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Exploring Makawao Town

If you’re taking some time to see Upcountry Maui, exploring Makawao town is a fun way to get a feel for “country” life on the island. The center of town runs along Baldwin Avenue and Makawao Avenue, a walkable area of shops, galleries, and restaurants with an artistic flair and vibrant history. History Photo by Makena Zayle Gadient In the early 1900’s, Makawao was a farming town, part of the pineapple industry that developed in the stretch of land from Haiku to Haliimaile. Beginning in the late 1800’s, cattle ranching in the Upcountry area brought Spanish and Portuguese cowboys to the island. Known in Hawaii as “Paniolos,” these ranchers helped to grow the cattle industry on Maui. Makawao’s downtown began to expand with businesses geared towards the Paniolos and pineapple workers. During World War II, thousands of servicemen were stationed for training near town, and businesses continued to grow to accommodate the community. As military presence decreased in the years after the war, many of the storefronts closed up and remained empty for some time. Makawao finally saw a resurgence of interest in the 1980’s when an eclectic group of artists began to set up shop in the rustic, country style storefronts at the center of town. Today, you can experience the feel of Makawao’s rich history in the shops and eateries where local farming and ranching culture intertwines with artistic craftsmanship. Food You’ll find plenty of great places to eat in Makawao. Polli’s Mexican Restaurant is a local favorite, serving everything from chile rellenos, fajitas, and fish burritos to vegetarian taquitos and margaritas. Across the street is Casanova, an Italian restaurant with a dance floor that is popular with […]