One of the best parts of the day is our mornings, spent on the lanai, drinking coffee and listening to the waves. Before leaving for this vacation, I had mapped out a flexible itinerary and it has been useful for making sure we do and see a variety of activities and places. It's fun to wake up knowing we either have a new adventure or an old favorite planned for the day.
Tuesday morning was to be spent on Napili Beach, so it was disappointing to wake up to a cloudy day. One thing we have learned is that the weather can change quickly and it isn't the same all over the island. We had hopes that the sun would peek through the clouds and give us a better day, irregardless of the morning news weather forecast.
The drive to Napili, from north Kihei, took about 45 minutes and seemed quick. Before we knew it, we were turning into the neighborhood and following the road down to Lower Honoapiilani, to the side street by Napili Shores. There was very little traffic and the road had cars parked sporadically up to the middle stretch. I backed down the road, into a spot in the middle, and easily parked, leaving room to get out, in case the person in front of me got too close. We were so happy to be at this beach that we'd had a hard time finding earlier in the week. Thanks for all the advice because it was so useful!
This was a moment of glory for me cause I parked like a pro and loved the confidence of knowing exactly what I was doing in an unfamiliar area of Maui! We unloaded our chairs, beach bag, awesome beach blanket that zips up to be easily carried and our picnic lunch. Now all we needed was for the trade winds to get rid of the persistent clouds.
It was about nine in the morning and many people were enjoying the beach, but we found a cozy nook in the middle of the crescent shaped beach, backed up to the greenery. With our blanket spread and chairs set up, we just soaked in the view and enjoyment at being on a new beach. Mike went for a swim and I took photos of our new surroundings
Slowly but surely, the sun managed to bust through the clouds and let us see the Napili Beach I had seen in countless photos while planning our vacation. It was a slow unveiling from grey to the more colorful greens and blues,
and the coral reefs began to be visible. I was so excited to be seeing this beach, not as gorgeous as I know it can be, but so much lovelier than when we walked down the path and she first came into view.
It was fun to watch the different activity, from folks walking to the Gazebo restaurant, both experienced and rookie SUP boarders, lots of snorkelers and families with kids having a blast in the bigger than usual waves! At least I am pretty sure the waves weren't the norm for this beach cause I knew it was described as being fairly calm. It made getting out into the water with a board a bit challenging and all the boogie boarders were having a blast.
There was a brother and sister, probably 7 or 8 and the little girl was around 4 or 5, that spent the entire morning running into the waves with their boards and waiting, like pros to take their ride up the sand. When parents post, wandering what to do with their kids on Maui, this is exactly how I would suggest spending many of your days. It was obvious that these two youngsters would be happy to do this all day long and the energy they were using would make for a good nights sleep. The little girl was fearless, no matter how the water tumbled her, she just went back for more! This water action wasn't at all scary, just not calm and serene.
Getting out of the water on this beach was a bit tricky because the sand is soft and easy to sink into and the water rushed back out quickly. Now it might have just been the waves that day, but I had a lot of fun rolling up and down in the water, letting the waves bounce me around over and over again.
We also enjoyed watching the SUP boarders enter the water and head out into the bay. We had an up close and personal view that was different from the other beaches we usually hang out on. Our daughter and her BF arrive from their sky diving adventure on Oahu this Friday! They are looking forward to renting SUP boards for a day.
The beach was beginning to fill up as the sun was still shining better than expected and once again, we had a group set up camp extremely close to our blanket. No worries because we were getting ready to head back to our "little red rocker", nickname for our Fusion that was proving to be a comfy, fun car to drive.
We loved leaving this beach already pointed toward the exit because the area was now filled with cars and turning around would have been tight. We made someone happy with our now empty spot!
Time to go to MauiGrown Coffee Store in Lahaina. We got there fast and browsed the coffee, while waiting our turn to get some professional advice. I explained that I no longer use coffee creamer, after years of excessive creamer abuse and I was looking for smooth high quality coffee. We taste tested five or six coffees and I was shocked that our best choice was a dark roast. I assumed that would be more acid tasting and I was completely incorrect. We agreed on Lahaina Beach, French Kiss and a three pack of flavored coffee, plus a mug and travel mug. I think the ladies liked my "get it and go" decisive shopping style, instead of hemming and hawing over my purchases! I had our goodies shipped and that will be a cool treat waiting at home for us.
We stopped at the scenic viewing lot on the way back to Kihei and took some photos, even though they weren't great cause of increasing vog and clouds, towards the south. There was a lady selling jewelry from her van and I had to take a look, not expecting anything special. Turns out I was totally wrong and she was an awesome bead crafter making the exact style, natural bracelets I would have paid three times as much for in a gallery! She was a treat to talk story with and so interesting. I picked out two bracelets made of Mac nut, kukui, deer antler,
Lambs eye, bamboo, ironwood, coffee seed and elephant ear seed. The lambs eye means someone is watching over me and I have angels. Well, that prompted me to pick out a bracelet for my sister whose daughter died a year ago this October 13th. I loved Dyanne explaining the significance of each item on my bracelet and as she talked, I watched her making the jewelry. She's a skilled craftsman and her business is Maui Seeds, Beads & Beaches. Tip: be open to vendors selling their crafts in the various areas of Maui and don't assume it's junk. There are amazing artists and crafters on this island and I paid $40 for three bracelets that will be treasured. I hope to see her again!
We stopped by Crazy Shirts so I could redeem my cards for my free shirt and it turns out they no longer do this reward stamp program. BUT they are a customer friendly company and credited my Pima, colorfully flowered shirt with $27 towards the purchase. And without even bring asked to do so! Crazy Shirts is a must stop for me because they sell high quality clothing and I do love having Maui written small on the shirt.....not overt, just classy. :-)
I also appreciate the large clearance section and the fact that today all items were discounted an additional 50% from the already lower sale price. I found two pants in a size I had been dreaming about wearing originally priced $52 for just $13 each.....major score! I also splurged on a cotton pullover, long sleeved hoodie along with the Pima shirt. Total cost was $101, but it could have been $200! I do enjoy bringing back treasures, but good deals make me happy! I have many Crazy Shirts and they last a long time. The need for flat rate boxes is growing by the day for these carry on travelers!
We spent the next couple hours relaxing at the condo and getting ready for dinner at Fleetwood's on Front Steeet. I had made reservations three weeks ago for 5:30 and had been indecisive about rooftop dining with less menu choices or indoor dining with an expanded, but still minimal menu. Now the wine/cocktail/beer selections are four pages long, but food choice seemed limited to us. We arrived fifteen minutes early, to be greeted by an unfriendly, young hostess informing me that while she had no reservation for us, she would be able to find us a spot. Ugh.....not a good start for what we hoped would be a special evening. Instead of insisting that....oh yes....I had reservations and you even called us with a reminder....we just laid back to see where we would be seated. Wow.....another prime window spot and I'm beginning to think my good taste in aloha shirts for my guy is really making a difference in our seating at lovely restaurants! I had cleaned up nicely myself. :-)
The dining room had very few customers, which had made us chuckle over get being able to fit us in, but even with the reservation snafu, things were looking up and folks were beginning to fill up the room over the next hour. We are a couple that do not eat in fancy places often and we were impressed with the comfortable, but classy decor that also seemed like Mick's style. Many photos on the walls, but not necessarily easy to see without going to look at them. Very comfortable seating and our window view over Lahaina was awesome! Mick's drum set (one of them!) was at the front of the room, gold plated and definately worth taking a walk over to view.
Now I should explain that the reason I decided we should eat at Mick's place was because my guy is a drummer and Mick is a highly respected drummer. We are baby boomers that grew up with his music and have much respect for his talent. Did we expect him to really walk through the restaurant, trailing musician buddies behind him? Not really but it would have been cool. LOL!!! There were certainly some people that were looking forward to the legend himself showing up and my guess is it can be hard to move folks along that really are waiting to see Mick! I do have some terrific photos of Mike with the drums behind him and of the drums alone. He also checked the drums out and probably would have loved to cut loose and banged on them for a bit, but he behaved himself!
We ordered a lemonade and iced tea and were brought a bread platter and an orange salt mixed into the butter. Very yummy and we were served another one while still waiting for our dinner. Our server was a friendly, nice guy (Tim?) and he needed to catch up on the specials for the day. Once he came back to the table, I chose tomato soup with cheese bread and Mike decided on the Ceasar Salad. Mike also ordered fish and chips while I got adventurous and unwisely picked the scallops served on bok choy, corn, mushrooms and bacon pieces. Tip: ask how much the catch of the day is going to cost because I did not enjoy this meal enough to pay $42! My bad because I was so caught up in deciding to be brave that I forgot the price wasn't listed and I know enough to know that doesn't mean inexpensive. :-p
My soup was good, but the cheese bread was somewhat cold and uninspired. I was so unused to cheese on anything, especially bread after watching my diet that I ate every bite. LOL! Mike's salad had huge pieces of upcountry lettuce and he declared that he liked it! But it would have been easier to eat if the pieces were cut up into a smaller size. Our drinks were repeatedly replaced and the clearing of the plates was quick and such friendly employees! We waited longer than normal for our meal....happily! The view was a beautiful sunset overlooking a busy, fun to people watch town and we were in no hurry! Mike's fish wasn't as good as Coconuts, but we've found nothing compares to their fish and chips! My scallops were tasty but I felt like they were under done but what do I know about correct scallops cooking.....nothing! I ate my meal and enjoyed the bacon pieces very much! We ordered apple crisp and strawberries with cream and lemon pound cake for desert. That was so good and we ate every bite!
We were happy we went to Fleetwood's but we probably wouldn't go back again....unlike Kula Lodge where we hope to take the kids during their vacation. Mike did finally buy something during this trip and that was a t-shirt ($25)! And to be fair.....we never went upstairs where we might have had a lot of fun. We wavered on expanding the evening to include listening to the live music, but the day had been long and we still needed to drive back south. Our bill was $109.37 and we tipped generously ($30) because our server was genuine and attentative. We also appreciated there was no push for drinks and our non alcoholic drinks were replaced often. Tip: Anyone drinking and driving back south to Kihei..,. I highly suggest a designated driver. I hadn't driven this in the dark recently and there is much work being done making the road feel narrower, but nicely lit up until closer to Kihei.
Time to hit the road to Po'olenalena Beach for a sunny morning of boogie boarding and swimming. Wow.....that was a long one so if you hung in there to the end, you're awesome! Take care, Deb
P.S. Sorry about typos.....the iPad wouldn 't connect and I had to use the phone.