PO Box 21203, Seattle, WA 98111-3203
Mature Friends publishes a member newsletter with updates on our
activities 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, • lunching and dining
options, • cooking, • and tasting fine wines from around the
world including our own Washington state.
The same newsletter information is included here but without member contact information.
Want the newsletter? See How to Join on the Welcome page.
NOTE: Because of the threat posed by the COVID-19 virus, most activities are suspended or live-streamed until the ban on group gatherings is lifted.
Please click on underlined area for additional information.
Eating Date and Time Location Monthly Potluck
Suspended until further notice
Wallingford Community Senior Center [closed]
Lunch Out Suspended Jimmy's [closed] Dinners Out
Suspended Palermo’s on Capitol Hill, [closed]
Robb’s 125th Street Grill [closed]
Dinner for Six Suspended In members’ homes
None in Feb.
Via Zoom Annual Banquet
Women’s University Club
Meridian Park (playground),Shelter #1
Playing Date and Time Location Board Meeting Mon., Feb. 8, at 7:00 p.m.
Bridge Club 1 Suspended Wallingford Community Senior Center
Pinochle Club2 Wed., Feb. 6 & 17, at 7:00 p.m.
In your home, online via Pinochle app by Karman Games. See newsletter for contact person. Hearts Wed., Feb. 10 & 24, at 7:00 p.m. Via the "Hearts+" app, see newsletter, pg. 2 Board Games
Suspended Wallingford Community Senior Center Green Lake Walk Every Wed., 10:45 a.m. at
Parking lot by the Bathhouse Theater, but now
The Seattle Public Theater
(Suspended: lunch at the Blue Star Cafe and Pub)
West Seattle Walk Every Sat., 11:00 a.m. Meet at Lincoln Park
8011 Fauntleroy Way S.W.
Time2Share Thu., Feb. 11, at 7:00 p.m. Observations of a road trip from Spokane to South Dakota
Via Zoom. See newsletter info to attend.
Book Club Tue., Feb. 16, at 7:30 p.m.
Via Zoom, Naked, by David Sedaris Oddball Outing Suspended Unusual locations off the beaten track. A Better Club for Investing Suspended Members, contact club leader for location;
See newsletter for contact information.
Walk/Hike Tue., Mar. 16, at 10:00 a.m. Redmond Watershed Preserve
Challenging Hike Suspended until spring TBD Garden Tour
TBD Travel and Events Suspended Past trips, foreign and U.S. Scarecrow Screenings Suspended Scarecrow Video Theater, Music Dates and Details below
Annual Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR.
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, when in person at the senior center, is $4.00 per night for members and for nonmembers.
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 $5.00 or $10.00, depending on the distance, 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 — Redmond Watershed Preserve
Our March hike will be in the Redmond Watershed Preserve. This 800-acre natural area has quiet trails that take you through dense lowland forest. You can walk past wetland ponds and streams with wildlife like beaver and herons. It’s beginning to be spring — already — and some early flowers like Indian Plum are blooming. There are more trails than we will have time to hike in a morning, but by combining a couple loop trails we can experience a nice mix of different habitats.
The City of Redmond purchased some of the property from Weyerhaeuser Corporation in 1926 to create a new water supply for the city. However, the watershed was never used as intended because the water quality failed to meet State standards. The current park was developed using money from the 1989 King County Open Space bond issue.
We will meet at the entrance at 21760 Novelty Hill Road at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 16. Wear a mask, and bring your own hand sanitizer. You can use Google Maps to get directions from where you are.
February Hike — Washington Park Arboretum
Canceled due to bad weather and slippery conditions.
January Hike —Green River Trail
Our hikers enjoyed another urban hike that most probably haven’t done before, along the Green River Trail, with visits to Cecil Moses Memorial Park, Duwamish Hill Preserve and Duwamish Gardens along the way. The Green River Trail winds through industrial lands near the Duwamish Waterway in Tukwila to the broad Green River Valley. The trail provides excellent views and access to the Green River and surrounding river valley.
January Hikers at the Start of the Green River Trail
Our hike started from the Cecil Moses Memorial Park. Cecil Moses was a Muckleshoot leader and fisherman active in the tribe’s fight for recognition of its treaty fishing rights. The Green River Trail crosses the Duwamish River in this location, where extensive mixing of fresh and salt waters creates a key transition zone for young salmon moving downstream to Puget Sound.
We then hiked along the Green River Trail to the Duwamish Hill Preserve. Due to its elevated position above the Duwamish River, the hill offered a vantage point from which Native Americans could watch for incoming groups and communicate with fellow tribe members along the Duwamish River Valley. The unusual hill in a river bottom is a dome of bedrock. Within the preserve there are native plants of different ecosystems.
We also visited the Duwamish Gardens that was previously a farmstead and truck farm. Since a restoration project completed in 2017 the gardens provide nearly an acre of shallow water habitat for salmon where they can feed on insects and invertebrates that live among the vegetation, and in the mud and beneath stones. We then returned to the starting place for about 2.5 miles and 100 feet of elevation gain.
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.
October 2020 Hikers at Whistle Lake
John, Dale, Duane, Stephen, Ramon and Keith Hiking the Cedar River Trail
Some photos of the hike to Barclay Lake
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This year, Mature Friends Ron A. and Vincent G. have introduced a hike activity that is more challenging than our regular hikes. If you feel up to a bit of a challenge and wonderful scenery, why not give it a try and join us on the next hike?
Spring 2021When spring weather permits, Vincent plans to organize somewhat strenuous hikes for Mature Friends after the snow melts a little.
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This wildly popular activity takes you on tours of beautiful gardens in the Seattle and greater Seattle area. if you like plants and gardens or if you’re just interested to learn a little about horticulture, come join us!
The Garden Tours for 2020 have suspended until further notice.
From the Garden of George and Omar
Mature Friends Omar Watson and George Shriver sent around some pictures from their garden. I asked them to label the pictures so that I could identify them and put them up on the website to share with all of you. So here we go. . . .
These three lilies have different names for the same flower:
The next four are the Acer Aconififollum tree, or full moon:
And the last one is the Oxydendrum arboreum Sourwood tree:
October 2019 Tour: Seymour Botanical ConservatoryOn Thursday, October 17, 2019, two of us Mature Friends had a wonderful private tour of the Seymour Botanical Conservatory at Wright Park in Tacoma. Tour guide Kayla pointed out many of the beautiful specimens in the botanical collection.
We were sorry that nobody else showed up but we had a great time and I encourage many of you to make your way down. It's a wonderful little gem. And Kayla obviously loves her work as she frequently got very excited about seeing new blooms.
In 1908 the historic W. W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory was opened and is one of only three public Victorian-style conservatories still in existence on the West Coast. Listed on the National Historic register, the conservatory’s tropical plants and flowers gave many of the early residents their first chance to learn about many exotic and species not native to the Pacific Northwest.
Today, visitors experience the conservatory’s permanent collection of ferns, palms, figs, bromeliads, orchids, and many other rare, unusual, and endangered plants as well as its changing floral exhibits.
Address: 316 South G St., Tacoma, Washington
Cost: $2.00 per person
September 2019 Tour: Point Defiance ZooEleven Mature Friends enjoyed a tour of the gardens at Point Defiance Zoo lead by head gardener Bryon Jones on September 19.
The zoo gardens are home to hundreds of plant species with three full-time gardeners responsible for garden design and plant maintenance.
Special garden areas visited included the Asian forest sanctuary, bamboo garden, and an area dedicated to conifers, cycads, and ferns. We also learned about living fossils, such as the Ginkgo Tree and Wollemi Pine, both once thought to have been extinct. We also learned about plants grown in the zoo gardens that are used as food for the animals, including Dogwood, banana, bamboo, and kiwi.
The Zoo gardens feature:
The garden is home to hundreds of varieties of plants from decorative to functional. Zookeepers use some of the plant growth, such as banana leaves and bamboo shoots, as food or skill-building tools for the animals. The plants also create a stunning botanical paradise.
5400 N. Pearl St.
Tacoma, Washington 98407
Directions to the Zoo:
Cost: Adult $19, 65+ $18.
- From I-5 North or South, take exit 132 (Highway 16 West).
- Exit Highway 16 at 6th Avenue (Exit 3),
- Continue to the second stoplight and turn right on to Pearl Street (WA 163).
- Follow Pearl Street into Point Defiance Park. Signs will lead you to the Zoo's free parking lots.
There are hills involved so mobility may be an issue for some. They do offer motorized scooters for rent $35.00 and wheelchairs for $10.00 each.
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On Tuesday, February 16, we will read David Sedaris’ Naked, a collection of short pieces somewhere between short stories and memoirs. This book is also readily available.
The Book Club is open to all Mature Friends and their guests. To participate you will need an invitation to join a Zoom meeting. I send these out about an hour before the meeting time of 7:30, and many sign on early to have a half hour of socializing.
— Bruce B., Book Club Leader
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For February, Jim Vandermeer will present a road trip. Jim, formerly a resident of Seattle and still an active member of Mature Friends, now lives in Spokane. Before the pandemic he took a car trip to South Dakota from Spokane and will share his observations about the interesting places in the states he covered.
The date is Thursday, February 11, at 7:00 p.m.
Last month, Garry Richardson showed us more of the local public art which he photographed in Seattle’s neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown. There were 16 attendees and lots of participation from the viewers. It was nice to see so many faces hanging in there.
Several members have offered to share their passion in this format, and I hope others will think about doing the same.
— Garry R., Time2Share Organizer
Wine TastingThe ever-popular wine tastings meet every other month. During this time of shelter-in-place, we've been meeting virtually through Zoom. We hope to resume “live” tastings sometime in the future.
No tasting in February.
January 2021 Tasting: Walla Walla Cabernets
There are 120 wineries and approximately 300 acres in this AVA (American Viticulture Area) ranging from 200–2000 –foot elevation. Two thirds of the grape-growing is in Washington and one third northeastern Oregon. While in Oregon I found some confusion existed regarding labeling wine with grapes from Walla Walla but marketed in Oregon. In either case the dominant Walla Walla varietal is Syrah followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mouvedre and others. We had chosen our tasting to focus on Cabs, but it was difficult for me to find any highly rated bottles for less than $40-$50. Now sharing cost isn’t likely due to the pandemic so I offered choosing a blend as a possibility.
There are endless articles online to help understand the marketing, soil composition, quality, etc., of Walla Walla wine. Certainly it is one of the finest growing regions in the country and a delight to visit.
November 2020 Tasting: Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner
Fourteen members attended our November Zoom tasting. Half of the group chose whites, the other reds. Although each presented separately, there was lively interest and discussion as if all of us were able to imagine the weight, perfume, and quality. Quite a phenomenon. Bottles from around the world ranged from $12-$40. The Ruffino Prosecco, ($20) was a sparkler with only 11 % alcohol, described as light and dry. It is a wine you can drink nearly to excess. On the other hand, a 2014 Panther Creek, ($40) 14% alcohol should be taken lightly. Something I haven’t seen before was a Rhone with a label embossed with brail type. In all there were eleven bottles: a demi sec sparkler from New Mexico, a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, a red blend named Bootleg Pre Quil, and others.
As always we enjoyed the sharing and friendship that carries through wine and Zoom.
— Ed K., Wine Tasting Organizer
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Oddball OutingThis once-a-month activity that began in 2017, takes us on day trips and activities around the town or to locations nearby. The newsletter gives the location and time. Many events require an RSVP to Jerry P. See newsletter for contact information.
The Oddball Outings have been suspended until further notice.
February 2020 Outing was: Dim Sum in the Year of the Rat
This month we celebrated the Chinese New Year which has just begun. In Chinese element theory, each zodiac sign is associated with one of the five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Gold (Metal), and Water.
To celebrate this momentous year, February’s Oddball Outing will be Dim Sum at the Dough Zone, located at 815 Pine, at Ninth Avenue. We will
meet on Friday, February 7, at 11:30 a.m. The Dough Zone has terrific dumplings and a tempting Dim Sum menu.
— Jerry P., Oddball Organizer
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Travel and EventsThis section is about upcoming or recent 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.
Travel Options in 2021Our travel coordinator will once again search for trips, based on how many members are interested and on when the travel ban is lifted.
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!
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.
Twelve Mature Friends returned from a sixteen-day adventure to Thailand on March 29. We started with a boat trip though the canals of Bangkok with a lunch that featured David Turner using a mortar and pestle to make red curry for our lunch. In Bangkok, we also visited the Grand Palace. We proceeded to Kanchanaburi, where we walked across the River Kwai Bridge and along the Hellfire Pass railroad constructed by World War II prisoners of war. We also visit the Kanchanaburi prisoner- of-war cemetery.
Then off to Sukhothai Province to visit historic ruins and a local school. On the way to Chiang Main, we stopped at roadside food booths for sticky rice and barbecued rats. A highlight of Chiang Mai was the elephant-care center, where we fed sugar cane to elephants and also washed them.
We ended the trip at the Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, where we looked from Thailand across the Mekong River into Burma and Laos.
Pictures to come. Stay tuned!
— Bruce T.
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: November, 2017On 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, 2017
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, 2017Departing 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 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 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 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 toSan 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 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.
Cruising the San Juans 2013In September 2013, several Mature Friends set sail to spend a long weekend cruising the San Juan Islands in the northern part of Puget Sound. But don't listen to me, check out the trip for yourselves:
Boating through the San Juans
Reno Gambling TripTwenty-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 2014In 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 ChinaAnd enjoy the pictures, too!
Spain and France 2014On 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 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 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.
Screenings of Gay Themed MoviesSuspended until further notice.
5030 Roosevelt Way NE
— Brian T. & James B., Scarecrow Video coordinator
Shakespeare and Daedalus in Ashland
The 2021 Shakespeare Festival
We are not yet able to announce a 2021 season schedule or an on-sale date, but we’re working hard to plan for our return. Given COVID-19 safety concerns for our audiences, artists, and staff and in line with many of our sister theaters around the country, we are focusing our programming options toward the second half of 2021. You’ll be the first to hear when the plans are finalized and we are ready to launch our 2021 season.
The 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic. But in 2019, our annual trip took place on September 13 – 16. Eighteen Mature Friends, the largest number so far, spent an extended weekend in Ashland, Oregon, attending plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and taking part in the 2019 Daedalus Project, the Festival’s Aids Benefit. We enjoyed three Shakespeare plays:
- As You Like It
- All’s Well that Ends Well
We also saw Paula Vogel’s Indecent, which is playing this month at the Seattle Rep in a different production. We saw a lively staged reading of Hedwig and the Angry Inch as part of the Daedalus Project and enjoyed the talents of the company’s members in a talent show, including the ever-popular Underwear Contest. We also enjoyed a group meal at Arbor House, an excellent family-run restaurant in neighboring Talent, Oregon, as well as many meals in the wide variety of Ashland restaurants.
— Bruce B.
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