Day 13 ~ Uniquely Paia – Maui’s North Shore Beach Town

The historic town of Paia on Maui’s north shore has gone through many incarnations; one as the booming plantation town with a Mercantile where Milagros now holds court; until the early 1970’s there was a movie theater in the remodeled building that now houses the Moana Café and Wings Hawaii. As its days as a plantation town began to wane, the hippies moved in making it the happening spot for the peaceful, love, sex + rock-n-roll generation. Then with its next incarnation when Maui garnered the title of Wind Surfing Capital of the World, it transitioned from sleepy surf town into a metropolitan microcosm. Still, in its current manifestation it holds a unique and sweet spirit that is innate to Maui.


Welcome to Paia (pronounced PIE-EE-AH)

For a while it is where the dead heads gathered after Gerry Garcia (of the Grateful Dead fame) passed and it was rumored that Maui was where Gerry’s spirit came to reside. Maui in general, and especially Paia, is a place where even living famous people can come and let their hair down, relax and not be followed around by adoring fans. For example, when I first moved here I was completely unaware that George Harrison (yep, of the Beatles) had walked past me, until a friend I was with said something to me; Walter Becker from Steely Dan was in my Tai Chi class; back in the early 1990’s Kenny Loggins and then girlfriend Julia Cooper rented Steven’s guest house.

Fresh Mint Restaurant

Currently Paia is a mix of local families from the plantation era, hippies that are now grandparents, yuppies trying to make a-go of it with their high-end boutiques, a slew of restaurants, which personally I feel are some of the better ones on Maui; from Mama’s Fish House (about a three minute drive north of the town), to the deli at Mana Foods (one of the highest grossing health food stores in the nation).

Anthony’s Coffee Shop – Steve’s favorite hangout

Last summer before I started my blog and began my journey of learning how to have fun, I was told that Paia had started a street fair, every fourth Friday evening of the month. At the time I thought about all of the shops in Paia that I’d never taken the time to go into and maybe it was time I at least poked my head inside of them. Well if you watched my little video you know that Steven I and finally made it out on a Friday night, and we had a really nice time. Had a great meal at Fresh Mint, saw friends we hadn’t connected with in awhile, enjoyed music by local musicians; even saw Paia’s version of a snowman.

Apparently the upcountry town of Makawao has a street fair every third Friday of the month—we’re going to hit that one in December.

See you next Thursday.

For more about our sweet little beach town, go to

To view vintage photos of Maui’s small towns, check out the book Upcountry History and Memories, by Jill Engledow.

Harpist Irene Ryding

To learn more about harpist Irene Ryding, click on

Kisha Milling – Hoopnatyze

To learn more about street performer Kisha Milling, go to

Door by Tim Garcia – Quote on door by artist Fred Babb, 1947-2006.