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Northeast Naturist Festival, Friday, August 6, EmpireHavenNudistPark

This past weekend was the perfect demonstration of Naturist Rochester's slogan: "Nude when possible, clothed when practical." Temperatures in the mid-60s forced most of the campers at EmpireHavenNudistPark in Moravia to cover up (at least partially), leaving only the hardiest among them clothes-free. Many of the Park's more than 500 members turned out for the five-day Northeast Naturist Festival.

            The agenda included more than 150 activities, with titles from "Needs Based Financial Planning" to "Where to Go Nude in the Northeast." There were pick-up volleyball games, a buffet-style picnic each night, and the opportunity (certainly more inviting in sunnier weather) to skinny-dip in the Park's pool.

            For Rochesterians who have never attended a nudist resort, there are a few things you should know: one, nudity is never mandatory --- undress to your own comfort level. Two, Empire Haven is a family park, and all conduct must be appropriate. Three, campers must carry --- and sit on --- towels at all times. Four, nudists are among the most universally accepting, life-loving people you'll ever meet.

            Anne Fischer, co-owner of a Florida nudist park, speaks the following wisdom: "When you're talking to people and there are no clothes, there's nothing to interpret who you are. When you're talking, it's truly heart to heart."

            Jim Metz was shooting photos for N Magazine, the quarterly publication of the national Naturist Society.

            How long have you been a member of Empire Haven?

            This is my fourth year.

            What drew you to the nudist experience?

            It's such a freeing experience --- so relaxing. There's nothing to separate you from nature.

            Why do you think people have reservations about attending nudist resorts?

            I think a lot of people are worried about how they look. But when you're nude, people tend to feel so much more comfortable with themselves, so much less stressed.

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