If you want to make someone from Makawao cringe, refer to Historic Makawao Town as a smaller version of Lahaina. The galleries and boutiques here are on par, if not better, than the shops and galleries on Front Street, and you don’t have the cruise ships unloading at the shore. Instead, Makawao exudes its own unique vibe, where you might find yourself standing on the creaky wooden deck of a fashionable women’s clothing boutique, allowing a misty rain shower to pass while sipping a coffee or tea, or chatting with a friendly Portuguese ranch hand, chuckling at the colorful rooster that’s managed to bring traffic to a halt.
It’s a town of laughter, smiles, and curious moments, where a truck might pass with a goat in the back with a tailgate made out of rope, and where locals can’t stroll two blocks without waving at three people they know. It’s a hive of artistic, creative individuals, with strong paniolo ranching heritage and hitching posts lining the wood shingled storefronts that don’t see much use anymore. Find a roadside parking spot and stroll around town.
Shopping in Historic Makawao Town
Art Galleries and Jewelry
Those interested in fine Polynesian jewelry will enjoy stepping inside Maui Master Jewelers (3655 Baldwin Ave., 808/573-5400, 10am-5pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-4pm Sat.), where works by over 30 local artists are on display. They are the island’s leading source for New Zealand bone and jade carvings and also offer Tahitian pearl jewelry.
Sherri Reeve Gallery (3669 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-8931, 9am-5pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-4pm Sat.-Sun.) showcases this ebullient Makawao artist whose distinctive floral designs have graced shirts, cards, paintings, and prints since it opened in 1997. This is a worthwhile stop among the large number of galleries in town.
At Jordanne Gallery and Studio (3625 Baldwin Ave., 808/563-0088, 10:30am-5pm daily), meet a plein-air painter who decided at the airport during a family trip to Lana‘i that she wasn’t getting back on the plane. With little money and no plan, her painting talents paved an unforeseen path.
In the Courtyard shopping area, Viewpoints Gallery (3620 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-5979, 10am-6pm daily) is a large, clean space that features a rotating array of artists, predominantly painters.
Back behind the gallery next to Market Fresh Bistro is Hot Island Glass (3620 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-4527, 9am-5pm daily), the island’s best-known glass studio, where you can watch artists blow glass (10:30am-4pm Mon.-Sat.). Call ahead to check the demonstration schedule.
For original oil paintings from over a dozen artists, check out the intimate Makawao Fine Art Gallery (3660 Baldwin Ave., 808/573-5972, 11am-5pm Mon.-Sat., noon-5pm Sun.), open since 1986. The gallery is a collector’s haven for limited-edition pieces.
On a corner in the center of town, Julie Galeeva Fine Art (3682 Baldwin Ave., 808/573-4772, 10am-5pm Mon.-Sat.) showcases the highly textured paintings of this talented Russian-born artist and Maui resident.
Clothing and Gifts
You know those people who casually exude the trendy essence of cool? There’s a good chance they’re shopping for clothes at Makawao’s fashionable boutiques. Working your way down Baldwin Avenue from the center of town, Collections (3677 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-0781, 9am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.) has been providing men’s and women’s clothing and boutique home furnishings since 1975.
The Mercantile (3673 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-1401, 10am-6pm daily) specializes in boutique women’s clothing, and Pink by Nature (3643 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-9576, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.) has a chic selection of the newest and trendiest styles. Its brother store, Homme by Nature (3643 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-3456, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.) is a rustic yet modern wood-paneled enclave of vintage menswear and home decor.
The collection of clanging wind chimes announces your arrival at Goodies (3633 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-0288, 10am-6pm daily), an eccentric but genuinely artsy clothing boutique for women. Designing Wahine Emporium (3640 Baldwin Ave., 808/573-0990, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.) offers something for everyone, including a selection of men’s aloha shirts.
To pick up a rub for a sunset barbecue, the Volcano Spice Company (3623 Baldwin Ave., 808/575-7729, hours vary, usually 10am-5pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-3pm Sun.) is a small shop full of spices made on the property. Try the coffee barbecue rub and the original volcano spice blend.
On a corner in town is Little Tibet (3682 Baldwin Ave., 808/573-2275, 10am-5pm Mon.-Sat.), where an array of colorful gemstones and crystals warrant a look. Across the street is the Dragon’s Den (3681 Baldwin Ave., 808/572-2424, 9:30am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-4pm Sun.), an herb shop that’s been here since 1982, with organic superfoods and medicine, and now serving herbal tea.
If you find yourself enjoying Makawao’s vibe to the point you want to take it home with you, Jewels of the White Tara (3682 Makawao Ave., 808/573-5774, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.) has exotic New Age furnishings. This import store features home decor and international clothing items, with pieces from India, Indonesia, Laos, and Vietnam, among others.
Fleur de Lei (1169 Makawao Ave., 808/269-8855, 10:30am-6:30pm daily) is an eco-boutique with clothing items made from organic cotton, as well as “sail bags” made from recycled windsurfing and kitesurfing sails. The store promotes fair trade and sustainable practices, and if you aren’t familiar with vegan leather, stop in and ask.
For Maui-made arts and crafts such as paintings, woodwork, and jewelry, Maui Hands (1169 Makawao Ave., 808/572-2008, 10am-6pm Mon.-Sat., 11am-5pm Sun.) is on Makawao Avenue right next to the Makawao library.
Excerpted from the Tenth Edition of Moon Maui.