Heavenly End to Long Drive

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Hana is a tiny town in East Maui; it’s also a state of mind. First, there’s the challenge of getting there — the 54-mile-drive with 56 one-way bridges and a stomach-churning 617 curves. It’s jaw-dropping gorgeous, straight out of a movie set.

At the end, this very Hawaiian town is the reward. It has one low-key luxury inn (Travaasa Hana) that is itself legendary, one condo and some quirky bed-and-breakfast inns. You won’t find a golf course or manicured resort grounds; instead horses graze in a pasture within sight of the ocean. It rains a lot, but it doesn’t matter.

The Hana Cultural Center with its cluster of thatched hales and classy Hana Coast Gallery also make the trip worth while. And then, only-in-Hana Hasegawa General Store looks like something from Gilligan’s Island. It’s jammed with everything from plumbing joints to papaya jam. If you’re really luckly, you’ll find a baseball game in Hana Park. That’s a big event in town.

For those on their way to the ‘Ohe‘o Gulch pools and waterfalls, Hana is a pit stop. (Be aware, the pools are temporarily closed to swimming, though you can still hike on the trail beside them.) You can get a burger and other fast food at Barefoot Cafe down at the beach, or more exotic things from Hana’s growing number of food trucks. The Travaasa Hana hotel serves up a burger, too, but it will set you back about $20. Hana Ranch Restaurant and take-out window or the store are other good places to get lunch.

But beware: Hana isn’t for everyone. If a week without golf, sunset cruises or shopping for luxury brands sounds dull, it isn’t your place. But if you want the chance to do nothing in an unsullied Hawaiian town, Hana is heavenly.

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