Mature Friends Newsletter

What’s New in December
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., Dec. 12 and 26
12:00 noon
Roosters on Broadway
Dinner Out 🍴
First Tuesday [NEW] –>
Third Tuesday –>

Tues., Dec. 4,  6:30 p.m.
Tues., Dec. 18, 6:00 p.m.

Palermo’s on Capitol Hill, 350 15th Avenue East.
Robb’s 125th Street Grill
Monthly Potluck 🍴
Food Contributions
Sat., Dec. 29
Pre-potluck at 5:00 p.m.
Appetizers at 6:00 p.m.
Dinner at 7:00 p.m.
Wallingford Community Senior Center
Wine Tasting  Wine
No Dec. meeting Last month was Wines from Greece
Dinner for Six 🍴 Determined by participants In members’ homes
Annual Banquet 🍴 Sat., June TBD, 2019
Cocktails at 6:00 p.m.
Dinner at 7:00 p.m.
Women’s University Club
Annual Picnic  🌭
Sat., Aug. TBD, 2019
Appetizers at 12:00 noon
Meridian Park 
Christmas Lunch  🎄
Sat., Dec. 15
Cocktails at 11:30 a.m.
Lunch at 1:15 p.m.
Robb’s 125th Street Grill
Reservations must be received by Dec. 11.
See Newsletter for reservation form.
Playing Date and Time Location
Bridge Club1 🃏 Every Wed. at 7:00 p.m. Wallingford Community Senior Center
Pinochle Club2  🃏 Wed., Nov. 7 & 21, at 7:00 p.m.
Wallingford Community Senior Center
Green Lake Walk  🌳 Every Wed. at 11:00 a.m.
S.W. Corner of Green Lake at tree #51 on map
(Afterwards, lunch at the Blue Star Cafe and Pub.)
A Better Club for Investing    📈 Sun., TBD, at 5:00 p.m.  
Members, contact club leader Karl for location;
See newsletter for contact information.
Book Club    📖 Tue., Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m.
Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity by Robert Beachy.
See member newsletter for location.
Board Meeting  📓 Mon., Dec. 10 at 7:00 p.m.
In a board member’s home
Walk/Hike 🚶 Tue., Dec. 17, at 10:00 a.m. Carkeek Park
Garden Tour  🌺
Gone dormant until Apr. 2019
Last Tour of 2018: Amazon Spheres
Theater, Music  🎭 2019, Trip to Ashland
Shakespeare Festival Ticket Presale and Details
Scarecrow  Screenings  🎭 Sun., Dec. 23, at 3:00 p.m. Home for the Holidays
Oddball Outing  Thurs., Dec. 11, at 6:30 p.m.
Holiday Lights Tour
Travel and Events  ✈️ Various trips, foreign and U.S.
Check our destinations

1 The fee for Bridge Club is $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

On the last Saturday of the month, the membership meets for a big potluck at the Wallingford Community Senior Center

No June or August Potluck: in June, our annual banquet substitutes for the potluck, and in August, the picnic substitutes.

Each member is assigned a type of dish to bring based on the initial of their 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 I, K, M, N, R
Main Dish
C, G,J, L, S
A, F, O, W
B, D, E, Z
H, P, T, V

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?

December Hike at Carkeek Park

The winter hiking season has arrived and that means we do hikes in Seattle and nearby places. For December we will visit Carkeek Park in northwest Seattle. We haven’t hiked there in five years, and there are some fine trails to explore. There may still be some salmon coming up Piper’s Creek to spawn, though the main spawning season is in November.

Carkeek Park has 200 acres of woods and more than five miles of trails. You can choose to walk the level trail along Piper’s Creek or the hilly trails on the slopes of the ravines that make up most of the park. There’s also access to the beach on Puget Sound.

Since we are in town, we will meet at the park rather than a central meeting place, 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, December 17.


  1. Drive to 3rd Ave. NW and NW 110th St.

  2. Turn west down NW 110th St.

  3. Continue down the winding Carkeek Park Road to the well-marked entrance.

  4. Follow the road to the parking area near the beach, where we will meet and organize our hike.

November Hike was on Cougar Mountain Trails

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park was the venue for our November hike. We hiked a loop starting from the Red Town Trailhead. We then headed south along the Red Town Trail, continued on the Indian Trail, and returned north to the trailhead via the Wildside Trail. These trails are on the west flank of the mountain and are essentially all at the same elevation.

Hikers on
Cougar Mountain

Garry, Phil, Luis, and Dale on the Cougar Mountain Trail

In the course of the hike, we crossed Coal Creek twice and encountered a mix of conifer and deciduous trees and lots of ferns and moss. There was still some leaf color for this late fall hike and for sure leaves on the ground to walk through. On the Wildside trail the woods are less disturbed by past development, and we felt like we were hiking miles away from the metropolitan area.

Over the years, Cougar Mountain has been home to Native Americans, miners, loggers, and even the U.S. Army. For thousands of years, Native Americans traversed Cougar Mountain to gather wild roots, plants, and berries, as well as to hunt game and other animals. Then, when the region began to be settled, miners worked the hills of Cougar Mountain for close to a century, up until the middle of the twentieth century. Logging operations took place during the 1920s. The land that eventually became the park was acquired by King County in the 1960s.

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, Keith, Garry, and Roger on the Big Four Ice Caves Trail

Jerry, Scott, Stephen, and Dale (Hiker Keith Not Shown)

Chris, Duane, Al, Steve, Garry, and Dale Hiking Up to Barclay Lake

Mark, Gene, Lowell, Scott, Lee, Garry, and Dale on the Trail to Denny Creek

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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!

Garden Tours Dormant for the Winter

As with some plants, the Garden Tours has gone dormant for the winter only to spring back to life in April 2019.

August and October Tours — Amazon Spheres (Take Two)

In August twelve Mature Friends were selected by lottery to tour the three spheres of the newly opened Amazon headquarters. The tour was limited to twelve members all drawn by lottery.


On October 30, another group toured the spheres. Dr. Wott selected eighteen again by lottery. Luckily he was able to talk Amazon into accepting the larger group. I have posted more photos taken by Garden Tour participant Brian.

Brian's Spheres Album

September Tour of Two Gardens

On Saturday, September 15, 2018, we visited gardens recently featured on two special horticulture tours. We met at the garden of Jason Jorgensen who transformed a previously tired front lawn into a new focal point for the neighborhood. The south facing slope has been transformed into a densely planted summer dry garden featuring a carefully selected palette of drought-tolerant yet winter hardy trees, shrubs, perennials, and billowing grasses.

The backyard, gracing a central in-ground water feature made from a granite slab, is a richly planted mixed border featuring a tapestry of perennials, roses, and evergreens. The garden also includes raised fruit and vegetable beds and a patio enveloped by carefully curated shade plants.

Mature Friends   Mature Friends
Mature Friends at Jason Jorgensen’s garden.                                          Mature Friends at Gillian Mathews garden.

The garden of Gillian Mathews, owner of Ravenna Gardens in the University Village, was featured in the Sunday, August 17, 2018, Pacific Northwest Magazine. Within the past two years, the garden has been redesigned and replanted. Fruits, vegetables, and herbs flourish in the sunny back garden while clipped boxwoods, lavender, and evergreens create a quieter space in front. The formerly lawn-dominated lot showcases progress within a year.

Dr. John

Dr. John Wott, Horticulturalist and Garden Tour Guru

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Wine Tasting

This every-other-month activity is hosted in a Mature Friends member’s home. The newsletter gives the location and wines to be tasted. RSVP to Ed K. (see newsletter for contact information).

No December Tasting

November's Tasting

On Monday, November 19, at 7:00 p.m., we met at the home of Stephen and Bruce on Capitol Hill. 

Greek production dates back thousands of years, and was much sought after during major eras of all Mediterranean cultures.The labels and growing regions may be obscure, but they helped to find enjoyable wines.The tasting was interesting since many of the red and white Greek wines hadn't been tasted before.

For more information about Greek wines, see this wine cast.

For more information on Piedmont wines, visit The Unknown Winecaster YouTube video

Ed K., Wine Tasting Guru

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Oddball Outing

This once-a-month activity that began in 2017, takes us on day trips and activities around the town or to locations nearby.

December Holiday Lights Tour

Look at all the holiday lights—this tour on Tuesday, December 11, meets at the Northgate Park and Ride at 6:30 p.m. It will be about two hours and cost $20.00 per person, cash or check. (Make checks out to Mature Friends.)

At the park and ride look for a mid-sized bus that says Toursnorthwest. We will visit two or three neighborhoods that have extensive holiday lights on exhibit. In one of the neighborhoods we will get off the bus and walk for one and a half blocks.

To sign up or to get answers to your questions, call or email to Barry Barr-Finch; see the Mature Friends Newsletter for contact information.

The November Outing was to the Bainbridge Museum of Art

November’s Oddball Outing will take us on a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island, where we will visit the lovely Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. Several intriguing exhibits are on display. First is a retrospective of over thirty artworks by Seattle artist Alfredo Arreguín. His paintings feature jungle settings, religious symbolism, portraits (including Frida Kahlo), landscapes, salmon paintings, and seascapes. Also on display are thirty impressionistic paintings and monotypes by local landscape artist Pamela Wachtler.

Finally, we will see creations by master metalsmith Heikki Seppa, which include works in conceptual and functional sculpture and jewelry art. This is in addition to pieces from the museum’s permanent collection. We will have lunch in the museum’s bistro restaurant. There is no charge to visit the museum. The only cost is for the ferry ($4.10 for those 65 and older) and lunch.

The date is Tuesday, November 13. We will meet at the Colman dock (Pier 52) and catch the 10:40AM ferry. We will return on the 2:05 or 2:55 p.m. ferry from Bainbridge.

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Travel and Events

This section is 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.

Thailand in Spring 2019

Travel to Thailand—once called Siam—where independence, hospitality, and the traditional philosophy that "life is pleasure" casts a spell over every visitor. In a small group, you’ll weave your way into daily life to get an authentic glimpse of a culture that has gone untouched by western influence. Let locals lead you through their cities, villages, markets, and temples on this adventure from Bangkok to Chiang Rai.

Exploring Thailand from the cosmopolitan south to the remote northern hill tribes, you’ll witness Buddhist monks receiving alms at a dawn ceremony, walk along scenic stretches of the Mekong River, hear about the studies and aspirations of students at a local university, and maybe even buy some fresh lemongrass in Bangkok’s floating market. A local Trip Leader will help you gain an insider’s perspective into Thai culture as they connect you with locals—prepare a traditional meal alongside villagers, dine in a local home, and ride on a traditional wooden rice barge. Discover what captivates so many visitors in this tropical nation.

Departure for Our Group

Optional Pre-Trip: Three-night Hong Kong stopover departs US
on March 11, 2019.

Main tour departs US on March 14, 2019, returning to US on March 29, 2019.


Optional three-night Hong Kong stopover: $695*

Main Tour: $2595 per person

Airfare from SEA: $1400 (but all US commercial airports available at varying costs)

*There’s a $195 single supplement fee on optional Hong Kong stopover

NOTE: You must book by July 13 and there must be 16 Mature Friends to keep the trip exclusive to our group. After July 13 if we don’t have 16 members signed up it will be open to the general public.

— Steve L., Travel Chairman

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!

Viking Homelands: April 28 – May 12, 2018

Eight Mature Friends embarked 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 consisted of a private veranda stateroom, including wine and beer with meals. The itinerary comprised eleven guided tours with ports of call that include Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Gdansk, and St. Petersburg.

A full account of this magnificent trip, with photos, will be forthcoming, so stay tuned.

Tacoma’s Big Three Museums: Last November, 2017

On Thursday, November 9, we bused down to Tacoma to visit three Tacoma Museums, including the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, and Washington State History Museum. Each participant chose what museums to see and paid his or her own entry fee.

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 showcased special exhibitions dedicated to the work of Dale Chihuly and the glass and steel sculptures of Albert Paley.

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, 2017

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 sites, including ancient, renaissance, and contemporary Rome.

We spent the second week at a private villa in a small hill town in southern Tuscany. Day trips took us to Siena, the wine towns of Montepulciano (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.

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 Ketchikan. 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

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

Screening of “Fox and His Friends”

Home for the Holiday- an entertaining look at a typical (?) dysfunctional family. When single mom Claudia learns her daughter will not be joining her for Thanksgiving, she heads to her childhood home town for the holiday with her family. This is not high-jinx hilarious, but rather a humanely entertaining look at a family of strangers. Directed by Jody Foster; starring Holly Hunter and a cast of characters (and yes, one of them is gay). Released 1995; 1 hour, 45 minutes.


Scarecrow Video
5030 Roosevelt Way NE

The private viewing room can accommodate only thirty people. To make sure no one is turned away at the door, please send your indication of interest to Roger M. (except not October 2018; see your newsletter for contact information.)

— Roger M.

Seattle International Film Festival Report

Report on the 44th annual Seattle International Film Festival

Shakespeare and Daedalus in Ashland

Thirteen Mature Friends journeyed to Ashland in August 2018 to see four plays including a same-sex Oklahoma! that has been making national news, and excellent productions of Othello and Henry V by Shakespeare. We also saw a new play, The Way the Mountain Moved, which had interesting themes, but many of us thought it was not yet finished coming together. We had hoped to take part in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s AIDS benefit, The Daedalus Project, but it was postponed until September because of heavy smoke from fires in Northern California. News of the Ashland trip for 2019 should be in the newsletter in early fall. We are waiting to hear about next year’s scheduling of Daedalus, which has been a popular feature of our visits. Many of those who stayed over on the day of Daedalus were able to see Avenue Q at the Ashland Cabaret Theater.

— Bruce B.

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