Risky back roading to Hana and Grandma’s Coffee House

Risking the hilly backroad to Hana and Grandma's House - a windy, pretty photogenic road upcountry Maui tour everyone should see! funkyjunkinteriors.net
Remember when I told you about losing my camera last time I was in Hawaii?

This round, I safely removed the SD card from the camera before travelling home. How smart am I!

But once home, I couldn’t find it.

A moment of silence, please…

In panic mode, I suddenly stopped, laughed and thought… maybe some things aren’t meant to be shared. Who knows!

Or I have to just keep going back until I get it right. And let’s hope that’s never!

But then I found it.

So, I consider any sharing beyond this a massive miracle at this point!


Gated field along the back roads to Hana in Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net
With all the times I have ventured to Maui, you’d think I’d seen it all. But I always leave something for ‘next time’.

Although this trip had NOTHING to do with being a world traveller, but more, a gentle retreat from the outside world, I did eventually push myself off the lull of the ocean wave infused beach to do something new.

And that was hit the back road on the way to Hana.

One day I’ll actually make it to Hana! I promise.


Finding Grandma's Coffee House along the back roads to Hana in Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net
I’d done all the upcountry things to do already, such as visit Paia, Twin Falls, Haleakala (I’ve yet to truly blog about), and checking out the fabulous town of Makawao.

But I had never been as far as visiting Grandma’s Coffee House. So THAT was my main goal. And from there, I’d completely wing it.

I love that kind of travel. One small destination, then let the wind blow you where you may.

Finding Grandma's Coffee House along the back roads to Hana in Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net
Grandma’s House is totally known for their breakfasts, but being that I landed there for lunch, I had to sit under their outdoor patio, and sample their coffee, and homemade meatloaf.

Homemade meatloaf from Grandma's Coffee House on the backroad to Hana, Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net
Homemade meatloaf from Grandma's Coffee House on the backroad to Hana, Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net
Ok, say no more. I was sold. This was delicious! Super homemade like.

Gorgeous jungle wilderness across the road from Grandma's Coffee House on the backroad to Hana, Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net

After a quick sit, I took half of it home with me, along with some must-get banana bread, and stood on the road. So pretty! But hmmm…

Taking a quick look on the map, no outstanding landmark was really around this spot.

And I was kinda way out there in the middle of nowhere.  

On the backroad to Hana, Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net
So I asked a kind gent sitting at a picnic table, “What’s the lower road like?”

He looked towards the road, then raised his eyebrows. Yes, I caught that. Always read the body language when on the backroads in this place.

“It’s a windy road, but a good windy, not a terrorizing windy.”

“No cliffs?”

“Well, if you go far enough, you’ll come to some iffy track, and you’ll end up in Hana! So I’d go as far as the winery, then turn around.”

“You SURE I CAN turn around?!”

He laughed, and assured me I’d be just fine, and I’d even have FUN!

Famous. Last. Words.

I nearly paid him to take me. But he was on a bike. And that would not save my life. I’d need a parachute.

You just never know where these roads will take you. Truly. Always ask.

Overlooking the south end of the island, along the backroad to Hana, Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net

So, I took the lower road, and cautiously enjoyed myself…

This is a lookout towards Wailea, Kihei, and Maalaea Harbour, so this elevation was quite a ways up. It was so pretty! 

And safe!

A long lava rock fence along the hilly upcountry backroad to Hana, Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net
And then suddenly after a few more windy bends, I was in Ireland!

Granted, I’ve never been there, but according to PS I Love You, it kinda looked like this. All those glorious green, rolling hills.

What a GORGEOUS drive! SOOOO gorgeous! I want to go there right now.

Has anyone ever just GONE to Maui for a weekend?

Do you think I should be the first one to invent that?

Don’t even dare me at this point.

Rolling hills and cattle along the hilly upcountry backroad to Hana, Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net
Along the hilly upcountry backroad to Hana, Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net
Gotta watch those road curves though. The silly tourist in me walked through a ditch, so I could stand on the lava rock wall. But I had walked myself into a blind spot, not being able to see if a car was coming on my way back.

I learned a lesson, I think.. but still not really sure what exactly that was. Gotta get the photos somehow!
A cattle field along the hilly upcountry backroad to Hana, Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net
I kept driving until I saw a Japanese Garden of some kind, then debated if I should keep going.

Deciding to be brave for 1 minute more, I came around a tight bend and DANG. A cliff! No no no no no no no no…

Space for a U turn… look… loooook!

So I tenderly did a U turn when no cars were around, and head back.

No cliff diving for me this round!

A long, lava rock fence along the hilly upcountry backroad to Hana, Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net

A long, lava rock fence along the hilly upcountry backroad to Hana, Maui | funkyjunkinteriors.net
Ire-Maui, you were so pretty!

But I will say this.

I really enjoy little adventures doing absolutely nothing like this, rather than the big, touristy destination thing. You make these little magical discoveries all on your own, off the beaten track, on your own time. You can stop, sip your coffee, have a picnic, think, dream, whatever you want. In Hawaii, IMO, the journey is generally much more enticing than the destination. And this back country area ended up being a main highlight of my entire trip!

Honestly? I just like to drive nowhere.

Except near cliffs, of course…

Have you taken this back road? How far did you go?

Photos taken with my little Canon G5X on aperture.

You can find more travel 2016 posts HERE

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21 thoughts on “Risky back roading to Hana and Grandma’s Coffee House

  1. Thank you for sharing your adventurous drive in the beautiful countryside. I wouldn’t like driving along cliffs either.

    Have a wonderful 2017 ~ FlowerLady

  2. We took the regular road to Hana, then decided to drive home going the back way–which is forbidden on the car rental agreements! Cliffs, no guard rails, scary beautiful! At least we were on the mountain side of the road, not the cliff side, because it was only 1 1/2 cars wide. We only passed about 5 cars, but we could hug the mountain while they squeezed along the cliff. Exciting day, never to be repeated!

  3. The road to Hana is truly beautiful. So glad you decided to take the “risk”. We did it on a motorcycle a few years ago. All 600+ curves. Yikes!! Absolutely beautiful and worth it!! But also a bit terrifying at times. We were on Harley’s, but had numerous smaller bikes “WIZ” right past us. And yes, even around some of those blind curves. The entire trip took about 8 hours, but we stopped several times to take pictures. One of our favorites, the black sand beaches. And of course we had to stop at a few of the little shanties’ along the way to taste the native cuisine. Wonderful experience!

  4. Did you go as far as the winery? I don’t remember it being a scary drive. Been to Hana a few times and that was enough. Also Haleakala. Now I can sit on the beach because “been there, done that, don’t need to do it again”!!

    • Hi Nancy, when I spotted that cliff from a distance, I decided the winery destination was no longer all that important. ? Maybe next time… but I’ll do a you tube search on the route first!

  5. That is exactly what I love to do, get off the beat & path and explore, it is so much fun and you meet the most interesting people and learn so much about the area that way.
    I will say this though that in this day & age you do have to be careful where you go, use some common sense.
    Your pictures are beautiful, when I picture Hawaii that really is not what comes to mind, cows grazing in beautiful green pastures, who woulda thought, and the fences made from lava rock are amazing, I would love to have them around my property.
    The pictures of the meat loaf has made me hungry, it looked so good, guess that is what I will fix today, haha.
    I would not be the least bit surprised if one day I opened your blog and saw a big announcement that you are moving to Hawaii permanently, and who could blame you, everyone wants a bit of paradise right?

    • ? Well, moving to Hawaii is certainly a wonderful dream! If I was already American, I’d probably try harder and make that actually work! As it stands, these trips are relatively affordable due to where I live, so for now I guess I kinda sorda have both!

      I find Hawaii one of the safest places on earth, but agree, common sense still reins. It is a big factor of me returning there though. I wouldn’t be happy travelling to a place where I didn’t feel safe enough to explore on my own.

      Every Hawaiian island is also soooo incredibly different from one another, and even a 30 min drive can transform that. Upcountry Maui is super rustic. Kinda feels like growing up on my own chikdhood farm. ?

  6. We went on every road there was when we went to Maui. The last day we enjoyed the beach but we like to go sightseeing and exploring when we go on trips. I took so many pictures on our trip there. We want to go Back one day. We went whale watching and enjoyed it seeing the Whales. I got a shirt saying I made it to Hana.?

  7. I love the back roads! I have never been there, but I always ask my husband if the colors are truly that bright and he assures me they are 🙂

    I follow a blogger named Monica Swanson (blog is The Grommom) and she lives in Hawaii. You should look her up and connect with her the next time you go!

  8. Ah, the Road to Hana. I remember it so well. My husband and I were married on Maui almost 25 years ago. Hana has changed from how it was back then, but is still remote and not easily accessible. We loved the black sand beaches, the seven sacred pools and all the little bridges one crosses to reach the destination of Hana. The Road to Hana is definitely an excellent example of how life should be a journey and not a destination!

  9. you make me want to go back to Hawaii…it has been years and my hubby has never been.

    when on vacation I love to roam…driving if need be or long walks doing nothing, but having coffee, eating and discovering who know’s what. the best part of any vacation for me is…no agenda!

    I love that you have discovered a home away from home

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