Take A New Look At “Naturism”
Misael Morales | Writer
Naturism can be defined as experiencing leisure activities without any clothes. It is a custom that is found in many countries, not just the United States. The Lehigh Valley is home to a clothing-optional resort, Sunny Rest, which is located in Palmerton.
Halsey Shoemaker, the owner of Sunny Rest Resort, shared some of the benefits of naturism.
“It makes people a lot more accepting of their bodies because nobody here is judging them,” she said. “Everyone is naked and on the same playing field, so there isn’t any criticism of anyone. You can just bear it all without any kind of judgment.”
Sunny Rest has been open since 1945. Back then, it was mostly farmland. People would go there to live an alternative lifestyle.
Shoemaker’s grandfather, Irv Mesher, who lived in New York City during the 1940s, was a battalion chief for a fire station. He saw a magazine about nudism, and he was fascinated with the idea. He wanted to give the lifestyle a try and started going to Sunny Rest, where he soon purchased a cabin.
In 1978, the owner of Sunny Rest approached Mesher about purchasing the property, as he wanted to retire. Mesher purchased the property later that year.
There are many misconceptions surrounding naturism, which Shoemaker dispels.
“When you are hanging out with people in the nude it becomes very normalized, rather than sexualized,” she said.
Shoemaker goes on to explain how the inclusive lifestyle helps people accept each other.
“It’s a very fun and relaxing experience; you will be on the same playing field with some of the nicest people you will ever meet,” she said. “Nobody knows anyone’s social status or occupations. You get to know people for who they really are inside.”