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.
Please click on underlined area for additional information.
Eating Date and Time Where Lunches Out
Wed., Apr. 12 and 26, at noon Roosters on Broadway 🍴
Tue., Apr. 18, at 6:00 p.m. Robb’s 125th Street Grill 🍴
Sat., Apr. 22, at 6:00 p.m.
Wallingford Community Senior Center 🍰 Wine Tasting
Mon., May 15, at 7:00 p.m.
Dry German white wines
Sat., June 17, at 6:00 p.m.
Womens’ University Club 🍴
Sat., Aug. 12, at noon
Woodland Park 🎄
Dinner for Six
Once a month in rotation
In members’ homes 🍴 Christmas Lunch
Sat., Dec. 16, at noon
Robb’s 125th Street Grill 🍴
Playing Date and Time Where A Better Club for Investing
Sun., Apr. 2, at 5:00 p.m.
Contact club leader Ray 📈 Book Club
Tue., Apr. 18, at 7:30 p.m.
In a member’s home
Selection: Edmund White’s Hotel de Dream 📖
Mon., Apr. 10, at 6:30 p.m.
In a board member’s home 📓 Walk/Hike
Tue., Apr. 18, at 9:30 a.m. Lime Kiln Trail 🚶
Sat., Apr. 8, at 1:00 p.m.
Wed., Apr. 26, at 10:00 a.m.
Good Shepherd Center Garden
Cottage Lake Garden
Travel and Events
Various trips, foreign and domestic
Check our destinations ✈️
Every Wed. at 7:00 p.m. Wallingford Community Senior Center 🃏
Wed., Apr. 5 and 19, at 7:30 p.m. Wallingford Community Senior Center 🃏️
Theater and Music
Aug. 18 – 22
Fourth Annual Ashland Road Trip 🎭 Exercise Group*
Every Wed. at 10:00 a.m.
(Temporarily suspended while searching for a new leader)
Wallingford Community Senior Center 💃
* 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.
On the last Friday of most months, the membership meets for a big potluck at the Wallingford Community Senior Center.
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 B, F, I, O
K, P, R, T, W
D, G, L
C, H, J, N
A, E, M, S, V, Y, Z
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?
April Hike along Lime Kiln TrailOur April hike will be along the Lime Kiln Trail, just outside Granite Falls. The Lime Kiln Trail is a lovely hike, with lots of moss and railroad artifacts. The trail follows part of the Everett & Monte Cristo railroad grade and features gurgling creeks, an historic lime kiln, and a walk down to the banks of the roaring Stillaguamish River.
The trail was constructed a few years ago by Snohomish County with help from Volunteers for Outdoor Washington, and it is now part of Robe Canyon Historic Park. The old railroad was built in 1892 and serviced the mines until 1920 and the logging industry until 1934. Since most of the hike is along a railroad grade there is only moderate elevation gain.
We will meet at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 18, at the north end of Northgate Shopping Center, just off Northgate Way, in front of the Bank of America building. Bring a lunch and water. Car pool riders share the cost. We will arrive back in Seattle by 3:00 p.m.
March Hike to the Base of Tiger MountainOur hike in March began at 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 explored 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 brought us back to the trail-head parking lot. That hike was about 2.5 miles, with only modest up and down elevation changes.
If you go, bring your Discover pass. It 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 ToursThis wildly popular activity takes you on tours of beautiful gardens in the Seattle and greater Seattle area. Led by our resident horticulturalist, 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 horticulture, come join us!
Two Garden Tours in April
If you love plants and flowers, you’re in luck. Our garden guru, Dr. Wott, has scheduled a tour of the gardens of the Good Shepherd Center on April 8 and a tour of Cottage Lake Garden on April 26.
Good Shepherd Center Gardens
Past President John Chaney, former executive director of Historic Seattle, has found an interesting tour for the Garden geeks through Historic Seattle. It is a tour of the grounds and gardens of the Good Shepherd Center, where we will soon be meeting. Since the April Cottage Lake Garden Tour is limited to twenty people, members may opt to attend one or both.
This tour will be held on Saturday, April 8, at 1:00 p.m. It does require registration, the sooner the better.
The site also lists a fall tour. Dr. John Wott suggests that since this is our new “club house,” he hopes that members might connect to the site and gardens. As the Executive Director for fifteen years, he supported the development of the huge variety of materials and is excited for us to enjoy it.
Note: Unfortunately, the site now indicates that the April 8 tour is sold out.
Visit to Cottage Lake Garden
As the weather starts to moderate and some plants have begun waking up, so too has the first Garden Tour of 2017 poked its sleepy head above ground and looked around. The hint of a sprig has popped open to reveal the first tour of the 2017 season.
The April Garden tour kicks off with a visit the Cottage Lake Gardens in Woodinville, Washington, on Wednesday, April 26, 2017. This world-renowned garden has trilliums from around the world. Its owner, Susie Egan has spent years collecting and planting the garden. It was closed for renovation last year and she is still revamping garden beds and trails.
The program begins promptly at 10:00 a.m. with a tea in the house serving pastries, coffee, and, of course, tea. It will conclude at 1:00 p.m. Then Susie will give a PowerPoint talk on trilliums, followed by a tour of the garden with over 2500 trilliums. They have all fifty-plus of the world’s trillium species planted in the garden. Some species bloom early, others late and everything else in between.
“This year everything seems to be about a month late,” she says. “We are colder than where you are in Seattle. So, we will see the earlier blooming trilliums and buds on the later bloomers.”
At the end of the tour guests can buy trilliums (and trillium companion plants) to take home with them, if they wish.
This garden is booked almost every day, and Susie gave us this special day. The program is absolutely limited to twenty people, me included. So, I will take names and conduct a lottery if more than twenty indicate an interest. There is a $20.00 non-refundable fee, which I will collect.
If you are interested, I need your name absolutely by midnight of April 12, 2017. I will put the names in a hat and have someone draw them out. Then I will notify the winners. There is no possibility I can add the rest of you, sorry. All her tour dates fill within hours. For those select, I will send you the directions.
I have a few names already but will reconfirm your interest in early April.
— Dr. John Wott, Tour Organizer, Leader, and Expert Horticulturalist
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 California Coastal Cruise departs from Vancouver, B.C., on April 11. Sailing 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 has been working on round-trip train transportation between Seattle and Vancouver. But she informs me that this trip is now closed.
Escape into Cuba
Five Mature Friends took off on March 15 for Cuba on an all gay tour with seven days in Cuba. They departed from Seattle and arrived in Havana in time for a group dinner.
The tour included a bus overview trip around the city and visits to a rum-bottling facility and a tobacco farm to see the cigar-making process. We also saw the unique mountains and caves in Vinales National Park. The highlights, though, were the explorations of the city we did on our own.
We saw the beautifully renovated plazas and streets in Old Havana (a UNESCO Heritage Site), strolled along the Malecon with hundreds of cell phone-toting Cubans, saw various museums, and reveled in the joy of riding in 1940s and 1950s vintage American car taxis. We all thoroughly enjoyed one another’s company, and it was a trip we will long remember.
Our resident gambling tour arranger Marlyce was unable to secure ten people for her final annual gambling trip to qualify for the discount package of airfare, hotel, and show offered through the airline. Marlyce and several members have made their own reservations to meet in Reno May 30 through June 2. You are invited to make your own reservation and join the fun in Reno.
Contact Marlyce for hotel information and about available shows. Thank you Marlyce for the many years of service to the club as the sponsor of the annual gambling trip. We are looking for someone who wants to coordinate future gambling trips so this Mature Friends tradition does not fade away.
We all had a great time the last time we flew down to Reno. Read about that trip here.
Iceland and Eastern Europe
I proposed two fall itineraries in the last newsletter: Iceland and Prague, Vienna, Budapest and asked for indications of interest. Unfortunately, only two members expressed interest in Iceland, and only one was interested in the Eastern Europe package. I was unwilling to call the tour company to confirm a package to Iceland for only two people or book airfare, hotels, and local guides on the Eastern Europe tour for one person and myself. Due to the lack of interest we will not be offering either tour to club members.
— Mature Friends President Bruce
Plans for 2018
For 2018, we are looking at a South American Odyssey. The itinerary includes Santiago, Puerto Varas, Bariloche, two nights on the Argentine side of the Iguassu Falls, and two nights in the wine region of Mendoza. Pricing for 2018 is not yet available, but in 2017, the package ran at $4,000.
We were working with Expedia to develop additional travel offerings. Apparently, our group is too small for a multi-billion-dollar travel company and plans for two additional excursions have failed.
The board voted to try another new travel company. I will be meeting with their representatives by early April. If you have suggestions for future travel, please forward your ideas. Suggestions from members in recent years have gotten us to China, Spain, Russia, and San Antonio.
If you have other ideas, please pass them along to Bruce.
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 Victoria, B.C., 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!
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.
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 CoastAt 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 AlaskaOn 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 MusicThis section lists local theater and music productions that might be of interest to Mature Friends.
Fourth Annual Road Trip to AshlandAugust 18 through 22. 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.