Mature Friends Web Site

What’s New in September
Mailing Address:
Mature Friends
PO Box 21203, Seattle, WA 98111-3203

Every month, Mature Friends publishes the newsletter with updates on our activities. So, here is what we're up to this month, such as traveling (both locally and internationally), attending arts events, playing bridge or pinochle, reading and discussing books, making investments, touring gardens, taking walks and going on hikes, choosing among many options for dinners and lunches, cooking, and tasting fine wines from our own state, from other states, and from around the world.


Goings On

Please click on underlined area for additional information.

Eating Date and Time Where
Lunches Out
Wed., Oct. 12 and 26, at noon Charlie’s on Broadway  🍴
Dinner Out
Tue., Oct. 18, at 6:00 p.m. Robb’s 125th Street Grill  🍴
Monthly Potluck
Fri., Oct. 28, at 6:30 p.m.,
Food Assignments
Odd Fellows Hall, Ballard   🍰
Wine Tasting
No tasting in Oct.
Last month: Grenache (Garnacha-Spain)    wine
Annual Banquet
Sat., June TBD, 2017, at 6:00 p.m.
Womens’ Athletic Club  🍴
Annual Picnic
Sat., Aug. TBD, 2017, at noon
Magnuson Park  🎄
Dinner for Six
Determined by participants In members’ homes  🍴
Christmas Lunch
Sat., Dec. 17, at noon
Robb’s 125th Street Grill  🍴
Playing Date and Time Where
A Better Club for Investing
Time and place TBD
Determined by leader Ray  📈
Book Club
Tue., Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m.
Discussing Edmund White’s memoir, City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and 1970s  📖
Board Meeting
Mon., Oct. 10, at 7:00 p.m.
In a board member’s home  📓
Tue., Oct. 18, at 9:30 a.m. Boulder Garden Loop Trail  🚶
Garden Tour
Apr. TBD, 2017
Gone Dormant Till Spring  flower
Travel and Events
Various trips, foreign and domestic
Check our destinations   ✈️
Bridge Club*
Every Wed. at 7:00 p.m. Odd Fellows Hall  🃏
Pinochle Club*
Wed., Oct. 5 and 19, at 7:30 p.m. Odd Fellows Hall  🃏
Theater and Music
Oct. 10, 11, and 12
Three Penny Opera  🃏
Exercise Group*
Every Wed. at 10:00 a.m. Odd Fellows Hall  💃

* The fees for Bridge Club are $4.00 per night for members (who pay an annual fee of $40.00 to join the club) and $5.00 for nonmembers.

* The fee for Pinochle is $4.00 per night for members and for nonmembers.

* The fee for exercise is $6.00 per month, only $1.50 per week and when there are five weeks to a month, the fifth week is free. Nonmember guests are welcome for the first week, but then must join Mature Friends and pay the $6.00 monthly fee thereafter.


Potluck Contributions

On the last Friday of most months, the membership meets for a big potluck at the Odd Fellows Hall in Ballard.

Each member is assigned a type of dish to bring based on the initial of the member's last name.

If you bring a vegan or vegetarian dish, please label it as such.

Plan for all dishes to serve 6-to-8 people.

Dish to Bring Initial of Last Name
Appetizer1 K, L, M, V
Hot Dish
C, E, H, J, T, W
A, D, F, G, Z
I, N, O, P, R, S

1 For those assigned to bring an appetizer, please arrive early.



Once a month, our hike leader takes a group on a day hike through some beautiful territory. If the hike leads the group out of town and you share a ride, expect to chip in a few dollars to the driver for gas. Also, the group sometimes brown bags it for lunch along the trail. Other than that, this activity is an invigorating, frugal day’s entertainment. So, why not join us on the next hike?

October Hike to Boulder Garden Loop Trail

Our October hike will be along the Boulder Garden Loop Trail near North Bend. This is a walk in lowland forest with large boulders along the way. The trail is a 2.5-mile, well-maintained loop through the forests on the south side of Little Si. Near the trailhead is an uphill section with a couple of switchbacks but it quickly levels off. You might get a glimpse of Rattlesnake Mountain on a clear day. The trail winds gradually uphill on an old road for a ways, and then becomes a narrower hiker trail. Toward the top of the loop is a group of boulders and a granite wall that will make a nice lunch spot. Then we begin a somewhat steeper downhill segment that leads us back to the parking lot. The hike has an 800-foot elevation gain, similar to the other hikes we have done in recent months.

We will meet at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 18, at the Seattle Asian Art Museum parking lot in Volunteer Park. Car pool riders share the cost. Bring a lunch and water. We will arrive back in Seattle by 3:30 p.m. A Discover Pass is required at the trail head parking area. If you wish to meet us at the trail head, we will arrive at around 10:30.


  1. Head east on I-90 to exit 32 (436th Avenue SE).
  2. Turn left (north) over the freeway and drive 0.5 mile to North Bend Way.
  3. Turn left (west), and in 0.25 mile turn right (north) on Mount Si Road.
  4. Shortly after crossing the bridge, the road banks right.
  5. Just after this curve, look for a paved parking area on the left side of the road.

If the lot is full there is overflow parking just west of the main lot.

Last Month’s Hike to Sultan River Canyon Trail

In September we hiked the Sultan River Canyon Trail, north of Highway 2, near Sultan, Washington. This trail was built two years ago so it is in good condition, with a gravel surface on the trail where needed. The first part of this hike is on a gravel road, but cars are not allowed so it a quiet walk in the woods. At the one-mile point, we turned onto the hiker trail down the canyon to the river.

It was a nice change from most trails in that you descend first, as you head down to the Sultan River, and then you climb back out as you return. After going down the canyon on some switchbacks the trail levels out through lowland forest. The trail ends at the banks of the Sultan River, in a place where the water is relatively calm. There are some small rapids, and an imposing canyon wall on the other side of the river, good spot to enjoy a sack lunch. The hike is four miles round trip, with about an 800-foot elevation change, about the same as the other hikes we have done in recent months. As a bonus we saw beautiful Spada Lake at the trail head area.

Sultan River Trail

Brian, Doug, Roger, Jim, and Dale Hiking the Sultan RiverTrail

Here are some photos of this hike taken by Jim.

Snapshots from Some of Our Previous Hikes

Our hikers posed with beautiful backdrops from some of our past treks. The following pictures show some examples.

Edwin, Gene, Brian, Jim, Dale, Garry, Ramon, Doug, and Keith (with Elmo) Hiking the Source Lake Trail

Dale, Jerry, Edwin, Garry, Jim, Doug, David, Tim, Brian, Ramon, and Gene on Iron Goat Trail, accompanied by Doug’s dog Taz, an Australian Shepherd

Dale, David, Tim, Edwin, Ramon, Brian, Jerry, Jim, Gene, Gary, and Doug on Trail to Talapus Lake

— Dale J.


Garden Tours

This wildly popular takes you on tours of beautiful gardens in the Seattle and greater Seattle area. Led by our resident hoticulturalist, Dr. John Wott, you see a variety of plants, flowers, and shrubs. So, if you like plants and gardens or if you're just interested to learn a little about hoticulture, come join us!

Dedication of John Wott Way

On October 2,  about 200 people gathered in the University of Washington Arboretum to honor Dr. Wott by helping dedicate a path forever to be known as John Wott Way.

Two Garden Tours Conclude the Season

On September 12, the 2016 season for the Mature Friends Garden Tours ended in spectacular fashion with a visit to two different kinds of gardens in the Kenmore/Bothell area.

Garden Group

Ever Popular Garden Tours, September's Group of Thirty-three

We met first at the home and garden of Joseph Abken and Nickolas Gatlin. Joseph is the manager of Sky Nursery, N. Aurora Street in Shoreline.

Joseph Abken


Joseph has a unique ability to combine color, texture and design in a home and garden. We began the tour as the public now views the property from the street entrance. They purchased this run-down, foreclosed property about six years ago and set about remodeling the house as well as removing trashy plants and brambles. They built fences, added eclectic planting beds, constructed a deer-proof vegetable garden, a fire pit, and made the garden friendly for their dogs and chickens, reminiscent of Joseph’s rural Washington roots. They most recently acquired a herd of goats to clean a dense bramble patch.

There were a large number of unique plants in the garden, hardy shefflera, Chinese dogwoods in fruit, coneflowers, hydrangeas, as well as luscious tomatoes.

After visting the first garden, we journeyed about five miles to the McMenimens - Anderson School in Bothell. McMenimens has developed over sixty historic properties in Oregon and Washington, turning them into exclusive hotels, bars, restaurants, and destinations. They are also known for their extensive plantings, which enhance both the inside and outside of the facilities.

Built in 1931 as Bothell Junior High and later renamed after the school's first principal, Wilbert A. "Andy" Anderson, the art-deco-style Anderson School and its surrounding buildings occupy five acres. We began our walk at the north entrance which leads to the old school building which is now the hotel. We were met by Riz Reyes, horticulturist. Many will remember Riz from previous tours at the Center for Urban Horticulture and a Magnolia garden he manages. He was also Dr. Wott's private gardener for six years previously.

Riz and John

Riz and John

The areas around the current complex of 6 buildings have very specific kinds of plantings, a design technique McMeminmens uses in most of their establishments.  We first viewed a developing meadow. Next we wandered around the old school where Riz explained how they rushed to get plantings established for the grand opening just a year ago.

We continued in and through several patio areas where a number of participants decided to rest and observe the beautiful planters. There is also a vegetable garden, which Riz encourages the chiefs to feature in their menus. The corporate management encourages Riz to use one-of-a-kind and unusual plants, for example, an unusual hibiscus, We finished our tour in the tropical garden, where we saw bananas transplanted from Dr. Wott’s garden outside the entrance to the beautiful indoor swimming pool.

When we finished touring the garden, we partook of the offerings in the establishment. We discovered everything from The Woodshop to the North Shore Lagoon, where a South Seas pub. There are three restaurants and three small bars to choose from, depending on whether you want lunch or just relax and enjoy a drink. If you choose to drink and don’t want to drive, never fear because the art-deco school building now features classrooms turned into hotel rooms. As for Dr. Wott, he ordered a large blueberry iced cider.

Dormant till April

And with those spectacular gardens, the Garden Tours have gone dormant until April 2017. Enjoy your winter, and we look forward to seeing you on next year's set of tours.

Garden Visit to Woodinville Garden on Hottest Day

In August, twenty-five members braved the near 90-degree temperature to tour a 40-year labor of love in creating a garden of plant delights on an acre plus.

group 1group 2

The garden is carved in the middle of a Western red cedar forest. The owners, Doyle and Janet Watson (second from right), spend most of their days working in the garden. They are now joined by youngest son Justin (conducting a plant walk in this picture), who lives in Seattle, but spends a least one or two days a week introducing new plants and caring for the garden. Justin is a young man, who has never met a plant he did not like nor covet.

Clematis Climbing Tree

Janet Watson Addressing the Group

Rare Conifers

Very Rare Variegated Dogwood

We snuggled our cars into the circular drive and immediately were met by the family who were eagerly passing out cold bottles of water as well as bidding us welcome. We gathered in the front garden where Justin told us about the garden history, indicating that we were one of the first large groups to ever visit.

Justin then began to methodically lead us around the garden beginning on the shady east side, stopping every foot or two to identify and explain a special plant. It is apparent that he takes great pride in securing as many new and different plants as possible.

Day Lilies

Dark Red Amarnth

Purple Clematis

Since the group was large, many also interacted with the parents, who also eagerly dispersed answers to all questions. The list of individual plants is immense. The garden showcases nearly 60 different hydrangeas, many which still exhibited their unusual flower characteristics, such as this very unusual pictoee hydrangea and blue mophead hydrangea. The garden is also home to nearly 160 different named Japanese maples, and we are all invited back to see the vivid display of fall colors.
There are also numerous beds highlighting groups of plants, something which would provide a change of emphasis every few weeks. We were lucky that the towering conifers afforded some shade from the sweltering heat, so the hour long walk was pleasant. The group seemed intent on asking many individual questions, which all three family members answered enthusiastically. There were two large stumps from old growth trees harvested over a century ago. One is the base of a 10- foot high viewing stand. Justin claims he counted nearly 300 growth rings on it.

Garden View with Little Red Barn

The most recent addition is a small red frame one-room schoolhouse, with memorabilia from the one-room school in North Dakota which Janet attended. We concluded the tour on the patio surrounded by colorful roses, with plenty of cookies, and cold water to refresh our souls before we embarked homeward. Many remarked how they enjoyed the contrast between the gardens on the two last tours.

— Dr. John Wott

The Guru

Back to "Goings On"

Travel and Events

This section tells you all about recent or upcoming trips planned for Mature Friends. Everybody who has gone on one of these trips has had a great time and was well taken care of. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up and join the fun!

Note: To travel with us, you must first join the club.

Fran’s Chocolate Factory Tour

Mark Tuesday, October 4, at 11:00 a.m. on your calendar for a Mature Friends tour of the Fran’s Chocolate Factory in Georgetown!  

If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up to join the Mature Friends tour of Fran’s Chocolate Factory in Georgetown. There are only a few spaces left. The tour is Tuesday, October 4, at 11:00 a.m. The hour-long tour will show us how Fran’s creates their delectable chocolates, truffles, and sauces.

There will be plenty of samples to taste, and the factory also has a store where we can purchase chocolates to take home. The cost is $10.00 per person. Afterwards, there are several nearby restaurants where we can enjoy lunch. For those who wish to, we can explore the neighborhood afterwards. The area has noteworthy repurposed factory architecture, a brewery, and several collectibles shops and vintage stores.

To sign up, and for further information, contact board member Jerry P.

Shades of Ireland, September 28 – October 10

Several Mature Friends are now well into this thirteen-day tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland. They began the tour in Dublin, where they visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the historic city center.

On Day 4, they're off to medieval Kilkenny with a stop at the House of Waterford Crystal.

On Day 5, they will the opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone before traveling along the Ring of Kerry-Killarney with an overnight in Killarney. The next day, they will continue to Ennistymon, Cliffs of Moher, and Galway, where they will stay overnight in a nineteenth-century estate.

On Day 8, they will stop overnight at Lough Eske Castle. The next day, they take off for DerryBelfast.

After they return to Seattle on October 10 and recover from jet lag, I hope they will download some pictures and stories to share with you on this web site.

California Coastal Cruise, 2017

The ten-night 2017 California Coastal Cruise departs from Vancouver, B.C., on April 11, 2017. Departing at 4:30 p.m., we have two days at sea before arriving in Los Angeles, followed by a day on Catalina Island. After Catalina, we depart for Santa Barbara, with an overnight stay in San Fancisco before two more days at sea, arriving back in Vancouver the morning of April 21.

Linda from Cruiseworld will be working on round-trip train transportation between Seattle and Vancouver. Cruise fares range from $1,099.00 to $1,649.00, based on double occupancy, with the cost for third and fourth persons in a room ranging from $548.00 to $824.00. These fares do not include the $225.00 taxes or the cost of the train. Cruise registration is open with complete details coming in later newsletters.

Contact Linda Lane by e-mail or phone (206) 284-0500.

Future Trips

Check out our future travel plans.

Cuba, 2017

Last month I asked for feedback on two potential Cuba itineraries. With only three respondents, the land tour won. We are waiting for the tour company to provide pricing from Seattle and will have full details next month. For March 2017 departures, the price from Miami is $1,099.00 per person, with a third person per room at $899.00 per person. The base price does not include a $99.00 government tax or travel insurance.

Itinerary includes Havana, Vinales Mountains and Villages, Mantanzas and the northern coast. On the 2 days at leisure, optional side trips to the cattle and coffee plantations and Cienaga de Zapata on the western portion of the island are available.

Other 2017 Travel Plans

Marlyce will be planning our 2017 gambling trip for late spring 2017 and Bruce B. has already announced Ashland for 2017. Possible fall trips include 12 days in Panama that includes a 3 day crossing of the Panama Canal on a catamaran or cruise from Boston through the St. Law-rence Seaway.

Do you have a dream destination that you would like the committee to consider? If so, please let the travel committee know. So far, members have suggested an African safari, tour of Iceland, and a riverboat cruise up the Columbia River. We are also looking into a wine tasting tour of Central Washington for summer 2016.

Past Trips and Events

If you missed some of the trips organized by Mature Friends, you might be interested in reading about what you missed. Or if you went on any of these wonderful trips, you might be interested in reliving the fun and adventure. If so, this section is for you!

Sail Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain Sailing Ships

Avast, ye buccaneers! Last summer, our evening sailing on the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain got canceled because of a heavy rain and lightning storm that struck just before our sailing time. This year we tried again.

The three-hour cruise on Lake Washington in reproductions of eighteenth-century sailing ships features booming cannons, close quarter maneuvers, and the singing of sea shanties. Both ships have appeared in numerous movies and television shows. The ships will sailed on Saturday, September 3, at 2:00 p.m. from the docks at Carillon Point in Kirkland.

But don’t take my word for it. Read all about it and check out the pictures!

— President Bruce

The Cruise to Nowhere, September 16 – 23

The famous Cruise to Nowhere (actually it went somewhere) departed from Seattle with a one-day stop in Astoria, Oregon, then for two days in San Francisco, and finally one day in ., before returning to Seattle. This voyage consisted of a full seven-day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas with no airfare required.

Stay tuned for a write-up of  this relaxing trip. But in the meantime, take a look at the previous Cruise to Nowhere.

Rome and Tuscany, April 23 – May 8, 2016

This trip began with a week in Rome. We spent a week in the Eternal City with a gay guide escorting us to the major tourist sights, including ancient, renaissance, and contemporary Rome.

We spent the second week at a private villa in Montisi, a small hill town in southern Tuscany. Day trips took us to Siena, the wine towns of Montepulciano, Montalcino (home of Brunello wine), Assisi, Pienza, Chiusi (Etruscan sites), Orvieto, the antique fair in Arezzo, and Monte Olivetti Maggiore (a major abbey with a large collection of frescoes by the Renaissance painter Sodoma).

The fabulous trip concluded with a day in Florence. Some travelers extended their tour for a day or more in Florence.

Weekend in Texas, October 30 – November 1

On Friday, October 30, nine Mature Friends flew on Alaska Airlines nonstop to San Antonio. We spent a great time in this beautiful city over Day of the Dead (Halloween) weekend, staying at the traditional El Tropicano River Walk Hotel right on the banks of the famous River Walk.

Daily high temperatures hovered around 75º with cloudy and clear skies. San Antonio is a popular convention town and the most visited city in Texas. It has the Alamo, an easily walkable downtown with several museums, and an amazing San Antonio River, which meanders for miles and on which quiet tour boats glide. Great restaurant terraces line the route from which you can watch the lighted boats pass and hear Mariachi and jazz quietly echoing up the canyon. The natural ambiance is romantic and real. And remember the Alamo!

The Alamo

We spent a low-stress weekend touring the city mainly on the hop-on-hop-off sight-seeing bus. Some in our group had booked a Halloween dinner cruise on the San Antonio River, but at the last minute the cruise got canceled due to heavy rains. Undaunted, the dinner guests got re-booked into a fine restaurant on the River Walk. Others of us went off on our own and also experienced fine dining on the River Walk. Two went to Landry’s Seafood and sat outside by the river. When the rain started, everybody scampered indoors . . . all except for two of us, who decided to stay put when the staff erected an umbrella over us.

Aside from the great food and beautiful scenery along the river banks, we enjoyed touring the Alamo, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Tower of the Americas, La Villita, the Spanish Governor’s Palace, the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, as well as many more sights. We could have spent a week and seen something new every day.

We flew home on Sunday evening after a full day of last-minute of sight-seeing. Everybody had a great time. Thank you, Jerry and Bob, for organizing this relaxing, enjoyable long weekend in Texas.

Reno Gambling Trip

Twenty-one people took off for our annual gambling trip on May 12. The package included round-trip airfare and accommodations at the El Dorado Resort Casino. We arrived in Reno shortly after 5:00 p.m., just in time for cocktail hour in the Roxy bar.

But to get the full story, come on and click the link and see some pictures of this relaxing three-day excursion.

Reno Or Bust!

Grand Tour of China

In April 2014, about twenty Mature Friends set off for an adventure of a lifetime — touring China! To read about the trip, all we did, all we saw, please click the link:

Tour of China

And enjoy the pictures, too!

Spain and France

On October 12, 2014, twenty-four Mature Friends took off for Madrid, where they began a two-week tour of Northern Spain and Southern France. Please click the following link to see some of the sights they saw:

Tour of Spain and Southern France

Don't forget to click the links in the story to see some pictures.

Costa Rica

On February 14, 2015, some adventurous Mature Friends took a short winter’s break in a land down south to soak up some warm weather and fine culture, as well as to see incredibly beautiful and fascinating sights. If you missed the tour or have an interest in what we did and what we saw, just click the link below for a description, written by Dan, one of the Mature Friends on the trip. Also, click the links in the write-up to see more:

Tour of Costa Rica

Cruise Down the Asian Coast

At the beginning of the Year of the Dragon, several Mature Friends took a cruise down the East Coast of Asia. We began in Hong Kong and ended up in Singapore. As with the tour of China, we saw several incredible sites, but without the hassle of unpacking and repacking, because our Holland-America ship acted as our home base. Check out this great cruise:

Cruise Down the Asian Coast

Cruise to Alaska

On April 29, a few Mature Friends set off on a short cruise off the Alaskan coast to Ketchican. Everybody had a great time, as usual on a Mature Friends' voyage. Check out some of the pictures of this relaxing trip.


Theater and Music

Tune in to this section to find out theater and music goings-on that often contain gay themes, but not always. Nothing scheduled for this month.

Theater Recommendations

For those Mature Friends who enjoy live theater, one of the best opportunities to see large-scale plays and musicals at a fraction of the usual ticket price is through the National Theatre of London’s “National Theatre Live” program. The “NTLive” program broadcasts live performances of many of their plays and musicals to over 2,000 cinemas around the world. In Seattle, these broadcasts are shown at the two Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) theaters – the SIFF Uptown Theater on Queen Anne Avenue and the SIFF Film Center, located near the Seattle Rep.

I had the pleasure of seeing the Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill musical play “The Threepenny Opera” last night during the live simulcast. It was a marvelous production and I can highly recommend it to both those familiar with this work and those, for whom this might be a new theater experience. Fortunately, it is receiving three encore performances on October 10, 11, and 12 – each performance starting at 6:30 p.m. at the SIFF Uptown Theater. Tickets are $15.00 for SIFF members and $20.00 for non-members.

This is a new adaptation of the 1928 musical play and, while staying true to the source material, has many timely points to make. The original Brecht/Weill musical is, in turn, based on a late-nineteeth-century play, “The Beggars’ Opera,” set in Victorian London. This new adaptation stays true to the time periods of both – set in Victorian London but with a definite 1920s “German Expressionism” flavor to the set design, costumes, and lighting.

The casting is wonderful – gender-fluid, color-blind, cross-dressing, and, in a first (for me), included an actor with cerebral palsy to whom some of the funniest lines are given. Much of the time, he is difficult to understand (natural or an acting artifice, I’m not sure) but is perfectly clear when hurling insults using language that would make a harlot blush. It should be noted that very coarse language is peppered throughout the play.

This production is top-notch on all levels – acting, singing, production values, and direction. It’s fun to hear old standards like “Mack the Knife” and “Surabaya Johnny” in their original context.

The broadcast, which includes introductory interviews and filmed material during the 20-minute intermission, runs about three hours overall. We were back out on the street humming “Mack the Knife” by 9:30.

Three Penny Opera Web Site
Also coming in the SIFF Stage to Screen are: “Frankenstein” with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller trading roles as Dr. Frankenstein and “The Monster” on alternate nights and “Hamlet” also with Benedict Cumberbatch. Future broadcasts also include “The Entertainer”and “War Horse.”