I have a special place in my heart for Lana'i, though I really haven't visited much since "small kid time" and having not visited for probably about 17 years. My dad was from the island and I still have family there, though I kept this visit on the "down low". Over the years, I've taken the Missus to just about all of the main 8 islands, I'd been to all of them, well except for Kahoolawe, though I've set foot on Niihau. I've taken friends to Lana'i a couple of times, once we rented four wheel drive vehicles and drove to various sites and beaches on the island through the Garden of the Gods all the way to the beautiful and secluded Polihua Beach. In a couple of days we managed to hit all the places, Shipwreck Beach, pass the ruins of abandoned Keomoku Village, even making it to King Kamehameha's Summer Retreat, the remnants of the fishing village of Kaunolu. Still the Missus hasn't been to Moloka'i or Lana'i so I thought a nice relaxing getaway of two days or so might be just the right thing. In the old days, only cessnas made the flights to Lana'i, now larger planes do, but I thought the Missus might just enjoy flying in one of these.
Of course it all kind of starts getting fun when they ask you to jump on the scale to see how much you weigh....in case they have to balance the plane. And then of course, they take you out to the tarmac to board. This is when the Missus said, "that plane looks so tiny....."
Other than the pilot and co-pilot (on the way back there was only a pilot) there were only two other people on the flight.
One of the benefits of having a light load and being early was that the really nice folks took us on a extra pass and we went over and past Shipwreck Beach.
Yes, there really is a "shipwreck" stuck on the merciless reefs of Shipwreck Beach. However, even though the reefs here have been the end of many a sailing vessel, this one is not technically a shipwreck. It is a World War II vintage "Liberty Ship", a concrete ship that was wrecked on the reef along with several others as a means of disposal. While the others broke up and eventually became one with the reef, this one decided that resting on the reef would be its fate for now.
It proves to be a rather haunting landmark, or perhaps I should say "seamark"?
As for Lana'i Airport? Well, here it is.......
You don't really need a car on Lana'i if you want to just hang out and visit th two resorts or the beach. There's a shuttle that runs between the Lodge at Koele about a half mile out of Lana'i City, the Hotel Lana'i, and The resort at Manele Bay. You pay a one time fee of $35 per person, usually tacked on to your hotel bill and you get unlimited use of the shuttle during your entire stay.
I heard that the two Four Seasons Resorts were wonderful places to stay, but I wanted something a bit more, well, unique, in more of a Lana'i sort of way. I booked two nights at the Hotel Lana'i. We used to call this the "lodge" and I think many old-timers still do. It was built in 1924, originally to house Hawaii Pine management and visitors to the island.
But instead of staying in a regular room at the hotel, I went ahead and booked the cottage, located to the left of the hotel building.
Being a couple of yards away from the main hotel, up the walk and separated by hedges from the parking lot, it provided some wonderful privacy.
There was even a deck.......
There's a nice living area and a separate bedroom.....and as another big plus; this was the only room in the entire complex that had a television! The woman at the front desk jokes about the possibility of having me rent out TV time to the other guests. If you've never been to Lana'i, you'll quickly notice that Lana'i City, at the elevation of 1600 feet is a bit cooler than many other locations.
The main businesses in Lana'i City run along two streets, Seventh and Eighth, with Dole Park between them.
One thing you'll notice right away are all the pine trees on Lana'i. That in itself is a quite a story. Perhaps I'll tell it one day.
It's hard for me describe life's pace in Lana'i, so I tend to use examples; like the speed limit is 20 miles an hour, there are no traffic lights, only 17 miles of paved road, 10 of which is from Lana'i City to the Four Seasons Manele Bay!
Even though I hadn't been here in almost two decades, things looked eerily the same. Timeless in a way...... I could easily say these photos of Eighth and Seventh avenues came from a different generation.
We had arrived fairly early and I thought a nice breakfast was in order. I knew just the place I wanted to check out.
This place is now known as Canoes Lana'i Restaurant, but growing up it was the location of S&T Properties. It was probably the most well known and popular diner on the island.
The Miisus and I decided to spilt a Delux Loco Moco, not cheap at almost $13, but this was Lana'i. It arrived looking quite good.
Deluxe because it came with fried rice, very local style with calrose rice and full of goodies. The Missus really enjoy the fried rice. But there was another reason for me coming here......the hamburger patty.
You see, the Tanigawa family had a secret recipe for their burgers and it was sold to the current proprietors of Canoes. I was told many years ago that this was the first burger I ever ate, so of course I had to try it. The burger is very soft and moist, very, very soft, like a good part of it is filler and mayo. In a way it makes sense, after all, Lana'i was fairly isolated back then and beef was probably quite expensive. You needed to figure out a way to stretch things while still keeping it sworth a couple of bucks. The patty literally melts in your mouth. The Missus ended up loving this as well, so after a couple of bites, I let Her have the rest. I'd had a couple of bites of my history, it was only right that the Missus get some too........