Story by Shannon Wianecki
Maui saturates the senses: the fragrance of a tuberose lei, the tartness of liliko‘i on the tongue, the sound of rain pelting a tin roof, the sea’s shifting temperature as you dive deep, the shadow play of clouds. The sensual magic is constant, even as Maui changes. Yes, the canefields that once greened the central valley will soon yield other crops. Most Plantation Era mom-and-pops have closed, and Kahului Airport is temporarily unrecognizable amid construction cranes and labyrinthine detours. But several items on this list—our annual love letter to our favorite island—have weathered a century or more. They’ve survived tsunamis, wars, the transition from territory to state, and similar tectonic shifts. Survived and thrived. We celebrate them along with the ambitious kupu (sprouts) rising at their side. For these reasons and so many more: Maui nō ka ‘oi!
1 “Wedding Beach”
Near the road’s end in Mākena, pass through a lava-rock wall to find a picturesque sandy cove—a favorite spot for couples tying the knot. Plunk down your towel and watch bride after bride tiptoe out onto the sea-splashed rocks for the perfect portrait. Photo by Andrew Shoemaker
2 Hashimoto persimmons
In autumn, reddish-orange globes ripen in the orchards along Pūlehuiki Road in Upcountry Kula. Shinichi Hashimoto planted persimmons here 100 years ago; his trees still bear sweet fruit. Buy a box full of the family farm’s crunchy fuyu persimmons, but save room for a few plump hachiya. When ripe, these flame-colored softballs dissolve into delectable jelly.
3 Beats & Eats
On the last Friday of every month, power couple Jojo and Eliza Vasquez turn up the heat at the Plantation House in Kapalua. He provides the eats: exquisite bites of braised octopus with fiddlehead fern, and baby loco mocos with sous vide short ribs. She provides the beats: soulful vinyl ballads that graduate into booty-shaking, rock-the-house rhythms. When guest chefs join the mix, it’s fuse-blowing fun.