Built in 1924 by a wealthy island banker as a wedding gift for his daughter-in-law, the “Queen” of historic Wailuku homes was lovingly restored by her island-born and raised proprietors.
It was named the Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono by one of Maui’s most respected Hawaiian cultural experts, Hōkūlani Holt. Down to the smallest detail, it represents 1920s Hawai’i at its very best and has combined the conveniences and luxuries modern travelers require. The overall theme of the inn and its beautifully landscaped grounds pay tribute to Hawai’i’s poet laureate of the 1920s and 30s, Don Blanding. Each of the ten distinctive guest rooms is dedicated to one of the flowers in his “My Old Hawaiian Garden.” Hawaiian quilts (in the main house) and contemporary bed coverings (in Vagabond House rooms) in the design of each room’s flower, add to the singularity of each room.
To know Don Blanding’s life is to understand why he is called the vagabond poet.
Born in Oklahoma at the turn of the century, he spent his first years in the restless frontier country and at the age of 15 started wandering, never spending more than two years in any one place. He starred in grand opera performances, worked in hay fields, drew newspaper cartoons, managed a little theater, painted fences one week and dowagers the next – in Paris, Chicago, Hollywood, Honolulu, and everywhere in between. He is most well-known for being Hawai’i’s “Poet Laureate” of the 1920s and ‘30s and is credited with creating much of Hawai’i’s allure through his poetry, columns, and art.
He loved the Hawaiian Islands lifestyle and it brought him back again and again. His Hawai’i experiences provided him with much of the material in his books from “Leaves from a Grass House” (1923) and “Vagabond’s House” (1928) to “Hawaii Says Aloha”, and the 17 volumes between.
Seven seas are to sail my ship
To the ends of the earth beyond;
Drifters’ gold is for me to spend
For I am a vagabond
– Don Blanding
The Vagabond poet captures the “spirit” of the era of our historic home perfectly. Don’s My Hawaiian Garden and Flowers of the Rainbow gave us the decorating scheme for the interiors and provided the concept for the landscape plans.
Won’t you drop in and see
This garden that belongs to me.
– Don Blanding