When I moved back home to Maui after going to college on Oahu, I’ll be honest—I felt like I was leaving a shopper’s paradise. No Ala Moana Center, no Nordstrom, nobody asking me “Ooh, where did you get that?”—because there are only so many places to go on Maui, right? As the months back on Maui went on, though, I slowly realized how wrong I was. Maui really is a shopper’s paradise, but it’s an elevated one, one that takes a little more time and forethought, and it’s a challenge that I love. One place on Maui to truly hone your “art of shopping” skills is in the quaint cowboy town of Makawao. Instead of rifling through rack after rack, or long, foot-torturing walks through huge malls, a shopping experience in Makawao is a relaxing, laid-back affair, and one that I try and treat myself to at least once a year. If you’re shopping for gifts, souvenirs, or even to just update your wardrobe, make your way upcountry, and spend a day strolling Baldwin Avenue. I promise, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Collections Boutique-- where you're sure to find something just for you.

Collections Boutique– where you’re sure to find something just for you.

My first stop is always Collections—a spacious boutique, featuring an incredible collection of books, stationery, pet and home items, clothing, accessories, and handmade jewelry. I can honestly say I’ve never left Collections empty-handed, and their stock is constantly updated, so there’s always something new to discover. From Kate Spade highball glasses to simple, luxurious cashmere sweaters, from leather ballet flats to locally-made trucker caps, there is something for everyone at Collections. Even as my style has evolved from funky to functional, Collections has remained one of my go-to spots for quality items. Their knowledgeable and helpful sales staff lives up to their motto: “Keeping retail therapy alive.”

The Mercantile is up next, another rather eclectic boutique. Featuring men’s and women’s apparel and accessories, bath and beauty products, and hand-stitched, block-printed India cotton quilts and pillows, The Mercantile is one of those places where you’ll find things you’ve never seen before. For guys and gals with an eye for edgier style, this is a perfect place to put together a one-of-a-kind, head-turning look. The jewelry here is simply stunning, too—it’s hard not to pick up a piece or two whenever I visit this trendy boutique!

If I’m still in the market for clothes and accessories, my next stop is Hurricane Limited. They boast a variety of ladies’ dresses and tops, with a colorful, vintage-inspired sensibility. Désigual dresses, Gretchen Scott tops—if you’re looking for an island vibe, but want to skip the aloha prints, Hurricane Limited has what you’re looking for. Ask the expert sales staff to point out some locally-made products, and don’t forget to check out their jewelry display case near the register before you check out!

By now, my husband (if he’s chosen to tag along) is getting a little bored by watching me ooh-and-ah over bracelets, tunics, and cosmetics bags. So, for a perfect pick-me-up, we’ll stroll over to Volcano Spice Company. As avid grillers, we always go a little wild in this Western-inspired shop. Chef and owner Kevin Carlson makes all their products on the on-site kitchen, and has come up with some truly delicious spice rubs and salt blends. Our favorite? The original Volcano Spice Blend, widely versatile, and perfect on a ruby-red slab of seared ahi. The shop also features homemade hot sauces, which we love to add to wings, pulled pork, or to splash onto freshly-made cheeseburgers. Do you have more of a sweet tooth? You’re in luck! Volcano Spice Company also features products made with locally-grown vanilla beans—a perfect gift for your favorite baker! Pick up locally-made crafts, including hand-turned wooden bowls while you’re here.

Makawao, an old-fashioned cowboy town, is home to some of the most unique and sophisticated shopping on Maui.

Makawao, an old-fashioned cowboy town, is home to some of the most unique and sophisticated shopping on Maui.

Thinking about how to use all of those gourmet goodies usually makes me pretty hungry, and what’s a day of shopping without a tasty, fortifying lunch? Stop at Market Fresh Bistro, and enjoy their unique, local, farm-to-table offerings. Whether you get a gorgeous, colorful salad, a fresh catch sandwich, or a local sirloin burger, you’ll be savoring the incredible flavors of Maui in a European-style al fresco courtyard. They also feature a carefully prepared Old World wine list, so you’ll find the perfect pairing for whatever you order. If you loved it at lunch, you’ll definitely want to check out their farm dinners, where you’ll dine at one long table, and the prix-fixe meal focuses on a particular theme. Call to find out when the next one is—and reserve early!

Right off the courtyard are two stops I love to peruse after a satisfying lunch—Viewpoints Gallery and Hot Island Glass. The former is a spacious, well-lit gallery, featuring a rotating array of both local and visiting artists. The gallery focuses on painting and sculpture, and you can certainly spend a lot of time browsing the walls and showcases. It’s a great place to clear your mind and appreciate beautiful, inspiring artwork. After that, step over to Hot Island Glass, Maui’s well-known glass studio. They feature beautiful blown glass art, including sculptures, vases, and other one-of-a-kind pieces. There’s a definite sense of ocean-inspired creativity in all their work, but especially in their amazing glass-blown jellyfish. Looking for an eye-catching piece to display at home? Ask one of their friendly staff about shipping some original art directly to you. Quite often, you’ll also get to watch as talented glass-artists work their magic right in the shop—call ahead to see when the live demonstrations will take place. It’s totally incredible to watch—don’t miss it!

A day shopping in Makawao rings back to a time when small, unique shops were the norm, and your packages were carefully wrapped and presented to you with pride. A retail chain is nowhere to be found on the charming streets of this quiet town, and shopkeepers and employees take pride in their work, products, and services. If you’re looking for a shopping trip where your memories will last just as long as the treasures you buy, a trip down Baldwin Avenue is just what you need!

Stores Mentioned:

Collections Boutique
3675 Baldwin Ave.
Monday – Saturday 9 AM – 6 PM
Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM

The Mercantile
3573 Baldwin Ave.
Daily 10 AM – 6PM

Hurricane Limited
3639 Baldwin Ave.
Daily 10 AM – 6 PM

Volcano Spice Company
3621 Baldwin Ave.
Monday – Saturday 12 PM – 5 PM

Market Fresh Bistro
3620 Baldwin Ave.
Tuesday – Sunday 9 AM – 3 PM

Viewpoints Gallery
3620 Baldwin Ave.
Daily 10 AM – 6 PM

Hot Island Glass
3620 Baldwin Ave.
Daily 9 AM – 5 PM