It looks like any other clubhouse -- trophy shelf, pool table, dance floor, club news tacked on the bulletin board. From the open windows come sounds of swimming, tennis and paddleball. It isn't until you notice the Polaroid snapshots of the smiling club officials that you realize Pine Tree is different.
None of the officials is wearing any clothes.
It was all her husband's idea, Janice said.
"I thought it was a big joke -- something out of the movies," said the short, bespectacled Annapolis resident. "But when we actually drove into the parking lot and I saw there were people who actually walked around without their clothes on God, it was shocking. We decided if the children didn't like it, we'd go home.
"But then I saw this chunky little lady with her chunky little husband, and their three chunky little kids, and I realized it wasn't Body Beatuiful out there. I loved it from the very first day. We didn't want to put our clothes on and go back home. It's changed our whole lives. We've even moved, to be closer to Pine Tree.
"Aside from sheer physical comfort -- right now I'm hot and I'm sweaty and I know I can go out there and if there's a breeze I can feel it, or I can just jump in the pool, you really oughta try it -- there's just no pretense here. My brother-in-law looked at me this week and said, 'I didn't know you had an operation.' The children see different shapes, figures, handicaps. They see flabby bodies, nice bodies, nice flabby bodies. . ."
More than 650 bodies of assorted sizes and shapes are beating the heat this summer at Pine Tree Associates, a nudist camp on 108 densely wooded acres near Annapolis. If you didn't know it was there you'd drive right by, which is the idea. An electronically, controlled gate takes care of sight-seers and errant Boy Scouts.
Once inside, those who've envisioned an orgy of sex are bound to be disappointed. Picture the average country club and you've got it. Members and their kids swim, sunbathe, play tennis and that nudist staple, volleyball, or simply stroll around the wellkept grounds.
Membership is up this year at Pine Tree, as it has been nearly every year since its founding in 1934. The club draws most of its members from the Washington-Baltimore area -- it's the only camp in the area, the next nearest being in North Carolina and New Jersey -- but others drive down every weekend from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York to sample Pine Tree's unique brand of G-rated nudity.
What's the appeal?
"Number one, the people aren't weird," said a middle-aged Alexandria woman wearing a gold chair and floppy yellow sunhat, who said she worked in publishing. "And number two, it's not a swinging outfit. As a matter of fact it's so straight it squeaks."
"It's like a church picnic," agreed a 68-year-old ex-D.C. Transit driver, and while that may be stretching things a little, the atmosphere could almost be described as decorous. To maintain its reputation as a family club, Pine Tree sets quotas for singles. A committee screens potential members, who are then kept on probation for three months and 12 visits before they're allowed to join.
Erotic or suggestive behavior isn't tolerated, and, says president David S., the board of directors won't hesitate to eject someone for drunkenness or lewdness.
David, a trim man wearing track shoes, is a nudist from way back. In fact, he'll tell you with a grin, he was born one. That's a favorite nudist rejoinder, a visitor soon discovers. As is "Why not?" when you ask them why they do it. And the ever-popular, "If God had intended us to go naked, he would have made us that way."
When pressed for a reason, most of them will tell you how comfortable it is -- pretty tame stuff, but there you have it. "I do it because it's very relaxing," David said. "The people we have here are very enjoyable."
"I do it to look at all the naked ladies," says a naked man from the other side of the snack bar.
Ah, now we're getting somewhere.
But he turns out to be the only member who admits to ogling. Sex is downplayed at Pine Tree, and with all the preponderance of naked bodies, said an Alexandria man wearing a gold chair (chains are very big in the nudist world), you soon forget you're not wearing clothes. "Most of the time you don't even notice. The sexiest part is watching all the women when they're dressed, getting ready to leave."
For Sue, an office worker from Maryland who says she always regarded herself as a closet nudist but never had been involved in "real, big-time nudism" until six years ago, sex is not the issue. Freedom is.
"At first we wanted a place where we could go swimming nude," she said. "After you've swum without clothes on it's very difficult to get back into a swimsuit -- you know the way they stick to you? Listen, while you're here you really should try it . . ."
But shedding her clothes gave her more than physical comfort, she said. "This place gives me the freedom to be myself in a very fundamental way. It's allowed me to accept my body as I am.
"It's one of the healthiest things I ever did."
"Still got your clothes on, huh?" yells a passerby. Despite the non-stop; good-natured proselytizing that members direct at chicken- hearted visitors, Pine Tree doesn't actively recruit new members. It prefers to let the umbrella national organization, the American Sunbathing Association, handle inquiries and referrals.
Out by the pool, a Baltimore woman sporting a yellow rose tattoo on her right breast talked about the joys of nudism to a visitor while, in the shade, a young mother nursed her six-week-old son. "It's great if you're breast feeding," the mother says. She stonewalls when asked for her first name and will say only that she lives in Maryland. "My parents would go into cardiac arrest if they knew I was here.I had a strict Catholic upbringing."
Pine Tree is a "modern-day Utopia," the tattooed woman is saying. "Where else can you find all these different types of people co-existing peacefully together?"
"I don't believe it, all these philosophers," snorted the baby's mother. "I just come down here to get a tan. Then I go back home and get dressed. I don't like to be called a nudist, or anything with an 'ist' on the end. I just come down here so I don't have to wring out a wet bathing suit."
The kids at Pine Tree are just as practical. Dean, 13, thinks the best thing about the camp is its gigantic pool. So does Susan, a freckle-faced 12-year-old. It took her "about half a day" to get used to not wearing clothes, she said. That was a couple of years ago. Now she's "addicted."
But she doesn't talk about it at school."They wouldn't understand."
It's not the sort of weekend experience you bring up on the schoolbus Monday morning, agreed Alan, 18, a two-year veteran. "Who can you tell?" he asked. "You say, 'I played tennis this weekend with three nude women,' who's gonna believe you?"
It took him a while to adjust. "Being as I was 16, I was pretty self-conscious," he said, with all the newfound savoir-faire of his 18 years. "For two months I played tennis in my shorts. My parents brought us up so strickly -- if they caught you with a Playboy under your bed, forget it -- and then they hit us with this," he said, with a sweeping gesture. "I just wish there were more kids around here my age."
He headed off for the pool. "Look forward to seeing more of you," he called over his shoulder.
GETTING NUDE, For information on becoming a member of Pine Tree, write : Pine Tree Associates, P. O. Box 157, Crownsville, Maryland 20132.
The American Sunbathing Association, 810 North Mills Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32803, has information on Pine Tree and other nudist clubs around the country.
Two other North American groups are concerned with social nudism at private parks: the National Nudist Council, RB 2, Tippecanoe, Ohio; and the Canadian Nudist Federation, P.O. Box 6213, Station D, London, Ontario.
Another active pro-nudist organization called Free Beaches advocates the legalization of nude swimming and sunbathing at designated areas. Free Beaches, P. o. Box 132, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901.