Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Forest Hills

Since my previous last-minute adventure was so much fun, I decided to try it again. Same type of trip, working two weekends with the week available to do whatever I wanted. I had a couple more days to plan for it. This time, however, I'd be doing the trip alone.

I decided to try Forest Hills Nudist Club and Campground. They are a smaller 45-acre co-op. Honestly, I prefer co-ops because I know they are not profit-driven. Any money that I spend there I know is going back into the campground somehow. They even have scheduled fundraisers where they specify what they intend to improve with the money. I like this.

The place looks nice on the website. They have a large pool, hot tub, cafe, lunch stand, pavilion, clubhouse, several games, and rental cottages. All I need for my stay is a place to sleep, water, food, and internet. What about internet?

Their 2010 brochure on the main page lists free wireless internet. But, I didn't see that at first, so I sent an email asking if wifi was available since I'd need to be able to work all week. The reply was "No sorry at this time WI-Fi is only available to members." This change in policy was to protect the privacy of the members.

I spent a moment thinking about that... I was prepared to stay in the cottage for five weekdays, which is a good chunk of income for them when it otherwise wouldn't be rented, but only if wifi was available. And it was available to members. Were they really going to turn me away? I asked them to reconsider. They did, and they decided to allow me to use it since I was staying an extended time and needed it. There were conditions though: All the obvious stuff, and I could only use it in the cottage since many laptops have cameras and they were concerned about privacy. No problem, I'd prefer working from the cabin anyway.

When I called to book the reservation, a different member informed me that the wifi does not work from the cabins. I had to use it from the clubhouse. I suppose I could do this -- the clubhouse looks cozy and there wouldn't be many people around to distract me.

Afterwords, I took a closer look at the facilities to see how challenging the week would be. Going through my list...

A place to sleep is easy, the cottage advertises a nice bed, nightstand, table and chairs, heater, and small refrigerator. The table and chairs appear to be a cheap set made for the patio. No big deal, since I'll be using the table and chairs in the clubhouse where wifi is available anyway.

Next on my list is water, which is also mentioned on the ad: "Our cabins are not equipped with bathrooms or running water, but these facilities are available in the clubhouse nearby." So I need to get dressed (if it's cold out) and walk to the bathroom? This is exactly what I do while tenting, so I guess I'm used to it.

Last is food. Both the cafe and the lunch stand are closed during the week, so I would need to bring my own food. What do I have available to store, prepare, and eat my food? A small fridge. There is no microwave or cooktop, and no dishes. This limits my food selection to sandwiches and snack bars unless I brought stuff. I packed my dishes for camping. Upon arrival, if there really was no microwave available, I was thinking of buying a cheap one for the cottage and telling them it's a donation.

As the days got closer, I checked the weather forecast. It would be in the 60's and rainy for a large portion of the week. Their pool and hot tub are both outdoors. If I used them, I would freeze as soon as I left the water. Everyone else at the campground would probably be dressed due to the cool weather.

Faced with an expensive trip to a rural location, being the only naked guy who hangs out in the clubhouse on a laptop most of the day, starving and fending for food, and having a challenging stay in a cottage, I decided to cancel my reservation. In all fairness, if there was warm weather and an event going on with food available, staying would be far easier and more enjoyable.

So why did I decide to write about a place I never went to? I wanted to illustrate a point. A lot of nudist venues are completely geared towards people with RVs. Most people under 30 cannot afford a RV. Without my own kitchen, bathroom, and basic house, I need to rely on what is available from the venue. Is a bed, water, food, and internet too much to ask for? Most cheap motels even provide these things. Staying at a smaller nudist venue is often more challenging than staying at a cheap motel, which is discouraging for the younger non-RV generation.


Nudiarist said...


All this talk about nudism dying without attracting a younger crowd, and you perfectly illustrate why people don't want to spend the money to go someplace which cannot provide them with amenities found in any Motel 6.

It has nothing to do with age. The population is getting older, AARP is thriving, so if nudist venues were smart they would stop worrying about the younger crowd and start looking for ways to attract people in general. Certainly there are enough older people out there to keep nudist venues filled if they had a reason to attend.

I understand that many of these places simply don't have the money to put in lodging, offer maid service, run a food service all week long, or even offer running water, but without these simplest of amenities people are not going to spend up to $50 per day just to hang out in the nude.

Nor are they going to join any nudist organization which costs nearly $90 per year for a couple, and offers very little tangible return on that investment.

My wife and I are lucky - we have a trailer at our nudist campground so we can keep food in the fridge and cook meals whenever we're hungry. We can watch TV, sit in air conditioning when it's hot, crank up the heat when it's cold - all the good stuff we're used to. But we can still get out and hike the trails and enjoy nature.

We did the tenting thing for a year and don't miss it a bit. I'm sure that most people feel the same way we do, that the old rustic ways of nudism are fine up to a point, but eventually in today's society everyone wants modern comforts, and to be connected electronically to the rest of the world.

So again, you hit the nail on the head, but it's not an age issue because people in their 50s and 60s are basically looking for the same things you are.

Hank said...

I dunno. I'm so 1968. All I need is a one-room shack with clean lake water and good screens to keep out mosquitos. Running water, plumbing and electricity are optional.

david said...

I agree absolutely - my wife and I are in our 60's and love the nudist lifestyle. We live in Finland and have a lovely isolated summer cottage that allows enormous nusidt freedom. Problem is that too many people want to blur the line between naturism and sexual freedom/soft porn and they think that that will appeal to a younger crowd.