Paia is known as “the biggest little town on Maui,” and with good reason. The small population of 2500 has taken this town a long way. The scenic business district, bordered on one side by the ocean and on the other by the majestic slopes of Haleakala, offers everything you could ever need as a visitor… and it does so with character. What used to be a flourishing sugar cane plantation town has evolved into an array of locally owned, green minded shops, restaurants and businesses — all of which are housed in the old plantation style wooden buildings of the sugar mill era. The buildings have been restored and painted in vibrant new colors, adding bright life to the already pleasant atmosphere. And when the only market in town is a health food store (Mana Foods), you know you’ve got a good thing going. The variety and quality of restaurants is outstanding, and is complimented well by tasteful shops, boutiques and galleries. You might find that friendly service and smiling people are quite common around here — the laid back locals seem to have found peace with the lifestyle they’ve created. Along with the stellar eats and eclectic shopping, there’s a plethora of activities to keep you moving. Bike down thirty-something miles from the crater of Haleakala, windsurf at nearby Ho’okipa, then surf the very same wave, and finally lounge on the white sand at Baldwin Beach Park, all in a day’s time. Everything considered, this place is a virtual blueprint for sustainable living, and it happens to double as one of those rare destinations that might just make you “lose” your plane ticket home.