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Paia reflects its heritage as a unique Hawaiian plantation village that originated in the latter half of the nineteenth century.  The first Paia mill was constructed in the 1870′s as the sugar industry took hold on Maui.  Paia Town was established later in 1896 with the founding of a company store for plantation workers.

In recent decades, Paia has become a laid back town with local businesses and a coexistence between longtime residents and those attracted by the area’s world windsurfing.  The unique blend of shops, boutiques, and restaurants that make up Paia has become a destination in it’s own right, nestled along some of Maui’s best beaches and still surrounded by sugar cane.

From Fodors.com:

“Paia, Hawaii named one of America’s Best Small Towns

PAIA, HAWAII

Population: 2,668

It can be difficult to find remnants of authentic Hawaii behind the multitude of resorts, but this is one of the last holdouts. Located on Maui’s northern coast just off highway 36, Paia was founded as a sugarcane enclave and though the sugar mill closed in 2000, the town is as alive as ever. Boutiques featuring everything from high-end fashion to beachwear line the streets, and with some of the world’s best windsurfing spots in the area, you’re sure to find an opportunity to put your new gear to good use. Because it sits along the route to Hana, the town is pleasantly devoid of major resorts and offers a great stopping-off place for a few hours or a few days. While in the area, explore Hookipa Beach, where you’re sure to see a bevy of windsurfers. Café des Amis and Café Mambo serve up eclectic Mediterranean dishes and both offer excellent people watching along Baldwin Avenue.”

http://www.fodors.com/news/photos/americas-best-small-towns#!5-paia,-hawaii-