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A Driving Tour of Upcountry Maui


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Makawao Town
K. Matsui Store, Makawao, Maui

K. Matsui Store, Makawao, Maui

Photo by John Fischer

As you get back into your car, turn right onto Baldwin Avenue. As you leave town you'll still see the buildings of the old sugar processing plant on your right. You'll pass through pineapple fields owned by the Maui Land & Pineapple Company, which cans most of the mainland store-brand sliced pineapple that are marked Hawaiian Pineapple.

The next town you'll come to is Makawao, one of the state's last paniolo towns. The paniolos were the first cowboys in the United States. Long before there were cowboys in the old west, paniolos came to Hawaii in the early 1800's from Mexico to teach the Hawaiians how to herd cattle. If you pass through town on a weekend you may find a rodeo going on. One of Hawaii's most popular is held here each July 4.

Parking can be tough in Makawao. If you're lucky you'll find a spot right on Baldwin Avenue where you can stop while you walk through town. Makawao retains much of that paniolo flavor in the facades of its buildings, but on the inside you'll find lots of art galleries, boutiques, craft stores and eateries sitting right next to stores where the locals shop. Makawao is not just for the tourists. It is the nearest town for many locals for groceries, haircuts and even paniolo gear.

You'll want to stop by the Casanova Deli or Komoda Store for some fresh pastry and a cup of coffee before you head further along the road. You'll want to bear right onto Makawao Avenue (Highway 400) as you leave town.

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