This is a really great book, especially for me growing up in the Pacific Northwest, where when I was a child logging was still very much a way of life. Here is my book review Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson.
The year is 1977, the place Damnation Grove, California, where for generations fathers and sons have cut the Redwood timber for the Sanderson Timber Company. Rich Gunderson and his wife Colleen eek out a living but Rich wants more for his wife and young son.
Colleen, who has experienced eight miscarriages also is searching for more…another baby, and better communication with her husband. Colleen’s unconventional sister Enid seems to drop out a baby everytime she turns around and Colleen finds the unfairness of it all stiffling.
Daniel, a former boyfriend of Colleen’s arrives in town to research how the decades of herbicide spraying is contaminating the soil, the water and the people. Loggers and their families scoff at the research, saying if the herbicides were dangerous the government wouldn’t allow them to be sprayed.
But when bees die, children are born malformed, cancer runs amuck and Colleen has another miscarriage, she begins to believe in the message Daniel is trying to spread.
Set amidst a changing time in the lumber industry and in our country, Damnation Spring is a story of a vanishing way of life, family and tradition, big money and bribery and of course, the beginnings of the EPA. Told through the eyes of Rich, Colleen and Chub in believable and beautifully written chapters, Damnation Spring is a book you won’t be able to put down.
*****Five stars for Davidson’s debut novel, Damnation Spring. I hope you enjoyed my book review Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson.
Maui is hands down my favorite of all the Hawaiian Islands. We have now been on Maui for seven weeks and still have two more weeks to go! Everything about it I love. And despite the fact there isn’t anything negative I can say about this beautiful place, I do have some favorites. So today I thought I would share with you my Maui top five things to do – best of the best.
Top Five Beaches
Keawakapu – our most frequented beach in South Kihei offers a wide sandy beach, warm clear water and gentle waves
Makena Beaches – Makena also in the south, is dotted with public access to dozens of beautiful and often secluded beach. Secret Beach is worth finding. MaKena Beach State Park is a wonderful huge expanse of a beach and rarely busy.
Black Beach Hana – for the sheer beauty of it, Black Beach on the road to Hana is worth a visit
Baldwin Beach – on the north shore Baldwin Beach is great for body surfing
Napili Bay Beach – I have not swam at this beach but it is so beautiful and has easy access at the north end of the island
Top Five Snorkeling
Black Rock Kaanapali – the beach in front of the Kaanapali Sheraton known as Black Rock is one of my favorite places to snorkel. Clear and full of fish and turtles.
Turtle Rock – On a guided snorkel trip a few years ago we had the most amazing time at Turtle Rock – hundreds of turtles here.
Molokini – Though sometimes crowded, a snorkel tour to Molokini is a must at least once in your life to see the abundant marine life here.
Makena Beaches – there are several public access beaches on this long stretch of south Maui with some of the best and easily accessed snorkeling on the island.
Keawakapu – my favorite beach, and the one closest to where we usually stay, has an easy access into the water with snorkel options at the far north of the beach around a large lava reef. Wonderful sealife, turtles and fish.
Top Five Activities
Old Lahaina Lu’au – the creme de la creme of Lu’aus, Old Lahaina has just recently reopened after being closed for 8 months due to the pandemic. I have enjoyed this Luau several times, and although expensive, it is worth every penny. Reservations are required.
Maui Zipline – Maui Zipline is where it all began, the first zipline in the USA. Safe and fun and now reopened with even more safety features.
Whale Watching – from November to April Maui is home to some of the earth’s most amazing creatures, the magnificent humpback whales. A must-do activity while visiting Maui is enjoy a guided tour with the Pacific Whale Foundation.
Ghost Tours Lahaina – more of a history lesson than a ghost encounter, this walking tour with a local will open your eyes to some of the hidden history and mystic Hawaiian lore. Very informative and entertaining.
Chef Prepared dinner – many local chefs are available to bring dinner to you, cooking and serving a beautiful Hawaiian meal for two to ten or even more in your condo or local hale.
Top Five Hikes
Waihee Ridge – mid island, five mile roundtrip with incline to spectacular views but weather can be unpredictable.
Kapalua Coastal Trail – hugging the coast from Kapalua to Napili this rugged and beautiful hike has views of Molokai, Lanai and the ocean. Windy.
Halemau’u Haleakala – hike down into the crater starting at 8000 foot level where you will find easy parking. The trail is a switch back and easy for most fit hikers. Temperatures can be very cold at times.
Sliding Sands Haleakala – this is a work out let me tell you, but if you are fit it’s spectacular. Bring lots of water, be prepared for wind and cold or heat and sun you never know. A great place to see the rare and beautiful Silver Sword plant.
Hoapili, La Perouse – past Makena where the road ends you will find parking and the trailhead of the Hoapili, the historic Kings Road. The rough trail takes you over a 300 year old lava field to the far south end of the island. Bring lots of water, it is a hot and dry trail.
So if you are thinking about visiting Maui for the first time, or are planning to return for another visit, check out some of my top fives – you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Be a Kind & Generous Visitor
And remember, Maui took a big hit during the 7-month closure during the pandemic. The local people lost jobs, income and businesses closed permanently, on this island that depends on tourism. If you can afford to visit Maui, you can afford to make a donation while you are there. Many local agencies can use your support now. The Maui Food Bank is one that is helping some 32,000 local residents who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
Help breathe life back into the local economy by shopping and dining at locally owned stores, supporting locally run activities, taking time to talk to and understand the local people and their culture, and donate to a local non-profit agency that is helping the local people.
This is one of Patchett’s older novels, published in 2007. It’s another gem I found in my neighborhood’s “little library”. Although not my favorite of Patchett’s work, I did enjoy this family story. Here is my book review Run by Ann Patchett.
There is a lot going on in this book. Beginning with a statue of the Virgin Mary, a family heirloom cherished for it’s family resemblance. But is the story behind this family piece true?
Bernard Doyle is the former Mayor of Boston. He has one biological son, who has been in and out of trouble, and two adopted sons who are brothers. They are also black.
Four years after adopting Tip and Teddy, Doyle’s wife Bernadette dies. He is left to raise the three boys. Sixteen years later, on a cold snowy night, Tip is nearly killed when he steps out into the path of an oncoming vehicle. He is saved by a bystander who pushes him out of harms way. The black women named Tennessee, is seemingly a stranger. But as the story develops we learn she has much to do with this family, and knows everything about them.
Tennessee’s daughter Kenya is taken in by the Doyle’s while her mother is in the hospital. And it becomes clear that Kenya and Tennessee are family to Tip and Teddy. How will this tale come together? A few unique twists at the end I did not see coming, but in true Patchett fashion she weaves a story of family and faith, race and politics and particularly how close the have’s and the have-not’s live in a world of invisible people. I hope you enjoyed my book review Run by Ann Patchett.
Most people come to Maui for the beach. And yes the beach is pretty incredible. I should say the beaches are incredible, because there are so very many to choose from. And I get it – the lure of the tropical ocean breeze and the lapping waves in the golden sand. It’s a perfect way to shed your stress and just relax. Ahhh…but you are missing Maui hidden gems.
Maui has so much more than just the beach in front of your hotel or condo. And I want to convince you to get out and see the magic of this diverse tropical paradise and find Maui hidden gems.
So come with me on a around-the-island-tour of my favorite hidden places, businesses and vistas – Maui Hidden Gems.
Our tour begins in Upcountry, away from the beaches. This interior area of the island offers a slower pace, a cooler climate and some of the island’s lushest and most diverse flora. Here’s our upcountry hidden gems;
Kula Lodge – I haven’t stayed here but I hope to on my next visit. This hidden gem is a treasure. Even if you don’t stay, come for the pizza on their outdoor patio. Amazing.
Kula Botanical Gardens – privately owned and beautifully presented, this hidden gem showcases tropical plants of all kinds, tucked into the mountain terrain.
Maui Veteran’s Cemetery – located in Makawao, a brief stop here provides the visitor a peek into the reverence and respect Hawaii has for it’s veterans of all wars.
Ocean Vodka – enjoy a tour and tasting, take some vodka or gin home, and marvel at the view from this mountain top distillery in Kula.
Most visitors don’t see more than the airport in these two island cities. Both cities are home to much of the islands full-time residents, government seat and industry. But hidden here are some of our favorite shops and one of our favorite Maui hidden gems restaurants.
Sam Satos – low key and no website, this local noodle shop is rarely frequented by visitors. But it has become one of my favorite places to eat in Maui.
Fabric Mart – I love picking up Aloha fabrics when in Hawaii. There are several fabric and quilting stores around the island, and the Kahului location of Fabric Mart is one of my favorites.
Maui Specialty Chocolates and Mochi – most visitors go home with Hawaiian Host chocolates. You’ll never buy Hawaiian Host again once you visit Maui Specialty Chocolates in Kahului. Try the Mochi too.
Kahekili Highway (The North/West Tip Road) – Everyone has heard of the road to Hana, but Maui has another twisty, winding road with spectacular views – the hidden gem Kahekili Highway. Start this road in Waihee just outside of Wailuku and drive the lesser traveled route to Kapalui.
Napili, Kapalua and Kaanapali make up the area known as West Maui and your drive around the tip of the West Maui Mountain on the Kahekili Highway will land you in Kapalua.
Pineapple Hill – home to luxury homes with incredible views, Pineapple Hill can be walked on foot for an exhilarating hike. Watch for historic markers that explain the Maui hidden gems history of the Kapalua area, the Baldwin family and Pineapple Hill.
Kapalua Coastal Trail Labyrinth – Also called the Dragons Teeth Labyrinth this beautiful prayer labyrinth was built and is maintained by locals and is a true Maui hidden gem on the rugged Kapalua Coastal Trail. Walking the Coastal Trail is also a highly recommended activity.
Historic Churches of Maui – throughout the island you will find many historic, often century-old structures. Some still in use today as places of worship, while others have been converted to other uses. West Maui has it’s share of this hidden gems.
Although it is one of the oldest Hawaiian settlements and was home to Hawaiian royalty, I am continuously disappointed in Lahaina. Over the past several decades Lahaina seems to have fallen from grace and needs someone to resuscitate it. Years ago it was home to shop after shop of local artisans including jewelry, sculpture and one of kind paintings. Today there are many boarded up windows and lots of tacky tourist tschotskis, alongside a handful of restaurants. Sidewalks are poor, paint is chipped and peeling and the town is a sad reminder of its former self. Lahaina does have some good restaurants worth a visit that keep this town alive. We really recommend Mala Ocean Tavern, Star Noodle and Down the Hatch.
Additionally the Hawaiian government has lacked the initiative to preserve some of this island’s most sacred sites, that lie in ruin often behind chain link fences in Lahaina. These places are truly part of Maui hidden gems.
Maui Ghost Tours – take a walking tour of Lahaina and learn about the hidden gems of sacred sights, royal sights and lost sights important to the local Hawaiian people. It’s a fascinating tour.
The Old Pali Road – as you drive from Lahaina south towards Kihei on today’s two lane highway called the Honoapiilani Highway, watch for remnants of the Old Pali Road built around the turn of the century. This old road remains in bits and pieces, a reminder of a simpler time on this beautiful island. You can walk parts of the Old Pali Road too.
Kohola Brewing – hidden in a back parking lot of an industrial area of Lahaina, Kohola Brewing is a definite hidden gem of Maui. Maui is home to several outstanding breweries, but we loved Kohola’s industrial vibe and unpretentious operation. Go in search of good beer here.
Kihei, Wailea and Makena make up the area known as south Maui and include some of the best beaches and hidden coves on the island. This desert area sits in the shadow of Haleakala and until the early 1980’s the road stopped at South Kihei where today the 5 Palms Restaurant is. Everything south of there has developed since then. It used to be a two day trip to get to the far end of the island. Today it takes about 30 minutes.
Historic Around the island path – built in the 16th century the path used to circumnavigate the entire island, giving kings the power to control the island. Today remnants of the path can be found and accessed in many places.
Hoopili Kings Highway – sometimes called the La Perouse Trail, this part of the old King’s Highway is the best maintained. Follow South Kihei Road until it ends, and you will be at the Hoopili path. Wear close-toed shoes and bring lots of water for this hot and barren landscape that crosses a 300 year old lava bed.
Secret Beaches – as you drive in South Kihei and Makena keep your eyes open for the many (often unmarked) beach access trails. Here you can find the secret beaches of Maui, often tiny coves and sometimes broad golden beaches.
Wailea Path – if you aren’t staying at one of the fancy ocean front resorts in Wailea you may not know about the beautiful public boardwalk that runs the entire length of Wailea, about a mile and a half. A great place for a morning run, evening stroll and whale watching. Parking is available at several locations. It’s also a great way to get a glimpse at the beautiful resorts.
Additional Hidden Gems
Jolica Jewels – if you are looking for a perfect memento of your time on Maui, or maybe a special gift for that special someone, check out Maui based Jolica Jewels. Beautiful one of kind pieces of jewelry to fit any budget, all with a special Hawaiian flair, lovingly designed and created by local Jolica.
Lei Making and Adventure Tours with Sarah – Learn to make a Hawaiian lei with a local. Go on a scavenger hunt for flowers then string together a beautiful lei. It’s easier than you think. Sarah also does tours of the island and guided hikes and salt gathering.
Fresh Fish Maui – get the daily fresh catch report and order online with Fresh Fish Maui for the catch of the day delivered direct to your condo door. It’s the freshest and most delicious fish you can get on the island.
And Those Are Our Favorite Maui Hidden Gems
There you have it, some of our hidden gems of Maui. There is so much to see on this beautiful island, you can never see it all. So you’ll always need to come back for more. Maui no ka oi.
We love it when you share and pin our blog posts. Mahalo.
We love it when you share and pin our blog posts. Mahalo.
The State of Hawaii and Island of Maui have strict rules regarding Covid. Please do your research when planning your trip. Learn more here.
There are conflicted readers about this book. But I am not one of those. I absolutely loved this tale and recommend it to everyone. Here is my book review A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes.
For some reason, I have been on a bit of a Trojan War kick….unplanned but nonetheless. Of the three Trojan War books I have tackled in the past few months (this one plus The Iliad and The Song of Achilles), A Thousand Ships was my favorite and had me riveted.
I was not familiar with Haynes, who is a British journalist, comedian and classicist. No matter, I am now very familiar with her work, and this another retelling of that age-old story of the Trojan War. Haynes however takes a fictional look at the women in this war….those who are never mentioned in the Iliad, but who fight, suffer and defend their husbands, families, cities and way of life.
The story of the Trojan War begins with three goddesses competing with each other…creating the consequences that lead to this war. This war of men fighting for a women, Helen, who most soldiers don’t know or never will know. The women we meet in this story and who’s stories are told are everyone from the Queen of Troy to slaves and concubines. Penelope the wife of Odysseus to the nymph Oenone. And of course the goddesses Hera, Aphrodite, Athena and more.
This great war through the eyes of the women who lived and died through it. A fabulous retelling. I hope you enjoyed my book review A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes.
*****Five Stars for A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
We weren’t going to do the road to Hana this time – we’ve done it before, more than once. So it wasn’t on our list. But somehow we ended up driving it today – backwards. Let’s talk about Going to Hana Backwards.
Well, not actually backwards, but the opposite way that most people do the road to Hana. And now, I’ll never do it the other way again.
The Road to Hana (Canva)
We were just going to go to Oheo Gulch and do the four mile round trip hike to the waterfall. This hike is also known as the Pipiwai Trail (formerly known as the Seven Sacred Pools, which are neither sacred nor seven). So we thought we would go in the backdoor, up through Kula and along the roughest part of the Hana road which many people never see. By the way, many people still think this road is impassable. It is not. And also many people think the rental car agencies say you can’t take your car there. Most do not. Read your agreement to be sure. The road is perfectly drivable in the Hundai rental car we have.
Driving that part of the road you get to have it mostly to yourself. The views across to the Big Island are beautiful on a clear day, and even on a cloudy day the crashing waves on the jagged rocks below are magnificent.
We planned to return to Kihei on this same stretch of road, but decided after our wonderful hike to go visit Black Sand Beach just North of Hana. And then it seemed to just make sense to take the road all the way around.
Black Sand Beach (Canva)
When you head north from Hana back to Paia late in the afternoon you are moving with the majority of traffic, given that most people turn around at Hana and head back late in the afternoon. This actually works in your favor because the caravan of cars going the same direction makes for easy access on the many one lane bridges you cross on the Road to Hana. Very limited traffic heading south at that time of day makes the crosses easy. You rarely need to stop for oncoming traffic.
Combine that with the nearly deserted section of road we drove in the early part of the day, we made really good time doing the entire Hana Loop. In addition we got to enjoy breakfast in Kula, beautiful vistas of Kihei, Makena and the Big Island. Early birds at Oheo Gulch made the parking perfecto and because we were traveling in the opposite direction of most people, we were arriving at Black Sand Beach in the afternoon just as most people were leaving there to go to Oheo Gulch.
So Backwards is the new Forwards.
Well, when it comes to going to Hana anyway. Try it!
I’ve had this book in my to-be-read pile for months. I finally got around to reading it a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it. Tan is a wonderful writer. The Bonesetter’s Daughter isn’t as fabulous as The Joy Luck Club, but it is really a wonderful story. Here is my book review The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan.
I recently reviewed a book called What We Carry that explored a mother daughter relationship as the mother spirals into the Alzehiemers abyss. Without even realizing it when I purchased this book, The Bonesetter’s Daughter has a similar theme.
The story unfolds as Ruth Young as an adult women continues to deal with a difficult relationship she has always had with her widowed mother LuLing. Her mother gives her some writings about her life in China that she wants Ruth to read. But the writings are in Chinese and she doesn’t get around to interpreting them for several years.
But Ruth begins to realize that her mother’s health is precarious, and that she has memory problems and possible dementia. While Ruth also deals with a difficult personal relationship with her partner, she begins to unravel stories about her mother’s past in China that she never knew. The writings open up an entire world of life in the village of Immortal Heart, a life of hardship, betrayal and a curse.
Through these writings Ruth discovers a women in her mother that she never knew existed. She learns about the true paternity of her mother, and also about the Chinese myths her mother uses to explain everything in daily life. LuLing is The Bonesetter’s Daughter and her heartbreaking story and the story of the human spirit must be told. And it is, in The Bonesetter’s Daughter.
****Four Stars for The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
I hope you enjoyed my Book Review The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
Read last week’s review of The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.