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Juniper Woods Report, First-Timer's Thoughts.
A week ago last Saturday (26 July 2001) I visited Juniper Woods, New York, (Website: http://www.juniperwoods.com ) in Catskill, New York, and I thought I'd share my impressions. As this was also my first trip to a nudist facility, I'll say a few words about that too.
It may be helpful to know that I was raised in a household that wasn't particularly clothes-compulsive, at least up until my early teens (my parents are sort of aging hippies, and I'm an only child, FWIW). Somewhere along the line in my teens, though, my parents started sending me mixed messages about casual nudity, and, whether that had anything to do with it or not, I became quite shy about even taking my shirt off in front of others. However, I've always believed intellectually that nudity was a Good Thing (I argued strongly and successfully against prohibiting it in an intentional community I was involved with), and I've been wanting to visit a nudist venue at least since I was 18 or 20, when I blundered into rec.nude.
For various reasons, I felt I had some psychological momentum going as regards acceptance of nudity. I didn't want to lose the momentum, so it was about Tuesday or Wednesday when I decided that I should visit a nudist resort that Saturday. If I'd had more time to plan, I'd have tried to find an intrepid friend to join me, but that wasn't possible under the circumstances.
Anyway, I got on the 'Net and quickly found that Juniper Woods was my closest choice (about 90 minutes). I was really looking forward to going -- up until sometime on Friday, when I started getting serious jitters. Admittedly, part of that was the uncertainty from *any* unfamiliar activity. But by 2:00 on Saturday when I arrived (having been delayed by Real Life, oversleeping, ambivalence, and a wrong turn), the jitters had become a cold knot of fear in my gut -- and completely without intellectual reason.
Having corrected my wrong turn (note: Green Lake Road is easy to miss), I found the place easily (I used directions off MapBlast! to avoid Thruway tolls, so I can't evaluate Juniper Woods' own -- and somewhat different -- directions). I would have missed it if I hadn't actively been looking for it. There's a solid wooden fence right by the road that says "Juniper Woods", with a car-size gate set sideways into it. Quite effective concealment.
With my belly now a block of ice, I drove in a few feet -- and stopped dead. Right in front of me were three people with clothes on. I can't really explain why, but this was very disconcerting; I'd have felt a lot better if the first people I'd seen had been naked. As it was, I had to back out, drive about a quarter of a mile, pull off the road, and give myself a pep talk. I reminded myself that there was really nothing to be afraid of, and also thought back to my one and only hot tub experience (at the house of some folx I once stayed with, clothes very definitely optional, lots o' fun). I also took off my shirt to increase my commitment level.
Psyching myself up to get in there was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it paid off. When I entered for the second time, I was greeted at the office by one of the clothed folx I'd noticed, who turned out to be Olga, one of the owners. When she learned I was a first-timer, she gave me a pretty complete rundown of what was where and what I should know. I came out of the office feeling rather less nervous.
Turns out Olga was clothed because the office is too close to the road for nudity to be an option, else I probably would have undressed right there. Rather, I drove to the parking area and got my clothes off while still in the car.
When I emerged from the car, I was immediately struck by how liberating it felt to be outside on a nice day with no clothes on (since I go barefoot most of the time anyway, the only thing I was wearing was my glasses). Since no one seemed to be around to start a conversation with (there were only about 20 people there that day), I went for a walk around the site. Juniper Woods is a moderately rustic campground -- amenities, besides the expected plumbing and hookups, consist of a swimming pool, a conversation pool, an open-walled pavilion with shuffleboard and croquet equipment, and a lake. I understand there are also hiking trails, but I didn't get to explore them. [Note: I now know I was incorrect about the hiking trails.]
At any rate, the place is in a lovely wooded environment, and the walk around was beautiful -- and by 2 minutes after I arrived, the wonderful feeling of sun, wind, and grass on my bare skin had me completely hooked. Those on this newsgroup [and on NetNude] will know what I'm talking about when I say that it came close to being a transformative experience. It felt natural. It felt *right*.
After my walk, I sunned myself by the pool for a while (something I'd *never* do clothed), and then, finding that there were people in the conversation pool, went there. They turned out to be very friendly folk; one couple were also first-timers.
I spent most of the rest of the day hanging out (poor choice of words?) with the folks I met in the pool and some friends of theirs. As I was about to leave, one of them insisted that I share supper with him and his wife, and then (having been impressed by my recorder playing) took some pictures of me playing recorder. (Juniper Woods generally bans cameras, but this man had special permission to take shots for the website.)
I left about 8:00, wishing I had the time to stay and camp, and vowing to come back. I've been converted to nudism, and I'm proselytizing all my friends (and parents), not to mention getting undressed the moment I come home. I just wish I had done this sooner.
* One woman I met said that on her first nudist experience, she found the clothed staff reassuring. I guess not everyone reacts identically.
* Erection was a total non-issue. This won't surprise the more experienced people, but I thought I'd mention it just the same. One of the most pleasant aspects of the whole experience was how erotic it wasn't (not that I have anything against eroticism, but it's nice to do something that's unabashedly sensual yet non-erotic). Strangely enough, though, I had to keep running to the bathroom because I kept feeling that if I didn't, I'd let go and pee all over everything. Has anyone else ever experienced this? [In the 7 months since I first posted this article, no one has yet answered this question, and I haven't felt this way during any of my subsequent nudist experiences. I guess it was just nervousness...but I'm still curious to know if this is common!]
* Toward evening, one couple I'd been chatting with all day waved me over to their table to play some music for them. They'd put on shirts for warmth (because of the table, they seemed fully dressed); I had not. It suddenly seemed very odd for me to be naked in front of them. I expect this reaction will diminish in time. [Indeed it did. My next nudist experience was a wonderful trip to Avalon on New Year's day. Avalon is CO, and several people I met chose to dress either partially or completely. It didn't faze me.]
* I'm in my mid-twenties, and except for two girls aged about 10-13 (accompanying their parents and having a ball), I was the youngest person there -- by a good ten years, I'd say. This can't be a healthy demographic for a sustainable community. [I have seen a similar age spread elsewhere. I think we must do something about this if the nudist community is to thrive. Thoughts, anyone?]
* Despite my being single and male, I was made to feel very welcome. This should go without saying, but I get the feeling some people think that single males are the devil incarnate. Remember that banning single males could lead to fewer enthusiastic neophytes -- I certainly couldn't have been "converted" had there not been a nearby single-friendly club.
* My mother surprised me by not being particularly interested in the idea of nudism herself -- I thought she'd be intrigued (as always, the people one would expect to be interested aren't, and vice versa). She surprised me again by telling me that I had proposed a trip to a nudist resort when I was 12 or so, and that she and my father had not been comfortable with the idea. I have no recollection of that happening [and neither does my father], but it's not out of character for me at that age.
* The water coming out of the water hookups tastes terrible. You might want to bring a filter if you're going to drink it.
[When I first posted this report, I left out two more important points by mistake. The first was my theory that social nudism improves the quality of interactions by forcing eye contact because it's not polite to look anywhere else. I no longer fully believe that, but I do think that important things are gained from the increased vulnerability level that nudity supplies. For example, at the bowling party I just went to (see below), I had the impression that people were more relaxed and taking themselves less seriously than they would have been if clothed.
The second point is one that I find a vital argument for nudism. On every one of my nudist experiences, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that everyone looks good naked -- even people one would not expect to. I have so far come up with two reasons for this: first, there's no issue of ill-fitting clothes, and second, no one is wearing things that are fashionable but don't suit them. In short, everyone is there more or less the way God made them, and that suits every body!]
Anyway, that's all for now. Sorry if I've rambled on too long; I hope I haven't bored you, and I'd love to hear your comments.
Pawling, NY, USA
This report is brought to you by Majik and Bec.
First time report at Lake of the Woods, Indiana.
We ran across LOW in an old AANR book that we had ordered some time ago. Majik (he) had a much stronger interest in nudism than Bec, and had called around to a few places that were in the Midwest. LOW was the closest, but did we dare go someplace that close to home? What if we met someone we knew? Finally, the decison was made --- and it was made easier in that LOW had rental cabins to stay overnight. We made the reservation for an August Friday night. Fought the usual Friday night traffic until finally it lightened up as we got closer to Valparaiso. LOW was easy to find from the maps ---- Once inside, we were met by Lois, the person who rented the cabins. She had also answered several of Bec's questions on the phone -- to help ease the idea of visiting a nudist resort.
The cabin was basic, but nice. It was dark by the time we got into the cabin. Majik didn't waste any time getting naked and going out into the cool night air. What a wonderful feeling !!!!! Bec was still hesitant, but finally off came the clothes too and into the night she stepped.....naturally.
The next day, we ventured down by the lake -- they also have a pool. We spent most of the time relaxing in the lawn chairs, but also took a walk by the side of the lake along a crude path --- so nice to take a nude stroll!!
The people were nice --- they don't push newbies --- you can find people to talk to if you wish, and you can stay by your self if that's your desire.
All in all, it was a good first visit. Majik is ready to return -- Bec is not as enthusiastic, but she's thinking about it....
This report is brought to you by Chris R.
My First Time in Mykonos, Greece.
Where to start? I too, was raised in a family where men and women, boys and girls didn't see each other nude. Although we were taught that there is nothing wrong with our bodies the message was still delivered that naked bodies are bad and good people don't look at naked people because that is bad. When I graduated from college I joined the Air Force and eventually ended up in Europe. There, I was subjected to topless beaches. Wow, what an eye opener. There were more breasts just lying around than you could shake a stick at. I had died and gone to heaven. Had I not experienced European beaches via the Air Force I would have NEVER ventured to a nude resort or beach. It was just not the way I was raised.
However, having been thrown into it, I thought this was "GREAT, FANTASTIC, EXCITING etc.etc.etc.. About three days later, this newness wore off and it really wasn't much different than the beaches I grew up on. However, I still felt like I was doing something a little naughty, though.
It wasn't until a group of us, all guys, went to the island of Mykonos that I ended up on my first nude beach (clothing optional actually). I remember, there we were, three American guys from the conservative mid-west, on a nude beach, with our suits on. After a half hour or so, I finally came to the conclusion that this was ludicrous and decided to join virtually everyone else around us in being nude. The other two guys kept theirs on. It didn't take me long to realize what most everyone else on the beach already knew. This was nice. Really nice! I had been wondering how people didn't care that they were nude. I finally realized that I didn't care that I was nude. I felt sooo free. I didn't know how to express the feeling of being able to walk around, swim in the water or just lie in the sun, while totally nude. It was as if this phenomenally large, yet invisible shroud had been removed. I'm a little slow sometimes but that day I took a very big step. But I still felt like I was doing something naughty.
The next day I observed a French family on the same beach. There was a little boy about 5 and a girl about 10 with their parents. After they selected a spot on the beach not too far from us, the little boy started ripping his clothes off, throwing them at Mom's feet. He grabbed his bucket and shovel, and took of for the water with his mother yelling something at him in French.
At the edge of the water he squatted down and started playing in the sand; it was cute. Meanwhile his sister was taking off her clothes, folded them neatly and placed them on the picnic basket. After saying something to her mother, she walked to the edge of the water and went swimming. Five minutes later the parents were lying on their beach mats. Her head was resting on his belly and they were both watching the kids. Watching this scene unfold, I finally realized that I couldn't find anything naughty about it. It all seemed so very, very natural. Here was a family enjoying a day at the beach and none of them had a stitch on.
For the next two or three hours I watched this totally nude family laugh and play at the beach doing everything I would expect to see at any of the beaches I grew up on. That day I took a giant leap. I was on my way to becoming a naturist. The light-bulb had come on.
Eventually I married, and while my wife does not share my naturist viewpoints as enthusiastically as I do, we have decided to raise our kids in a more open environment within the family regarding nudity. Our kids don't even blink at our nude bodies because they have always been allowed to see us as we are. God made us this way and that is good enough for us. We try not to allow body shame to enter the complex equation of raising a family that is so prevalent in most American families and I think that is very healthy. When confronted with questions about our bodies that would have just made my parents turn every shade of red out of embarrassment, we simply answer them as straight forward as possible because there is nothing to hide anymore.
Skinny dipping is the norm in our back yard and I hope to keep it that way.
This report is brought to you by Mike.
First Time at DeAnza Springs Resort, California.
April 2002. I recently had my first time social nudist experience. Needless to say I was very apprehensive at first but it was something I had wanted to do for a long time. I had contacted De Anza Springs on the internet and they were very friendly and I was invited to attend. As the day approached I gathered things together as I had read were necessary to bring. As I approached the gate, I rang the bell and a cheerful voice asked if this was my first visit and instructed me to the office, the door swung open and I entered. I had done it! I was actually here! The grounds are very large and open, surrounded by beautiful mountains. I was given a short tour of the facilities and asked if I had any questions, and a few moments later I was told that they hoped I would enjoy my stay. There were a few people walking around in various states of undress, all so casual and matter of factly. My tensions that I had brought with me seemed to fade, and I quickly undressed, closed my eyes for a moment, and walked into the world of nudism. It felt wonderful!! I had a great time, I met and talked to some of the nicest people I have ever met, and in a very short time I was not ashamed of my nudity in front of others. The short amount of time I spent there that day helped me rid myself of a lifetime of negative thinking about body acceptance. I will go back, and am so glad I finally took the plunge. The only thing I would caution first timers like me is to be sure and use sunblock, especially on sensitive areas or on skin that usually isn't exposed. It may prevent a painful sunburn. I love the look of an overall tan.
This report is brought to you by MichaelM1986.
First Time at Home.
Well, it was about a year ago. I was 14. I was doing a project on Alexander the great. So i went to Yahoo and typed in Alex the Great and got a bunch of sites. One of them was a nudist site called "Alex and Sams Nudist Pages" (An Australian couples personal nudist site).
At first, I thought it was a X-rated site and thinking "What IS this?", but i read some of the nudist facts and info, and I was like "Hmm, Interesting". But then I left the site, thinking it was just a joke or something. So a week later, I was home alone, so bored, browsing though some sites. I went back to the nudist site again, but one thing led to another, so then I went to Yahoo and typed in "Nudists" and BAM!, I got ton of nudists sites (including NetNude).
I didnt know there were really people who did not wear clothes. But there are. I learned so much that day, it was great. Then, I came across one site that said "If you are a beginner nudist, you should try getting nude at home, like watching TV, Eating, and going on the computer nude". So I was home alone, and i was pretty hot that day, and I sripped down naked at my computer and LOVED it. I was like "Whoa! This IS relaxing". And I've loved nudism ever since.
I always sleep nude and I'm nude whenever I get the chance. So I guess the internet got me into nudism, by accident, but I'm glad I found it. :) The End.
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