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Spending the Fourth of July naked and not afraid

A visit to Roselawn Ind., the Hoosier nudist resort capital.

Spending the Fourth of July naked and not afraid

Grab your towel, sun chair, and sunscreen… we’re going to the Ponderosa Sun Club baby! … Wait a minute, we’re going to go lay out by a pool naked? Where nudists spend the day soaking up the sun? Home of the most well-known nude pageant event in the country, Nudes-A-Poppin’? Alright, I’m in! 

Fourth of July morning Charlie and I, packed our cooler, grabbed our towels, sunscreen, and headed up north through the beautiful wind farms to Roselawn, Indiana. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous. I’m one of those people that feels pretty awkward in a swimsuit let alone being naked, so I packed my supa-suit just in case I chickened out. I kept telling myself that it’s just a day by the pool. Relax.

We finally reached the exit … mile marker 230, passed a few campgrounds, restaurants, and about four miles down the road the beautiful, sunny, Ponderosa Sun Club sign greeted us. We were there.

When you arrive, there’s a gated entrance that you’ll have to stop at. The lovely gate attendant explains the rules of the club, takes your entrance fee, and has you sign a waiver. The rules were simple … NO erections in public spaces, NO gawking, NO phones, NO pictures, NO fondling yourself or your partner, and a few others I can’t remember. Don’t worry, they give you a list to take with you just in case you forget. After you’ve checked in, they open the white gate with the sun crest logo into the beautiful sequestered campgrounds.

Located in the center of the grounds is the pool area. Which is also where the famous Nudes-A-Poppin pageant takes place. It’s surrounded by motor-homes that members reside in and the campground is close by. Parking is conveniently located all around for day pass visitors. We parked the car and at this point, reality sank in. Everyone was naked.

Hands began shaking, and sweat started rolling as we unloaded the car. I was stumbling around and nervous. Should I grab my swimsuit? I left it. When in Rome, do as the Romans. Greeted by smiling faces and nudists of all generations, shapes, and sizes it was an easy decision to make. I didn’t need my suit. We walked past some yogis, entered the pool area, laid out our towels, and quickly remembered we forgot our chairs. With COVID-19 being a thing, they had to put the guest chairs away. (Just make sure you add those to your list of things to bring unless you don’t mind chilling on the ground). We stripped down to our skivvies, sprayed down our etiolated skin, and laid out. It felt natural.

Retired members, families with kids, and day-passers splashed around the pool chit-chatting about life. We were waiting to start sweating before jumping in. That’s when a big tattooed man named John walked up. A member of the club for roughly 15 years. John knew all about the place and was happy to share his experience as a nudist. I definitely appreciated his insight as a first-timer. 

Since John retired, he and his wife have owned a few houses within the camp. They visit on weekends for a break from their main home and love being able to just hang out and relax. As we talked to John, kiddos joined into the conversation and asked John to judge their diving contest. While their moms and dads relaxed nearby. We talked about what it’s like mowing the lawn and weed eating in the nude. He also warned us: Don’t fry bacon naked. Let me tell you, it was one of the most genuine interactions I’ve experienced in a while. 

As the sun brought the heat I decided to jump in. The pool felt amazing on my bare skin. It was like most pools, with a deep and shallow end that gradually increased to a nice little shallow area. I have to say, The best part was coming out of the pool and not having to sit in a wetsuit or worrying about my top falling down while I jumped out. I also loved the fact that when I needed to use the coed restroom I didn’t have to shimmy an uncomfortable wetsuit back on my body (gross).

We were hanging out with John when Susan and Mike showed up. A nudist couple that brings their beautiful RV to the campgrounds frequently. It was nice hearing Susan’s perspective of how being a nudist has positively changed their life. They shared their experience raising their kids' nudists after a few beautiful nudist adventures. Susan even explained that she’s overall way more comfortable in her own skin, at work, and in daily clothed life. They clearly made some really great friendships throughout the time they’ve started coming to the Ponderosa Sun Club. It was super nice talking to them.

Hunger struck, so we pulled out our pre-packed lunches. Yes, our kroger sandwiches were tasty. However, Susan’s chicken sandwich with avocado from Rich Miller’s Grillin’ n’ Chillin Snack Bar looked way better. Rich’s snack bar was located conveniently by the pool. Housing a menu of gourmet Chicken Sandwiches, Hamburgers, Crab Cakes, and many more delicious treats. I had my eye on the chocolate covered bananas. We will definitely come hungry and unprepared next time.

After taking a few more dips in the pool and laying out for a while, Charlie and I took a walk around the grounds. Houses were quaintly scattered around with fun ornamental decorations around the yards. No house was the same and the community was friendly and willing to talk. On one end of the camp, there was a beautiful little pond that had a charming gazebo sitting in the middle of it. There were guest houses for weekend visitors and lots of space for activities.

For the Fourth of July, celebrations were great. Golf carts were decked out in America garb, bad dad jokes were presented by Tony Batman and a parade around the grounds. At the end of the parade, there was a contest for the best-decorated carts. Members talked about how wonderful the huge firework display is when the sun goes down. It was the perfect way to spend the Fourth of July.

Before we left, Scarlett Schmitt spent some time talking to us about our Ponderosa experience and welcomed us back anytime. As Charlie was sharing his typical bubblehead experience at Nudes-A-Poppin’... and how he is always forgetting to buy a T-shirt; Scarlett came through and loaded us up with Nude-A-Poppin’ T-shirts, dad hats, and koozies. Scarlett was a pleasure to meet.

When we packed up the car I didn’t want to leave. Riding home in our Nudes-A-Poppin’ dad hats, I appreciated every part of the experience we had and we’ve already planned our next trip.

If you’re looking for something different and want to enjoy a naked poolside. The Ponderosa Sun Club is the perfect retreat.

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