Archive for June, 2009

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake

In preparation for my trip next week to Amsterdam/Oostende/Paris I decided to try out a local nudist “resort” called Emerald Lake here in Houston.  Since I’m meeting someone at the nude beach in the Netherlands I wanted to arrive with a uniform body color.  It just wouldn’t do to have him think I’m some sort of novice at this.

Why it never occurred to me to try out Emerald Lake before is beyond me.  I like Austin and do have a sort of love for Hippie Hollow, but gosh it’s so much better to drive 30-45 minutes to a local lake than it is 3 hours to Austin.   But everyone who does this had always pointed to Hippie Hollow so that was the “in” place to be.  After going this past weekend to Emerald Lake I think that’s my new local nudist hang out.

The website didn’t mention anything about hours and had something there about introducing yourself so people don’t think you’re some sort of perv (my words).  So I sent an e-mail asking about hours and introducing myself as a fellow nudist!  Just so you know, the office hours are from 10-6.  This gave me time to dilly dally around Saturday morning, as opposed to my usual break of dawn take-off for Hippie Hollow to score the best spots.

Around 9:30 I headed north to Emerald Lake from midtown.  Being Saturday morning the traffic was mild. When I got on 494 loop searching out the place I finally passed what looked like a steel fenced warehouse with one sign that said Emerald Lake.  I guess I was sort of expecting something resembling  the entrance to a campground or national park or something.  In retrospect it makes since to have corrugated fencing because heaven knows the lookie-loos would congregate in force if they didn’t.  Also in retrospect I should have taken a photo to show you what the outside looks like so you’ll know what to look for should you decide to take a visit.

There is a buzzer on the outside which you press and hold and the gate opens for you. It’s not so much a resort as it is a campground.   There is an office/clubhouse/boardinghouse, a lot of picnic tables, places to pitch a tent, and several campers further out.  As it turns out the lake is the permanent residence of several members.  Oh what a life…. The owner recognized me from my e-mail when I stopped to pay my $30 (non-AANR fee) and sign the drowning waiver and show my ID.  Only 18 and up there.   Then I got the grand tour from a regular female member.

The clubhouse has a TV and a pool table.  Supposedly at night they have a lot of fun because there is also a dance floor, complete with disco ball and DJ table. Although I’m only in this for the swimming and all-over tan I may hang around one day just for the experience.  They also have sodas for a dollar if you forget drinks (a must have for any nude beach experience).  Someone there came up with a really neat idea for towels that hang over the back of your chair and have pockets for all your change, sunscreen, etc.  Towels are another must have, especially at a resort where you’d rather not want to sit where someone’s bare ass has been before, anymore than they want to sit where yours has been.  There are also basic, but neat and clean, rooms to stay in if you decide you want to spend the night.  Washing machines, showers, bathrooms, yadda yadda yadda.

Here’s where Emerald Lake and Hippie Hollow are different.   Hippie Hollow certainly gets more crowds, especially during certain times of year.  So by default it’s also more diverse.  Not racially…nudism is still pretty darn white (despite the tans 🙂 ).    Not a problem for me if it’s not a problem for them.  But at Hippie Hollow you’ll find young and old (though the standard, as in most places, seems to be middle aged). You’ll find people who are obviously well educated and upper class and people who obviously aren’t and everyone in between.  Swingers abound.  Single men into the scene and single men looking to “see.”  LOTS of gay men, a sprinkling of female couples, a rare single female.  It’s always something new.

BUT the following are the reasons why I like Emerald Lake better (and it will give you a nice tidy summary of the place:

  • Lounge chairs.  They have a good number of them there for you to sit or lie on, either on the beach by the lake or on the grass.  Anyone who’s been to Hippie Hollow will see this alone as a HUGE bonus.  IF you can find a flat space at HH to lie/sit on, you still have to bring a chair or (thick) yoga mat to pad your ass.  Towels alone don’t cut it.  There are also umbrellas to shade you when the sun starts to get to you.
  • Floaty stuff.  They have scads of stuff from those floating tube things to those floating bed things.  I stuck with the tubes so I could at least get wet.  At HH you bring your own.  They also have canoes and one of those zip sliders for jumping off of into the lake.
  • Amenities.  It is nice to not have to hike to get to the bathroom or, as in the case of my lazy ass, use the lake (1 not 2!).   Plus they have drinks when you find out you haven’t brought enough (trust me you will) and face the idea of cozying up to some questionable man/couple who think you’ll join him/them later on.  Hot tub. Check. Place to cool off inside. Check
  • Cool People.  In retrospect I have not been very kind here on my blog to some members of the nudist community.  I’ve learned that just because someone is missing their front teeth and talks with verrry southern accent it doesn’t mean they can’t be friendly. Having lived in Texas long enough I’m not instantly put off by an accent from round these parts.  And at Emerald Creek they were quite heavy.  And lots of tattoos.  And a fair amount  of smoking. For the most part the clientele is pretty monolithic group.  But they most certainly were friendly to me.  But then again, the nudist life is rather sweet for single females.  The owner even mentioned giving me a discount on the year-membership because I was one.

Things I didn’t like:

  • Smoking.   The beach is rather small and when someone lights up the smoke is bound to get to you.  And at least a few people did. But I’m sensitive to that.
  • Warm Water.  In all fairness Houston has been breaking records all week.  But the water was quite warm, offering little in the way of relief from the sun. There were pockets of cool water near my feet.  I’m guessing when the weather isn’t so unbearable it’s better. 
  • Dirty Water. The water at Hippie Hollow is not exactly spring clean, but here there were bits of floating fauna.  Apparently one of the members does usually clean it up  on a regular basis and since so many people were complaining about it this is unusual.
  • Lake animals.  I did see a turtle or two pop it’s head up.  But everyone kept talking about how the turtles snap and the fish nibble and when you’re naked that’s not something you want to hear. Watch your goodies!

In sum Emerald Lake is a great alternative to Hippie Hollow, especially if you live in Houston.   One I certainly plan on visiting often. It’s slightly less anonymous as everyone seems to know everyone else.  But if you want to be left alone, people will respect that.   There is less opportunity for the sorts of shenanigans that go on at Hippie Hollow, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your point of view.  You won’t have to worry about some asshole snapping your photo with his cell phone.  Guys and couples will be more hesitant about making advances.  In fact they seemed to be fairly wary of single men who arrived, polite but watchful.


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Something New

Sorry for the delay in posting prior comments, but thanks all for your concern.  A week out and I’m feeling a little more secure with myself.

That said, I’m still hesitant to go back to Hippie Hollow any time soon.  Eventually I’ll have to I suppose because I still have the bottle of Fris vodka I bought in exchange for shacking up with my friend over the weekend.  But what fun is Hippie Hollow if I can’t go down to where the water is?  Another accident and I’ll probably be banned from the park!

But I have a trip to Europe coming up, which involves at least 2 nude beach adventures.  I have no intention going without my body being the exact same color on my ass as it is on my face.

So I went in search of other Texas nudist haunts. Somewhere in the back of my mind was a memory of hearing about a beach nearby or a resort.   A quick google search later reminded me of the Bolivar/McFadden beach…which, if memory serves me, is not quite “official.”  Besides, that I’m not sure of the condition after Rita and Ike.  Today is the start of hurricane season and sure enough there were plenty of reports and photos regarding the obliteration of the Bolivar peninsula…which has yet to fully recover.

So I looked for the resort.  I’m not usually a fan of resorts as they tend to involve a lot more socializing  and “rules” than I prefer.  Besides, the only thing I want to do nude is lie down or swim.  Given my usual need for a bra Volleyball, tv watching, and cook outs just aren’t as fun when nude.  But beggars can’t be choosy.  So I’ve decided on Emerald Lake resort.

The pros:

  • Much closer than Austin
  • They have a lake for swimming (and sand to collect!)
  • They have wi-fi (not sure if that will be an issue though)
  • Chances are I won’t leave with a rash
  • No rock climbing
  • beach chairs

The cons:

  • I have a horrid inkling that they are of different ilk than Hippie Hollow folks
  • Costs $20 more to get in than at Hippie Hollow…but when I factor in the gas it probably comes out even
  • Lots of “events” going on

So at some point before July 4th I will be testing the waters.  Stay tuned! 

Too bad I’ll miss the record breaking skinny dip!

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