More Than a Yard: Finding the Right Home for Your Pooch

by Guest Author, Sharon Elbert, Professional Dog Trainer and writer for

For many house hunters, a dream home isn’t complete without being a good fit for the family dog. Some might see the fenced in yard, and consider the box checked. However, if you are looking for your next home, you may want to look a little deeper to be sure the fit is right before signing on the dotted line.

It’s worth taking a little extra time to consider your pooch in a little more depth. Here is a quick checklist of considerations to be sure you find the right fit for your canine companion:


What’s in a Yard?


A fenced yard is, of course, ideal for many dog owners. It gives you the ability for off-leash play, a must for meeting the exercise needs of active breeds such as Border Collies or Labradors. But not all yards are the same. Here’s a quick checklist of what to look for:

  • Check the fencing to be sure it is secure. Factor in any repair costs into the cost of the home since they will need to be addressed right away.
  • Are there flower beds with potentially toxic plants that will need to be moved outside of the fenced area? Examples include many spring bulb favorites such as daffodils, tulips, and crocus, as well as some bushes such as azaleas.
  • Is there a nice shady spot so your pooch can find shelter from the heat on a hot summer day?
  • Is there access to water for an outdoor bath?
  • Will delivery people be able to access your main entrance when the dog is outside without entering the fenced part of your yard? It is easy to overlook, but this can become a major annoyance if you do a lot of online shopping.


Indoor Space Considerations


It won’t always be a beautiful sunny day, even in your dream home. Make sure your new home will have enough space for a little indoor play on rainy days and during colder winter months. A long hallway can make a great runway for a game of fetch when getting outside just isn’t practical.

Likewise, consider the needs of aging or injured dogs. Does the layout of the home require going up and down stairs to get to the most used areas of the home? This can be a major problem for some special needs dogs, and a deal breaker for some pet owners.

Finally, most dog trainers recommend that every dog has a little space to call their own during times of stress. This may be as simple as a corner of the living room with a comfy dog bed or crate. If you have a puppy, however, a space that can be puppy-proofed and cordoned off (with appropriate flooring for potential accidents during potty training) is in order.


Go for a Walk


It may be impractical to include a dog walk for every home you look at while searching for your dream house. However, once you are down to a short list, it is time to actually take your dog on what is likely to be the daily walk route. Make sure this is a walk you would feel comfortable making every day, or even letting the kids take.

Be on the lookout for hazards: A dangerous intersection, a portion of the walk that requires walking in the road, or a neighbor who lets their dog run right up to the curb with invisible fencing (a recipe for territorial fights with leashed dogs passing by). A drive through is unlikely to reveal these walk spoiling annoyances. In addition, look for evidence of good lighting for evening or early morning walks.


Nearby Canine Amenities


If you are moving to a new part of town or relocating to a new state altogether, it is worth doing some research to find out where the pet services are located. Depending on the services you tend to use, it can make a big difference in your quality of life to be able to take advantage of nearby conveniences.

Think about what services you are likely to use most, and check on Google Maps to locate:

  • Veterinarians
  • Dog boutiques (particularly important if you buy specialty food)
  • Grooming services
  • Doggy daycare and boarding
  • Pet sitting and dog walking services
  • Dog-friendly restaurants (BringFido.comis a great research tool for this)
  • Dog parks and dog-friendly paths for long walks




Although luxurious hardwood flooring adds a great deal of ambiance to a home, it will have the opposite effect if it gets scratched up from the nails of a rambunctious canine. Large and even medium sized dogs can easily create unsightly scars in hardwood floors that can only be fixed by a professional who will need to sand away the wood then stain and refinish it. It’s a costly fix!

Modern carpets can generally hold up to doggy traffic. However, think about where you will be coming in and out of the house with your pooch to be sure you have a place to wipe muddy paws first on rainy days. A mudroom or garage entrance can easily stow a few extra towels for the job.

Tile and high-quality laminate flooring are the most durable as both will resist scratching and are easy to clean.


Consider Pet-Friendly Condos and Planned Communities


If you have a truly pampered pooch, one way to go the extra mile is to ask your realtor about dog-friendly communities in your area. Many condominium complexes, for example, have pet services right on site. Pet grooming, pet-sitting, dog walking services, and even a fenced in dog park and/or pool is available in some areas.

Work with a Knowledgeable Realtor


Make sure to let your agent know upfront that you have a canine member of your family to consider during the house hunt. If there are certain “musts” such as a fenced yard, or proximity to veterinary services, be sure to put that on the table upfront to help your realtor find a home that works for you and your furry friend.

Posted on February 10, 2019 at 11:13 pm
Tania Harmon | Category: Buying, Maui Lifestyle

Where to Eat on Maui – South Maui’s New Gathering Place

by Tania Harmon


One of my favorite new spots to eat and drink in South Maui is Shearwater Tavern. Located in the Azeka Shopping Center Mauka Side, Shearwater occupies the back corner spot where the right half of Stella Blues used to sit.

For years, Stella Blues was my favorite spot for a Pau Hana and pupus. They had a great casual atmosphere, but you could go in there after an event dressed to the nines (the nines on Maui that is) and not feel out of place. They had a huge selection of pupus – emphasis on selection – and the best bar staff around. I was sad to see Stella’s close and have been anxiously waiting for 3 long years for a place to fill the void. Not any place would do.

Enter Shearwater Tavern. When I heard that Chef and Restaurateur DK Kodama (of Sansei fame) was opening a new gastro pub in the old Stella’s location I jumped on their Instagram feed and stalked their posts daily as they prepared to open. In fact I think I may have been their first follower. The concept promised to be a ‘fun, casual neighborhood gathering place to share great food and drinks’, sourced form local Maui farmers, ranchers and fishermen. Local first, organic and sustainable when possible, this place would be right up my alley.

Since they opened in December last year, it has become my new favorite place to grab a cocktail and pupu (or four). I’m a big pupu girl. I could make a meal of pupus and often do. I prefer to order a large selection for the table and graze family style. They offer daily Happy Hour specials from 5 to 6 pm and late night Fridays and Saturdays from 10 pm to midnight with $2 off draft beers and signature craft cocktails, plus 50% off appetizers and veggies. Veggies you ask skeptically? Yes, veggies! These are not the veggies you grew up eating. Their veggie dishes are my favorite dishes on the menu.

My Favorite Eats

CRISPY BRUSSEL SPROUTS – Pickled Jalapenos, Konbu Aioli, Parmesan Cheese, Diced Granny Smith Apples – This is the dish that we always have order multiples of because it is everyone’s favorite.

ROASTED MOROCCAN SPICED BABY CARROTS & BEETS – Cumin Infused Aioli, Pine Nuts, Goat Cheese, Pickled Radishes – Another crowd favorite, but it was gone before I could take a picture.


GRILLED ASPARAGUS MILANESE – Sunny-Side Up Egg, Parmesan Cheese, White Truffle Oil, Toasted Breadcrumbs

And from their ‘Starters’ menu:

CALAMARI – with a Pepperoncini Balsalmic Aioli


ROASTED PORK BELLY BUN – Slow Roasted, Kimchee Pickles, Pork Belly, Hoisin


KING’S NATURAL NEW YORK STRIP STEAK – with Organic Tatsoi Leaves, Roasted Tomatoes, Fingerling Potatoes, Demi Sauce.

I am a rare steak kinda gal. And most restaurants cook rare a little too much for my liking, but this one was perfectly rare. So ono!

And the drinks. . .

THE MELTING POT – Cazadores Reposado Tequila, Gran Classico, Passion Fruit Puree, House Made Sweet and Sour, Clementine, Cilantro and a Hawaiian Chili Pepper Sea Salt Rim

The Hawaiian Chili Pepper Sea Salt was the best part. I wanted a side of it to keep dipping my finger in, but I resisted asking.

And no pub experience would be complete without a flight of beer. They offer a great selection of local and mainland craft beers with a 4-beer flight for just $10.


Shearwater Tavern is located at 1279 South Kīhei Rd (Azeka Mauka Shopping Center), Kīhei. To learn more, call 808-793-2324 or visit the Shearwater’s website.




Posted on July 22, 2017 at 12:20 am
Tania Harmon | Category: Food & Drinks, Maui Lifestyle, Where to Eat on Maui | Tagged , ,

Flower Power on Maui – Sunflowers Energize Maui Community

by Tania Harmon


Photo Credit: Pacific Biodiesel

Earlier this year I recall seeing a picture of State Representative Kaniela Ing posing in a newly planted field come across my Facebook feed. The post mentioned hemp and sunflowers as a possible agricultural alternative for renewable energy. I thought to myself, hey that would be cool if they could make it work on a large scale. I moved on to the next post without giving it much more thought.

“We just planted the first regenerative crops, sunflowers (with hemp coming soon), on old Maui sugarcane land! The end of the sugar era was met with a lot of fear, but Kelly King and Pacific Biodiesel saw an opportunity for positive change and unity. Uncle Alika Atay, Elle Cochran, and I are proud to share this vision of sustainable, natural agriculture, and a 100% renewable future for Hawai’i.  #forMauisFuture” (Photo Credit : Kaniela Ing’s Facebook Page)


That is until 2 months later when my Instagram feed turned bright yellow with images of anybody and everybody galloping through gorgeous fields of sunflowers. As the realization that the mountain scape in the background was the Wailuku hillside, it all came together. And for the first time I actually considered, perhaps this could be our future in Maui. Visions of yellow fields blanketing the Maui landscape as I peer out an airplane window upon landing came to mind – and it made me smile.

The endless, majestic green waves of sugarcane that once covered the island had started to disappear last year. With each return flight the sight of the expansive green that had become symbolic of a welcome home hug had slowly started to brown. And the wider the brown fields grew, the heavier my heart became. There is no doubt that the end of the sugarcane era was inevitable, but the uncertainty of what would replace the green blanket had been weighing heavy on many minds on this island. Perhaps sunflowers, synonymous with happy feelings of hope and renewal, are the perfect symbol for the next generation of crops on Maui. For a few weeks in April, Maui residents and tourists became euphoric with the sight of the sunflower field. So enamored at the sight in fact, the county had to post ‘No Parking’ signs along the sides of the road.  Sightseers were so distracted by the beauty they seemed to forget the fact that the parcel sits on the corner of two busy highways.

Hawaii’s Largest Biofuel Crop Project

It turns out that Pacific Biodiesel had planted just 14 acres, a small portion of the 115-acre sight reserved for this new project. The crop was perfectly timed to bloom in time for an Earth Day community celebration and the plan was PR gold. It’s all anyone talked about for weeks, but as it turns out, the date was actually selected to commemorate the one year anniversary of Pacific Biodiesel received the incredible honor of being named ‘The World’s First Biodiesel Producer Certified by the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance for Sustainable Production and Distribution Practices’. With a public commitment to research and utilize alternatives to chemical fertilizers and pesticides, to use non-GMO crops, local compost to replace fertilizer and crop rotation to reduce pests Pacific Biodiesel has quickly become a community favorite company.

Most people on Maui know Pacific Biodiesel is headquartered in Kahului and converts used cooking oil from restaurants into biodiesel which powers boats and cars in Maui. Some may even know the company was one of the first commercial biodiesel plants in the US and actually had the first retail biodiesel pump anywhere in the US. What people might be surprised to learn is that according to the company’s press release, the bulk of Pacific Biodiesel’s fuel is currently used for utility power generation – all while diverting 270 tons of trap grease from the Maui landfill each month. I had no idea!

Hawaii’s Green Energy Goals

The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, a partnership created in 2008 between the State of Hawaii and the US Department of Energy, set out to chart a path to energy independence in the Aloha state by 2045. In 2015, Hawaii generated more than 23% of our energy from renewable resources. With alternative options for the grid including solar and wind, biodiesel may be able to move into a ‘back up’ position (i.e. to be used to stabilize the grid when wind and solar outputs drop off). Pacific Biodiesel foresees the most valuable use of biodiesel in the future will be in heavy-duty transportation. And because biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine or turbine, the impact it can have on Maui as we aim for energy independence and less reliance on importing our food is enormous.

I think what excites me the most about this initiative is the company’s ‘Zero Waste Agriculture and Energy Model’. The crops can be used not only for fuel, but for food, fertilizer and as a chemical-free environment for honey bees to thrive and pollinate (vital to our local farms and flora). Additionally the company’s expansion plan to build new facilities on neighbor islands is forward thinking, reducing inter-island shipping, as well as expanding jobs throughout the state – better for our land, better for our ocean, better for our community.

Photo Credit: Pacific Biodiesel Facebook Page

The next crop is expected to bloom later this month. I look forward to seeing my social media feeds light up with bright beautiful yellow sunflowers.

For more information and to keep up-to-date with the company’s progress visit


Biodiesel is available at retail pumps on Oahu, the Big Island and on Maui at:

Pacific Biodiesel Pump located at 40 Hobron Ave. in Kahului and

Minit Stop Lahaina – Ohana Fuels located at 10 Kupuohi St. in Lahaina.





Posted on June 8, 2017 at 8:53 am
Tania Harmon | Category: Community, Maui Lifestyle, Nature, Things To Do On Maui | Tagged ,

MAUI CRAFT TOURS – Maui’s Guide to All Things Craft

by Tania Harmon


Maui Craft Tour HeaderPhoto Credit: Maui Craft Tours

Craft Beverages. Craft Beer. Craft Spirits. Have you ever wondered what makes a beverage ‘craft’? Often, when we hear the word craft we think in terms of what it is not: large, mass-produced, corporate. Yet some define craft in terms of what it is: independent, small production, using time-honored and traditional methods.  However you define it, there is no mistaking the fact that the craft beverage category is what’s hot and has created not only a following, but a culture of it’s own. Maui is no stranger to this growing phenomenon. Home to multiple breweries, distilleries and a winery, Maui’s craft beverage culture is one of its best kept secrets.

Maui Craft Tour Bus


Inspired by a desire to share the stories of local Maui purveyors and their relationships with agriculture, their craft and the local culinary culture, husband and wife team David and Carrie Adelmann, created Maui Craft Tours, the ultimate way to experience the craft food and beverage culture on Maui. Maui Craft Tours’ carefully curated day trips pair guests in small groups (no more than 13 guests per tour) with expert guides on a memorable journey through Maui’s craft culture scene. All-inclusive excursions include: behind-the-scenes, exclusive, brewery, distillery and winery tours; beer, wine and spirit tastings; farm-to-table, locally-crafted eats and the best part – someone else is driving!  Guests are offered a unique opportunity to meet a few of the local artisans who have pioneered Maui’s craft culture – Maui Wine, Maui Brewing Co., Hawaii Sea Spirits, Hali’imaile Distilling, The Mill House, Surfing Goat Dairy and Maui Gold Pineapple.

Maui Pineapple Tour

Photo Credit: Maui Pineapple Tours

All tours begin in Central Maui at Maui Tropical Plantation (as all days should) with a cup of The Mill House Roasting Café’s 100% Maui Grown Coffee fresh roasted by experienced hands. Also included with every tour: transportation to all destination sites; guided tours, tastings and gratuities for partner tour guides at each destination; a locally sourced, handcrafted lunch; Maui Craft Tours souvenir travel cup and tote bag. Maui Craft Tours currently offers 2 different tour options ranging from 6-7 hours in length with 2 more in the works scheduled to start late Spring 2017.

TASTE OF MAUI (6 hours) $189


A 30-minute tour providing an up-close glimpse of the Kihei brew house, cellar and packaging line, followed by a guided tasting of their flagship beers and souvenir gift to keep.

Beer on Maui - Maui Brewery

Photo Credit: Miles Kreisberg


A farm-to-table handmade lunch and tasting of their flagship goat cheeses


An in-depth look at the company’s Lower Kula organic farm, sustainable farming and distilling practices, bottling center, a tasting in the adjacent Martini Garden plus a visit to the gift shop to pick up your souvenir shot glass!


An exclusive look at grape growing and winemaking in Upcountry Maui with a walk through the historical winery grounds and cellar followed by a taste of some of MauiWine’s lovingly crafted wines in their tasting room, located in the iconic King’s Cottage.


Expanding on THE TASTE OF MAUI Tour this tour also offers


A private coffee seminar and pour-over tutorial hosted by this innovative team of coffee connoisseurs at The Mill House Coffee Roasting Company


Following lunch, a private tour of the Kula dairy from one of the farm’s expert tour guides where guests will meet and feed the happy goats and experience a taste of what it takes to raise these adorable animals, collect the milk and produce these lovingly-crafted, artisanal cheeses.


After the tour, guests participate in an intimate and casual tasting in the historic “Old Jail” where they are expertly guided through a selection of MauiWine’s small-production, single-varietal Ulupalakua Vineyards Estate Wines; including unreleased or back vintages.



A culinary dream day! The day starts with an exclusive coffee tour and tasting followed by in depth behind-the-scenes production tours expertly guided tastings at MauiWine, Ocean Vodka (Sundays) or Hali’imaile Distilling (Tuesdays) and Maui Brewing Co. Midway through the day, pause for a private family-style farm-to-table lunch in the heart of the beautiful winery grounds. For the Grand Finale, return to Maui Tropical Plantation where the team at The Mill House treats you to hand-selected pairings that perfectly represent their passion for all things craft.

The Mill House

FIELD TO GLASS (8.5 hours)

An opportunity to learn about the pineapple: the quintessential island fruit, its history on Maui, and how three local purveyors are using its unique juice. Follow the pineapple’s journey from the Hali’imaile Pineapple fields to MauiWine, Hali’imaile Distilling, and Maui Brewing Co. Along the way, learn how each of these artisans is turning pineapple in to unique island-inspired craft beverages. Guests enjoy a midday locally sourced lunch at the famous Hali’imaile General Store. Finally, reminisce on the day’s adventures over handcrafted drinks and pupus by The Mill House—a truly innovative farm-to-table dining experience. Delicious craft food and beverages fill this unforgettable full-day craft adventure!

All guests must be 21+ years of age to participate in tours. Private tours and gift cards available. Tours may also be upgraded to door-to-door service for an additional fee.

For more information email or call 808.633.1801. Reservations can be made at

Posted on May 8, 2017 at 11:27 pm
Tania Harmon | Category: Maui Lifestyle, Things To Do On Maui, Where to Eat on Maui | Tagged