Gifts and SouvenirsKaunakakai
The eclectic Kalele Bookstore ★★★, 64 Ala Malama Ave. (www.molokaispirit.com; 808/553-5112) is a great place to start your Molokai vacation. Owner Teri Waros is a marvelous fount of local information and can orient you to the island. Ogle her curated selection of feather lei, shell necklaces, and earrings made with kapa (traditional bark fabric), then peruse the excellent collection of new and used books (including many rare Hawaiian titles), locally made artwork, and children’s games.
The artist cooperative Molokai Art From the Heart, also at 64 Ala Malama Ave. (http://molokaigallery.com; 808/553-8018), features works by some 150 artists, virtually all from Molokai. Something For Everybody, 40 Ala Malama Ave. (www.allthingsmolokai.com; 808/553-3299) will print custom T-shirts or trucker hats to commemorate your trip, in addition to selling locally designed goods. Decorated with vintage finds, the Attic Boutique, 145 Puali St. (808/553-5222), specializes in handmade jewelry and casual women’s wear.
Make sure to hit the Saturday morning farmer’s market (8am–noon) in downtown Kaunakakai; among the aunties sitting on the sidewalk with giant papaya and other produce, you’ll find a dozen vendors of island arts and crafts, clothing, and specialty foods such as local vanilla extract.
Elsewhere on the Island
Don’t speed past Holumua Junction (the intersection of highways 460 and 470 on the way to Kualapuu). The entrepreneurial ladies at Kupu Ae ★★★ (www.kupuaemolokai.com; 808/646-1504) design and handcraft beautiful silkscreens and batiks—sarongs, pillows, wall hangings and more—each with deep Hawaiian meaning. You’ll also find lovely jewelry, soaps, and art supplies. Next door, the Beach Break ★★ sporting goods store (808/567-6091) sells everything you need for fun in the sun, plus top-quality ukuleles, cards, books, children’s items, home decor, women’s clothing in natural fabrics, and large-format prints of owner Zach Socher’s impressive photos from around the island.
Two miles uphill, Denise’s Gifts, inside Molokai Furniture at the intersection of Hwy. 470 and Farrington Road (Hwy. 480), offers bargain-priced lauhala (woven) boxes, straw fedoras, woven ornaments, shell and pearl jewelry, and children’s aloha wear (www.molokaifurniture.com; 808/567-6083).
Tucked behind Coffees of Hawaii, the Molokai Arts Center (808/567-9696) is an active hub for local ceramicists and you can buy beautiful handmade bowls, chimes, and mugs for decent prices. Park on Hula Street and follow the signs.
Zach Socher’s parents, Jonathan and Daphne, own the colorful Big Wind Kite Factory & Plantation Gallery ★★, 120 Maunaloa Hwy., Maunaloa (http://bigwindkites.com; 808/552-2364), chock-full of Balinese furnishings, stone and shell jewelry, Kalaupapa memoirs, and other books on Molokai. Test-fly one of the handmade Big Wind kites at the nearby park.
The Perfect Molokai Souvenir
Found in nearly every Molokai store, the dozen varieties of local sea salts from Pacifica Hawaii (www.pacificahawaii.com) make ideal gifts. Salt master Nancy Gove evaporates seawater in elevated pans at the front of her home in Kaunakakai and then infuses colors and flavors via ingredients such as local clay (alaea), Kauai-made rum, and Maui sugar. To see how she does it, call 808/553-8484 and book a free tour.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.