Sunday, November 27, 2016

Review: Cypress Cove Nudist Resort

I've been going to Cypress Cove in nearby Kissimmee Florida off and on for around 30 years.  I returned from a nice day visit there today and I realized that I've never talked about it in this blog.  I had written about it in a series of Geocities web pages I authored back in the day when that service was still in business.  But apparently not here.

A few things have changed about the place.  But thankfully, not much.  It used to be in a very rural area south of town surrounded by low end trailer parks and campsites.  Now, it's directly off a four lane divided highway with the nicely manicured entrance at a traffic light directly across from the local Lowes superstore.  The sign now just says "Cypress Cove" (not mentioning it's a nudist resort).  But that's OK.  The locals all know what it is, and they're fine with it being there.

They've added another pool and some nice shops, but they're hemmed in on all sides and I assume they can't afford to buy any of the adjacent properties.  Even so, it's pretty big.  Hundreds of people live there in mid to high end manufactured homes.  Most of the homes are meticulously landscaped and well maintained by their owners.  There's lots of room for visiting and seasonal RVs (it's pretty full now), and they have have several modern condo style buildings with rooms for visitors who aren't equipped for or desiring campground accommodations.  Add to that a well equipped gym, lots of outdoor sports facilities, a big pool side bar and grill in it's own building, and a fancy restaurant on their nice little lake.

It still has the look and feel of a mature, efficient, well kept up and well run local family owned place that isn't trying to weird or different.  Instead, it just looks and feels like a second home to those of us who live in and visit the area.

That said, I had a rocky start with them.  In my early 20's after having gone to several nude beaches, I decided to give them a call to see if I could visit their establishment.  I was given the cold shoulder and pretty much told that as a single male, I wasn't welcome.  That turned me off to the point that it was another year or so before I tried a different, more single male friendly club.  Only years later, as an "affiliated" visitor with AANR membership and an established membership in the "travel club" that supported Playalinda Beach on the Atlantic coast east of them, did I call again and was finally welcome to visit.

After several visits, they gave me a reference number to use that pretty much waves me in anytime I want to visit, even though I haven't kept up my memberships elsewhere.

The patrons there are mostly middle aged or retired, which suits me more now than it did back then.  Very laid back and friendly, but not a lot of younger people there with their families.

Today's visit was the opposite of the deprivation chamber experience I talked about a couple of weeks ago.  Sunny, mid-70's, nice breeze.  Perfect.  Deliciously sensual without anyone feeling uncomfortable with anyone.  No (obvious) swingers and though nudity is expected everywhere, it's only rigidly enforced (as with most clubs) around and in the pool and hot tubs.

It's a great place to introduce middle age and above non-nudists to what it's all about.  Young adults would probably enjoy going with a group like the Florida Young Naturists to a club like Sunsport Gardens in South Florida, that caters to the younger crowd who aren't looking for or needing fancy facilities.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

If I had it do do all over again...

It's easy to play the "what if" game.  I regret not marrying young and having a large family of my own.  But neither I nor my wife are the same people as we were in back when we were in our early 20's.  We wouldn't have met, and we probably wouldn't have even liked each other if we had met back then.  It was better that we became what we eventually would become, before we met.  Otherwise, we would have divorced before we got very far.

I regret not finishing my PhD.  I was working on my dissertation while on loan to a branch of my company, living out of hotel rooms in the mid-west, working 60+ hours every week for years on end.   Eventually I had to choose between burning out irreparably, or burning out in a way that I might eventually recover from.  So when push came to shove, I gave up the PhD work.  I would have loved teaching college in retirement instead of just doing a few guest lectures, like I do now. Plus my wife is an EU citizen and I could have taught in Europe.

Marrying late meant that I didn't have the large family I would have liked to have fathered.  Instead, I married the perfect person for the rest of my life, with two young kids who I couldn't have loved any more than if I had fathered them myself.

But let's be honest.  I made lifelong friends, learned more than I could ever have otherwise, and advanced my career in a way that set me up for the rest of my life because I worked those long hours and spent years away from home.  I didn't have the burden of time and money having a family when I was young, so I traveled extensively, disappearing for weeks on end deep into the mountains with my back pack and gear.  Plus, I had a head start on saving and investing that made it a lot easier to help us, and the kids, later in life.  Starting early has set us up well for retirement sometime in the near future.  Something everyone young person should think about.

The luxury of time and independence in my early 20's allowed my to explore my naturist tendencies.  I visited nude beaches and nudist venues in several countries, and I became active in a local club my politically connected future wife would never have allowed me to be active in. No, I didn't get to hike the Pacific Coast Trail or the full length of the Appalachian trail.  And I didn't get to raise my kids as nudists.  But I did confide in them my background and I expressed my hope that they'd at least be at peace with their own bodies, very early in their lives.  I hope they consider that option with their kids.

I'm happy with how my life turned out.  I love my wife, my kids (they are, to me, my kids), and our two grand kids (and counting).  And I look forward to a wonderful rest of my life with them.  My wife enjoys the freedom of not having to wear clothes around me.  And she's OK with coming with me to nude beaches and nudist clubs every now and again.  I've had a few discussions with the kids, and they understand their options.  I just hope they raise their kids to be as least as accepting as my parents raised me.  Sometimes, that's the most you can ask.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Floating Naked

A few years ago, a business came to town that offers people the experience of spending an hour or two in what used to be called "deprivation chambers".  Basically you float alone in total darkness and quiet inside a pod filled with warm heavily salted (Epson salts) water.  The idea is that the lack of sensory stimuli allows the participant to clear and quiet their mind easier than one could with meditation alone.  As you might expect, all sorts of benefits are claimed.

I tried it for an hour a couple of years ago and I must say that I didn't get much out of it.  With the wife away this weekend, I decided to treat myself to a longer "float" of an hour and a half. As before, it was an interesting experience, but I guess I've never had much trouble quieting my mind when I wanted to.  But I can see that it might be helpful to some people.

So why bring this up here?  Because, and they make this very clear, you must float naked in the pod because the feeling of wearing anything while you "float" is distracting.  As if any of us who enjoy the outdoors, a day at the beach, or swimming naked needed to be reminded.   The room with your pod is completely private and includes a shower and changing area.  You undress, shower briefly, climb in the pod, aid wait as soft music plays for a while.  The lights slowly dim, then you're left in perfect quiet and darkness with your body suspended in warm soft water with the air warmed above you to the same perfect temperature.  When your time's up, the music fades back in and the lights fade back up.  That's your cue to (possibly wake up)  get out, shower, dress, and leave.

What's it like?  The need to do it naked probably dissuades some people.  They don't outright ban swimwear and they wouldn't know if you wore any, but it becomes obvious pretty quickly that wearing anything would distract the almost out of body experience "floating" (as they call it) gives you.  I guess I'm too in tune with my body to experience the full sensory quieting experience.  I hear and try to think only of my breathing, but I can still feel the warm water/air line evenly down my body (you float pretty high in the water) and I could hear my heartbeat pulsing quietly inside my ears.  I guess my body isn't totally at peace even when it's fully at rest.  I could feel tightness in my back and in my legs, even after some stretching while in the pod.  Floating after a nice fully body message would have been perfect.

In the end, as before, not knowing when it would be over was always on my mind and I alternated between being bored, and not thinking of anything.  Which, I suppose in the last case, was the point.  Either way, as with so many things in life, it's better experienced and enjoyed naked.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Beach Review: Blind Creek Beach (Florida)

My weekends have been pretty busy and I haven't had much chance to visit any nude beaches or clubs for several months.  Last month for my birthday, my wife suggested that we spend the day at Haulover Beach (a very nice clothing optional beach near Miami).  But Haulover makes for a long day trip from here.  Other things came up, so we visited one of the wonderful spring state parks in the middle of the state instead (highly recommended, albeit a clothed venue).

The wife's out of town for a couple of weeks on a road trip with her sister, so today I thought I'd check out a new beach I recently read about that's a lot closer to home (not wanting to disappoint her if it turns out not to have much nude use, or is too sketchy).  Blind Creek Beach is a county run beach on the Atlantic Ocean, near Fort Pierce, Florida, about half way down the east coast of the state.  It's only been in use for a couple of years, but boy was I impressed!

I'll let the Treasure Coast Naturists tell the story of their role in making it possible.  Kudos to them!

Driving down from the north around 11 AM, I passed the north parking lot which they recommended only as an overflow lot.  The clothing optional section is between the north and south lots, and they said most of the nude use would be near the south end.  The north lot had quite a few cars, but I figured the textile locals where probably using that end and it would be a long walk south before running into people using the beach nude.  North of the beach is expensive condos and subdivisions with fancy public beaches nearby.  All the more reason to head for the south lot.

The south lot was pretty full, which dashed my hopes that there would be any nude use there.  It's a primitive beach, but the county had done a good job of making it acceptable.  I expected only to find a few people after your typical long walk up or down from the beach access trail.  But nooo...  At the end of the trail there were nude people everywhere as far as one could see in both directions, including right at the end of the access trail.  No one even bothered to post a "Beyond this point you may encounter nude bathers" sign (one was posted on the access trail later in the day).  For that matter, no one had bothered to take the option and was clothed except to walk to or from the parking lot.  So exactly who was there who needed to be warned?

It was sunny, warm (low 80's), and was forecast was for it to stay that way.  I found a nice spot not too far from the access trail.  From the deep tans everywhere and the relaxed atmosphere, it was obvious that the beach had matured nicely.  That said, a couple of things were a bit too cavalier.  I walked far to the south and people there were walking into the active nuclear power plant's property.  Yeah, the state owns up to the high water mark and the nude walkers seem to be respecting that.  But I suspect that security there would be touchy about it.

Likewise, instead of people staying south of the north entrance, they had spread well to the north as far as you could see, which was supposed to be "clothing required" territory.  Nobody seemed to care, including people walking in from either entrance with their families.  They joined in as if everyone in the area knew what the deal was.  Two big thumbs up!

I made some small talk with a few people near my spot.  But like most of the nude beaches I've been to here in the US, most people tended to keep to themselves.  Which is a shame.  Also, while the Treasure Coast Naturists sponsored a couple of potta-potties, which wouldn't have been there otherwise, they didn't have an obvious presence to disseminate information, tell others about upcoming events, or to collect donations for their expenses.  Hopefully more people will join and help.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Florida

Dave Barry wrote a fun article about Florida in the Wall Street Journal last Friday (Sept 2, 2016).  It's behind their paywall, but I'll share a snippet:

"Almost any day of the year, I could walk out my front door naked and be perfectly physically comfortable until the police Taser me.  Granted, sometimes in the summer (defined as June through the following June), it gets a little too warm down here, but too warm beats the hell out of too
cold. Too cold means if you stay outside too long you will die. Too warm means you might have to have another beer...."

I spent the day yesterday power washing and bleaching the patio, working on the pool, and doing all sorts of other messy sweaty things in the back yard in the heat, and sometimes in the rain.  Being and staying nude throughout the day was much more practical and comfortable.  I would have spent the day in dirty, gritty, wet, chafing, ruined clothing, sweating like a pig.   Instead, I simply jumped into the pool whenever I felt like it or whenever I got the bleach on me.  Jump out, continue.

But to Dave Barry's point, nine times out of ten, I do it just as easily and just as comfortably in mid January here.  The only difference is it would be 75F and sunny, instead of 95F and mixed.

People think of "natives" here as being the Seminole tribe, when in reality they were refugees from the north just as most Floridians here are.  I'm considered a "Florida native" only because I was born here and my father side has been in the state for several generations.  Maybe when the influx of northern invaders dies down, people will start working and enjoying the parks and beaches naked.  Until then, at least I have my own private oasis.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Stop Being So Creepy Weird

We need to stop being so "creepy weird" about nudity.  By that I mean that we need to stop allowing it to be a big deal.  Because by all rights, it shouldn't be.  It didn't used to be when I was a kid.

Case in point.  I went to a local event yesterday at a community center a few blocks from where I live.  It was built in the 70's when the town was a lot smaller and concentrated in that area.  It survives by hosting events, having a library and a very nice nature trail and boardwalk next to it, and having a rag tag skateboard park built in the back.  Even so, it still operates as a community gym with a nice basketball court, a pretty decent workout room with lots of equipment, and lots of physical programs, such as yoga and martial arts.  Membership for residents is ridiculously cheap.  Enough so that I wonder why people flock to fancy private gyms scattered throughout the area when they can get their basic gym needs satisfied so cheaply.

At the event, being an apparently tired American, I had a need to find the rest room.  It was, of course, the men's locker room, where I got a reminder of how simply we used to treat nudity.  At least in gyms.

You first walk into a large square room with lockers along the wall and benches scattered about in the middle of the room.  From there, you walk into another open room where the urinals and toilets are.  The toilets had stalls, but the urinals and sinks were packed close along the wall with no other partitions in sight.

A little further on, there was a small steam sauna, followed by a large room with numerous shower heads every few feet along each wall.

What struck me as "odd" these days, is there was no place to hang or leave a towel.  I remember the days where you simply came back to the locker room, stripped, put your clothes in the locker with your towel and other "stuff", and simply walked with the crowd toward the showers.  You'd do you business, if you had any, along the way. Often waiting in line there, and for a place beneath a shower head.  You'd talk with your friends while you soaped up and rinsed off, then made your way, often en masse, back to the lockers where you'd open your locker, retrieve your towel, dry off, get dressed, all while continuing chatting with your friends, and leave.

I bet those showers very rarely get used anymore.  People would rather stink up their cars and go home to shower, instead of just going to work or continuing their day from there.



Saturday, July 2, 2016

Degrees of Being a Nudist

Saying it that way makes it sound like "degrees of deviant behavior" instead of looking at it from my prospective of "degrees of being free of clothing compulsiveness", which challenges the alternative as being the unhealthy behavior.

Be that as it may, I was listening recently to the latest episode of the excellent Naturist Living Show podcast, Architecture of Nudism and Naturism, and it got me thinking as to what are the levels of involvement different people have with nudism and naturism?  Thinking about it, I came up with the following levels.  Many of them overlap and you might find yourself more in one category or the other, depending on your situation.  Either way, where do you see yourself?  And what "levels" would you define?

Intolerant of Nudity:  Unfortunately this is the position of many state and local governments here in the US to the point that they pass laws that define in excruciating detail what's acceptable and what's illegal.  Sometimes to the point of making you register as a sex offender if you're convicted of such a heinous crime.  Very few people are as personally intolerant about nudity as these laws are.  Even so, some people call the police when they see someone skinny-dipping, even in the remotest location.  They see what their own species looks like as being fundamentally immoral and it's their duty to report any transgression.  They object to any full display of the human form in art, movies, and TV, and consider any such display as being pornographic and obscene.  Those people need to get a life. Fortunately, though many people assume more people are that strict about it, very few people actually are.

Nude Averse:  These people actively avoid nudity whenever possible.   When they run into people skinny-dipping, stumble onto a nude beach, or go to a gym where people are too casual about nudity in the gym locker rooms or showers, they leave and they don't come back.  They avoid visiting family members who are casual about the nudity of their children.   They change the channel and cover the eyes of their children when nudity is depicted on the TV or in movies.  These people probably don't sleep naked , they get dressed right after they bathe, and they close and lock the door to prevent their kids from walking in when they're not dressed.  And they teach their kids to do likewise.  They've probably never skinny-dipped, or at least they'd never admit that they had.
  
Nude Tolerant:  Most Americans probably fall into this category today.  While they wouldn't visit a nude beach or nudist resort themselves, it's OK with them if others do.  They don't mind changing and showering at the gym.  Showering, that is, in a stall, not communally.  They don't mind too much if others in the sauna are sitting on their towels instead of sitting with the towel around them, like they do.   They don't mind their friend's kids running around naked in their house, but they wouldn't let their kids do that.  They sleep naked if they want to and they don't scream at their kids if they walk in on them when they aren't dressed.  But they're careful to not have that happen too often.  They've probably skinny-dipped and don't mind saying they have as a "youthful indiscretion", but it's not something they'd do now.  They ignore nudity on in the media and don't go out of their way to shield their kids from it, but they think it's unnecessary and they wish there wasn't so much of it.  They think they're more liberal about it than they think most good people are.  So out of respect for them, they don't object and might even vote for restrictive ordinances.

Casual about Nudity:  These people don't mind using communal showers and they're the ones sitting on their towel in the sauna.  If friends want to skinny-dip in a remote location or in a private pool or hot tub, they'll go along with it.  They probably swim naked in their own pool when the kids aren't around.  They don't give sleeping naked a second thought and they probably air dry after bathing or swimming and do light chores naked without feeling any need to hurry to get dressed.  They don't mind if their kids run around naked for a while after their bath.  They have an open door policy and behave no differently when their kids walk in on them naked than if they were clothed.  They can be talked into going to a nude beach or a nudist resort with a close friend, but they don't want others to know if they went.  They'll probably just check that off their bucket list and not come back on their own.  That describes how I was raised.

Home Nudist:  This person prefers being nude whenever they can be.  Like anyone else, when they're home for the night and not going anywhere, they like getting comfortable.  But they've discovered that removing ALL of their clothes is even more comfortable than just removing some of them, and they don't see any reason not to be nude at home.  They've skinny-dipped and been to nude beaches often enough that they hate wearing swim suits.  They do chores and projects around the house nude, and if their back yard is private enough, they'll garden, sunbathe, and swim nude if they own a pool.  They don't mind if their neighbors and family know, but they respect other people's discomfort with it and are careful not to expose them to it.  That describes me most days.

Recreational/Social Nudist:  This person enjoys going to nude beaches and nudist clubs and resorts not only to enjoy the expanded opportunities to be nude, but to make friends and to meet people.  They're friendly, engage in volleyball and other group sports there, and other people like being around them.  But unless they live nearby, you don't see them there that often.  They don't let it interfere with the rest of their life.  That describes me.

Philosophical Naturist:   Someone who thinks being nude and accepting others who are nude helps one to be a better person.  That society demonizing nudity has psychologically and sociologically damaged us, and that we'd all be better off if we'd take a healthier attitude. They may or may not be naked as often as others are.  They don't see themselves as just being a nudist (as in one who just likes being naked).  Which is why I prefer the term "naturist" for myself.

Card Carrying/Activist Nudist:  This person is a member of clubs and organizations not just for the discounts.  They come to meetings, participate in outreach, write blogs, do volunteer work at their club, and aren't afraid to tell others all about.   That used to describe me, but distance and the other distractions of life have limited me to this blog and answering questions on Yahoo and Quora.

Living It:  These people live and often work 24/7 nude as much as they can.  Either they live alone and don't have a lot of visitors, or they live in a nudist community and are rarely clothed unless they have to go into town.  Visiting friends and family have to put with their host being nude.  They dress at home for no one.

Time to launch this.  I'll check back later and clean it up.  Comment if you like.  Look for a poll on this subject on the page.