Friday, December 02, 2005

Lone Star Gets Some Press

The photo is from

The Naked Truth

Navasota is home to nudist colony

Samhitha Murthy – The Battalion (Texas A&M University)

December 2, 2005

NAVASOTA, TX -- While some Hollywood depictions of nudist resorts depict havens for the sexy and studly, in actuality several sites for nude recreation are not so much single-and-mingle but family-oriented establishments. Of these, Lone Star Resort in Navasota is close to home, nestled just south of College Station in Grimes County.

Fluffy Felton, who manages the Lone Star Resort along with her husband, Dale, said Lone Star Resort started construction in 2001.

"We opened in May 2003 and put in a bathhouse, bathtub, pool, pier, office, barn plus two pavilions," she said.

The resort has facilities for swimming and hot-tubbing; volleyball, croquet and badminton courts, horseshoe pits, paddleboats and fishing areas. Special-event weekends feature food (often potlucks) and dancing.

Arnold LeUnes, an A&M professor specializing in sports psychology, said ties exist between nudity and athletic activities.

"Nudity in sports goes back to the Greek tradition of the Olympics," LeUnes said. "This came out of an admiration, almost worship, for the human body. I came back from Italy and my kids saw the photographs and said, 'All you did was take pictures of (art showing) nude men!' Well, that's a lot of what's there when you look at the ancient artifacts - sculptures, paintings and such."

LeUnes said a difference exists between Americans and Europeans, in terms of their varying levels of comfort with regard to nudity.

"I've spent the past five summers in Europe and it's very clear, at least in my view, that they have a more evolved outlook on the human body," he said. "I think our outlook goes back to Puritanism, with sex and the body being taboo. We haven't evolved in the same way as the Europeans."

LeUnes said that while there is "lots of sex" and exposure of the human body in American movies and on television, mores regarding sexuality, nudity and the body have not drastically changed.

"In general, unlike many Europeans, Americans have a narrower view - typically, they can't make the separation between nudity and sexuality."

Fluffy Felton insists that nudity is not a sexual thing.

"Children are natural nudists!" she said. "And most adults, when they take their clothes off, become kids. Here, adults and kids really talk to each other on an equal basis. It's funny, when you see someone that could be your grandmother, crocheting by the pool, except naked."

Corey Felton, Fluffy Felton's 16-year-old son, vouches for this, having grown up with a clothing-optional lifestyle. He said he considers himself lucky to have been raised with a different outlook on nudity.

"I go to Navasota High School," he said. "I'm a junior. I've recently told other kids. Some don't care, some do and the ones that do usually want to know about it, what it's like."

While Lone Star Resort may seem out of place in an area generally viewed as "conservative," the establishment has flourished since its beginnings, maintaining strong ties with its surrounding community.

"Grimes County has been very welcoming to us - they're talking about widening the road," Fluffy Felton said. "We support local people, local merchants - we hire all locals, and this is important because this area has one of the highest unemployment rates."

Fluffy Felton said Aggies definitely comprise a significant portion of Lone Star Resort's clientele, though most are alumni - working professionals who find the resort liberating, relaxing and stress-relieving.

"We get a lot of professionals, so students will come here (as day visitors) to talk to them," Fluffy Felton said.

Naked networking may seem odd, but Fluffy Felton insists that it is not so strange. While tradition may dictate the wearing of clothes for certain activities, proponents of nude recreation find these rules rather arbitrary.

Fluffy Felton and her husband are members of Buff Divers, a nude scuba diving group that sets up diving trips around the world, sometimes even in countries that outlaw nudity. Fluffy Felton said she can recall a memorable encounter with a native Fijian during one such vacation.

"We were on a boat for weeks, and there was a guy named Moe," she said. "He was the son of a tribal chief, and he was working as a crewman on the boat."

Once, Moe approached Dale Felton and asked, "What are you doing each night when I see you on the bow of the boat by yourself for 30 minutes?"

When Dale Felton answered that he was praying, Moe was incredulous.

"But you're naked!"

"I don't have to hide anything from my God," Dale Felton said. "He made me, He knows how I look, what I think."

Moe thought for a moment, and then joked, "You know, we used to be cannibals here that ran around naked, too! The missionaries did us a disservice, didn't they! We should have eaten them!"

Interestingly, nude recreation is an idea that tends to grow on many people. In 2000, several travel agencies sent out surveys with the question, "Would you consider a vacation destination with...?" Choices listed included things like "golf," "tennis," "water sports" and "mountain climbing," along with "clothing optional recreation." A majority of respondents indicated that they would consider "a destination with clothing optional recreation."

Today, Lone Star Resort has 135 annual members and several regular day visitors who choose to either bring RVs, set up tent camps or just spend the day.

"For baby boomers, nudity is not a big deal," Fluffy Felton said. "You know, when all you do is deal with stress, nudity becomes the great equalizer. You can't hide behind clothes or a career or a nice car, and here, our society is not judgmental. It's all about character, who you are as a person."



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