Perhaps because we are most attracted to places that are small, informal and not obviously commercial, two of the locations we originally chose to profile have closed. Much of the original descriptions have been kept--both to provide a history and to nurture the hope that members can reinvent each place in the future.
Elysium was one of the most laid-back resorts in California.
After 32 years in Topanga Canyon, the beautiful Elysium Fields closed in September, 2000, when the rented grounds were put up for sale by daughters of the founder, Ed Lange. The non-profit Elysium Institute hoped to re-open a club facility at the private home of Betty and Sandy Meltzer at 33333 Mulholland Highway in Malibu. Many members of the Insititute worked to improve the site and donated funds to the cause.
The effort to create a new home in Malibu came to an end in November, 2001. The Meltzers had to bow to the reality of low attendance at the remote site, and were forced to put the property up for sale. Members of the Elysium Tribe will need to find a way to stay in touch with each other, if any hope of a future resort is to be kept alive. Former director Gary Mussell and about a dozen active members are now working to find a way for the club to continue.
We have kept our descriptive link (above) because Elysium was unique among nudist parks. There is no truly equivalent option for low-stress, broadly accepting, humanistic, clothing-optional relaxation. We all need to remember what was lost.
The club had a traditional nudist expectation that visitors lose their clothing, with an occasional exception for a first-timer who wasn't yet sure of the psychological safety of being nude among strangers. Both the weather and the welcome at this friendly place were so warm when I last visited over a year ago that I couldn't imagine anyone who visited wanting to remain dressed for long.
It there is a California resort that perfectly fits the word and image 'Bohemian', this is it. Historic wooden cabins from the 1930's still dot the grounds. The camp has recently added... electricity! Members and residents often have large weekend pot-luck buffets, but there is no cafe, so you will need to bring food from town.