By Marti Rosenquist
Lahaina sits in the middle of one of Hawai‘i’s most historic regions. Over the centuries, it has been the royal seat of an island kingdom, a port of call for the whaling trade, a haven for missionaries bringing a different vision of heaven to this earthly paradise. That history endures in a missionary-home-turned-museum, the first print shop west of the Rockies, Wo Hing Temple, Stuck-in-Irons House, and the Pioneer Mill smokestack that once towered over a thriving sugar plantation.
One of our favorite places to watch the boats sail in and out of Lahaina Harbor is the lānai of the Pioneer Inn. When the inn opened in 1901, house rules included “If you wet or burn you bed you going out.” These days, the inn’s macadamia-nut pancakes rule at breakfast, at dinner the Maui Cattle Company steak. Or try the seared ahi salad for lunch; it’s as good as a harbor-front restaurant’s fresh fish should be. (658 Wharf St., Lahaina • 270-4858 • www.pioneerinn-maui.com/restaurant.html)
South of Lahaina, above the blink-of-an-eye town of Olowalu, still older history is being restored at a cultural reserve that’s home to taro fields and ancient petroglyphs. Near the trailhead is Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop, decorated with furnishings repurposed from an old barge that used to ply the rugged ʻAlenuihāhā Channel. Leoda’s is comfy-cozy as it comes, which makes the pies all the more appealing. Both the savory (Kula-corn hand pie) and sweet (chocolate macadamia chip) could win blue ribbons at the Maui Fair—and how could you not try Leoda’s yummy fried salad? Dine in or get a fresh-baked bread to go, perfect for a wine-and-cheese picnic. (820 Olowalu Village Rd., Olowalu • 662-3600 • www.leodas.com)
At the northern end of West Maui is Honolua Bay, a famed surf spot and marine sanctuary where you’ll find unparalleled snorkeling. What you won’t find in this neck of the woods is a rash of dining options. But right next to D.T. Fleming Beach is the Beach House, operated by Ritz-Carlton Kapalua. This al fresco eatery serves only lunch, but does so generously: from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, under swaying palms. The menu features spa favorites like gazpacho and grilled portobello mushroom, and hearty pub fare such as burgers and kalua pork tostadas. (One Ritz-Carlton Dr., Kapalua • 669-6200 • www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/KapaluaMaui/Dining)