Orange County Nudist Colony Closes
They didn’t want to stick it out for one more year:
Never in her 80 years has Flora “Flo” Nilson felt so exposed.
After spending most of her adult life buffing up the image of nudists, the owner of Orange County’s only nudist resort and one of the longest-running such refuges in the West is calling it quits.
“It’s time to move on,” Nilson said. “For 53 years, it was quite a religious experience, chasing sunshine and health. Now it’s over, and it’s not easy.”
No ifs, ands or butts about it:
For nearly three-quarters of a century, Mystic Oaks, formerly known as McConville, has nestled among towering oak, sycamore and pine trees off winding Ortega Highway between San Juan Capistrano and Lake Elsinore. Accessible only by an unmarked dirt road behind a padlocked gate, it is 2,500 feet up in the Cleveland National Forest.
For generations, nudists have gathered here year-round, playing tennis, shuffleboard and volleyball; hiking; sunning and lounging around the pool. Hundreds have roughed it overnight in tiny, rustic cabins with no electricity.
The nudist camp, a peaceful, uninhibited setting, enabled the few hundred dues-paying members to relax with nature au naturel. Nudists paid annual fees of $400 to $600.
But lately things have changed, Nilson said. “Most members were happy with our rustic retreat, but newer members wanted to change it into a country club-type setting. People don’t enjoy camping out like they used to. They want all the amenities.”
In short: there is a generational shift, coupled with new lifestyle “givens.” MORE:
But after a long-drawn-out divorce, Nilson had no deep pockets with which to upgrade the site. Declining financial circumstances, coupled with dropping membership, caused her to give up the 129-acre property. The sale is pending.
I did my family show twice at one of the most prominent, well-kept, and popular nudist colonies in California. And anyone who has performed (in an entertainment sense, that is) at a nudist colony will tell you: God invented clothes for a reason.
And in answer to your questions: I was not and neither were my dummies.
These were standard shows and they weren’t much different, although nudist colony performances are usually prefaced by audience members carefully laying towels down on chairs before sitting down.
I did one show there in the early 90s. The other, in the late 90s or early 2000s. And you could SEE the generational shift.
When I did the earlier show, people of all ages were wearing their nature suits. But some 10 years later it was evident that young people were not too interested in it. They wore bathing suits or other attire.
It was clear that the most fervant adherents of nudism weren’t people in their teens or 20s but middle aged and older people.
If you glanced up at the sky, the sun was covering its eyes.
And, yes, I did my standard show which includes a lip sync where I “throw” my voice into audience member volunteers who have to wear wigs. THAT MUCH they agreed to wear…