The port town of Lahaina, Hawaii, is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island of Maui. This is no surprise: Bars, restaurants, shops and theaters dot this bustling town. But many of the tourists who flock to the city don't understand that Lahaina is also one of the most historic towns in all of Hawaii. The town once served as Hawaii's capital. It was also one of the busiest, and wildest, ports on the entire Pacific Ocean. Sailors, missionaries and foreign dignitaries all plied their trade in Lahaina. In recognition of this, members of the Lahaina Restoration Foundation -- a local historical society -- have created the well regarded historic Lahaina walking tour. This tour, which tourists can take on their own, spotlights some of the most important buildings and sites of Lahaina's past. Many of these buildings still stand. And they all offer a look at this busy town's many past lives. Lahaina's walking tour starts at the Master's Reading Room. This building, built of coral and stone, has stood in Lahaina since 1834. Two reverends, William Richards and E. Spaulding, spearheaded its construction, convincing the area's whaling-ship captains that the building was needed as a place for ship masters and captains to relax while visiting Lahaina. The Baldwin Home is next on the tour. This house served as the residence of the Rev. Dwight Baldwin, a missionary, until 1871. This building, along with the Master's Reading room, is the oldest existing building in Lahaina. The tour also includes stops at Lahaina's historic banyan tree and Pioneer Inn. The banyan tree is a favorite among both locals and tourists because of its amazing size. The tree covers an entire city block, and is always crowded by happy children. The Pioneer Inn is also impressive. It is Lahain's first hotel. Until 1950, in fact, it was the only hotel in all of west Maui. Today the Pioneer Inn has more than enough competition as Maui has become a top tourist destination. When you finish your walking tour of Lahaina, you'll have plenty of other activities from which to choose. This city is home to many of the island's more eclectic art shops, retailers and eateries. Lahaina offers so much, in fact, you may have trouble seeing everything during your stay on Maui.
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