Today was a slower day exploring the resort and beauty of Wailea. When I was figuring out what I wanted to do on Maui, I had grand plans. I'm still doing some of those things-the Road to Hana and sunrise at Haleakala-but the beauty of Wailea and its beaches have made me reluctant to leave. Plus, there really isn't anywhere more perfect to stay than the Four Seasons. This isn't PR spin, it's just fact. This is a resort of celebrations-honeymoons, anniversaries, birthdays, family reunions, or simply families returning year after year. I always strike up conversations with other hotel guests and ask how they're liking their stay. Not only have the responses been enthusiastic here, they have been positively bubbly and overflowing.
The resort offers a complimentary outrigger canoe program and Maggie and I woke up early for some paddling. I thought it would be boring. Far from it. We paddled out to coral reefs, where we could see everything 30 feet under in perfect detail. The best part was cooing at the eight turtles we saw along the way. Turtles know when cameras come out (or so it seemed) and I couldn't ever get a photo. They disappeared when I pointed the camera their direction. But what a treat to see them. If you don't want to dive or snorkel, an easy paddle on the outrigger canoe takes you to all the action.
After our dinner at Spago last night, neither of us were very hungry, so we skipped a sit-down lunch & laid on the beach. I had the chance to interview the charming Swiss Executive Chef Roger Stettler and talk more with Spago's Executive Chef Cameron Lewark. Both are passionate supporters of local products, and have networks of 80-100 Maui farmers they utilize on the island. Chef Lewark even hosts Spago Team Field Trips, where they visit these purveyors. Today's field trip was to Michael McCoy's Fresh Island Herbs farm in Makawao. Everyone's invited if they want to go, from the dishwashers on up.
Have you ever had four hands digging out the knots in your body? Today, that's what I experienced in a open-air, ocean-view hale hau, or traditional Hawaiian hut. I got the amazing 50-minute Lomi aumoa massage, with two therapists running the show. What an incredibly relaxing time to hear the waves crashing with a breeze coming in. Tales of Hurricane Irene approaching NYC and home seemed very far away.
Dinner was at Capsiche, at the nearby Hotel Wailea. The hotel is on a hill, with a view of the beach and twinkling lights of the resorts in Wailea. We loved chatting with the chef, Christopher Kulis, who started an organic vegetable and herb garden right at the hotel. Everything on our plate that could come from the thriving garden did that day. His concept is seed-to-sautee but as he said "We want our food to be straight from the dirt to your mouth." DIRT TO MOUTH. It doesn't have the chic sound of "farm-to-table" but I like it better. Straight up.