Friday, June 27, 2014

Ten Ways to Save Money On Hawaii Car Rentals - by Beat of Hawaii

Beat of Hawaii, is one of my favourite sites for finding valuable information about travel to the Hawaiian islands. Here is a recent post about how to save money on car rentals when traveling in Hawaii.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Dale Zarrella - Maui Sculptor, Painter, Artist

One day last March as we were walking down to Charley Young Beach for a snorkel and some afternoon sun, we glanced to the north and spotted what appeared to be a huge wooden statue, so we decided to go closer and see what it was. 

We were immediately in awe as we drank in the most spectacular wooden sculpture of a mermaid, obviously a work in progress, surrounded by coral, turtles and other sea life. The mermaid was looking up with abandon towards the sky, while her long hair flowed carelessly behind her.  The detail in the unfinished carving was simply amazing so we can't wait to see it in all its glory after completion.

The artist was nowhere around, so when I got home I did a google search and found out his name is Dale Zarrella and that he creates his masterpieces from an inspiring location on his Maui oceanfront property, just north of Charley Young Beach in Kihei.
I read that there are collections of his works at the Grand Wailea Resort, the Makena Golf and Beach Resort and at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed King Kamehameha Golf Club.  One of his famous pieces is a bronze statue of Father Damien, which was completed in 2012 and blessed by Pope Benedict XVl at the Vatican.  He apparently began this sculpture with a plaster study, and a bronze cast made from the study is now at the Vatican museum in Rome.  The life sized sculpture fashioned out of Koa wood will eventually end up in the Honolulu Damien museum.  I watched a very interesting video, of Dale Zarrella speaking about all the research he did before starting the sculpture.  He puts his whole heart and soul into every piece he creates and finds out all he can about his subject before he begins to work. For example he visited the leper colony of Kalaupapa on Molokai, several times before he started that project.
I also learned that he gives a guided tour of four of his major works at the Makena Golf and Beach Resort each Wednesday evening.   The free tour lasts around an hour and you have the choice of staying on for a private dinner with the artist for a fee. Phone the resort for more details on this. Our friends went and thoroughly enjoyed it.  They said he was a terrific speaker, very genuine, and exceptionally humble even in light of all his great accomplishments.
His most recent piece, and the one we saw, was started in April of 2013 from a 5000 lb. old Monkey Pod tree stump.  

Dale Zarrella  brings his18 years of experience working as caretaker of a turtle sanctuary on the Big Isle, to Maui, and this apparently is what inspired him to paint and carve the sea life of Hawaii.  His paintings can be found in many galleries and private collections around the world.
What a treat to find out about this extremely talented and diverse artist, who works with bronze, wood, stone and paint.  Unfortunately before we left Maui we didn't get a chance to meet him so when we get back we are going to make a point of going to all his galleries and attend his Wednesday night tour.
For more information visit the Dale Zarrella website. Here you will find photos of many of his works and links to his videos. 

If you need a place to stay for your Maui vacation, our Maui Garden House is only a few minutes by car to Charley Young Beach.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Kihei Garden Estates for Maui Vacation Rentals

Kihei Garden Estates is the best kept secret in Kihei, when it comes to a place to stay on Maui that has everything going for it. The location is off the main drag, so quiet and peaceful, and it is just steps to Waiohuli Beach for walking, sunbathing, kayaking, stand up paddling and best of all for watching spectacular sunsets each evening.

Waiohuli Beach

The complex itself has beautiful tropical grounds with many varieties of palms, flowering trees, and mango trees. Most of the units face inward with views of the pool and grounds.  Those on the west side also have great views looking up country to Kula and Haleakala. The units on the south end face out and have ocean views.

Another plus for Kihei Garden Estates is that it is located directly behind a Times Market, and is flanked on the north side by Azeka Makai.  Your pool key will take you into these two areas so it is very convenient for getting groceries and supplies in, especially when you first arrive.  Azeka Makai, has a few restaurants, craft stores, dollar store, coffee shop and post office.



Across the road in Azeka Makua there are many more restaurants, coffee shops, Fitness Centres, eastititions.  Across the road from Azeka Makua is the Longs Centre with many more shops and restaurants.  Longs drug store has a pharmacy and sells everything from wine, to fresh produce, cosmetics, housewares, macadamia nuts, frozen foods, clothing, souvenirs and much more. It even has a pretty decent Farmer's Market every Saturday morning.  Most days there are also farmers markets as you head south down South Kihei road.  It is right on a corner beside the Aloha Craft market.

There are quite a few owners who rent out their places but you have to book early, especially for high season because it is such a popular spot.  Find some great vacation rentals in Kihei Garden Estates.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pacific Whale Foundation's 36th Annual Charity Walk May 10

Donate $45 to the Pacific Whale Foundation's Charity Walk happening on May 10th, 2014 and receive a free T-shirt.  All profits support Marine research, education and conservation programs.
Click on the poster for more information.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Our Trip to Moloka'i - An Adventure to Remember

Several years ago, when moving to Hawaii was still a dream for my husband and me, we read the novel “Moloka’i” by Alan Brennert.  The book enthralled us both, and the story of Moloka’i’s rich and fascinating history as a leper colony moved us deeply.  It was the book that inspired us to make Molokai our very first vacation destination after moving to Maui.

We chose the Moloka’i Ferry rather than plane travel to Moloka’i because we wanted to experience the ocean trip between the islands.  We had read many reviews of rough passages, seasickness, and tales of the primitiveness of this ferry.  None of those warnings proved to be true.  The two hour trip in each direction was a calm, beautiful voyage.  While the ferry was certainly not a luxury liner, it was comfortable and pleasant.  We made the trip in mid February, and were treated to literally dozens of whales spouting and breaching alongside the ferry!

For our five day stay, we chose a condo rental on the west side of Moloka’i.  Ours was in the Ke Nani Kai complex, which we chose because it had a beautiful, large heated pool.  The condo was not luxurious, but it was clean and adequate.  A two bedroom two bath condo rented for $100/night (with some negotiations).  It should be noted that the condo complexes are 18 miles from the main town, so one must gather supplies before heading “home”.  Adjacent to the condo were long stretches of magnificent beaches.  Beach walking was amazing as we saw only six other people during several hours of walking on the beach. In the winter, surf on the west side beaches is very high.  Swimming is very dangerous.  We saw only two very experienced surfers in the water. 

Moloka’i has only a few restaurants…a burger place, a pizza place, and one small picnic style restaurant with a very limited menu.  (When we stopped for lunch they were out of several items including all salads.)  We knew that groceries were very expensive, so we brought a cooler full of adequate supplies for our five days.  The foodie’s bright spot was the produce.  We stopped daily at Kumu Farms.  They feature their wonderful papayas (shipped everywhere including Whole Foods} but they also sold an abundance of fresh picked herbs and produce from their own and neighboring farms.

Moloka’I is definitely a place to come and relax.  There is no entertainment, and very few places to visit.  We spent about 45 minutes at a small macadamia nut farm, and about an hour walking through all the stores, which mostly stocked Costco items divided into small packages. The one shop not to be missed is the Big Wind Kite Factory in the tiny town of Maunaloa on the west end.  It’s a high end kite, gift, book, bali imported clothing, and treasure shop with a delightful owner!!   The local bakery is a prominent attraction as the locals gather at the back door at 10 PM for warm bread.  The bread was white and plain and doughy. 

The highlight of our trip was the mule ride down to Kalaupapa, location of the former leper colony, and now a U.S. Historic National Park.  Kalaupapa is located on a ten square mile peninsula that juts into the Pacific below the world’s highest sea cliffs. The trail to Kalaupapa is three miles long, and includes 26 switchbacks descending the nearly perpendicular 1780 ft. cliffs.  One can hike this trail, but it is steep and treacherous. 

Happy on her mule
The mule ride was exciting but frightening for the first half hour or so of riding straight down a cliff on a rocky foot wide trail.  Once we felt secure that the mules were sure footed and we were not going to fall off, we could relax a bit and take in the breathtaking views of Kalaupapa far below.  The trip took about two hours.  We felt victorious, proud, and sore when we boarded the school buses at the bottom of the trail for our excellent and informative tour of Kalaupapa. 

Father Damien's memorial

The tour, which comes with the price of the mule ride (about $200/person)  includes stories, anecdotes, rich history, and a very simple bag lunch of a ham sandwich, water, and chips.  By the time we boarded our mules for the trip back up, we were less sore, and the trip up was far less scary though we felt so sorry for the mules!   

At the top of the trail we were presented with certificates of our accomplishment for “having faced the obstacles, precipices, and hazards of this treacherous trail and endured the vicissitudes of the narrow passage between rim and destination”.  Indeed we were proud, and will long remember the mule ride as one of our most memorable excursions ever!!

Many Mahalos to my friend Harriet Lefton ("Happy") for sharing this very interesting account of her excursion to Molokai which she took with her husband Robert this past February.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Keawala'i Congregational Church 22nd Annual Luau - March 8/2014

We recently attended the 2014 Annual Lu'au at the historic Keawala'i Congregational Church in Makena and can honestly say that it was the most authentic Hawaiian Luau we have ever attended.

We got there early on a recommendation from a friend and managed to find seats fairly near to the entertainment.  The tables were all underneath a gigantic tent, which we were very thankful for, as the day began with quite a few showers.  Even though the performance area for the two Halau (hula group) was not sheltered, they bravely danced in the rain, complete with beautiful smiles (unless the hula had a sad or serious story) What talented performers they all were!

The food was also traditional Hawaiian luau faire and included Lomi Salmon, Squid Lu'au, Kalua Pig, Chicken Long Rice, Sweet Potato, Potato Salad, Poi and Poke. The yummy dessert was Chocolate cake and haupia (coconut pudding)

More Hawaiian entertainment followed the meal and it was all very top notch. Jamie Lawrence, no stranger to Maui, finished off the afternoon with some great songs.

 The theme for this year's event was "Imua na pua lanakila Kaho'olawe, which has to do with the Kaho'olawe Environmental Restoration Plan.  The exhibit in the church was very informative and gave an insight into the history of Kaho'olawe and the plans to protect its' nature and beauty.

Many mahalos to my friend Alex for letting me use some of her great photos!!

Visit the website of Keawala'i Congregational Church  for information about the church and upcoming events.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Visit to Historic Calasa Service Station in Kula

Whether you are a history buff (or not), a visit to the Historic Calasa Garage in Kula, would be an interesting day trip.  The service station dates back to 1932, and has an old pump on display inside as well as some of the original glass bottles used for oil.  Current owners Joe and Andrea Tomsen are in the process of restoring both the service station and the adjoining Plantation Bunkhouse home to their former glory.


We chatted with Andrea for a while and she told us a fascinating story of how they happened to move to Maui. Maui had been their favourite vacation destination for years, so they were no strangers to the island. One night while back in their Wisconsin home, Andrea had a dream.  In her dream she was going to move to a place that had a view of  a mountain top observatory to the east, and a view of the ocean with whales breaching, to the west.
The next time they were in Maui they were up in Kula and came across the Calasa Service Station. Since they were in the automobile business back home they were very interested in the station which was for sale and also had an adjoining home. As luck would have it a realtor appeared, who was about to show the house for rental.  Andrea and Joe seized the opportunity to look around, and discovered that from a certain location on the property, they could see both the Haleakala observatory and the ocean just like in Andrea's dream. They even spotted a whale breaching.  I guess they knew they were meant to buy the old station and Plantation house so in a very short period of time, they had returned home, sold everything they owned and moved to Maui.

T-Shirts for sale with photo of Calasa station on back

They have never looked back and love their life in Kula serving customers in the old fashioned way.  I will look forward to going back when they have completed their renovations of this historic Kula landmark. 

You could combine this up-country Kula experience with a trip to the Surfing Goat Dairy and the Alii Kula Lavender Farm with a stop at the Kula Lodge for lunch.