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A couples’ getaway close to home

Kirkland is a vibrant, waterfront city across Lake Washington from Seattle

The scenic Marina Park in Kirkland. The Naval Memorial Foundation presented this statue in honor of military families who served. It is one of the many public works of art that dot the walkable town. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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Kirkland is the perfect destination for a one-night mini-vacation away from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), and a well-planned Saturday night stay maximizes your time and minimizes traffic.

The cute, downtown area of Kirkland is just east of Seattle and is located on the shores of Lake Washington, about an hour drive north from the base via I-5 and I-405. Lovely, waterfront parks and beaches and a walkable downtown area allow you to have a car-free weekend once you check in.

When you arrive, take some time to walk around the area and its many parks. The waterfront area is very scenic. There is such a community feel in the area, and you will find the local small businesses worth a stop.

The Pike St. Press is a cute shop selling artisan greeting cards and other paper products in the tradition of letterpress printing. Right next door is the Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery, which is the only authorized dealer in Washington for the art of Dr. Seuss.

For a snack, stop in at the Alanya Café to try some homemade Turkish pastries. The pistachio Baklava is so tasty. For wine lovers, visit the Maison DeLille Wine Lounge and try some wines from the renown Red Mountain wine region in Eastern Washington. There are a variety of wine flights available, which include two-ounce pours of three wines -- the perfect amount before checking into your hotel.

As for lodging, you can stay at the newly renovated Heathman Hotel Kirkland. The 91-room boutique hotel is very upscale, but the staff are so warm and friendly it never feels stuffy. It is in a perfect location, just steps away from restaurants, breweries, wine lounges and Marina Park. Make sure to take note of all the public art displayed throughout the hotel and in the rooms. Local artists were used as much as possible.

Within the hotel, the Hearth Kirkland restaurant and bar offer full-service dining in a refined atmosphere. At a minimum, you will want to stop by the bar for a craft cocktail. They really up the game here with a showy, smoke-infused cocktail with a surprising presentation. The simple Manhattan is elevated with house-made bitters and placed inside a dome for the smoke to work its magic. Truly a unique experience. The restaurant is unpretentious with good, comfort-style food. The whole beef rib served caveman style (complete with bone) is a sight to behold, and after 17 hours slow-cooked sous-vide style, it melts in your mouth.

Sunday morning, plan to have brunch at either Hector's -- a neighborhood favorite that has been around for 45 years and is famed for the Eggs Benedict -- or at Lynn's Bistro. The bistro's brunch is a lovely mingling of Asian and French cuisine. Each brunch item comes with fresh fruit and a basket of French pastries. Both choices are good so it can be a tough decision.

Before heading home, bring out your inner artist with a Mimosa Morning at the Canvas Paint and Sip studio. The light and airy studio provides an artist to guide you through a session during which you will learn how to create the featured painting one step at a time. Even those lacking in artistic talent will be able to produce a credible piece. If not, you can always call it "abstract."

For more information about planning your own visit to Kirkland, go to

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