Friday, August 27, 2010


:: The Sugar Cane Train isn't quite the same since all the sugar cane production ended. But it's still a pleasant hour-long attraction for folks with kids.

While the Blogger Kid enjoyed the ride (although the 325-foot curved wooden trestle bridge kinda freaked him out), we appreciated the views of Lanai and Molokai, as well as the mountains.

I gotta say, the narration was also strong. The guide on our tour didn't candy coat the problems and issues facing Hawai'i and Native Hawaiians, and also gave out little-known facts about other parts of the state, including Ni'ihau.

Make sure to find a $2 off coupon found in at least one free tourist handout. Prices are $22.50 for adults, and $15.50 for kids 3-12. (Kids under 3 are free.)

17 Kaka'alaneo Drive
Lahaina, Maui, HI


:: The early-early trek up dormant volcano Haleakala to catch the sunrise is a Maui tradition.

Haleakala hasn't erupted since 1790 -- so don't worry, you're pretty safe. But what you're in for instead is a chilly morning taking in an awe-inspiring sunrise. With quite a few other folks.

Allow 90 minutes to drive up the mountain -- it's the middle of the night, after all. And remember to get there early enough so that you can snag a parking spot. (You wanna be there by 5 to get the full experience.)

Also: Bring a jacket -- although the visitors center will open by 5:15 a.m., and you can watch the sunrise from there, it doesn't replace being outside. And make sure you've got $10 on you -- that's the price to get into the park. BTW, bring snacks -- there are no food sales in the park.

Park headquarters and the 10,023 foot summit can be reached from Kahului via Route 37 to 377 to 378. Driving time to the summit from Kahului is approximately 1.5 hours.


:: After watching the sunrise, head over to Ali'i Kula Lavender for an early morning stroll around the garden.

Ali'i Kula Lavender isn't kidding about the lavender. The farm's gift shop features lavender scones, lavender coffee and lavender tea to eat on the premises. There's also lavender brownies, lavender jams... and, well, everything lavender.

Located in Upcountry Maui, the sights are fantastic as well.

The Ali'i Kula Lavender farm is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- and it's free to roam the grounds. (Paid tours are also available.)

1100 Waipoli Road
Kula, Maui


:: Further down the highway in Upcountry Maui is Tedeschi Winery, located on 'Ulupalakua Ranch.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Tedeschi is the only commercial winery on Maui. The winery is known for its sweet wines -- including the "Maui Splash," a "light, fruity, pineapple passion fruit wine." We bought a bottle of 'Ulupalakua Red, which was also pretty tasty.

The site of the winery was the site of Captain James Makee's "Torbert Plantation at Honua'ula" in the 1800s; King Kalakaua was a frequent visitor.

The Tedeschi Winery tasting room is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Kula, Maui


:: Also in Upcountry Maui, the Surfing Goat Dairy is another great place to bring the kids -- and also test some tasty cheese (and I normally don't like goat cheese) in a beautiful setting.

The farm was launched five years ago German expatriates Thomas and Eva Kafsack. Thomas headed up a software company, while Evan was a teacher. Both dreamed of moving to Hawaii -- and one day decided to do it. The couple soon found themselves practicing the art of gourmet cheese production -- and learning how to raise goats.

According to the Surfing Goat, its cream cheeses "run the gamut of flavor from Udderly Delicious (plain) to exotic varieties like Mandalay (apple bananas and curry) or "Pirate's Desire" (anchovies and capers). The Dairy also produces several soft-cheeses, including soft-cheese ripened under wax, in olive oil with garlic, or coated with mesquite ash, along with brine ripened feta cheese."

Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Cost of tours vary; basic guided walkthrough is $7. Surfing Goat also serves a small menu, including panini (pressed with Surfing Goat Dairy cheese, of course).

3651 Omaopio Road
Kula, Maui

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