When spring arrived this year I set several goals for my naturist self. This included exploring the nude beaches at Port Burwell and Wasaga beach for the first time (see my earlier post for those experiences), revisiting Ponderosa and Hanlans Point where I have enjoyed myself last year, and at the top of the list was a trip to Bare Oaks north of Toronto.
It took nearly the entire summer but I finally made my way north to the Naturist Resort/Club whose website and podcasts provided me with well needed guidance as I dove into Naturism last year. If you are a newbie nudist or "Newdist", I strongly recommend you check out their website and Social Media presence as they have a lot to offer.
www.bareoaks.ca Google+ Facebook Twitter
So it was fitting that almost exactly a year later I would arrive on the Bare Oaks doorstep. And as I type this I know I am going to struggle to avoid looking like a member of the Bare Oaks marketing team because this place was a wonderful experience start to finish. I arrive on what was yet another excellent day this summer to be naked outdoors, a quick "Hello, I am just here for the day" into the front gate intercom, I drive into a very full Saturday parking lot and find an empty space which may or may not have been an actual parking spot. Once parked I removed my clothes immediately. Partly because its recommended you lock your thing in your car, but more so I was determined not to look like a rookie when I entered the front office.
In a previous post about Ponderosa Nature Resort, my one complaint for an otherwise excellent naturist park was that the staff were dressed. None of that at Bare Oaks, everyone from the people at the front office, those working the special silent auction event, to the servers at the "Bare Bistro", the on site restaurant, were au natural. I hope the cook at the bistro wore an apron or something though, I had bacon on my burger, so I'd be willing to let them have a pass there. (otherwise OUCH!)
I enter the front office and wait my turn, it was Saturday and sunny, no surprises it was a bit busy. Excellent staff greet you, run you through the usual stuff, name, ID, license plate, and "have you been here before" and then sit you in front of a TV for a video about the resort, and about the Naturist ideas they stand for. I will admit, I was excited to get out in the sun so the short video felt like it was an hour long but I understand what they are doing here. This is not just a place to be naked. It is about naked being natural and in nature. True Naturism at heart. They put it out there, if you are here to gawk, or think the naked body is lewd or purely sexual, this is not the place for you, thank you and have a nice day. You don't even pay the entry fee until you have watched so if after the video, this sound like its not for you, nothing lost.
|Lake Beamore - Bare Oaks|
When I finally pulled myself away from Lake Beamore I went for a wonderful walk around the park, especially the well maintained trail they have that winds its way along the northern boarder of the park. It was at this point I realised how friendly everyone is at Bare Oaks. I was greeted with a smile and engaged in conversation with staff and other guests alike. I helped a mother in the right direction when her toddler wondered around a corner, played volleyball with a group aged 8 to 80, no one seemed to keep the single white guy in his 30's at arms length, at least not that I noticed and I have when walking through a regular city park. It really felt like I was at any other vacation spot, minus the clothes.
Come lunch time I found myself at the Bare Bistro. Next to swimming and hiking, having a sit down meal in a restaurant is just a great thing to do naked. The lunch menu is mostly burgers, sausages and the like, and they have a good selection of imported beers including one on draft! I was not expecting gourmet, so what turned out to be one of the better bacon cheese burgers I have had in a restaurant in recent memory was a happy bonus.
Now that I have completed my detailed experience / marketing plug for Bare Oaks I will tell you a few of the down sides, it seems only fair to try and remain unbiased. First and foremost, that pool is no bigger than one I could get in my back yard. It is no exaggeration to say it is a quarter or less of the size of the outdoor pool at Ponderosa. Incidentally, the indoor pool at Ponderosa is almost as big as Bare Oaks outdoor pool though Lake Beamore trumps any outdoor pool anyway. Naturism is for the most part a fair weather summer season lifestyle. Ponderosa has an indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna to keep things going year round. I have been to Ponderosa when there was snow outside and my only complaint was that I seemed to be the only one there. Bare Oaks has no indoor pool so the fairly large indoor hot tub and sauna will have to do come winter.
In the end, Bare Oaks was better than I expected and that was no easy feat. If you live closer to either Bare Oaks or Ponderosa, you are likely going to be happy there. If you live somewhere in the middle (which Toronto is) give them both a try for yourself, you will likely have a tough decision on your hands. In both cases I loved my experience and I also love what both parks are doing to help encourage others to give true Naturism a chance and promote this wonderful lifestyle. With the poor state of Naturism at Hanlan's Point, at least there remains two solid options to get natural in nature a short drive from Toronto.
Thank you so much to the staff and people of Bare Oaks, I will return!