Mature Friends Web Site

What’s New in February
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., Feb. 8 and 22, at noon Roosters on Broadway  🍴
Dinner Out
Tue., Feb. 21, at 6:00 p.m. Robb’s 125th Street Grill 🍴
Monthly Potluck
Fri., Jan. 27, at 6:30 p.m.
Food Assignments
Odd Fellows Hall, Ballard  🍰
Wine Tasting
No tasting in Feb.
Jan. tasting of syrah/shiraz    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
Starting up in Feb.
In members’ homes 🍴
Christmas Lunch

Sat., TBD Dec. 2017, 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., Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m.
Reading Tom Spanbauer's In the City of Shy Hunters  📖
Board Meeting
Mon., Mar. 13, at 6:30 p.m.
In a board member’s home  📓
Tue., Mar. 21, at 9:30 a.m. Tiger Mountain Trails 🚶
Garden Tour
Wed., Apr. 26, time TBD
Cottage Lake Gardens  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., Feb. 1 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. Odd Fellows Hall 🃏️
Theater and Music
Aug. 18 – 22
Fourth Annual Ashland Road Trip  🎭
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 C, K, N, T, Y
Hot Dish
A, H, J, L, S
M, O, P, V
D, E, F, I, W, Z
B, G, R

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?

March Hike to the Base of Tiger Mountain

Our hike in March will be to the base of Tiger Mountain, just off the High Point Exit 20 from I-90. There are several mostly level trails in this area, with a mix of forest and lakeshore views. The woods are a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees, quite a wild feeling for being in the metropolitan area. We can explore trails with intriguing names like Bus Trail, Big Tree Trail, Wetland Trail, and Adventure Trail. A nice loop along the north shore of Tradition Lake then following trails to the west and south will bring us back to the trail head parking lot. That would be about 2.5 miles, with only modest up and down elevation changes.

To facilitate car pooling we will meet on Tuesday, March 21, at 9:30 a.m. in front of the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park. We should arrive back in Seattle around 12:30 p.m. If you wish to drive to the trail head:


  1. Driving eastbound on I-90, take Exit 20.
  2. Then turn right onto the frontage road to the gate.
  3. Continue on the road 0.4 mile to the Tradition Plateau trailhead and parking area.

Discover pass is required.

February Hike on Spencer Island

In February we hiked on Spencer Island County Park in Everett. The park is located in the Snohomish River estuary and has several miles of trails. The mix of saltwater from Possession Sound and fresh water from the Snohomish River create a unique ecosystem, making it one of the best birding spots in Puget Sound. Deer, coyote, river otter, and a host of small mammals and amphibians also inhabit the large island. The island has a dike top trail system, which provides scenic views of the wetlands, sloughs, and mountains.

We got to the island by crossing a bridge, called Jackknife Bridge, built in 1914. Originally over Ebey Slough, it was replaced in the 1950s and stored in a boatyard. After Spencer Island was publicly acquired, it was towed and placed here. We walked the loop trail on the southern part of the island. The northern end is larger, but in places the trail is covered with water due to the dike having been breached. Our hike was about 2.5 miles long, with no elevation gain.

Dale, Lee, Matt, Bruce, Brian, Dennis, Ed, Stephan, and Roger Pose on Spencer Island

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.

Dale, Roger, Keith, Brian, Ed and Harvey on the Chief Sealth Trail

Garry, Doug, Jim, Roger, Gene, Ramon, and Dale in Saint Edward State Park

Dale, Edwin, Garry, and Ramon Pause on the Boulder Garden Loop Trail

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

— 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!

Visit to Cottage Lake Gardens

As the weather starts to moderate and some plants have begun waking up, so too have the Garden Tours poked it's sleepy head above ground and looked around. The hint of a sprig has popped open to reveal the first tour of the 2017 season.

This tour will kick off with a visit to Woodinville where we'll find a hidden jewel, Cottage Lake Gardens. In April, you will find more details about this tour and the time and place to congregate as well as directions. But for now, just wet your appetite by knowing the tour will begin with tea, snacks, and a short lecture Susie Egan, who by the way has planted hundreds of trilliums. In fact, on her two-acre property, you will have the luxury of strolling along her legendary Trillium Trail.

With three years of planning and scheduling, Dr. Wott, our resident horticulturalist, has finally brought about this spectacular coup. So, you fans of the tours (and others of you who might have at least one green thumb, do not want to miss this event.

Stay tuned for details.

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.

Dedication of John Wott Way

On October 2,  2016, 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.

— 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.

Boys in the Boat UW Rowing Tour

The sensational book The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown tells the riveting story of nine University of Washington (UW) oarsmen and their quest to win the gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Here’s your chance to experience some of our local history.

Reserve your spot on a private Mature Friends University of Washington rowing tour! We will be taken through the Conibear Shell House, where the current UW crews train, and then we will walk along the water on Walla Walla road. Later, we’ll explore the old ASUW Shell House (formerly called the Canoe House), which was the World War I airplane hangar where master craftsman George Pocock built his shells.

The tour will be at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 2, and will last about 90 minutes. The tour is limited to 25 people and reservations are essential. The cost of the tour is $16.00 per person. To reserve your spot, email Jerry Paulukonis. And if you haven’t already, be sure to read The Boys in the Boat beforehand.
Accessibility Note:  The Conibear Shellhouse is accessible for those with wheelchairs or other accessibility challenges and there are restrooms in the building. The ASUW Shell House retains its rustic character and has very few places to sit or lean against and no restrooms. It also has some uneven flooring, overhanging boats at head height, and occasional dim lighting.

California Coastal Cruise, 2017

The ten-night 2017 California Coastal Cruise departs from Vancouver, B.C., on April 11. 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.

Courtney Adams from Dreamland Travel 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 Courtney Adams by e-mail or phone 206 368-2814.

Escape into Cuba, March 15, 2017

Plans are finalized for Mature Friends in Cuba beginning March 15 eight days in Cuba on an all gay tour. We depart from Seattle and arrive in Havana in time for a group dinner. Flights will most likely be on Alaska or Delta, both of which are now serving Cuba. Day 2 includes a tour of Havana with Day 3 free to explore Havana on your own. Day 4 we tour the Vinales Mountains and Villages. Day 5 is a free day, but we have requested that a tour of the coffee plantations and cattle ranches of Soroa and Terrazas be included for this day. Day 6 includes tours of the northern coast beach towns. On Day 7, you are free to explore with optional side trips available. After a farewell dinner on Day 7, we return to the Vinales Mountains for a short stop before returning to Havana and our flight back to Seattle.

Cost including airfare from Seattle is $1,962. The $1,962 pricing includes standard three-star hotels. There is an optional upgrade to four-star and five-star hotels. The four-star package is priced at $2,191, with the five-star upgrade at $2,991. The tour company is setting up a dedicated web site containing complete information. Once it goes live, Curt will include the web address in the weekly reminder e-mail. Additional information is available from Paul Harris, Legendary Journeys/Al and Chuck Travel – 800-511-5411, ext. 172.

Time goes quick, this is mid November and we only have four more weeks for the airfare guaranteed at only $499 for our March 2017 tour of Cuba. Check out the Al and Chuck Travel website, and click on the Escape to Cuba itinery for infomraotion on the trip. Additonal Information, questions, and reservations e-mail Paul Harris.


Marlyce is planning our 2017 gambling trip for late spring 2017 in Reno! We will confirm details and dates once the airline finalizes their 2017 itineraries and prices.


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.

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

This section lists local theater and music productions that might be of interest to Mature Friends.

Fourth Annual Road Trip to Ashland

August 18 through 22. [Note that the date in November’s Newsletter is incorrect]. We will  see Julius Caesar, and the  two parts of Henry IV in the intimate Thomas Theater and Shakespeare in Love adapted from the film. We will also celebrate Daedalus, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s fundraiser for AIDS, including a reading of a play appropriate to LGBT issues and a talent show produced by the company, which includes the ever popular underwear contest, where you get to stuff your donations into the underwear of the actors or crew members.

Deposit $100 check
, due ASAP or at least by the end of February, to me, Bruce B. I have filled all the rooms reserved and will need to reserve additional rooms before they fill for the season. I do have plenty of tickets.

Estimated cost $600 including four nights accommodation at the Stratford Inn (double occupancy), tickets to the four plays, the two Daedalus events, and a group dinner. You provide transportation, by car, including car pooling, or flying to nearby Medford. I can help you arrange car pools. You will pay for lodging directly to the Stratford Inn, approximately $80 per night, when you check out. Single rooms cost about the same as a double, so the single supplement will be around $300, but we can help you find a roommate for the trip or try to accommodate you in a suite for three.

— Bruce B.