Avalon Resort revelers brought in 2017 just like they entered the world – naked.
Now, however, they were naked by choice and partying at the clothing-optional resort’s “Happy Nude Year” celebration.
A nude black tie formal highlighted the festivities, and gave folks an opportunity to put a special spin on “dressing up” for the holiday.
“New Year’s is so much fun here, because everyone is really into it,” said Marcy, a northern Virginia resident who originally came to the resort nearly 17 years ago to hear a musical tribute to John Denver.
Putting together a special party look is part of the holiday fun, she said. Her outfit included dangling snowflake earrings, and white fur boats that lit up.
“Nudists love accessories, including jewelry, hats and scarves. We want to sparkle and be pretty, while the guys wear bow ties and hats. It’s very innocent, and you have the essence of just pure fun – almost being a kid again.”
Her long-time partner Laszlo, smiled as he tipped his black hat.
“I got this at a local party store, so it didn’t cost a lot but it’s fun,” he said.
Since it was a chilly evening, many party-goers also brought wraps or bathrobes to keep warm while walking between buildings housed on the remote Hampshire County property.
The facility’s amenities include a heated indoor pool and hot tub, as well as the aptly-named Nudsino where folks could share a drink, play pool or slot machines.
Earlier in the evening they’d dined on steaks and stuffed chicken breasts before heading to the social center to say goodbye to 2016.
A nude DJ provided the music, champaign and noise makers were provided, and there was a midnight balloon drop.
Ken, a Pennsylvania resident who has been coming here with his wife for 10 years, said he likes the community’s spirit and friendliness.
“You can see here tonight how much everyone enjoys each other’s company. It is casual, but we also help out when someone needs something,” he said.
Folks who’ve never visited a nudist resort shouldn’t prejudge or stereotype them.
“Some people think of orgies or group sex, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth here,” he said.
“Actually I think our activities, like this New Year’s Eve party, are a little calmer than somewhere else. Nobody really gets drunk, so that’s a positive. And if someone does get a little out of line, there are a whole lot of people to take care of it because we are community.”
Bonnie and Ray, who’d traveled from Luray, Virginia, were excited about their first New Year’s Eve among friends they had made since originally coming here more than a year ago.
While she was wearing a silver glitter 2017 headband, he had on a black hat as well as a bowtie that was nearly hidden by his long, gray beard.
“It’s just comfortable here, very comfortable. We have a lot of fun here, and it’s the best way to start off the New Year,” she said.
Phyllis, who heads up the organization as its CEO, smiled as she watched couples dancing nearby and others chatting with friends as midnight grew closer.
Things are going well, she said.
There have been more than 40 new members since last summer, and physical improvements continue including the construction of a new office building and adding a wood stove to heat the indoor pool area.
It’s an important time since the resort, property that originally housed a Church of God camp, celebrated its 20th anniversary last year.
Making folks feel welcome is an ongoing priority.
“We try not to take ourselves too seriously. For example, we call this the Bare Barn for a good reason and it’s the Nudsino instead of a casino. But we are clothing optional, so folks don’t need to feel pressured. The only place we require nudity is in the pools and hot tubs,” she said.
Eighty people signed up for Saturday night’s festivities, and that’s also a good sign.
“I personally really enjoy it because so many people come out for New Year’s Eve. And it’s great to see the men dress up in cumber buns and ties for our black formal” she said.
Although it had taken some effort, long-time member Nevin said he’d finally got the fashion look he wanted.
“I had to hunt high and low to find a shirt that I could cut to pieces to make this work, but it was worth it,” he said with a laugh.