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Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
By now the relaxed pace of life that Hana residents enjoy should have you in its grasp, so you won't be discouraged to learn that the "town" is little more than a gas station, a post office, and a general store.
Just visible above the tide is a gigantic stone, perfectly molded into the shape of a low-backed chair and believed by Hawaiians to hold healing powers. It sits in the harbor where the sea and the underground freshwater meet. COST: Free.
Stone ruins are all that remain at the site that served mostly as a prison. It was built from 1831 to 1832 after sailors, angered by a law forbidding local women from swimming out to ships, lobbed cannonballs into town the previous year. The fort was finally torn down in the 1850s and the stones used to construct the new prison. Cannons raised from the wreck of a warship in Honolulu Harbor were brought to Lahaina and placed in front of the fort, where they still sit today.
If you want some insight into 19th-century life in Hawaii, this informative museum is an excellent place to start. Begun in 1834 and completed the following year, the coral and stone house was originally home to missionary Dr. Dwight Baldwin and his family. The building has been carefully restored to reflect the period; many of the original furnishings remain. You can view the family's grand piano, carved four-poster bed, and most interestingly, Dr. Baldwin's dispensary. During a brief tour by Lahaina Restoration Foundation volunteers, you'll be shown the "thunderpot" and told how the doctor single-handedly inoculated 10,000 Maui residents against smallpox. Friday at 6:30 pm are special candlelight tours. www.lahainarestoration.org. COST: $7, $8 for candlelight tour. OPEN: Daily 10--4.
This repository of the largest and best collection of Hawaiian artifacts on Maui includes objects from the sacred island of Kahoolawe. Built in 1833 on the site of the compound of Kahekili (the last ruling chief of Maui), it was occupied by the family of missionary teachers Edward and Caroline Bailey until 1888. Edward Bailey was something of a Renaissance man: beyond being a missionary, he was also a surveyor, a naturalist, and an excellent artist. The museum displays a number of Bailey's landscape paintings, which provide a snapshot of the island during his time. There is missionary-period furniture, and the grounds include gardens with native Hawaiian plants and a fine example of a traditional canoe. The gift shop is one of the best sources on Maui for items that are actually made in Hawaii. www.mauimuseum.org. COST: $7. OPEN: Mon.--Sat. 10--4.
Chic Whalers Village has a whaling museum and more than 50 restaurants and shops. Upscale haunts include Louis Vuitton and Coach, and beautyphiles can get their fix at Sephora. Peruse some elegant koa home accessories and other local gifts at Martin and MacArthur. The complex also offers some interesting diversions: Hawaiian artisans display their crafts daily; hula dancers perform on an outdoor stage some nights from 7 to 8 pm; sunset jazz is featured every first Sunday of the month; and Polynesian rhythms resound on Saturday. If you find yourself there on the first Saturday of May, the Maui Onion Festival is a fun foodie event. www.whalersvillage.com..
While lunch at chef Peter Merriman's Monkeypod is enough reason to venture to Wailea Gateway Center, you might also be enticed by the artisanal confections from Sweet Paradise Chocolate, fine cheese and charcuterie from Guava, Gouda and Caviar, and a vast collection of vintage clothing from The Aloha Shirt Museum.
In the middle of Kihei Kalama Village Marketplace is this humble nook with an extensive supply of coffees, teas, cookies, jams, and other specialty-food items made in Hawaii. You're encouraged to ask for samples. www.tutuspantry.com.
It's hard to find a man on Maui who isn't wearing a TB-logo aloha shirt. For better or worse, here's where you can get yours. And just to prove you're on vacation, grab a drink or dessert on the way out at the restaurant attached to the shop. www.tommybahamas.com.
This Maui designer has a worldwide following, and her superstylish sarongs and beachwear have appeared in many fashion magazines. If you're looking for sequined tunics, delicately embroidered sundresses, or beaded wedge sandals, this is the place. Catz also has a bridal line that is elegant and beach-appropriate. Her pieces cost a pretty penny, but if you visit around May or December, you might luck out on one of her sample sales. www.tamaracatz.com.
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