Mature Friends Newsletter

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 Location
Lunch Out
Wed., Sept. 13and 27, at 12:00 noon Roosters on Broadway  🍴
Dinner Out
Tue., Sept. 19, at 6:00 p.m. Robb’s 125th Street Grill  🍴
Monthly Potluck
Sat., Sept. 30, at 6:00 p.m.
Food Contributions
Wallingford Community Senior Center 
Wine Tasting
Mon., Sept. 18, at 7:00 p.m. In members’ homes
Selection: Bottle from each member’s cellar 🍷
Annual Banquet
Sat., June TBD, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. Womens’ University Club  🍴
Annual Picnic
Sat., Aug. TBD, 2018, at 12:00 noon
Woodland Park  🌲
Dinner for Six
Determined by participants In members’ homes 🍴
Christmas Lunch
Sat., Dec. 16, at 12:00 noon Robb’s 125th Street Grill  🍴
Playing Date and Time Location
A Better Club for Investing
Sun., Sept. 3, at TBD
Contact club leader Ray  📈
Book Club
Tue., Sept. 19, at 7:30 p.m.
In members’ homes
Selection: Willa Cather’s
O Pioneers  📖
Board Meeting
Mon., Sept. 11, at 6:30 p.m. In a board member’s home  📓
Tue., Sept. 19, at 9:30 a.m. Pratt River Trail  🚶
Garden Tour
Tue., Sept. 12, at 10:30 a.m. Gardening on a Slope  🌺
Arts, Theater, and Music
Aug. 18 – 22 Annual Ashland Road Trip Recap  🎭
Travel and Events
Various trips, foreign and domestic Check our destinations   ✈️
Bridge Club1 Every Wed. at 7:00 p.m. Wallingford Community Senior Center  🃏
Pinochle Club2 Wed., Sept. 6 and 20, at 7:30 p.m. Wallingford Community Senior Center  🃏
Green Lake Walk & Lunch
Every Wed. at 11:00 a.m.
S.W. Corner of Green Lake 💃
Oddball Outings
Thur., Sept. 28, at 12:00 noon
Wing Luke Museum and local eateries

1 The fee 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.

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


Potluck Contributions

Taking advantage of the usually great weather in mid-August, Mature Friends gather together in a local park for a picnic. We look forward to this outing every year.

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 A, F, G, K, W
Main Dish
B, C, E, M, N, Y
H, J, U, V, Z
I, L, R, T
D, O, P, 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?

September Hike – Pratt River Trail

The Pratt River Connector Trail is a beautiful trail along the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River that was recently rebuilt by Washington Trails Association volunteers. Also, after several years of road work, the Middle Fork Road to the trail head is finally paved from North Bend to the Middle Fork camp ground. So for our September hike we will drive on the newly paved road and enjoy the rebuilt trail.

The trail starts by crossing the arched Gateway Bridge over the river, worthy of a picture itself. We then go downstream along the river, through forest that was logged early and now has a regrowth of hemlock and other lowland trees. In places the trail moves away from the river, and you will see a moss covered forest almost like the rain forest on the Olympic Peninsula. We have the option of going all the way to the Pratt River or taking our lunch somewhere before that with a view of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River.

This is a moderate hike. The hike round trip distance is about five miles. The elevation gain is around 300 feet, made up of gentle up and down once we are in the woods.

We will meet to share car pooling at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 19, in front of the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park. We will be back in Seattle by 3:00 p.m. Bring a lunch and water.

If you wish to drive directly to the trailhead:

  1. Take I-90 east to Exit 34.

  2. Turn left (north) onto 468th Avenue, and follow it to the junction with the Middle Fork Road (Forest Road 56).

  3. Turn right and continue up the Middle Fork Road for 11.8 miles to the Middle Fork trailhead parking area on the right.

A Northwest Forest Pass or Senior Pass is required at the trail head. You can buy one of these passes at the ranger station in the REI Flagship store at:

222 Yale Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: (206) 223-1944

August Hike – Kelley Creek Trail

Our hike in August took us along the Martin Creek – Kelley Creek Trail, located east of Skykomish, Washington, on the north side of Highway 2. This trail starts at the same parking lot as the west end of the Iron Goat Trail, but goes west along the creek, away from the old railroad bed.

Crossing Kelley Creek

Lowell, Scott, Edwin, Gene, Jim and Dale Crossing Kelley Creek

From the trail head at the north end of the parking lot, we dropped quickly to Martin Creek – Kelley Creek and crossed it on a fine bridge. Climbing gradually parallel to the creek, the trail ascends through old growth trees, fern filled gullies, tumbling creeks and rivulets, and moss covered rocks. There are whitewater rapids along the creek. The trail is in the woods, a plus to keep us cool on an August hike. We hiked about a mile and a half in, to where the trail starts to veer away from the creek, and found a lunch spot within earshot of the creek. The elevation gain is moderate, about 400 feet. The trail was rebuilt a few years ago and is in good condition.

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.

Hikers Dale, Doug, Bruce, Stephen, and Gene Take a Break along Gold Creek Trail, with Taz at Dale’s Feet

Hikers Dale, Roger, Gene, and Jerry Take a Break in Rockport State Park

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

Back to "Goings On"


Garden Tours

This 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!

Gardening on a Slope

On Tuesday, September 12, we visited the garden of Susan Piquelle (Vivid Landscape Design) and her husband (Jim Meador) at 11924 Lakeside Avenue N.E. Seattle, Washington 98125.

Susan loves to show her garden, begun in 1998, which presents some solutions to the challenges of gardening on a slope; the lot drops down from street level with a twenty-seven-foot slope. The steep lot is now terraced and tamed, but of course, never finished.

The different levels naturally result in different “garden rooms.” At street level is a sunny dry garden with the only patch of lawn, actually a parking space thanks to the grid of buried plastic. The next room down the slope is a formal courtyard garden with raised beds filled beyond capacity to soften the edges.

The side yard is narrow, but they needed a thirty-foot-tall hedge to provide privacy to the house: A corralled grove of bamboo quickly filled the bill. Behind the house is the tropical garden with koi pond, decks (made of PVC lumber), and a small patio. Below that lies the vegetable garden with a prehistoric bog garden. The bottom of the lot is a xeric garden with both woodland area and sunny area. Throughout the garden rooms the focus is on foliage, using wide ranges of foliage texture, size, and color — cool colors are on the west side of the house and warm colors are on the east.

Garden Tourist Brian’s Photos

August Garden Tour in Edmonds

On Thursday, August 10, eighteen members toured the garden of Walter Thompson in Lynnwood, Washington.

Garden Group

Walter and his wife purchased the property when the area was undeveloped with a small cabin and flowing artesian well on it.They built a new home and he has been meticulously creating and tending a garden of many prized plants for over twenty-five years. His knowledge as a docent at the Rhododendron Species and Botanical Garden, and Miller Botanical Garden have made him a plant collector. 

The small front yard is a peaceful shaded area created by white barked birches. A small pathway flaked by a wooden fence displaying antique tools, leads you into mystical paths, past a large fairy home, and onto more pathways lined with colorful perennials. A magical Asian lily blooms in coordination with a red-leafed maple, followed by red-leafed sedums sparkling in the autumn.

The garden’s topography leads you to views, hidden pathways with art, and many outstanding views around the free-flowing ponds, peaceful from any angle in the garden. The overflowing water with koi runs under a small bridge. Around the ponds are numerous moisture-loving plants such as Clereondendron and Gunnera. There is both a glass house for tender plants and a winter house with a fire place for winter garden gazing. 

There are numerous ledges and terraces for relaxing, and the barbeque deck is overhung with hops for Walt’s beer making. A view deck runs around the entire back of the house, where you can see colorful begonias, exotic birdhouses, ripening figs, and multicolored textural greens throughout the garden. Before we left, there was always time for one more stroll.

— Dr. John Wott, Tour Organizer, Leader, and Expert Horticulturalist

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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.

Day Trips with Seattle Parks and Recreation

Seattle Parks and Recreation and Mature Friends are partnering to offer day trips to our club members. The first three trips developed for our members will be in October, November, and December. Registration for these day trips opened August 8 at noon. Call Cheryl at 206-615-0619  for more information or reservations. There are only twenty-four spaces available on each trip, so make your reservation early. Parks and Recreation also is soliciting your ideas for day trips for the first quarter 2018.

E-mail Mature Friends with your ideas.

Woodinville Wineries: October 12

Thursday, October 12, from  10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

We will pick members up in city vans from the Miller Community Center on Capitol Hill and Northgate Mall Southeast Parking lot and transport everybody to Woodinville wine country, where we will enjoy winery tours and wine tasting. Wine tasting fees and lunch will be on your own. We are working to finalize which wineries will be visited, but expect a tasting cost of around $20.00 at each winery. Cost of transportation is only $10.00.

Tacoma’s Big Three Museums: November 9

Thursday, November 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

We will grab the opportunity to visit three Tacoma Museums, including the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, and Washington State History Museum. With pick-ups at Northgate Mall and the Miller Community Center, vans will transport you for only $15:00 round trip to Tacoma for the day. Your choice of museums and entry fees on your own. Special exhibits for November at the Art Museum include “Two Centuries of Still-Life Painting,” “The Dynamic American West,” and “The Art of Framing”. The Museum of Glass will have special exhibitions dedicated to the work of Dale Chihuly and the glass and steel sculptures of Albert Paley.

Dinner and Point Defiance Zoo Lights: December 14

Thursday, December 14, from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Enjoy dinner at Tacoma’s Historic Stanley and Seaforts restaurant then experience the Point Defiance Zoolights. Great way to get into the holiday spirit. Dinner and zoo admission on your own. Round  trip  transportation only $15:00 with Northgate Mall and Miller Community Center pick up points.

Viking Homelands: April 28 – May 12, 2018

Next year Mature Friends are planning a more ambitious cruise than in 2017. We embark for fifteen days on Viking Ocean Cruises to Bergen, Norway, and disembark in Stockholm, Sweden. We will visit eight countries and dock at eleven ports of call. Accommodations on the Viking Sky include a private veranda stateroom and includes wine and beer with meals. The itinerary comprises eleven guided tours with ports of call that include Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Gdansk, and St. Petersburg.

Accommodations on the Viking Sky include a private veranda stateroom and wine and beer with meals.

For full information, contact Shawn (or call him: 360-903-4353) at Woodside Travel.

— Mature Friends President Bruce T.

Other 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!

Lake Diablo Day Trip

On August 10, thirteen Mature Friends bused to Diablo Lake. Hop aboard and get a taste of what these tourists saw and experienced. Maybe you can schedule this tour some day.

Diablo Lake Tour

California Coastal Cruise, 2017

Departing on April 11, seven Mature Friends sailed on the ten-night California Coastal Cruise departing from Vancouver, B.C. Sailing at 4:30 p.m., we cruised down the coat for two days before arriving in Los Angeles, followed by a day on Catalina Island. After Catalina, we embarked for Santa Barbara for a day, ending up with an overnight stay in San Francisco. Then we sailed up the coast for two days before arriving back in Vancouver the morning of April 21.

Escape into Cuba

Five Mature Friends took off 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.

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 T.

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, 2015

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 mainly riding 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.

Back to "Goings On"

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

Thirteen Mature Friends enjoyed four nights in Ashland, Oregon, attending The Oregon Shakespeare Festival plays and The Daedalus Celebration, the OSF’s Annual AIDS benefit. We enjoyed three plays by Shakespeare, all featuring Falstaff, in addition to Tom Stoppard’s Shakespeare in Love, and a staged reading of Cabaret during the Daedalus celebration. We also enjoyed about ninety percent of the eclipse, and suffered the eclipse traffic on our trips home.

Look for information on next year’s trip in the newsletter this fall. The Shakespeare plays for next year feature Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Love’s Labours Lost, and  Henry V. But a big attraction will be the staging of a GLBTQ positive Oklahoma, for which the Festival has obtained the permission of the copyright holders. Because the calendar has yet to be released, we are not sure exactly which plays we will see, but we will certainly include Oklahoma.

— Bruce B.