“What do you think of going east this year?” Mark asked me in late winter. “I’ve always wanted to see the Maritime provinces.”
For some years, Mark Storey of The Naturist Society and I have had the annual habit of driving about some part of eastern North America in late June in search of the best nude locations—private grounds, beaches, or other—regardless of weather and all other obstacles. Eastern Canada would be the farthest we’d ever gone. “Sure,” I enthused, “just let me know the itinerary.”
So Mark worked it out. Being from the vast state of Washington, he may have minimized driving distances some. Still, in the span of a week, we managed to see several beaches and all two clubs in eastern Canada—in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island—and have a few notable adventures along the way. Happily, Mark’s wife, Kathy Blanchard, joined us and made the trip even better.
We set out from western Massachusetts on Sunday, June 24. Day’s object: drive all the way to Saint John, New Brunswick. Verdict: success, thanks in part to the no-wait border crossing from eastern Maine. It would have been even faster if we hadn’t been asked, “Do you have any mace or pepper spray?” Look, we’re naturists, not terrorists, I wanted to say. Mark was happy I didn’t.
NB and NS
Although the room in our Saint John motel didn’t have a view of the harbour, it came with something better: a little outside alcove below the driveway. Alcove = secluded = nude photo op! Graciously, Mark agreed to pose.
We decided to get to Nova Scotia by a ferry from New Brunswick. Cost for car with three: CA$220, less than half the cost of the hydrofoil from Bar Harbor, Maine. Our boat to Digby had wi-fi; woo hoo! On landing, we headed for the excellent Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, where Kathy, a professional horticulturalist, was pleased to reveal to Mark and me many a botanical secret. I looked for a suitable nude photo op, but Mark gave me that look: “Too many people around, no nude photos.” Alas, it would not be the last time…
After a leisurely drive through much of the serene Annapolis Valley, we headed to the cottage of photographer Eric Hayes, on Tupper Lake, east of Kejimkujik National Park. In late afternoon we enjoyed a splendid sunny stop there, although anywhere rural you have to watch for mosquitoes and deer flies in May and much of June. (They liked Kathy far too much.) Then we went to photographer Mary Dixon’s house in Bridgewater and to Eric’s place for overnight. Object: Crystal Crescent Beach the next day.
Tuesday morning we drove, following Eric and his friend Atira, east to Halifax and south to Sambro and Crystal Crescent, using the trusty combination of Mark’s map reading and my GPS. Mark wanted the GPS to speak in dulcet tones, so we set it to a female Australian voice named Karen.
From late morning on Tuesday to late afternoon, we frolicked about Crystal Crescent’s famous clothing-optional third beach. The walk from the closest parking lot is only about 20 minutes; the view as you approach the third beach from the path above is spectacular.
At the far end are rock formations that look harder to climb than they are. By contrast, the beach water looked more inviting than it was (late June, remember). Kathy, an expert open water swimmer, estimated the water temperature at under 15°. But I couldn’t resist. “I didn’t come all this way not to go in,” I declared. Verdict: another success.
From NS to PE
The beach had only a handful of visitors that day (one woman, several men)—a characteristic of much of our trip, which took place, after all, on weekdays in pleasant but less than hot temperatures. After craggy Crystal Crescent, we headed north for nearly four hours, arriving at night at The Oasis on Prince Edward Island—via the “fixed link,” the admirable 13-kilometre Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick.
Because GPS Karen didn’t have a lot of PEI street names in her database, we had to trust Mark’s map and Mark to get us to The Oasis, near Cavendish. No problem!
This resort had just been named in an important new guidebook one of Canada’s best naturist locations, which set off a flurry of media interest, starting when we were there. (More on that shortly.) I wasn’t disappointed in the place. Although the five-year-old Oasis hasn’t many amenities or activities, the three motel units are spotless and outfitted with everything you could think of: queen bed, pull-out couch, two entrances (one onto a deck with barbecue), very full kitchen, eating area, huge drawer and closet space…satellite TV, DVD player…shower and bathtub, extra pillows and blankets…guidebooks and magazines, including gN/aN, of course. Not to mention the fine artwork on every wall.
On the grounds are twelve campsites (three pull-through) with electric, water, and sewer service. Plans include lights for the swing set, and volleyball and horseshoe courts.
Repeat visits at The Oasis are very high. I’m not surprised. It’s close to many attractions in a province becoming noted for its large parklands, arts, food, golf, and summer activities.
Outside, the main attraction is the small but clean and warm pool. We hung around in it with other guests late Wednesday afternoon, waiting for our CTV interviewer to show up. Nice fellow. Amused, he explained he had a conservative producer and would Kathy, seated, mind putting these clunky obstacles in front of her chest?
The interview went all right. Taking quite a while, it didn’t get the best from any of us after a long day in the sun. For in the morning, we had set out eastwards, armed with Oasis owner Gary Lowther’s directions, in search of the notable Blooming Point Beach. Unfortunately, the map ended just where we needed it most. When Mark concluded we’d gone far enough (I had no clue), we headed to the obvious beach parking lot. From there we took the specified 20- to 25-minute walk westwards along the beach to where we could doff our duds and bask and swim in the only acceptable way.
Although well north of Nova Scotia and on the north side of PEI, this water of the Gulf of St. Lawrence was warmer than Crystal Crescent’s. “Noticeably above 15,” declared Kathy. We had a grand time.
Afterwards, we had lunch at an excellent restaurant, The Dunes, with its art everywhere, and then returned to The Oasis for the interview. Dinner was another pleasure, at The Dayboat. We went with Linda Lowther, Gary’s wife.
Over wine we described our earlier outing with much satisfaction. As Linda listened politely, her expression clouded. “You drove down Harbour Road? You didn’t see Highway 219, then?”
“The highway numbers,” we responded, “seem to disappear about there.” But Linda’s clouds didn’t dissipate as she explained more about the roads…
Verdict: We goofed. We’d spent hours on the wrong beach.
It all made sense now. Suddenly we knew why the family with two young girls on the beach had kept its distance from us nekkid types. And why no one we asked called the beach Blooming Point. Duh! Gary’s directions, which we’d discarded when the map gave out, had been correct.
We called an emergency meeting—not hard to manage, since we were all still at dinner, enjoying everything but our mistake. There was only one right thing to do: change our plans for Thursday, and go to the intended beach in the morning. We hadn’t come all that way to miss the real Blooming Point.
No doubt this story is pretty droll: experienced beach baggers, informed naturists of North America, bathe their buns on a textile beach. But there’s a lesson here too: in the right circumstances—and with the right luck—you may be able to get naked in a non-naked area with no adverse consequences.
If the police had been called, I doubt we’d have gotten into much trouble, dim tourists that we were. This was PEI, population all of 136,000. Conservative but tolerant, right? Anywhere else, we’d have been naked and unexplained.
Follow us ...
Looking for photos?
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.