Loc: Southern Maryland suburbs of D...
Our first c/o experience was at Club Orient on St. Martin when our cruise ship stopped there in October 1998. We have returned twice, with one-week stays at Club O in October 99 and again in November 2000. Circumstances precluded a visit in 2001, so our next trip to Paradise will be May 11-18th, 2002. After our TTOL pool party in July, we realized that that was too long to wait, so I began to look for a weekend getaway that would be close to our very relaxing Club O experiences, but close to our home in southern Maryland near D.C.
The website for Avalon Resort in Paw Paw, West Virginia http://www.avalon-nude.com looked inviting so I booked a room in their lodge for the evenings of August 3rd & 4th and told Linda I was taking her "to the mountains" for a relaxation weekend. She figured it out a few days before we left when my reply to "What should I pack?" was "Not much!".
We had a wonderful, relaxing weekend with very good facilities, food, and activities and made several new friends at Avalon. It wasn't our "personal version of Paradise" on Orient Beach but, as the WVa slogan says, it was "Almost Heaven."
Avalon sits partway up a southeast-facing slope in a fairly steep mountain valley called Critton Owl Hollow a few miles south of Paw Paw, WV. To get there from the Washington D.C. beltway take I-66 west to its end at I-81, go north to Winchester, VA and then follow 522. 127, and 29 to a left on 29-1 (Critton Owl Hollow Road). A large sign 2 miles up the road announces your arrival at Avalon. The resort is about 100 to 110 miles from the intersection of I-66 and I-495 (Beltway), depending on whether or not you take the US 17 / US 50 "shortcut" to Winchester east of Front Royal. The detailed directions in the North American Guide to Nude Recreation are the same ones Avalon will give you over the phone and are exactly correct.
When you pull into the Office parking lot you begin to wonder if you made a mistake, since the office and store are in an old house trailer off to the left side of the entrance road! Not to worry...the office trailer is the most, er, "rustic" part of Avalon. We showed our AANR card and credit card, and were given a key to Lodge room 18, a site map, and a sheet detailing the activities for the weekend. We left the office and drove to the Lodge, parking in the reserved space with our room number on it (nice touch).
The main guest facilities consist of a large modern Lodge building which contains 18 motel rooms and the combination restaurant/lounge, an adjacent enclosed swimming pool/spa complex, and an outdoor pool with snack bar. Beyond the pools is an enclosed barn with horseshoe pits and open air tennis, volleyball, and pentaque courts. A new, modern condo building up the hill from the office trailer has several townhouse apartments for rent and continuing up the hill leads to the campground with both tent sites and RV pads with full hookups. A fishing pond sits between the condos and the campsite, but this summer's drought has put it into the "don't bother" category for the moment.
Our room was bright and clean, with a double bed, night stand with lamp, a round table with two chairs, a convertible sofa, and a 4 drawer dresser. A hanger rack with clothes hangers sits behind the entry door. The bathroom has the tub & shower and the toilet. A wide vanity with a single sink is along one wall of the room itself and also has a 4 cup coffee maker which was resupplied with both regular & decaf plus a creamer/sugar/sweetener kit each day. A wall mounted motel style heater/air conditioner was mounted under the window and kept the unit comfortable throughout our stay. Like Club Orient there is no TV in the room and no phone, although there is a small clock radio.
The hallway is decorated with original art and prints with a (naturally) nude theme and leads to a large multi-purpose room that serves at various times as the restaurant, lounge, and dance floor. A large window wall at one end gives a superb view of the mountain ridge across the "hollow", and an 8-person outdoor hot tub sits on one edge of the patio outside the windows.
The outdoor pool is heated, and has restrooms, three outdoor showers, and snack bar within the fence. A screen room sits atop the restroom building and is used for massages, as are a tent along the entrance drive and one of the rooms in the "indoor" pool area. A nice touch is the collection of "noodles" the resort provides poolside for floating. The large concrete deck surrounding the outdoor pool has dozens of chaise lounges available for sunning.
The other pool is open year round and sits within a very innovative "greenhouse" style building. The north wall of the building contains the restrooms, showers, multi-purpose rooms, and the stairs down to a small but nicely equipped exercise room with treadmills, weight machines, free weights, etc.
The east, south and west walls have a continuous series of sliding patio doors to let in the breezes in summer and keep out the cold in the winter. The roof is clear double glazing and along 80% of its length the upper half slides down over the lower half by remote control to make the pool "open air". Two spas are built in to one end of the deck - one kept at 101 degrees, and the other at 104 degrees. The main pool is heated to about 80 and, in cold weather, the entire concrete deck surrounding the pool and spas is heated for radiant heat.
We arrived around 3:30 Friday afternoon, checked in and dropped our bags and clothes in our room. We first wandered around to check out the facilities and then headed for the pool. Bring your own beach towels. If you forget (like we did ) Avalon will rent you beach towels for $2.00 per day or sell you Avalon logo towels at the office. We set up on two lounges at the outdoor pool and easily struck up conversations with the couples nearby. (Nudists must be the friendliest group of people in the world). A stationary front was wandering back and forth across northeast WV this weekend, so around 5:00 we relocated to the indoor pool to avoid a passing shower. When the rain started the staff closed the roof panels over the indoor pool to keep us from getting wet.
We alternated between the lounge chairs, the pool and the 101 degree hot tub for the rest of the afternoon, then dried off and swung by the room to swap our pool towels for our "sitting towels" enroute to dinner. Friday night is BBQ night and Linda & I each had the grilled salmon dinners. I thoroughly enjoyed mine while Linda would have prefered hers without the honey mustard sauce, commenting that "what you cook at home is better". The house salad, accompanying vegies, and hot homemade rolls were all very good, and the deserts were superb and presented on sauced and sprinkled plates worthy of any restaurant in Grand Case! Others who had the ribs declared them "to die for" and said they were very tender.
On the following night Linda had a "Greek Chicken Cesar Salad" and I had the Filet Mignon and both were outstanding! Saturday morning's breakfasts were 2 eggs OE with bacon, fried potatoes, and rye toast for me and pancakes with ham for Linda, both with coffee, lowfat milk and OJ. Again, both were great. Sunday morning breakfast saw the effects of training a brand new assistant cook, and both the quality and orderly flow of meals from the kitchen suffered accordingly.
While there are a few "2-person" tables along one side of the room, we chose to sit at one of the more numerous 6-person tables and share mealtime with whoever showed up at the same time. We met many interesting guests that way and had great mealtime conversations.
Friday evening's entertainment was an entertainer called "Barrelhouse Bonnie" who played piano and sang blues very very well. We alternated between sitting in the lounge to listen and walking to the other end of the building to relax in the indoor pool & spa. It's amazing how easy it is to go back and forth when you're nude!
Saturday evening brought a DJ to the lounge and the dancing was a LOT of fun! Some folks wore pareos or see-through wraps and many remained nude...and all had a great time.
Saturday morning Linda & I each treated ourselves to hour and a half massages. Linda chose Walter for a massage and paraffin treatment for her hands and feet. I chose Janet for a massage. Janet is a Doctor / Board Certified Chiropractor and can "adjust" out the kinks during the massage if you wish (I did!). Around noon a very relaxed Linda & I just melted into our lounges by the outdoor pool and let "deck gravity" take over for the rest of the day. We visited with our neighbors, read, swam and enjoyed charcoal-grilled burgers from the poolside snack bar.
After Sunday breakfast we cleared out of the room by the 11 AM checkout, pre-positioning our "travel textiles" to the car, and returned to the outdoor pool complex to let "deck gravity" (a close relative to "sand gravity") work it's magic until we left round 3:00 pm for the drive home.
What's it all cost?
While the Avalon web site advertises the lodge room at $98 per night for AANR members, including the resort's daily fee for two, the billing computer breaks that cost down to $66 per night for the room and $32 per day "grounds fee" ... and charges the grounds fee for both day of arrival and day of departure. The result was three days' grounds fee and two night's lodging charges for our stay. And we DID enjoy the grounds for parts or all of 3 days so it's fair, if unusual.
Our restaurant charges for the two of us were $40.39 including desert and tip for Friday night and $47.91 for Saturday night, again including desert and tip. Breakfasts were around $10.00 per person with tip. Saturday's lunches at the pool bar and periodic drinks all afternoon came to $34.50.
A GREAT place for a weekend getaway! We had a wonderful time and will return soon. The resort is open all year, and the indoor pool complex will help beat the winter blahs. The rooms were modern and clean and comfortable, the food very good, and both the staff and other guests were easy-going and friendly... real pleasures to be around!
It looks like we have found at least one place close to home to take the edge off our "SXM homesickness"!
Bill & Linda