While we love visiting new cities, we also like to spend time exploring the suburbs to get a better feel for the local culture and more access to nature. On a recent trip to Seattle we decided to spend a day in Kirkland, a suburb on the eastside of Lake Washington less than a 30 minute drive from downtown.
We chose Kirkland for a day trip because it offered everything we were looking to experience; farm to table restaurants, luxurious spas and an easily accessible waterfront area.
What to Do:
Visit Marina Park
On the day we arrived, this waterfront park was bustling with preparations for the annual event, “Kirkland Uncorked”, a weekend-long summer food and wine festival.
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An over-21 tasting garden for wine and a street fair featuring gourmet food and local crafts were the highlights of the event.
Though the area was busier than normal, it was great to walk around the docks with our two year old and admire the boats and the beautiful lakefront scenery. A local resident mentioned this was one of her favorite spots for spending quality time in the evenings with her son.
Take a Sightseeing Cruise
The 90minute Kirkland Lakes Tour by Argosy Cruises is great way to learn about the different neighborhoods and get spectacular views of the area’s attractions. Just seeing Mount Rainer glistening in sunlight made this tour worthwhile.
What made this tour so enjoyable was the very knowledgeable tour guide who gave us a great commentary throughout with local anecdotes. As we went past the affluent neighborhood where Bill Gates grewup, she told us how his rise to success is seen as a ‘millionaire to billionaire’ story by the locals.
The guide pointed out homes of millionaires along what has been dubbed as the CEO row for the large number of homes belonging to executives of Fortune 500 companies. The style of these homes is referred to as “knocked down architecture” as previous buildings have been “knocked out” to build these structures.
The Huskies stadium and 520 Bridge which is the longest floating bridge in the world are two other noteworthy attractions. We really enjoy sightseeing cruises of this type as it gives us a different perspective to the sights we see by land.
Indulge at the Spa
The Still Spa located the Woodmark Hotel provided me with the escape and relaxation that I was craving after a late night flight with our
toddler. I arrived for my scheduled massage and was shown to the changing room by a lovely assistant who set me up with a comfortable robe and slippers.
As I waited at the calming lounge with low lighting, munching on delicious chocolate covered strawberries, I began to feel myself unwind even before the treatment began.
I really enjoyed the deep tissue massage and the masseuse took my direction to focus more on my lower back. If you come here for treatment make sure to book in advance and leave extra time to enjoy the lounge.
Where to Eat
We had dinner at Trellis Restaurant, a farm to table restaurant at the Heathman Hotel in downtown Kirkland. The menu consists of produce from the local farm of Chef Brian Scheehser who practices sustainable farming.
Wait till you listen to the day’s specials before you decide on what to order. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity taste freshly caught salmon which was one of the specials of the day. It was cooked to perfection with a blend of shredded apple flavoring.
The menu also boasts of an extensive dessert list. The flan, one of my favorite desserts, had an unsual lemon flavor. It was great example of how Chef Scheehner can give any dish his own twist.
Trellis was the ideal way to experience the local culinary scene in a sophisticated setting.
Where to Stay
Had we decided on a longer trip there were two hotels that I would have love to stay at. We were lucky to get a taste for these properties during our day trip.
The Woodmark Hotel Yacht Club & Spa, is a beautiful property bordering Lake Washington. The former shipyard building is now a luxury hotel with special weekend packages for families with outdoor excursions including lake cruising and berry picking.
Located downtown, The Heathman Hotel is an upscale boutique hotel. The hotel is walking distance to many attractions like The Kirkland Arts Center, Marina and Heritage Parks.