Lei - - Table Of Contents - TEXT BY Sonny Ganaden IM­AGE BY John Hook

Take a quick trip to paniolo coun­try on Lana‘i, where world-class ser­vice meets old-world charm.

Though lo­cals or vis­i­tors may not im­me­di­ately think of va­ca­tion­ing on Lana‘i, the quiet is­land is the per­fect get­away desti­na­tion if you’re look­ing for seren­ity and ad­ven­ture rolled into one. Upon ar­rival, jump right into an out­doors ex­cur­sion at Lanai Grand Ad­ven­tures, which of­fers ac­tiv­i­ties like horse­back rid­ing, sport clay shoot­ing, UTV rides, and hunt­ing tours. Lanai Grand Ad­ven­tures is run by paniolo (Hawai­ian cow­boy) and na­tional rop­ing cham­pion Bobby Farias. The paniolo have a long his­tory in the is­lands. Af­ter ini­tial Euro­pean con­tact with the Hawai­ian Is­lands, Bri­tish Navy Cap­tain Ge­orge Van­cou­ver gave longhorn cat­tle to King Kame­hameha the Great in the 1790s. A gen­er­a­tion later, the ram­pant longhorn needed tam­ing, so Kame­hameha III brought in skilled Span­ish horse­men from Mex­ico called va­que­ros to teach cen­turies-old skills of horse­man­ship and ranch man­age­ment to Hawai­ians. Since then, ranches, and the paniolo that stew­ard them, have be­come in­te­gral to keep­ing land in Hawai‘i open, agri­cul­tural, and ver­dant.

Af­ter a long day of paniolo ad­ven­tures, check in at one of the three ac­com­mo­da­tions on the is­land. The charm­ing and his­toric Ho­tel Lana‘i is a nod to the past: The wood­framed walls and white­washed plank ceil­ings, the hand­sewn quilts and oc­ca­sion­ally creaky floor­boards are in the clas­sic Hawai­ian plan­ta­tion style. Re­cently, the Four Sea­sons Lana‘i prop­er­ties have been in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar as wed­ding des­ti­na­tions for gay and les­bian cou­ples. The Four Sea­sons Lodge at Koele is warm and invit­ing, some­thing akin to a Colorado ski lodge. It would be easy to sit for­ever watch­ing the sun­set from the lodge’s pa­tio, or sip whiskey in the Tro­phy Room be­fore set­tling in for a quaint din­ner at the Amer­i­can bistro Ter­race. If it’s sun­nier skies you’re look­ing for, Four Sea­sons at Manele Bay may be for you. Take a stroll down Manele’s broad, white-sand beach, Hulupo‘e Bay. A quick 15-minute hike to­wards the south­east end and you’ll ar­rive at Pu‘u Pehe, known as Sweet­heart Rock, where dra­matic cliffs ac­cent aqua­ma­rine tide pools below. Af­ter a hot day in the sun, lounge by the sparkling blue pool with a re­fresh­ing cock­tail from the pool bar and tapas from Nobu Lana‘i.

Stroll into Lana‘i City, the cen­tral hub of the en­tire is­land, for some lo­cal-style eats. Café 565 of­fers yummy Korean-style chicken and sushi plat­ters, as well as gooey cal­zones. Or pick up break­fast at Ca­noes, where you can get a fried rice loco moco or other eclec­tic op­tions like fried-rice-stuffed crepes and deep-fried Oreos. Walk off the food coma with Four Sea­sons Lodge’s gar­den tour. Strolling across man­i­cured greens, past the or­chid green­house, bam­boo for­est, and pagoda struc­ture, you just might see an amaz­ing and un­ex­pected sight in paniolo coun­try: a fam­ily of deer leap­ing through the brush or mou­flon sheep graz­ing with­out care.

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