Byline: By Bill Cannon
My trip to Sunsport Gardens began with a simple Internet search. I was about to take a trip to Stuart, Fl, and I wanted to see if there were any naturist communities in the vicinity, as I am considering the possibility of living in one in the future.
The tone was set for my visit when I watched the video on Sunsport’s web site, hosted by Morley Schloss, owner of the community. His straightforward and unpretentious manner was disarming, and was followed by a complete survey of the philosophy and activities of Sunsport Gardens. The first thing I noticed while watching it was that unlike many naturist videos, this one actually has naked people in it! Not only that, but I could see that this place has a natural and fun atmosphere: you will see nothing pretentious or overly fancy. That appealed to me greatly.
The next day, when Morley himself was gracious enough to give me a tour of the facility, I would learn that that approach is the hallmark of his philosophy on how one should approach promoting naturism. Schloss has always been open and unapologetic about the choice to live in a natural state (even when he was a school administrator), and he hopes you will see the merits in promoting naturism in that manner.
As I arrived and checked in, I was greeted by people at the desk who were either fully or partially nude. This conveyed from the first moment that the naturist philosophy is lived here, and is not only for guests.
The office staff was warm and welcoming, I mentioned my interest in Sunsport Gardens as a possible residence, and the staff immediately offered to arrange a tour. Little did I know as I undressed by my car, that the man saying hello from the office stairs, would be Morley himself. I was about to take a walk with him; not only to see the facility and grounds, but to have a chance to ask questions about his naturist philosophy. As a business journalist, the opportunity was irresistible.
As we walked, I gave Morley a brief summary of my experience with naturism, which began in my teenage years during visits to California. The very first thing he talked about was inclusiveness, and how this philosophy sets Sunsport Gardens apart from some of the rest. “Some naturist communities in the past have discriminated against gay couples, single men, or people with disabilities. We welcome all people from everywhere in the world,” he said.
Morley next emphasized the environmentally responsible approach Sunsport Gardens takes to every aspect of the operation. “We have healthful food in our restaurant, with vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and wild salmon choices, for example, he said. We make our homemade soups to be low in salt, but delicious. And our cooks will make your food to order for special needs. People come from all over just to go to our restaurant,” Morley added.
“We do not use or sell bottled water, as that is environmentally disastrous. We use solar power to heat the pool and the hot tub, as well as for other uses. And, of course, we recycle everything we can.”
At that point, Morley commented casually that at Sunsport, if a person would like to enjoy a tropical fruit, she or he need only reach into a tree and pick one. The community, he explained, has a number of tropical trees that yield star fruit, mangos, and many other tempting varieties. To demonstrate this, Morley ran into his own house and came out with a chilled Star Fruit for me to sample. I had never heard of this fruit, let alone tasted one. I bit into it and the chilled juice burst into my mouth with a flavor that I am still trying to describe. Something like kiwi, mango and pineapple combined, is all I could come up with. Suffice it to say, that it was the most delicious fruit I have eaten, and to think it actually does grow on trees right there on the property.
Morley pointed out the nature trails, fire pits where drum circles take place, and a walking labyrinth for meditation. Everywhere you look at Sunsport there is a novel but useful adaptation of the environment. Later, when I walked some of the enchanting nature trails alone, I experienced an almost chilling but exciting feeling of what it must have felt like for early humans walking though a beautiful but sometimes dangerous forest. It was an experience I won’t soon forget.
My next thought was how sad it is that most humans will never experience the freedom, humility, and direct interaction with the sun, wind and rain as we naturists do. Not to mention the unassuming way one greets a fellow naturist, with no clothes or other pretensions between us.
Later I visited the clubhouse with a well-appointed workout room, TV lounge, pool table, and other amenities including free WIFI. My day was capped off by swimming in the salt water enhanced pool (with much less chlorine as a result), and the beautiful conversation pool/ hot tub.
There is much more than what I have been able to outline here. And while Sunsport Gardens is kept scrupulously clean (constant upkeep was in evidence), it is not “ritzy” or pretentious in any way; it’s not meant to be. There is a naturalness and beauty that is reflected in the fact that none of the plants or trees are manicured; but everything is nurtured and kept healthy. The same can be said of the human atmosphere. At least at first glance, I found that Sunsport Gardens has its priorities in the right place. I mean to return soon, and often to explore this very unique place further.
I encourage you to watch the video of Sunsport Gardens on its website (sunsportgardens.com), and then go see for yourself. Of all the places I have visited, this one incorporates not only the clothes optional aspect, but all of the environmental and vital social aspects that represent the healthy implications of this lifestyle.
When Morley Schloss says everyone is welcome, he means it. And as long as a visitor adheres to the basic guidelines of the best of naturism, which at Sunsport includes care for one another and for the beautiful planet we are privileged to enjoy, she or he will be welcome to stay for an hour, a day, or a lifetime.