Free ‘Ohana Night offers look at a Grove Farm Christmas

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    From left, Paula Rosa, Connie Amorin and Harold Amorin decorate the Norfolk Friday in preparation for the free ‘Ohana Night at Grove Farm Museum in Lihu‘e.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Paula Rosa admires one of the lit candles decorating the Norfolk Friday while setting up for the free ‘Ohana Night at Grove Farm Museum.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Paula Rosa stokes the fire on the wood-burning stove before checking on the baking cookies Friday while preparing for the free ‘Ohana Night at Grove Farm Museum in Lihu‘e.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Paula Rosa pulls out a tray of Grove Farm ice box cookies from the wood-burning stove Friday while preparing for the free ‘Ohana Night at Grove Farm Museum in Lihu‘e.

LIHU‘E — Harold Rosa said the birthday candles are small compared with the candles used to decorate the Norfolk pine Friday at the Grove Farm Museum parlor.

“These are the same candles Mabel Wilcox used,” Rosa said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do when they burn out. They’re bigger than birthday candles.”

Harold and Paula Rosa and Connie Amorin were setting up the Grove Farm Museum parlor in preparation for the free ‘Ohana Christmas Night Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.

“There will be mini tours through the main house,” said Paula Rosa, whose nose was alert to the baking batch of Grove Farm ice box cookies. “There will be hot chocolate for everyone, and the cookies, along with several items from the gift shop, will be available to purchase.”

When the final touches are done, the museum will be transported back to Christmases celebrated by Mabel Wilcox, Elsie Wilcox, Ethel Damon and Helen Lyman.

“Even the Norfolk pine came from the property,” Harold Rosa said. “The decorations, down to the icicles in their original box, all belonged to Miss Mabel.”

The Norfolk forms the centerpiece in the Grove Farm Museum, and other decorations from Christmases past will come out of storage for seasonal display.

Paula Rosa was called away to tend to a batch of cookies, being summoned by the unique aroma generated by the morsels created from Mabel Wilcox’s original recipe and being cooked in a wood-burning stove.

The cookie process goes back to the days of Mabel Wilcox, said Paula Rosa as she stoked the fire before unlatching the oven and pulling out a tray of cookies.

“They’re not as thick as it used to be,” she said. “People were having a hard time eating them, so we made them thinner, more like crackers.”

The cookies were smartly scraped onto a layer of paper and set under the window to cool before being packed.

“We still use the waxed paper in the cover,” she said. “This helps keep the cookies fresh for a long time, even those that are packaged. We have one bottle for the tours, one bottle for packaging, and one bottle burnt.”

The Grove Farm Museum and Waioli Mission House have re-opened to tours following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reservations are required for the tours that reflect the world as it turns in the world of the pandemic. This means face masks must be worn and social distancing of six feet apart after getting temperatures taken.

Grove Farm Museum tours are offered on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., with a maximum of four guests per group.

Tours at the Waioli Mission House are offered on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. by reservations.

Information and registration at


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