Lahaina – a Blend of Old and New on Maui

In 1843, Hawaiian King Kamehameha the Great declared Lahaina, Maui the capital of the kingdom. Lahaina was once known as the whaling capital of the world. The waning whale industry and the move of the capital from Maui to Oahu caused the local economy to become dependent first on agriculture and later on tourism.

Lahaina offers visitors to Maui a unique glimpse into the past while enjoying what Maui has to offer today. Visitors are enticed to walk, shop, eat and enjoy. Spending the day in Lahaina is a must-do on any visit to Maui.

The Old Courthouse was built in 1859. Visitors may walk through this historic building and view exhibits from top Maui artists presented by the Lahaina Art Society. The lower level galleries still feature windows with the bars that held Maui prisoners in days past. Informational brochures about other historic sites in this Maui village are available here as well.

The Courthouse Square is home to what is, perhaps, the most memorable tree on Maui. The Banyan Tree, planted in 1873, has aerial roots that have grown into twelve major trunks. What appears at first glance to be a small forest is actually all part of one tree. The tree provides nearly an acre of shade in the square and is a popular meeting place among Maui tourists. While in the Courthouse Square, take a moment to find the restored ruins of the original Maui waterfront fort built in the 1830s.

The streets of Lahaina are lined with small shops and restaurants catering to Maui visitors. At the quieter southern end of Lahaina is an oceanfront boutique mall (505 Front Street). Stores feature made-on-Maui products, Maui souvenirs and gifts.

There are several waterfront restaurants in this area and live music is available on weekend evenings for Maui tourists to enjoy. The Lahaina Center (900 Front Street) features 30 stores and restaurants offering apparel, jewelry and microbrews. A stroll along the streets of Lahaina will fulfill the shopping needs of any Maui visitor.

Maui visitors looking for a party atmosphere at night will find it here so a well-planned day visit can turn into a night full of fun.

Lahaina offers great night life and plenty of fun but it lacks the features that make accommodations on Maui special. It is missing the clean beaches and slow pace the makes a Maui vacation special. A limited amount of lodging is available in Lahaina but most area accommodations are north of Lahaina. Lahaina is a great place to visit on Maui but not to stay.

Visitors looking for water activities to enjoy on Maui will find themselves drawn to the offerings at Lahaina. Vendors at the harbor offer day and evening cruises, submarine rides and other boating activities that provide a water-based view of Maui.

Visitors to Maui rely mostly on rental cars for transportation. Because Lahaina is a popular destination greater crowds are found here than at any other location on Maui. As a result parking can sometimes be a bit difficult. Plan arrival for before 10 a.m. and parking should not be a problem.

Lahaina offers Maui visitors a special mixture of old and new that is not to be missed.

A Visit to Bardstown KY – Bourbon Capital of the World – 5 Things You Must Do

On my recent all-too-brief trip to Bourbon Country and Bardstown, KY, I had time to do a few things that I wanted but I saw so much more that I would love to experience. Luckily for me I live only about 40 miles away so I can go back and do these later. If you are ever lucky enough to find yourself in Bardstown, here are five activities or attractions that you should consider doing.

1. Visit a Distillery or Two. Okay, this is really the only real “must-do” in bourbon country. I only had the time to visit Heaven Hill, the closest distillery to downtown, but there are dozens more distilleries within minutes of Bardstown including the world famous Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark Distilleries. Learn how bourbon is made, the history of bourbon and the surrounding area and sample the goods at the end. What’s not to love.

2. Visit The Old Talbott Tavern. I had lunch at this historic inn and tavern that sits smack on the Courthouse Square. It now operates as a restaurant, hotel and bed & breakfast. It has a very colorful past. Here is a clip from their website:

The old stone reminder of Bardstown’s beginnings still welcomes visitors to the bustling downtown area. Since the late 1700s, the Old Talbott Tavern on Court Square has provided shelter, food and drink to Kentucky travelers.

Talbott Tavern is said to be the oldest western stagecoach stop in America as the westward expansion brought explorers from the east into Kentucky.

According to legend, figures straight from the history books sought lodging here during their travels; as a young boy Abraham Lincoln and his family stayed here, Gen. George Rogers Clark, Daniel Boone, and exiled French King Louis Phillipe and his entourage stayed here, even painting murals on the upstairs walls. There are noticeable bullet holes in the now faded paintings and Jesse James is said to be responsible for them.

Riiiiight. Hey, it’s possible. Jesse James mother lived in my hometown of Brandenburg and I have slept in her bedroom. She wasn’t there at the time. 😉 But that’s a story for another time.

Anyway, if you go to the Old Talbott Tavern, go for the history because the food is just average. Nothing wrong with it but it would definitely not make it onto my Roadfood Blog of places to eat on the road.

Oh, one more thing — it’s said to be haunted. Maybe it’s Jesse.

2. Walk the Courthouse Square and Downtown Area. Bardstown is proud of its history and it have reason to be. It is Kentucky’s second oldest city and has one of the largest collections of late 18th and early 19th century buildings in the Southern United States. There is even a recreation of a frontier village right on the Courthouse Square. I do love reading those little history plaques they put on old buildings.

Across from the Old Talbott Tavern there is a drugstore that still has an authentic lunch counter. If the noon crowd is any indication this would have been a much better choice for lunch though I would have probably had to wait until 3 or 4 pm to get a seat. Next time.

4. Kentucky Railway Museum. See a wealth of old engines and cars from a time when trains ruled the west at Kentucky’s official railway museum. Take a ride through the scenic Rolling Fork River Valley on the dinner train.

5. Abbey of Gethsemani. The center offers displays and a video presentation about monastery life as well as a gift shop with Gethsemani Farms products. The Abbey, founded in 1848 by the Order of Trappist Cistercians, is home today to Trappist monks who open doors to spiritual seekers from all over the world. Pick up some monk-made crafts while you are there including their world renowned cheese.

I wonder if they make beds. Get it? Monkbeds. HA!

There is so much to do in and around Bardstown that it may be best just to make a weekend of it. There are several B&B’s listed on the official site that look good and I saw at least two right downtown on the square. Who wants to drive home after all that bourbon sampling anyway.

Top Attractions in Scottsboro, Alabama

Scottsboro, Alabama is a pleasant town in the northeast corner of the state, a region of mountains and lakes. The town is located on beautiful Lake Guntersville, the Tennessee River’s largest lake. The downtown historic district, centered on the courthouse square, is filled with a variety of restaurants and shops to browse. After exploring what downtown has to offer, visitors may want to explore Scottsboro’s other attractions.

Goose Pond Colony, just south of town on Highway 79, is a city owned resort on Lake Guntersville. There are activities here for every member of the family. The resort offers two championship 18-hole golf courses, the Colony Course and the Plantation Course. Families love the swimming pool and beach area. The full service marina at Goose Pond Colony rents pontoon boats and fishing boats. Lake Guntersville is one of the best fishing lakes in the Southeast. The resort also has more than five miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, and a playground. Visitors may want to finish their day at Goose Pond Colony with dinner at The Dock’s Restaurant, a Scottsboro favorite.

Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro is a shopper’s paradise. Bargain hunters search for treasures amid the 40,000 square feet of unclaimed baggage and freight that is brought in daily. Shoppers never know what they’ll find- jewelry, electronics, cameras, sporting goods, and designer clothing and accessories. Located at 509 West Willow Street, Unclaimed Baggage Center offers a truly unique shopping experience. Monday-Friday hours are 9am-6pm. Saturday hours are 8am-6pm. Unclaimed Baggage Center is one of Alabama’s top attractions, with one million visitors annually.

The Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center is located in an 1880s Greek Revival style mansion at 208 South Houston Street. The museum contains Indian artifacts from the area, Civil War memorabilia, and local genealogical records. It hosts traveling exhibits throughout the year. Behind the house is the Sagetown Pioneer Village. A number of log structures have been moved to the site for preservation. Jackson County’s first courthouse, dating to 1868, is also onsite. The Heritage Center is open Monday-Friday from 11am-4pm.

Visitors who are fortunate enough to be in Scottsboro on the weekend preceding the first Monday of each month will be able to experience First Monday Trade Day. This event has been a Scottsboro tradition since 1902. Vendors set up booths around the courthouse square downtown and offer all types of products including antiques, crafts, and furniture. Vendors sell local produce in season and ready to eat treats. The atmosphere is festive, and Sunday usually brings out the largest crowds.

Visitors to Scottsboro may enjoy these top local attractions. The city offers plenty of fun activities for visitors of all ages.