Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Washington Wednesday: Kirkland

J. Smith photo - (c) 2011
Kirkland, the city just east of Seattle on the eastern shore of Lake Washington, in recent years has been called Washington's Sausalito (one of California's trendy, touristy beach towns).

On sunny days (this summer, sadly, there have been few) it just might put you in mind of a California beach town; but Kirkland's  worth a visit for what it offers, not what it is like

J. Smith photo, (C) 2011
Just take a walk along Kirkland's Lake Washington Blvd., the scent of coconut oil tanning creams wafting through the air,  the beach parks filled with sunbathers, and panoramic, spectacular views over Lake Washington of the Olympic Mountain range and the Seattle cityscape in the distance and you'll know what I mean.

Or take in a performance at the Kirkland Performance Center, visit one of its many art galleries. . .

Kirkland is a care-free, kick back and still somewhat undiscovered destination for those seeking an alternative to staying in its big city neighbor to the west, Seattle. Despite a population swell to 80,000 this year as result of an annexation, Kirkland's downtown still has a small-town feel, with art galleries, restaurants, coffee and beverage lounges and shops housed in low-rise, mid-century buildings.

Founded in 1889 by Peter Kirk, who planned to build a steel mill on the lake shore here, Kirkland is home to two luxury hotels: The Woodmark on the banks of Lake Washington at Carillon Point and The Heathman, in the heart of the downtown. For those not into hotels, there's also Loomis House B & B, one of the few remaining 1889 Victorian homes built by the Kirkland Land and  Improvement Company.
J. Smith photo, (C) 2011
The place - no matter where you go - is a walking-friendly town (dog friendly, as well, for those you who travel with your four-footed family members).   And, here are some of our recommended routes:
* The stretch of Lake Washington Blvd. between Carillon Point and downtown Kirkland. (Just under three miles round-trip.  Watch for signs along the way directing you to public pathways along the water's edge - some are tucked away behind condominiums.
* Along Lake Washington Blvd. to Marina Park, Park Lane and Central -- an art walk to find as many of its big bronze public sculptures as you can.
*Through the gardens at Heritage Park, at the corner of Central and Market Streets. (If you have the energy, continue walking north on Market to experience Kirkland’s Historic District.
* Onto the Marina Park or Carillon Point docks for some spectacular lake and Seattle cityscape views.
* Tired of walking?  Rest up in one of the lakefront parks.
If You Go:

Kirkland is just east of Seattle, (20 miles north of SeaTac) and can be reached by using public transit.  King County METRO provides a free trip planner or call, 206-553-3000, to help you plan your route.  Taxis are also available.

Explore Kirkland, web site provides information about upcoming events, accommodations and entertainment.

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