meeting place and a perfect place to do some people watching.



Click for Paia, Hawaii Forecast

I enjoy Paia and spent a lot of time in this little town.  I think it’s the best town, next to Lahaina,  for getting some good food and walking around in Maui.  There are lots of little shops, cafes and restaurants to check out.   During the day everything is open but by 7pm on most nights stores are closed.  The timing changes throughout the year so bet to head there a bit earlier.  It’s a great place to do a bit of shopping and then catch a bite to eat.

In the evenings the Moana cafe has something going on.  Along with their great food and beautiful presentations, they have Open Mic nights and live bands.  Check out their Facebook page to find out what new thing is going on that week.

My favorite pizza place on Maui, and possibly in the world is the Flatbread Pizza Company right on the Hana Highway.  It’s pomegranate mohitos are a local favorite.   They have many locations throughout the USA but they are not some big chain restaurant.  The use of local organic ingredients and the ever changing menu of fun pizza topping is what keeps me coming back each week.   I was introduced to the hamburger pizza here which has everything I love on a cheeseburger.  Yummy!

There are lots of little and big cafes, hole in the wall mexican or the fish stand at the main corner.  Get some Gelato ice cream too.

Now during the nights there are two places which have bands, music, dancing and late night menus.  Jaques and Charleys are right beside each other on the Hana Highway at the edge of town as you are heading out towards Hana.  Check ahead to see who’s playing and what the schedules are.   One is an open air fun, sushi club and the other is a down home country bar.  Both are a lot of fun on the right nights.

Besides eating and drinking, you can shop at the local grocery store.  They have decent prices and Mana Foods is a great place to grab things for a pinic lunch.  It’s a full service grocery and on most days have taste testings.  They encourage you to try out some of the tropic fruits before you buy so you really can tell the quality of the goods they get.

People Watching

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There are not too many places to take in some good people watching on Maui.  It’s nothing like Venice, California where the freek show is on full display on the boardwalk.  There are small pockets of it, so after a short time you will be seeing the same thing over and over again.

Some of the best spot to people watch in Maui normally include a place in the sand or under a banyan tree.

In Lahaina, under the banyan tree, you can sit in the cool comfort of it’s shade and watch the tourists go by.  This gets a bit borning after awhile but in most cases there is always someone who is doing something interesting that captures your gaze for a while.

Of course the prime spot to people watch is down at the beach.  On many of the popular beaches there is always something going on for you to watch in a relaxed daze. With the backdrop of the ocean and the sound of the waves crashing, this is one free pasttime that just can’t be beat.

Art of Thrift on Maui

While tourism was slow to rebound initially after the 2008 crash, Hawaii has survived the economic doldrums fairly well and tourism has been up 20% in recent months, due to Mexico’s drug cartel violence spreading into tourist areas.

There were a few Hawaiian casualties of the economic crisis though.  Aloha Airlines just up and closed it’s doors one morning in 2008 and left passengers and employees in the lurch. Then, by the start of 2009 Hawaii’s real estate market took a stiff hit and foreclosures were plentiful, and still are.

One industry however, the Hawaiian recycling industries – meaning thrift, consignment and antique businesses, are booming! Let us not forget those numerous garage sales are perfect before and after stops for beach-goers too.  If taken with a sense of adventure you can certainly find some treasures at a very nice price while on vacation in the middle of the pacific!

The current economic reality being faced by so many has made “gently used” all the rage.  And, whether buying or selling recycled clothes, furniture or other products to save on money or make some, it’s a win-win for everyone.  Of course, this trend is not something to make NY, Paris and Rome any too happy, because second hand shopping has gone from a hobby / college scene to once again a leading influence in fashion, or at least a helpful guide to coerce it towards more useful, practical indulgences.

Nowhere are there better offerings than on the Hawaiian Islands.  The two most populated islands, Maui and Oahu, both offer a slightly different fare with regards to their vibe and selection of merchandise.

Maui reminds you of that divine dichotomy that is found in the areas of Venice and Marina del Rey, CA. On Maui, Kihei and Lahina have a rebellious, artistic edginess, like in Venice, and then there are spots like Wailea which tend to remind you of more refined areas like California’s Marina del Rey.

Once we arrive on Maui we usually begin by looking at and the Maui Times for anything in particular that we might be looking for as well as what garage sales are going on or are up coming. Wailea, Hana, Makawao and Kula are known for their estate sales.  Old money up there can make for a great opportunity to discover some amazing Hawaiian art and collectibles offered for sale, not to mention some high end handbags and shoes as well, often times with the tags still on them.  We decide what sales to hit on our way in and out as we make up the the itinerary for the day.  Depending on the weather we might just spend the morning thrifting and hitting garage sales and the afternoon at the beaches nearby.  The good thing about Maui is you’re never too far from the beach.

Our first stop is Savers, a thrift store on Dairy Road in Kahului, where we use their special Savers card for an extra discount on certain days and for certain types of items.  It’s well worth it and you will not be disappointed.  They have a great selection of used and nearly-new merchandise.  It’s well displayed and is more like a mall-style department store it’s so organized and clean.  They had an image overhaul a couple of years ago and it’s done wonders for the “thrift experience” on Maui.  It’s a rare occasion that I leave this store empty handed.

Every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. there is the Maui Swap Meet down by the Kahului Beach Harbor, (50 cents admission but kids under 12 are free!).  It’s usually worth getting up a bit early to hit the Swap Meet first before the garage sales you’ve planned on searching out.  4 acres and 200 vendors.  Get breakfast there, or at least a snack.  Try some of the local food and hospitality.

There are more than just a few places on Maui that are wonderful for finding all types of recycled treasures.  High end art, fashion and jewelry consignment can be found at Elua Nani. Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Fendi, Dior and more is within this store.  Then there is La Jolie Maison in Kihei for art, jewelry, uniquely decadent home decor and luxury furnishings if you’re in the market for larger items to bring back from your travels.  Certainly worth a stop in for a luxurious thrift experience.

These are my personal favorites for a successful discount retail therapy vacation on Maui.  There will be more little stores, like in Wailuku, near the Iao Theater, that crop up from time to time and they will be featured next time.  Happy shopping!