Nudist Travel Guide is an educational guide to the world of nudist travel


Follow the Path to Naked Gardening in England

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Abbey House Gardens in Wiltshire, England is giving new meaning to being one with nature.

According to a BBC article, "A couple who garden in the buff are holding more open days when the public can walk around their garden naked." (Source).

During these 'clothing optional' days, visitors can tour the couples' garden in the nude for a variety of benefits (according to the Abbey House Gardens website):
  • escape the pressures of daily living
  • get back in touch with your inner self
  • be inspired
  • find time to unwind in fresh air
  • enjoy some gentle exercise in beautiful surroundings
  • meet up with friends & relatives in an easily accessible place
Sounds perfect!

If you love gardens and being outdoors without clothes - the ways humans have for thousands of years - then this is a place worth exploring.

The BBC has done an absolutely fabulous job of covering this clothes-free garden story through a series of articles and a video over the last few years. Take a look at some of what the BBC has documented:
Also, visit the official Abbey House Gardens website.

I'd love to see something like this at a nudist resort closer to home (United States).

Maybe this exists already, but wouldn't it be groovy if a North America AANR-affiliated clothing-optional club with a large property and lots of woods allocated a few acres for members/visitors to use as a community gardening space?

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Nude New Jersey: Gunnison Beach versus Rock Lodge Nudist Club

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Time for a battle of nudist travel destinations.

Which of these New Jersey nudist destinations is better? Let's look at Gunnison Beach and Rock Lodge Nudist Resort.

Gunnison Beach in Sandy Hook, NJ is usually ranked as one of the Top 5 nudist beaches in the US.

Gunnison Beach is part of a National Park Service park. It's just a beach and lacks the amenities of Rock Lodge. However, it offers the clothes-free freedom not found at a clothed beach. Bring a towel, a book and some food to make a clothes-free day of it.

Rock Lodge, in nearby northern NJ, is an AANR-affiliated nudist club with a long nudist history and a lot more to do. The club has a lake for swimming, a hot tub, sauna, tennis courts, and even hiking on the club's 145 acres.

This quote on Rock Lodge's website shows that people like the place:
"Out of all the nudist resorts we have visited, we can't think of a more friendly bunch of people who made us feel very welcome right from the start. We will most definitely return." —Rich and Mary

Comparing when to visit

The downside of visiting Gunnison is parking as the National Park Service outlines:

"Summer weekends may be busy. When parking areas are full, the park closes until parking becomes available. To avoid delays, arrive before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m. Traffic is never a problem on weekdays."

The downside of Rock Lodge is that it only allows non-member guests on the weekends. It is members-only during the week.

Comparing Rules and regulations

The rules for Gunnison Beach are quite simple: follow the law.

Rock Lodge has more restrictive rules and regulations to ensure a wholesome, safe environment for visitors. I respect that, but the rules can be frustrating too.

According to the Rock Lodge website, the following steps must be completed before visiting:

"Step 1
Email, mail or call us. In your message please tell us something about yourselve(s). Please include whether you intend to visit as a couple, family, single female or single male.

Step 2
Wait for our reply. We will reply as soon a possible with additional information and directions to Rock Lodge Club. Emails usually get the fastest response.

Step 3
When you arrive, you will be greeted by a Rock Lodge representative who will introduce you to the club and current members as you tour the grounds."

These steps ensure piece of mind for all guests and the Rock Lodge environment should feel safer than Gunnison. Nude US/Canada beaches are not as controled as nudist resorts.

For example, during my recent trip to Wreck Beach, another top nude beach, I felt on edge and worried about gawkers and people with cameras. That type of worry goes away in nudist resorts.

So who costs more? Gunnison or Rock Lodge?

Both are priced fairly, but differently. The Park Service charges Gunnison Beach visitors a $10 per vehicle daily fee (bikes are free) or $50 for season pass.

Rock Lodge is $24 per person ($19 for AANR members) day fee for non-members of the club.

Rock Lodge has further limitations. According to the Rock Lodge website "Visitors are allowed 2 visits before membership is required." After two visits to Rock Lodge, it's a minimum of $100 a year for an Associate membership to return, plus grounds fees - except that Full members (who pay $450) visit free. For the 2nd to 4th year, there's a $50 initiation fee per person.

Final Score:

Tied. Both offer something to the nudist. Rock Lodge is better for first time nudists and those looking for a more regulated environment. Gunnison Beach is good for a swim in the ocean on weekdays, but the weekends are tough unless you go super early. The beach also lacks controls to keep potential gawkers out.

Gunnison Beach and Rock Lodge Nudist Club are very different types of nudist experiences so comparing them almost isn't fair. If you are in the New Jersey area, I recommend giving both a try.

Better yet, if the Pocono region of eastern Pennsylvania is accessible to you, consider Sunny Rest Lodge. It's open to guests 7 days a week and you can visit as often as you'd like. Visiting is easy. I'll be providing a trip report soon.


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Visit Solair, but not on Weekdays; Berkshire Vista 2008?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I received this comment from a reader on another post about visiting Solair on a weekday.
"My girl and I planned to go to Solair yesterday (we're late 30s). Took the day off to relax and hopefully sit by the pool. Sent an email to confirm that we would be coming and got a response that we were not allowed to visit unless it was a weekend or holiday. Needless to say, we won't be visiting. No big deal, but wow, not a way to encourage the younger crowd. C & D"
That's unfortunate.

The weekday restriction is surprising. While some smaller membership-oriented clubs don't have the staff to support weekday guests, Solair gives off the appearance of being able to.

If you've read my posts about Solair in the past, I have mixed feelings. My wife and I are younger than you and did not feel out of place. I like the facilities, the safety and the true nudist atmosphere. That comes at the trade-off of not liking the membership push and what I've heard nudist singles say about being denied.

Membership focused clubs are good for the members but tend to isolate everyone else. There are other membership focused clubs that I've passed on to visit open clubs. Membership is just not for me.

Northeast alternatives

If you are in the area, SunRidge is 45 minutes south of Solair. SunRidge is a lot smaller but I'm pretty sure they can support weekday guests. It's a nice place if you just want to lounge by the pool all day. It's a nice place to bring a picnic lunch too.

Then there's Berkshire Vista in western Mass, maybe 2 hours from Solair. Berkshire Vista definitely allows weekday visitors and has discounts for staying overnight on weekdays. The downside is that their 2008 future is uncertain. This is on their homepage today: "We are NOT closing! We will operate in 2008 and beyond. Info will be released in the upcoming weeks." Naturist Journal has more details already here that point to Berkshire Vista scaling back.

In Eastern PA lies Sunny Rest Lodge, a really, really nice place with better facilities than the 3 above resorts. We just visited on a weekday and will be writing a trip report soon.

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About 30 Years Old and Getting Nude at Solair Recreation League

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Hartford Courant newspaper's lifestyle section just featured a nice trip report about Solair Recreation League, a nudist camp ground in Connecticut.

The author, visited Solair with her sister. Both around 30 years old, they left with a fairly positive impression of the resort. The sister's collectively had experience with being in clothing optional environments (Europe and some US topless beaches) so the article was more insightful, I think, than the more common "first timer" article.

As compared to some one-sided articles by authors who have only read about nudism, this author showed dedication by taking the plunge and then writing a well-rounded and fair account of the experience.

Read the full story here

My impression of Solair
Personally, I like Solair overall, having visited once and also being in the same "around 30" age group as the sisters above. When my wife and I visited, it was a lively summer Saturday last year. Besides people gathered at the pool, hot tub and lake, the sand volleyball court was active.

The library was empty, but who wants to read books inside on a nice day!

Solair had an event that day that I've never imagined ever seeing: a cooking demonstration in the nude. Think Emeril live, but scaled down and on a picnic table in a gazebo in a nudist resort. The woman's presentation was actually very good and educational.

I think Solair's hot tub and pool are average but nice. I prefer deep pools over volleyball depth pools, but that's just me. The lake is a uncommon feature and had a platform in the middle that you could swim to while skinnydipping. The grounds are really nice, comparable to Sunny Rest Lodge, a nudist resort in eastern PA that I'll be doing a trip report about soon.

I wish that there wasn't a pricey annual membership fee (after 4 visits) at Solair - otherwise I'd be back more often. The Courant author refers to it too:
  • "Solair, for example, charges $25 for a first-time visit and $500 for an annual membership. For the under-40 set, that drops to $17.50 for a first-timer, and $300 for the year."
I realize Solair's needs to run a business and the quality of the camp ground shows they are making some good decisions, so I cannot really knock them for it. In fact, it may be the glue that holds Solair together and helps make it what it is. We felt really safe and comfortable there and it is one of the most family-friendly places I've ever visited and that is a good thing for nude recreation.

So there you have it, a newspaper author endorses Solair. I think it's a nice place too. And if you search the forums on, you'll also hear good opinions of Solair.

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