‘Naturalist’ resorts seek the college crowd

Writing about nudist camps, or “naturalist resorts,” as they prefer to be called, brings the shameless punsters running. An Associated Press story now making the rounds bares the story of how the proprietors of the places to go when you want to pack lightly are seeking young members. Seems that the aging membership numbers are sagging. (Sorry, I can’t help myself.)

Crossville, Tennessee is the home of Cherokee Lodge (not safe for work site), so I gave them a call to see how things are hanging. The phone was answered by Sally Fann, mother of the owners, who reports that of the 80-100 guests at Cherokee last weekend, approximately ten percent were 30 or younger, not counting children.

How is Cherokee Lodge seeking the younger set? “We advertise in Nashville Scene,” she replied, but most of our visitors find us through the Internet.” A quick perusal of the Lodge’s site reveals a host of activities, including the North American Nude Bikers Tour, the Christian Naturism Convocation, and the “Farmers Tan” Dance with DJ Bobby. There was no mention of any formal dances featuring gownless evening straps.

And how does one attract the college set without getting the Girls Gone Wild contingent? Ms. Fann explains that the folks at Cherokee Lodge “screen people when they come in. We show them our Code of Conduct (safe for work site) and if they disobey the rules they are asked to leave–for good.”

According to Ms. Fann, most of the visitors to Cherokee Lodge come from the southeast, and a summer weekend might attract 400 guests. The lodge also hosts outsiders as well. An official from the Crossville Chamber of Commerce ruefully described a Chamber gathering held at the Lodge wherein a miscommunication about what to wear–a concern that takes on new significance where naturalist resorts are concerned–led several Chamber visitors (all fully clothed, he stressed) to see more of the operation than they intended. “I don’t think we will be going back there,” he said in conclusion.

This blog is part of a much larger website, also entitled Tennessee Guy, that contains travel and cultural information about Tennessee. Visit it here.

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