Bare in the Garden State
Uncovering an unexpected hideaway
Rock Lodge nudist camp opens its doors to the public
Eileen Stanbridge – West Milford Messenger
June 20, 2006
Stockholm, NJ — The beautiful lakes and mountains of northern New Jersey have drawn people to the lake communities in the area from as far back as early in the last century.
Over the years, Rock Lodge in Stockholm has been many things. In the 1920s, it was a training camp for boxers. In the early 1930s, it was a health farm. Later, during the Depression, Herman Shoshinsky leased the property as the proprietor of the American Gymnosphical Association, which was the euphemism of the day for a nudist camp.
It has remained so to this day, known since 1942 as the Rock Lodge Nudist Club and now as a cooperative with a large membership.
Until recently, it had kept a low profile. Three years ago, it declined a request by this newspaper to do a feature story about it. But that is changing, and the clearest sign is an open house the club held last Saturday to introduce itself to those who want to know more.
“We are basically like any other lake community, except I would say that we are more socially diverse,” said Howard Lentner, the lodge’s public relations director.
Rock Lodge consists of 145 acres and contains a spring fed lake in the mountains more than 1,000 feet above sea level. There, members can enjoy hot summers in the cool mountain air. Privately owned cabins and houses dot the lake shore and accommodations for weekend and longer stays are also available in rental rooms or cabins.
“Members can enjoy the grounds by playing tennis, volleyball, swimming, hiking, boating and just plain lounging,” said Lentner.
Members of the nudist club are definitely aware that the outside world may view them as a little strange. Many declined to be photographed or interviewed for this story, preferring to enjoy their privacy. Others had no reservations about being depicted au naturel.
“I’m sure that more than a few people have the view that because we walk around naked that there is some kind of sexual aspect to it, but I can assure you that we as a community have as little tolerance for bad behavior as any other community in the area,” said Lentner. “In fact, as a female friend once said to me, it’s difficult to be provocative when you are not wearing any clothing.”
Rock Lodge advertises itself as a family-oriented club and has members ranging from 90 years old to infants. The activities at the colony are much the same as you would expect to find at any other lake community, the only difference being that, weather permitting, everyone is naked.
“We are nudists, but we are not exhibitionists,” said Sandy Kennedy, who has been visiting Rock Lodge from New York City since 1992. “This is a beautiful place, and being naked feels good when there is nothing to be ashamed of. This is a safe place for anyone,” he added.
Rock Lodge is open from May 1- Oct. 31 and throughout the season offers a number of activities including talent shows, lake activities, dances, barbecues, bring-a-dish parties, and arts and crafts shows.
“I was recently appointed as the public relations person and I thought that it would be nice to let people know that we are here and that we do welcome day visitors and often refer them to local hotels in the area,” said Lentner. “We are very much a family club represented by several generations and we also welcome single men and women.”
For more information call 973-697-9721 or go to www.rocklodge.com