/ 20 January 2009

Baring all for Obama

A nudist club near Washington DC is offering to bail out people stuck for accommodation during this week’s inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, but you have to be a bit of a bare-devil to take up the offer.

You have to get naked.

Certainly, that’s only to be expected at a nudist club, but, with this being the dead of winter, you don’t have to stay naked all the time.

And, furthermore, staff at the Pinetree Club near Annapolis, Maryland, will break you in gently to the idea of being in the buff.

“People who aren’t members of the International Naturist Federation or the American Association for Nude Recreation have to go on a 30-minute tour of the facilities,” said Patrick Sokoloski, the manager of the Pinetree Club, set in a 90-acre wooded park 56km east of Washington DC.

“They don’t have to be nude for the tour,” he said.

“But the tour ends at our indoor swimming pool, which is heated to 90 degrees, and they have to get nude at that point,” he said.

During the tour, staff at the Pinetree Club, which prides itself on being the oldest nudist camp in the United States, brief visitors on nudist etiquette — things like no cameras, no gawking, no sexual advances.

But even on that front, there isn’t much to take in at this time of year because the camp doesn’t have many visitors strolling the grounds in the buff.

“I mean, it’s below freezing outside,” said Sokoloski.

Unlike many hotels in Washington and surrounding towns, the Pinetree Club has not put up its rental rates for the inaugural period.

Cabins start at $73 a night for non-nudist federation members, rising to $155 nightly.

“This is the first time that we’re pitching to the inaugural crowd,” said Sokoloski, admitting that he, too, has been caught up in the excitement surrounding Obama’s election.

“But we’re really just trying to promote nudism, because Americans are still on that puritan kick and many of them don’t know how to handle it yet,” he said. — AFP