We sent one brave reporter to spend a late-summer day at Dyer Woods Nudist Campgrounds in Foster.
The most intimidating part of social nudity is the parking lot. You see more, from the panorama of your windshield, than you could ever absorb in polite company. Eye contact, after all, is an important social skill.
You park alongside a smattering of sedans, pick-ups and a shiny black Caddy and you’re presented with two options: Get out of the car or leave in a hurry, spraying the naturalists in pebbles and dust.
Me: I wonder for a moment if I should wear my prescription sunglasses. I pop them off, then put them back on, open the door and walk over to a cloister of bodies by a cabin with a retro RC cola machine in front. There are thin bodies and robust bodies; hairy bodies and artfully shaved ones. Nearly everyone is over the age of forty, and most are closer to sixty. I’m greeted by a bearded, jolly-looking man. (Huffiness, I think, would be tough to pull off in the nude.) I extend my hand, trip on a tree root and dive forward, careening toward his nether region.
This is off to a swimming start.
I rebound and meet his gaze. He introduces himself as Jim Johnson — an apt nudist name, if I’ve ever heard one — president of Dyer Woods Nudist Campgrounds in Foster. My first impulsive thought: Here, standing before me, is Santa’s cool younger brother, the black sheep of the Claus family who traded the red suit for his birthday suit, wears steel hoop earrings and prefers warmer climes for obvious reasons.
And instead of a sleigh, Jim’s chariot is a noisy golf cart. He invites me for a tour of the grounds, 200 acres of wilderness that, before its transition to a nudist colony in the 1960s, served as farmland. Two historic cemeteries, a stone chamber used by natives and settlers for food storage, an orchard and a cranberry bog are testaments to the land’s long and carefully preserved legacy.
“We try to keep things here as natural as possible,” Jim tells me, his thigh pressed against my leather tote. They’re about the same shade of tan.
First, we cruise through the twenty-five-acre campground, which boasts RVs, tent sites and cabins. Some of the sixty-five total members own their own cabins, including Jim and his wife, Heather. Their place needs a roof, Jim tells me, but it’s comfortable. Each summer, he tacks up a sign on a post outside; a recent one was the Dyer Woods logo — a svelte swimmer diving in the nude — carved in cherrywood by Jim’s neighbor.
Source: Rhode Island Monthly
Original publication 17 July, 2019
Posted on NatCorn 18th May 2020
Reference to an article does not infer endorsement of any views expressed.