Nudist camp closing in Vermont after 60 years

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 11:40 AM EST

MILTON, Vt. (WCAX/Gray News) - As Vermont’s only nude resort is closing after nearly 60 years, former campers are remembering the good times.

Along the shores of Long Pond in Milton lies the Coventry Club, a 46-acre campground where people from across the world swap swimsuits for birthday suits.

“Our second day here, we fell in love with the place and the people. It’s a big family. You can’t find anyone better,” said Gentle Bear who, along with countless other campers, has celebrated the nude way of life.

Coventry bills itself as a family-oriented naturist club and campground, providing a fun and safe environment. Around 100 people would visit every year, embracing the great outdoors and body acceptance.

Gentle Bear has spent the last five summers there.

“We come in May and we leave in October. This is the end of it,” he said.

In a letter to members posted earlier this month, the owners announced the sale of the campground and said they’re looking forward to retirement.

They said they tried to find a buyer to keep Coventry as a nude resort. Instead, the land will be sold to a family.

“This is the only place like this in the northeast and maybe in the U.S.,” said Mark Ozenich.

He said Thanksgiving will mark 20 years since he first came to Coventry as a camper. He lives there year-round but said he will likely have to leave Vermont.

“Housing in Vermont is very scarce, and housing for a senior citizen is even scarcer, so it leaves me scrambling for a place to live,” Ozenich said.

The state of Vermont is a unique place when it comes to nudism. It’s fully legal to be naked in public, but it’s illegal to disrobe in public.

Statewide, there are several nude beaches and events, including the annual Montpelier Naked Bike Ride.

“I would say it’s a natural way of being,” said Erich Schuttauf with the American Association for Nude Recreation. He said spending time outdoors au naturel goes back hundreds of years to America’s founding.

“We all carry scars. We all carry a few pounds that we could use -- most of us. Once you realize people are people, it is a very freeing experience,” he said.

In Milton, there has been an outpouring of support from former campers young and old, saying Coventry gave them the space to live their best lives and be free.