I gladly accepted the invitation of Tom from the New Hampshire Naturists to come as their guest to their nude Thanksgiving. I had reached out to him the day before inquiring about listing the naked yoga classes that I was starting in Central Massachusetts on their event page. He responded warmly and much to my surprise by inviting me to an event called Nude Thanksgiving, a naturist social that included all the wonderful things naturists love – nude swimming, pingpong, saunas and hot tubs followed by a large homemade Thanksgiving feast catered by the local Inn Keepers that I was told was to die for. ‘Would you like to come as our guest?’ wrote Tom. ‘Does a bear shit in the woods?’ I thought to myself but modified my email response to him with a simple and immediate “Heck yeah!” I gladly accepted his invitation with absolute delight. These were ‘my people.’
It was about a forty-five minute drive from where I was in Massachusetts to where they were in New Hampshire. I had desperately been missing my naked community since my recent move to Central Massachusetts and though I loved where I was living, being close to nature and embraced by a quieter and slower pace everyday, I needed to be around other people who had similar thoughts around the healing and therapeutic benefits of nude recreation. I also deeply desired a community around me that practiced naked yoga. Perhaps even intuiting I would be going somewhere soon where I would be around the community my heart was longing for and that I would need to bring food, I had baked two pumpkin pies the night before. Receiving Tom’s invitation felt so serendipitous. I scooped up one of the pies the next morning and I loaded myself, the pie and a beach towel into my Subaru, plugged in my GPS and set out for Troy New Hampshire.
The drive was lovely with the last leaves falling off the New England trees and in under an hour, I had arrived at a beautiful farm and inn where the New Hampshire Naturists gather several times a year. I knew I was in the right place when there was a discreet sign that said ‘closed for private party’ and a wooden plaque propped up outside that read NNH.
I opened the door and walked down the steps carrying my pumpkin pie with my towel draped over my other arm when I saw the first flash of bare buttocks walked past. Instantly my body sighed in relief. I was home. A lovely older gentleman walked up right away and welcomed me with a kind warm smile. I said hello and asked if Tom was here. He took me right over to Tom who was a polite host and welcomed me at once. I placed my homemade pie on the snack table and Tom took me to the social area where I disrobed and grabbed my towel and took a tour of the location. There were two social areas as well as an entire room dedicated to ping pong, a beautiful warm indoor pool, a dry sauna, a hot tub and a beautiful lush green house that had a sitting area. I was introduced to a few people who were leaders in smaller naturists communities, one who had been to Travasuns, a monthly nude social and pool party in Long Island that offered naked yoga. I introduced myself and my quest to start naked yoga in Massachusetts and felt immediately and totally enfolded with love and acceptance from everyone around me. This was what I loved most about naturist communities, an absolute acceptance and inclusion of everyone, heart and community centered values and a place to simply enjoy the freedom of being nude in mixed social company.
After making some initial connections and talking shop, I took a quick rinse and padded my way to the sauna where I met a lovely couple who had been making the rounds to all the east coast naturist resorts. They spoke highly of the ones in Florida including Caliente and Cypress Cove and I had the opportunity to swap stories of my recent West Coast naturist adventures to an unofficial nude beach in Seattle as well as my trip to Nudestock, a yearly music festival at Fraternity Snoqualmie in Washington State.
The demographic was mostly older at the New Hampshire event which seems to be what is occurring at most naturist clubs these days. The baby boomers who revived naturism are now coming into their senior years and few of those in my generation are following. My being there as someone under the age of thirty-five and also a woman was a big deal. An extraordinary resurgence of a younger group of naturist however has occurred in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania led by the Young Naturists of America who are encouraging and inspiring nude recreation for naturists under the age of thirty-five. The Young Naturist Movement has had wonderful success over the past few years and many of the naturists in New Hampshire knew of them and had attended events that were YNA affiliated. The most frequent and common comment I received from New Hampshire Naturist about YNA ‘what a fun group of people!’ One older woman in her mid-sixties even seemed to squeal in delight at her memory of participating in the famous YNA slip and slide that comes out regularly wherever the Young Naturists convene. Somehow the being around young people and their enthusiasm for nude recreation seemed to enliven the younger spirit inside the older generations and the spirit perhaps of what originally drew them to nude recreation..
After a lovely conversation in the sauna, I dipped myself into the warm pool. There were a few people chatting standing waist deep in the warm water. I swam over to a blue inflatable ball that was floating in the center of the pool and shouted ‘heads up!’ and tossed it to an unsuspecting man who blinked fast until his reflexes reacted and he caught the ball just before it hit him in the face. Game on, I smiled. We tossed the ball back and forth and then I tossed it to a few who were mid-conversation. Sometimes to start a game, all it takes is an invitation. The game of toss expanded to four, then five until suddenly we had ten people in the pool and a playful game of volley began commenced. This playful game of volleyball however turned increasingly competitive and even a bit raucous at times. All of a sudden baby boomers and seniors who were a bit lethargic became young and agile in the pool and some who I hadn’t anticipated being active had some mean spikes and some wicked fake-outs when serving and playing the sport. One man, bless his heart, no matter what position he was in or whose turn it was always thought it was his turn to serve and would snatch the ball away from others and bat it to the other side. We all laughed and played along. There was a low ceiling above the pool so many of us got hit in the head by the soft inflatable beach ball we were using and had some good hearty laughs when we did. After ninety minutes of an intense game of which no one kept score and we all played for the simple joy it brought our hearts, we crawled our way out of the pool totally exhausted and deliriously happy.
We dragged our tired bodies to the sauna and hot tub and hydrated to prepare ourselves for the delicious meal that the innkeepers were going to serve us. Sadly, I didn’t have the opportunity to stay for the six course meal which I have heard from everyone there was absolutely unparalleled in quality. Next time. The true feast, however, felt like being in the company of community and of also seeing the beautiful transformation and joy that the simple act of a game of naked water volleyball, regardless of age and ability, could transform and lighten the hearts of all involved. I think this group is ready for naked yoga.
I thanked my host, collected a few cards from people who ran different nude recreation groups and went home that night I’m sure like many others did, with a spring I my step and joy in my heart. Even I felt younger that night.
Isis Phoenix teaches weekly women’s naked yoga classes in Central Massachusetts. Mixed nude classes will soon be offered as well.
For more information about her classes email firstname.lastname@example.org