I finally made it to Hana.
The Road to Hana is much more about the journey than the destination. There really isn't a whole lot to see in Hana. It's more the very laid back attitude.
When I got to Hana I stopped in at the Hana Cultural Center. It was very small. I thought the most interesting things there were the old woven hats, a couple of which are posted here. The old Hana Courthouse is also on the property. The curator of the Cultural Center told me they would be holding Traffic Court in that Courthouse within the month. It is also used as overflow of historical stuff for the Center. The most interesting things kept there are pictures of the tsunami that hit Hana on April Fools Day 1946. This was due to an earthquake in the Aleutian Islands.
I then went down to check out Hana Bay (the drive in to it was just a block past the Cultural Center). It is a very calm bay, with a gravely beach. A vendor was renting kayaks. Just outside the bay is a nice shore to explore by water. A county park surrounds the bay, including picnic tables and good bathrooms. There was plenty of parking the day I was there (but it was darkening for a rain).
The place to eat at the Bay is Tutu's. It has basic lunch fast food - hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, grilled cheese (which is what I had). It is also has ice cream. As I was standing in line to place my order the guy in front of me asked the clerk where he was from. The clerk said he had just gotten to Hana in January from Columbus, Ohio!! So we had quite a chat. He seemed surprised that a white woman from Worthington would know where the Hilltop was until I explained I worked for ODOT. I failed to mention to him I also worked for the City of Columbus. He had gone to U. of Akron for two years on a sports scholarship but tore his ACL and had to quit. He told me about his frustration in learning to surf. He thought since he was a good athlete the surfing should just come naturally. His aunt has been working in Hawaii as a sign language interpreter and needed a roommate for her "two bedroom/one bath hut in the forest for $1450/month" (!!!) so he went over to work for awhile. He said they were looking for people to work there this summer. It was VERY tempting.
By the time I got my food it was pouring rain. I drove and played all day yesterday in the rainforest and no rain. Today when I get to Hana it rains. Hana does get about 40 inches of rain a year so it was not as unusual as all the rain we've gotten in Kihei this winter. (I sound like a local - huh?). So I just sat under the cover of Tutu's roof and ate and chatted. Hana has a pier that would have been nice to walk out on but it was raining too heavily when I finished eating.
The curator at the Cultural Center told me about a nice (though expensive) art gallery connected to the Travaasa Hotel on the way out of Hana. She said they didn't care if people came in just to look. I did stop by and the things in the window were impressive. I would have enjoyed checking it out but there was a note on the door "Back Soon - Making a Post Office Run". Ahhhh - small towns.
I did pass the Travaasa Hotel Art Gallery's van as I was pulling into the Hasegawa General Store but decided not to go back. I had read about the General Store as I was researching this drive. As advertised it did have a little of everything but as I was expecting everything there is WAY EXPENSIVE!!! I guess this is the trade off for living as far away from "civilization" as one can get.
And speaking of getting away - the Travaasa Hotel (formerly the Hotel Hana Maui, that put Hana on the map) looks fabulous! There is a restaurant connected with it and a spa. I have a picture of the spa sign which gives you an idea of how hard it was raining at the time. For someone wanting to get away from it ALL, Hana is the place.
The Road to Hana was actually closed and detoured. The evil State of Hawaii was widening a couple single lane bridges to two lane. The detour took me to a very pretty beach I wouldn't have found otherwise, Koki Beach. There is a nice beach hut, pretty views and several parking places but the beach was posted with Danger signs. The detour was on a residential street. Worth seeing just to see how the other half lives. I passed a couple little restaurant huts at the beach that would be fun to check out if staying in Hana (one was a Belgian waffle shop). I would have liked to have gotten pictures but my camera battery was unhappy right then.
I thought it was funny that on this one lane road, to detour a one lane road, the contractor/state was using a portable traffic signal system to control directional traffic.
I continued on through the detour and reached Hamoa Bay. I have posted pictures of it. It was a smallish beach with nice white sand and gentle waves. The Columbus guy had mentioned this is where he is learning to surf. There were a group of young people heading down to the beach as I was taking pictures so I didn't get the angle I wanted. There were a couple bed & breakfast places across the street from this beach.
Right at this beach the detour re-met the Road to (now from) Hana (changed to SR 37 in Hana beginning at mile marker 51 and is now decreasing). I continued on and came to a vendor stall selling paintings and prints depicting Hawaii. There were samples of the artwork tacked to trees about a mile prior to the stall. I liked the samples so I stopped and met the very pleasant artist. I ended up buying several of the prints.