After the magnificent Maui helicopter ride with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, (last post) we had a quick lunch and took a scenic; i.e. rustic drive thru Maui’s natural wonders, that are not the typical tourist type places to stop. As we were leaving the airport area for our scenic drive, we saw the NCL Pride of America in port, so stopped to get a photo of it. Although I’ve never taken her, I did take a similar cruise back in 1990 or so aboard the American Hawaii Cruise Line’s Constellation, which is no longer sailing. That, just like the Pride of America, was the only ship sailing year round thru the Hawaiian Islands due to several factors, mainly the Jones Act, as well as being a US flagged ship, while wages were cost prohibitive for virtually all ships, thus they are foreign-flagged ships.
It was quite interesting seeing the Maui scenery from ground level, after just seeing the beautiful island from the air. Now we were driving the rural roads thru mountainsides we had just flown over. The roads went from a two lane highway, down to a one lane road at times, where you had to go slowly and pull off the road at times to yield to other drivers.
Not for the faint of heart, the drive is curvy, but spectacular, and affords so many places for scenic views it’s hard to not stop at all of them. One place we stopped was quite popular with people hiking past the caution sign, on down to the water’s edge. We weren’t brave enough to navigate the steep hike down the mountain, nor did we bring our bathing suits, but the photo ops of others doing that made up for our lack of bravery!
After driving for what seemed like forever through the middle of nowhere but the Maui mountains, we stumbled upon a huge gift shop, that seemed oddly placed in the midst of the mountainous backdrop. It was a huge shop hosting many local arts and crafts, that must have housed the owners as well above it, with a spectacular view overlooking the small town and church in the valley way below.
We bought a few things things such as Christmas ornaments and coasters, and had a nice chat with the lady that waited on us, who had just recently moved to Maui from Oklahoma. We thought, wow that is certainly quite a change, and wondered how she found this place so remotely located; finding out it was from a high school friend who had moved there.
Continuing our drive, we arrived in Kapalua, which is another upscale resort area, a bit more remote than Wailea, and a golfer’s paradise. My sister Jenni and her family had stayed here recently at the Ritz Carlton, and we wanted to see this resort being that we were so close by. We first stopped a the Kapalua Logo shop, and DOS had explained to me how cool their town’s logo was, with a butterfly and a discreet pineapple in the middle of it. We bought a couple logo shirts and souvenirs, before heading a bit further down the road to the Ritz Carlton.
The Ritz was gorgeous in every detail, and unfortunately we were short on time as we had dinner reservations back in Wailea, or would have stayed a bit and had a cocktail in the lobby lounge there. After leaving the Ritz Carlton, we drove back to our Grand Wailea resort, which took an hour or so, with the 4pm Maui ‘rush-hour’ traffic. We went thru the beach cities of Kaanapali Beach, and Lahaina, and arrived back to the Grand Wailea just after 5pm.
After showering and freshening up, we had a wonderful dinner at Ruth Chris Steakhouse, which was next door to the hotel in the shopping center. We received outstanding service from our waiter Dave, and truly had an enjoyable evening.
After the wonder dinner at Ruth’s Chris, we headed back to our hotel next door, but first did some window shopping at Crazy Shirts. Although they closed at 9pm, and it was probably 9:20pm, the nice store clerk saw us looking, and opened up the store specially for us! We bought a few high quality Tshirts, and took this photo with with our saleslady before heading back to the Grand Wailea.
Back at the hotel for a quick night cap in the lobby lounge, and we were quite a bit tired out from the long, but wonderful day in Maui.
‘Twas another awesome day in paradise!