Remembering Old Lahaina Town
This is a picture of Lahaina we have hanging in our house. I believe that large tree in the background is the banyan tree.
We have gone to Lahaina several times over the years. We have celebrated birthdays, weddings, Christmas and New Year’s there. We have gone in February just to go out in a catamaran and watch the whales. We have sat in restaurants overhanging the ocean and felt the waves. We have just hung out on Front Street. It has always been a special place for us.
It was unique in its ability to retain the feeling of a funky seaside town despite all the usual pressures of tourism. Even if there were tacky things for sale or visitors behaving badly, it still had a happy, optimistic feel with music and the smell of good food mingling with sea spray and sun. It was still a real place where real people lived, and it was beautiful.
It was a place of respite. No matter how badly things were going, how horrible things were at work, when we were in Lahaina, we felt a sense of peace. Just knowing that it was there and that we could go back to it tinged the future with hope.
All the places we have been to are gone. All the buildings, shops and restaurants are burnt. The feeling remains though. Somehow I know that it will be rebuilt and that it will still be that place of hope. We plan on going back.
Mark Twain once said of Lahaina “I never spent so pleasant a month before or bade any place good-bye so regretfully.” I couldn’t agree more. The only thing I would regret more is not returning.