Earlier on Wednesday on P.E.I., our Atlantic CTV crew of one arrived at The Oasis. Personable fellow, Dan Viau. As we were arranging the photo shots, he was apologetic. “I have a conservative producer,” he explained, “so Kathy, please sit at the table and we’ll find a pair of objects to put in front of you.”
Kathy sat dutifully, as did Gary Lowther (one of The Oasis’s owners) and I. We were interviewed by Dan, who asked all the right questions—and knew all the right answers too. Hey, we could’ve interviewed him! We also played hurl-the-volleyball-at-others in the small swimming pool. Then Mark and I sat lounging in lounge chairs, sunning in the sun, reading…reading material.
The interview was broadcast in late June in the Maritimes, then across Canada. When I got home late on July 1, what was the first thing we heard from our dear long-time neighbours? Did they ask, “Hi, how was your trip?”
Not a chance. It was, “Hey, we saw you on TV! Naked! Playing volleyball!”
Fox on walks
Back to P.E.I. In late afternoon we went to explore the nearby Cavendish Dunelands Trail. Our pleasant pre-dinner excursion was highlighted by a fox ambling up the path to greet us. After we returned the greeting, she walked into the long grasses to enjoy her meal of whatever it was I didn’t want to recognize.
I was a bit upset, not at that but at our inability to find a nudifiable space. Mark had gone on ahead a little, with his ever-present camera. Suddenly he rushed back to me, exclaiming, “I’ve found something you’re going to like!”
The resulting photos are hard to explain. But one (not the one here) ended up on the cover of issue 27.1 of the American Nude & Natural, a singular honour for me in the great magazine founded by Lee Baxandall.
At dinner that evening with our resident expert (Linda Lowther), Mark, Kathy, and I decided that the next day (Thursday) we would go to the real Blooming Point Beach. Unfortunately it rained overnight. So we went to the beach on a cooler, damper, gray day, unlovely but unavoidable.
Stories had circulated about trouble with nudity at Blooming Point. Linda corrected that: the issue was the parking lot. Some wanted to expand it (it’s very small), others wanted not to because of adjacent wetlands. On this visit, we were the only ones there. Kathy stayed back at the beach entrance while Mark and I sauntered for the requisite 20 minutes or so to the left till we could get naked.
Man on sand
Because the beach was totally deserted, I chose this opportunity to walk naked all the way back to the car, through the unidentifiable clothed area. On our way, we encountered only one person, dressed and with a backpack, walking the other way. When we reached Kathy, she said, “I said hi to that fellow who passed you. He’s a park warden.”
Oh really…Happily, he was less interested in me in my undress than in getting out to where he could examine the piping plover grounds. But just for good measure, I had Mark take a picture of me next to the warden’s government car. By that time, he was a long way from us.
Blooming Point is a splendid beach, plenty wide and mostly clean, with P.E.I.’s typically red-tinged sand and rocks, Gulf water warm enough to swim in throughout the summer, and no one (except other beachgoers) anywhere near the place. It’s actually the beach next to the one we’d been on the previous day, although you “can’t get there from here,” because a federal land preserve lies between them.
After Blooming Point, we drove to Kelly’s Beach in Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick. The staff at the information centre in this very large park flatly denied there was any clothing-optional beach, nor had there ever been. That’s a foolish attitude about an area that’s been CO for decades.
We crossed the long boardwalk to the beach and turned right. After 22 minutes’ walk (1.6 km on my GPS), we saw stakes and other hints of nude use. So we doffed our duds and frolicked a bit, far from the lifeguard tower near the boardwalk. A slightly more secure opportunity for nude beachgoing is found a further 1.6 km or so, around a promontory we saw in the distance.
Despite the still unwelcome weather, we had a good time. Again there was almost no one on this isolated stretch of beach on this temperate but cloudy Thursday.
We then took a break from our beach-bagging, which caused us to miss a few opportunities at less-known naturist locations in southern New Brunswick. After staying in Moncton overnight, we continued to Fredericton and on to Simply Naturist Retreat, near Hartland in the west.
Another photo op?
Hartland is a very small town with a very long bridge, the longest covered bridge in the world, says the sign. Having a thing for landmarks, I asked Mark to take a nude shot of me nearby with the bridge in the background. I got that look again. “You’re crazy!” was the mildest thing he offered. “But,” I countered, “if you come this way, you’ll see we’re invisible to the restaurant, the library, the parking lot, and all these tourists.”
Muttering about not wanting to experience a foreign jail, Mark was clearly wishing that he didn’t know me. Sigh. So on we went to SNR. Happily we found it with no trouble, even though some roads nearby are unmarked. SNR’s directions together with Karen, the Australian voice on my GPS, got us there in short order.
Ted and Bobbi Gascoigne opened SNR in 2002. Rustic but welcoming, it has a cabin and trailer for rent, and plenty of tenting space. Open in season on weekends, its nearly six hectares are about 10% usable at present. The main building, an unassuming “common room,” contains a wood stove, fridge, shower and bathroom, dishes, cups, couch, and table.
You may recall that in gN/aN 19:4, Bobbi Gascoigne described in loving detail the slightly agonizing construction of SNR’s swimming pool. Unfortunately it was removed in June 2007, just before our arrival. (Bobbi’s 2004 article also discussed how SNR got water, a sewage system, and electricity.)
What is there to do at SNR? Nothing, really; and that’s its charm. It’s a basic retreat, seeming to be in the middle of nowhere but actually accessible to a lot of people. Although visitors come mostly from New Brunswick and Maine, several have come from Québec, Ontario, and farther. The people and the relaxation give SNR its appeal.
Back in the US of A
Friday we drove into Maine and stayed in Bangor. Suggestion to all travellers: don’t land in town at night and expect to find a motel room immediately, especially on a nice summer weekend.
We did find one in Bangor eventually, then drove the next day in a leisurely fashion through Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, with our destination the Albany, New York airport. There, alas, I had to say goodbye to Mark and Kathy until next year.
The best part of this last travel segment was northern Massachusetts. We found a couple of swimming holes near one another. At the first, Green River, the few naked types were well hidden and well away from kids in the water. So we didn’t bother with the nude option there. At the second, near “The Whirlies” in Cold River, we had more luck. The few people there didn’t seem like they’d mind whatever we’d want to do. So we did it—principally sitting/lying in the water/on the rocks for repose and photos.
It’s a pleasant nude-friendly spot. Like many in New England and the Maritimes, it’s known mostly to locals but is occasionally visited by types like us three, eager to experience such places, emboldened by one guide or another (in this case the out-of-print Lee Baxandall World Guide).
My drive home across New York State and into southern Ontario July 1 was uneventful, except as earlier described at its culmination. I must admit, and you will readily guess from both these articles: the landscape of P.E.I. made a big impression on me. When I awoke July 2 and looked at my car, I noticed its tires were dusted with the auburn of the island’s terrain, probably from our approach to Blooming Point through several fresh mud puddles.
Pleased at this unexpected souvenir, I refrained from washing my car until that memorable colour fell away.
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The Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN) and the Fédération québécoise de naturisme (FQN) share the Canadian membership in the International Naturist Federation (INF), which has its world headquarters in Antwerp, Belgium.