Leave your troubles (and clothes) behind
Fashion dictates no white shoes after Labor Day, but birthday suits are always in season. Just not always practical.
Along with nippy fall temperatures, came the season clothes-er at Sunny Rest nudist resort in Palmerton last weekend.
Now that the grounds are bare of visitors, resort co-owner Myra Mesher, 53, has time to reveal more about the nudist lifestyle.
Why do some people drop their drawers and shun their shirts?
"It makes them feel free. It's relaxing. When they arrive in the gate they can let everything go," Mesher said. As people shed their clothes, she noted, they also shed their stress.
Sunny Rest Resort draws an array of people, families, couples and singles, from truck drivers to doctors to bankers. When everyone is in the buff, it takes away the preconceived notions that clothes bring.
On 190 acres, Sunny Rest offers the same things you would find at most resorts. A hotel, cabins, campground, pool, nightclub and organized activities such as sand volleyball.
Does naked volleyball get a bit jiggly?
"Not really. It's not like running," Mesher said.
Do eyes wander, or are most guests able to maintain eye contact?
"When you are new you look once, then get used to it. Everyone is more or less the same," Mesher said.
"The resort is clothing optional, so people have a chance to ease into the nudist thing," she added.
Mesher eased into nudism at 18, in 1972 at Sunny Rest. "I was nervous. I sat on the porch of my in-law's cabin."
She was topless for the first time, when to her surprise, a police car drove by. "I ran inside," she recalled. Later she learned that the police patrolled the area regularly and expected such sights at the resort.
"I got back out there. After that, I took off all my clothes and became comfortable. But it's gotta be 80 degrees for me (to go nude). We dress for the weather. We're not nuts," Mesher said.
A naked trespasser learned that the hard way, once.
Assuming everyone would be nude, he snuck onto the property and hoped to blend in. But it was 55 degrees and everyone else was dressed.
"That's how we knew he didn't belong there," Mesher said.
There are some rules you won't find at other resorts. For example, you must carry a towel to sit on, photography is generally not permitted, nudity is required in the pool and whirlpool, so leave your bathing suit at home.
The rules make it clear that it is not a sex club and "conduct requiring no apology is the accepted rule at Sunny Rest at all times."
The resort, usually full on summer weekends, has been in business since 1945. Day passes are available for guests who don't want to stay overnight.
Sunny Rest Nudist Resort
According to the American Association for Nude Recreation, more than 18 percent of Americans would find a visit to a nudist club or other clothes-free experience a highly desirable vacation choice.