Saturday, June 27, 2009

4th of July

Hawaiian Women Dancers

Aloha Folks!

The 4th of July is almost here. Makawao is always the place to be on the 4th.

Our Hawaiian rodeo starts on Friday afternoon, and continues throughout the weekend.

Hawaiian Rodeo Baby!I often have rodeo contestants stay at the b&b for this holiday. Paniolo come from off island and the mainland to test their skills and try their luck.

The greatest Hawaiian-style parade, you have ever had the pleasure of seeing, starts Sat morning at 9 a.m. Parade festivities being with a stick-horse race up Baldwin Ave, for the keiki.

Seeing the horses with their beautiful lei and braided manes and tails prancing down the street is a highlight!

Girls riding horseback in Fourth of July Parade in Makawao, upcountry Maui HawaiiThe regal pa'u riders are always my favorite. Women of Old Hawaii preferred riding their mounts astride rather than side saddle. They wore long skirts (pa'u), crowned with beautiful flowers.

Everybody enjoys seeing these striking women ride into town.

pa'u riders Hawaiian women on horseback in Maui paradeAnother big crowd-pleaser is the Maui Isle Pipe Band. The soulful bagpipes can be heard from a few blocks away, and I always look forward to them.

The strong Celtic-Hawaiian connection is evident in the handsome kilted bagpipers.

I can do without all the smiley waving politicians riding in convertibles, however. They do as much for me as the smelly and loud semi trucks that dominate the end of the parade.

When they show up, I start the walk home.

Hawaiian Bagpipers in Maui paradeAll in all, the 4th is a good time, and I am looking forward to it. So, come on upcountry and have yourself a great weekend.

I am posting a few nice photos of previous parades. Enjoy.

Be sure to stop into the Viewpoints Gallery in Makawao to see all the amazing art from "Painting a Volcano from Crater to Coast." The show opens on the 4th of July after the Makawao "Quick Draw."

Aloha...see you upcountry!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Maui Film Festival


All year we look forward to the Maui Film Festival. It's five nights of quality entertainment Maui style. It is in full swing right now. If you are on island, do yourself a favor and get out to the movies. June is a nice time to visit for next year, and the bonus to your trip, would be the Maui Film Festival.

Going to the outdoor Celestial Cinema in Wailea is really a treat. It's wonderful to sit under the stars on a balmy Maui evening with good friends, experiencing great cinema.

The smaller McCoy theater at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center usually features documentary short films. Independent film makers are showcased and really shine at this venue. Many films are followed by a question-and-answer forum.

Last night I saw one of the very best films I have ever seen. I thought about it often today. Departures won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. This delightful and moving film is a journey into Japan's cultural heritage. The film offered laugh-out-loud humor, haunting music, beautiful landscape, and life cloaked in dignity with a profound reverence. I laughed, cried and will always remember Departures. I wanted to do my part in spreading the word about this great film, and the Maui Film Festival.

Aloha, see ya at the movies!!


Monday, June 15, 2009

Haleakala planting and restoration

Haleakala Maui Hawaii dry land forest restorationAloha,

The slopes of Haleakala are the backbone of our beautiful island. This majestic mountain is my anchor. I stop many times a day to gaze up the slopes to the crater. Sometimes shrouded in mist, often in full glory "The House of the Sun" rises up to the brilliant blue sky.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to give back to the mountain I love. Since 2000, the Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership has planted over 52,000 native plants in the dry-land forests of Haleakala.

Volunteers on Maui HawaiiUnder the guidance of Art Mederios over 2,700 volunteers and the dedicated staff of LHWRP are making a difference. The first Auwahi exclosure is now a functional native ecosystem.

The native 'A'ali'i ,being a fast growing understory species, is planted first to shade out the African Kikuyu grass. This sturdy seedling grows fast and strong, dropping it's leaves to help produce the appropriate soil climate for the other natives to fill in.

I had the honor of planting the Kauila tree, a rare native Hawaiian tree found in the dry-land forests. The Kauila tree was an important tree to the Hawaiians. The dense native wood sinks in water and was formerly valued by the early Hawaiians for spears and tapa beaters. Because Auwahi is surrounded by a high fence, I know this seedling will grow big and strong, protected from the cattle, deer, horses and boar of the high slopes.

The reforestation projects attracts a variety of people including the Maui youth from Americorps. Art is a wealth of information, and he feels it is important to pass his knowledge on to the youth of our islands. Voluntourism in Hawaii - volunteer on vacationThese hard working young adults were a delight to listen to as they were being quizzed by Art throughout the day about the properties and Latin names of the trees we were planting. Their desire to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture through their efforts was evident.

We drove through "na ulu" the low clouds of the forest to 3800' elevation with magnificent views of the ocean below. It was a wild and bumpy ride up the slopes of Ulupalakua ranch.

Orange Lichen on Mount Haleakala, Maui, HawaiiThe beautiful orange lichen growing on a low branch is one type of the approximately 110 species of lichen. The dry-land forest is one of the richest spots for lichen in the world. Rare native spiders live inside the safe haven of the lichen.

This month's O magazine features four hotels in the world that promote voluntourism. My voluntourism program caught their eye, and I had the good fortune to be chosen for their magazine article. I was pretty excited to spread the word in Oprah's magazine. Offering our visitors the opportunity to participate in some really amazing experiences is very rewarding.

Volunteer tourists help restore native Hawaiian species to Mount Haleakala, Maui, HawaiiSteffan, and his godson from Germany, joined the group for the planting on Saturday. This was his second time planting with LHWRP, he came back for more! To thank all those visitors who come and give their time and effort to our aina, and to encourage more to do so, I am offering a 10% discount on their stay at Hale Ho'okipa.

So, here's to volunteering, and enjoying all the wonderful fruits of our labor.

Malama Maui, and mahalo to all who do so....


Monday, June 8, 2009

National Trail Day

The Maui trail clearing crew ready to go to work!
Aloha Trail Blazers!

The thrill and satisfaction from clearing an overgrown ancient fisherman's trail on National Trails Day is something I want to share today. Even though I have been off the beaten path most of my life, this was my favorite trail clearing experience.

On Saturday, four lucky Maui residents and one really lucky visitor, arrived at the trail head with our clippers, machetes and work gloves. Most of us are members of PATH, Public Access Trails Hawaii. The mission statement for PATH is to promote public access to historical, cultural and other trails in Hawaii through research, education and advocacy. Go to to find out more.

Volunteer tourists and residents lend a hand clearing a trail on Maui, HawaiiMonica is really putting energy into this organization on Maui, and I am happy to lend a hand. I am all for restoring and recovering lost public trails.

Lucienne de Naie was leading the hike along the north shore and she had not been on that trail for a few years. From the looks of it, nobody had. After locating the overgrown trail, we hacked, clipped and cut our way down to the cliff's edge. We had a little break in the dry creek bed, at which point, CJ, the man with the machete, our hero throughout the day, scrambled up a steep hillside and found some trail remnants.

Hawaii voluntourist takes a break from trail clearing.Hardworking Lin Robbins from the great Northwest told us that this experience was the highlight of her visit to Maui. (Good on ya, Lin. It was a blast to share the day with you.)

We have many volunteer opportunities on Maui, please check my voluntourism page for more information.

We made it down to the beach after some hand over hand rope gripping, sliding on the slippery lauhala leaves. What a relief to sit on the beach in the shade watching the waves, scratched up, sweaty and content.

Hawaii vacation volunteers take a break by a swimming hole on the Maui shore.Lucienne honored us with a story about a fishing ohana who had lived in the valley we had just passed through. They had a very special bond with a shark that inhabited the bay. When I listen and look with my heart, my experiences are so rich. The entire day had many rewards.

We boulder-hopped our way down the beach to a spot where the waves gently spilled into a very large pool. It was a primordial sort of experience to crawl and float along the sides of cliffs until we reached the deeper water. We all rested and talked story in the water. Refreshed, we were ready to tackle the cliff and work our way back up towards the trail head.

Maui Hawaii volunteer tourist LynnThe picture of Lin smiling and sitting on the clean and cleared steps that we could not even find on the way down, sums it up.

Here's to volunteering while on vacation, or where you live.

Mahalo with Aloha,


Friday, June 5, 2009

koa heirloom furniture

Heirloom furniture Hawaiian Koa wood table
Aloha from Makawao,

The tradewinds have returned to Maui. Today was a lovely day with fresh breezes cooling the island.

I promised to write about the gorgeous koa wood furniture that comes from these islands. Hawaii attracts and produces master craftsmen and artists. Mango wood, koa wood, and monkeypod are all popular for the furniture builders. The bowl turners are attracted to Norfolk pine because of it's translucent quality. I have an amazing salad bowl that my wood turner friend made for me from the old shower tree that finally came down.

The outer layer of the mango tree is often unusable for the craftsmen. The grain of the inner wood has a speckled quality. Mango wood can be surprising with it's orange and yellow colors.

Heirloom Hawaiian Furniture Koa wood grainKoa wood has been called the king of the Hawaiian woods. The grain from koa wood glows with an inner light. The highly sought after and stunning curley koa ripples with a wavey grain.

Even though replanting koa trees is being done in many areas of the islands, koa remains on the endangered species list. The last I heard, koa wood was around $22 a board foot.

Furniture made from this handsome wood usually commands a high price.

I have a few koa treasures, one table is at least 100 years old with square nails. I traded some pottery for a white table many years ago that I had a good feeling about. When I started stripping the paint and finding curly koa, yahoo!! I was stoked. Great trade.

My other treasure is a koa dining set with a 6 ft round table that is circa 1900, made at Hilo Boarding School. Hilo Boarding School trained Hawaiian young men in the art of wood craft in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

Koa wood heirloom table and chairsThis is a stunning set with eight patchwork 1970's koa chairs. The heirloom quality dining table and chairs is presently being offered for sale.

One of Maui's master woodworkers, Peter Naramore of Kingswood Shop, did a wonderful restoration job creating a craftsman style base from Big Island koa. I was very lucky to have Peter's expert hand in this restoration project.

Another fine Maui woodworker is Mats Fogelvik. Mats is a Swedish woodworker with very creative and contemporary designs.

If you want to see some fine examples of Hawaiian woodwork, cruise the web and check out the sites for our great furniture builders. The picture I am posting today is the Hilo Boarding School dining set.

Aloha for now on this almost full moon night.......