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
Lunch Out
Wed., Feb. 10 and 24, at 12:00 Noon Charlie's on Broadway  🍴
Dinner Out
Tue., Feb. 16, at 6:00 p.m. Robb's 125th Street Grill  🍴
Monthly Potluck
Fri., Jan. 29, at 6:30 p.m.
Food Contributions
Odd Fellows Hall  🍰
Wine Tasting
No tasting in Feb.
In members’ homes   🍷
Annual Banquet
Sat., June 2016, at 6:00 p.m.
Womens’ Athletic Club  🍴
Annual Picnic
Sat., Aug. 2016, at 12:00 Noon
Woodland Park  🎄
Dinner for Six
Determined by participants In members' homes  🍴
Coffee and Cupcakes
Thurs., Feb. 4, at 6:30 p.m. Cupcake Royale, West Seattle  Cupcake
Christmas Lunch
Sat., Dec. 2016, at 12:00 p.m.
Robb's 125th Street Grill  🍴
Playing Date and Time Where
A Better Club for Investing
Sun., Feb. 28, at 4:45 p.m.
The New Pandasia Restaurant  📈
Book Club
Tue, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m.
Oliver Sacks' autobiography, On the Move:  A Life  📖
Board Meeting
No meeting in Feb.
March TBD  📓
Tue., Feb. 16 , at 9:30 a.m. Evans Creek Preserve  🚶
Garden Tour
Dormant until April 2016
Volunteer Park Conservatory  🌺
Arts, Theater, and Music
Annual Shakespeare Festival
Ashland, Oregon 🎦
Travel and Events
Various trips
Check our destinations   ✈️
Bridge Club
Wed., Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24 at 7:00 p.m. Odd Fellows Hall  🃏
Pinochle Club
Wed., Feb. 3 and 17, at 7:30 p.m. Odd Fellows Hall  🃏
Exercise Group
Every Wed. at 10:00 a.m. Odd Fellows Hall  💃


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.

Bring your assigned dish with enough to serve 6 people.

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

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?

February Hike through Evans Creek Preserve

We scheduled this hike in November but there was a windstorm on that day so it got canceled. So we will try again in February. Instead of fall leaves we will see the first spring flowers. Evans Creek Preserve was established a few years ago when the family who owned the land gave it to the City of Sammamish for a nature preserve and park use. Washington Trails Association has built a network of trails that wind through the lower wetland area and the hillside slopes above.

From the parking lot, the trail heads over a creek and branches off through meadows and into wetlands and mixed forest on the slopes. The interconnected trail system is a series of loops complete with small bridges, viewing platforms, and an extensive boardwalk. The trails take you through well preserved natural wetlands, mossy trees, huge ferns and some overlooks of the meadows. There is moderate elevation gain on the trails on the slopes but this can be considered a walk in the park compared to hikes in the mountains.

We will meet at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 16, in front of the Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park. Car pool riders share the cost. No permit needed to park the car. We will get back to Seattle by 2:00 p.m. If you wish to drive directly to the trail head the address is 4001 224th Ave NE Redmond, WA 98053, which is just off Redmond-Fall City Road NE. We will arrive around 10:00 a.m. or so.

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.

Wasington Park Arboretum

January's Hikers in the Washington Park Arboretum Dale, Tim, Ron, Garry, Mike, Jerry, Stephen, Gene, Lee, and Harvey

December's Hikers in Lincoln Park, David, Jim, Harvey, Garry, and Dale

Brian, Tim, Jim, Edwin, and Dale in Lord Hill Regional Park

Dale, Tim, Stephen, Jerry, and Ramon on the Tonga Ridge

Ramon, Harvey, David, and Dale Taking a Break on the Hike to Independence Lake

— Dale J.

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Garden Group Closes Yearly Tours with Fun

On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, thirty-three members gathered in the new growing/educational greenhouse at the Volunteer Park Conservatory to see four-million-dollars worth of improvements.

Garden Group Shot

 While the group gathered, they enjoyed drinks and snacks, looked over unusual plants for sale, and exchanged greetings. The City of Seattle, under the leadership of Mayor McGinn, pledged nearly three million dollars and the Seattle Parks Foundation added the finishing last million to restore the facilities to its former prominence. The historic landmark conservatory has now celebrated its 102nd anniversary, a testament to the city residents and leaders who wanted a Victorianlike conservatory over a hundred years ago, and paid Lord & Burnham, an internationally known glass house business, five thousand dollars for a glass house kit, which was shipped from New York and assembled by city crews.

The historic house is composed of five sections, originally held together with a steel framework, but all else was wood and glass. Wood deteriorates and about fifteen years ago, the city embarked upon a restoration program during which three sections of the facility were renovated by an intricate process whereby all the wooden pieces were fabricated into aluminum to look exactly like the originals. But during the last recession, the city ran out of money and work ceased. The oldest sections were close to collapsing and the city thought about actually closing everything. However, a consultant was brought in to review the situation, and through very spirited public meetings and support, the project was revived and has now been returned to new glory.

The tour was led by David Helgeson, Lead Gardener in the City Parks and Recreation Department. David is responsible for the entire growing operation, curates the various collections, and decides the seasonal displays. There are also two full-time and one part-time employee. David started the tour reviewing some of the early history, using archival photos. Much of the facility was closed during 2014 for the restoration.

From the brand new growing house, we entered into the Cactus and Succulent House, one of the two most recently restored houses. During the process, all the plants had to be removed and grown in the large growing houses, usually not seen by the public. This gave the staff an opportunity to start with smaller, newer plants since the succulent "residents" act like as they are in a desert 365 days a year and never stop growing. A few were beginning to bloom, but you should return early in winter to see the best bloom.

We then moved into the Seasonal House, which has been completely changed to offer more central space for events such as parties and weddings. The plant displays are changed four times per year. For many years, all plants were grown in the rear houses, but economics now means that many plants are now purchased, but planning has to occur a year ahead of time. A few years ago, night lighting was added and it is a real treat to be able to visit during its frequent evening open hours.

The public enters the conservatory through the domed Palm House. This area also contains orchid specimens in bloom from the Clise Orchid Collection, originally given as a gift from Mrs. Anna H. Clise in 1921. It also showcases the large palms and anthuriams. The ornate beveled glass lunette window found just above the entry is original to 1912. In 1981, the conservatory added a hand blown and stained green glass canopy designed by Richard Spaulding and entitled "Homage in Green" to the entry vestibule.

Moving westward we entered the Fern House, which is home to a collection of ferns and prehistoric cycads. There are also many "insect-catching" plants and a small pond. The last house was the Bromeliad House, which really makes you feel as if you are in a tropical jungle. Early in the morning, the hot water heat comes into the pipes, and the staff sprays them with water so that the house "steams.” Later in the afternoon, the automatic temperature controls cool it.

We then returned to the new growing/educational house for more refreshments and questions. This new state-of-the art structure is used for growing, plants sales, and educational events. It replaced a glass house long condemned. With one more glasses of Pellegrino, wine, or a free beer left in the keg from a previous party, we all finished the gardening season with glee.

For more pictures, check out Brian’s photos.

Tour Season for 2016

Be sure to catch up with the next season of relaxing, educational, and enjoyable tours, led by our intrepid horticulturalist. Until then, the tours have gone dormant till spring.

— Dr. John Wott

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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: For those of you who are not members of Mature Friends, you must join the club before you can travel with us.

Rome and Tuscany, April 23 – May 8, 2016

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

We will spend the second week at a private villa in Montisi, a small hill town in southern Tuscany. Day trips will take 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 trip will conclude with a day in Florence. Travelers will have an option to extend the tour for a day or more in Florence.

There is room for more participants, but you must sign up very soon. The cost will be under $4,000.00. The cost includes housing, some meals, most ground transportation, admissions, and guides. Uncovered expenses include airfare airfare (currently $1,550.00 from Seattle to Rome, returning to Seattle from Florence), airport transfers, some meals, and personal expenses. A deposit of $500.00 will register you now, with another $500 due in October and the remainder in early spring 2016.

2016 Gambling Trip, Late May 2016

The 2016 annual gambling trip will be a return visit to Wendover, Nevada. As Marlyce confirms dates and prices, details will appear in future newsletters.

The Cruise to Nowhere, September 16 – 23, 2016

The famous Cruise to Nowhere (actually it does go somewhere) departs from Seattle with a one-day stop in Astoria, Oregon, then for two days in San Francisco, and one day in Victoria, B.C., before returning to Seattle. A full seven-day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas with no airfare required.

The cost for a balcony cabin, including all taxes and fees, is a little more than $2,000. Inside cabins cost about $800, prices will inch up the closer we get to the departure date. So be sure to book this trip as soon as you can.

You can get more information by contacting Linda at Cruise World.

Shades of Ireland, Fall 2016

A thirteen-day tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We begin our tour in Dublin, where we will visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the historic city center.

On Day 4, we set off for the medieval Kilkenny with a stop at the house of Waterford Crystal. On Day 5, you have the opportunity to kiss the Blareny Stone before we travel along the Ring of Kerry Killarney, with an overnight stay in Killarney. The next day, we continue to Ennis, the Cliffs of Moher, and Galway, where we spend the night in a nineteenth-century estate.

On Day 8, we stop for the night at Then we set off to Derry before ending up in .

Price: $4,149.00, including round-trip air fare from Seattle.

You can obtain additional information from Linda at Cruise World.

Future Trips

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!

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!

China Tour

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.

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Theater and Music

Tune into this section to find information on theater and music that might interest gays and Lesbians over forty, or that might interest anybody, for that matter.

Third Annual Southern Oregon Road Trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

This excellent trip Ashland, Oregon, runs from August 19 – 22. The trip includes four plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), participation in the Daedalus Project, OSF's fundraiser for AIDs, with a staged reading of a play on an AIDs-related theme and a talent show produced by the Shakespeare company with its perennially popular Underwear Contest. We have reservations to stay at the Stratford Inn, a short walk to the theaters.

The cost is under $800, double occupancy, which includes (aside from the tickets to four plays and the Daedalus events) four nights' room, breakfasts, and one group dinner. Single occupancy is about $300 more. To reserve a place, send a deposit of $100 to Bruce B., our organizer. We have tickets for Hamlet, Richard II, The Winter’s Tale, and The Wiz.

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