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Lovely Lana‘i only 45 minutes away

By Staff | Jun 18, 2015

Just off the ferry, representatives of Maui Rotary clubs prepare to leave for Lana‘i City and a celebration for the debut of the Lana‘i club. PHOTOS BY NORM BEZANE.

LANA’I CITY – In Maui, we think of ourselves as stretching from Kapalua to Kahului, Honokowai to Hana. Yet Maui County is also Lana’i, a wonderful place to visit that you can get to faster on the ferry than you can drive to Kula.

There are lots of reasons to visit, not the least of which is to help merchants who may struggle a bit this year because resort rooms will be empty.

Larry Ellison, who bought most of the island from the ill-regarded David Howard Murdock in 2012 along with Four Seasons, is modernizing both Manele Bay and the Lodge at Koele but not laying off a single worker while the two resorts are closed.

Employees will stay employed, many tasked with cleaning up the island and working on historic preservation projects. Others in management will go to Four Seasons resorts in places like Vail, Colorado, to do what they do at the resorts here.

Although both resorts are now closed, the Lana’i Pineapple Festival featuring Willie K is set for July 4, and the fact that the beautiful golf courses will stay open is a good reason to come. The Lahaina to Lana’i ferry will also have late 10 p.m. return trip on July 4.

Dressed for the Fourth of July, a toddler waits for a treat outside the Anenune Juice Bar and Café last year. 

While at the festival, you can stroll the charming 1950s-style town square and its quaint shops, visit the beautiful Mike Carroll Gallery, and steps away buy coffee with a cookie to go for less than $3 at Blue Ginger Cafe. You can find more than a dozen kinds of fruit smoothies at Anenune Juice Bar and Cafe and enjoy such other places as Pele’s Other Garden and Da Hula Hutt.

Not-to-be-missed is the nearby Lana’i Culture and Heritage Center, one of the best little museums in the islands. It offers a quick, photo-filled review of Lana’i’s unique history. The museum’s talented curator hopes to utilize technology to provide a phone app that will bring up an image of the old days back to life when you pass a town landmark.

A short distance up a narrow road takes you to the ruins of the old Kihamaniania stone church with a Lahaina connection. The Lahaina missionary station was invited in to build it in 1840.

Kihamaniania, according to a handsome plaque on the site, “is translated as sneezes and shiver.” This section of Lana’i sits just below the mountain, where moisture borne by the strong trade winds and cold air are drawn down to the area.

The occasion to visit Lana’i (you don’t really need an excuse) was the recent charter celebration of the new Rotary Club of Lana’i. The event attracted Rotarians from five other Maui clubs and Honolulu.

For years, people thought Lana’i did not have enough people to sustain a club. Guess what? The new club opened as the second biggest of 11 clubs now on Maui.

When you leave town, Cook Pines that stand like sentinels on the seven-mile trip back to the ferry offer a farewell. Chances are you will be back to see them again.

Columnist’s Note: As the ninth anniversary of the column nears, readers are invited to visit the Lahaina News website soon and take a survey on what you think of the column and what you would like to read about. Here’s your chance to talk about the positive and negative.

To quite a few readers who asked what happened to the column the last four weeks, a missed holiday deadline and space limitations kept the column out of the paper.