by Dana Taylor
Magical Maui beckoned last weekend with an invitation to visit a new AirBnB cottage set up by a friend (Christine) of a friend (Patti). Before dawn on Saturday morning Patti and I took the 40 minute jet ride from Honolulu to Maui, rented a car, and set off for adventure.
We began the day at the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm where we toured their garden, filled with unique tropical plants and flowers. With lookouts over the valleys and across the ocean, it is truly an enchanting experience. I sat on a bench and meditated while mild breezes ruffled my clothes.
On the recommendation from the friendly gals in the gift shop, we enjoyed a quality sandwich at Grandma’s Cafe for lunch. Afterwards we visited the Maui Winery and purchased a bottle of their unique pineapple wine.
It was only a few minutes from there to the main event– Kula Cottontail Cottage. The cottage is tucked into the hills on property owned by Christine and Sam Heidema, who live in another house on the grounds. This energetic young couple have turned a tired rental property into a cozy cottage on their small upcountry natural fiber farm. With a career in constructural engineering, Sam designed and remodeled the cottage with comfort and practicality in mind. Christine’s creative artistry added the touches of welcoming charm. A living room, a bedroom with a comfy kingsize bed, one bath, washer and dryer, make a it an affordable two-person getaway.
While the view between the trees from the porch across the sea is lovely, it’s the unique critters in the backyard that provide the “wow” moment. Christine creates natural yarn from the animals on her property. Pictured here are her two pregnant alpacas, Faith and Hope. Their serene gazes are food for the soul. Each spring the animals are shorn. Christine uses age old techniques to wash, comb, and spin yarn from their fleece. She also keeps an assortment of angora rabbits and laboriously combs and spins together strands of their fur into skeins of yarn. Each Saturday she sells her yarns at the local Farmer’s Market. Most weekends her stock is gone by the end of the morning.
The elegant outdoor seating area provides a fireplace to warm the surprisingly chilly Maui nights. Faith and Hope are just on the other side of the fence, providing a storybook ambiance. As the sun set, Patti and I sipped our pineapple wine (delicious) at the outdoor table, surrounded by alpacas, bunnies, and the occasional free roaming chicken.
After a good meal at the Kula Bistro, we slept under comforters to ward off cold night air. After living in the perpetual summer of Honolulu, cool air was a real treat. The next morning I roused before Patti and performed my daily yoga and meditations as the sun rose and the neighboring roosters provided a crowing symphony to greet the day. After a simple breakfast and a short visit with Christine and Sam, we packed up our belongings and bid the Cottontail Cottage goodbye to continue our adventure.
Cottontail Cottage is the perfect jumping off spot to visit the majestic Haleakala, the East Maui Volcano. Designated as a National Park, the dormant volcano rises 28,000 feet from the sea floor, making it the third highest mountain on the planet. The drive is a twisty, well paved road, up, up, up through amazing changing habitats. Areas of brush, eucalyptus, and pines ultimately give way to a moonscape of reddish lava boulders. Clouds dance across ridges and peaks. Artists strive to capture all the hues of earthen tones created by Mother Nature. Endangered and unique birds live in various areas. We spotted a few with great enthusiasm.
Volcano gazing can really build an appetite, so we wove down the mountain and cruised over to the Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria for an elegant lunch. Tourists enjoyed their waterpark pools while the ocean rippled close by. The well appointed grounds display a dolphin fountain and a collection of world famous pudgy statues crafted by Fernando Botero. We finished out the afternoon in high style before we caught a plane home.
Would I recommend a stay at Kula Cottontail Cottage? Absolutely. Experience magical Maui away from the usual tourist meccas. You will love meeting Faith and Hope.
Find Kula Cottontail Cottage listed as “Upcountry Alpaca and Rabbit Working Fiber Farm” on Airbnb
For more information contact Christine Heidema at KulaCottontailCottage@gmail.com