Cedar Trails Retreat Celebrates 20 Years
By Pete Williams
It’s been a period of steady growth for Cedar Trails, which is nestled among rolling meadows and unspoiled forest in the Appalachian foothills of southern Ohio, in the town of Peebles. On warm summer weekend afternoons, up to 250 people gather at a club that bills itself as the peaceful, rural getaway convenient to major cities such as Cincinnati and Columbus.
“A lot has changed,” Jo Anne says, referring not just to Cedar Trails but the nude recreation industry in general. “We’ve been able to appreciate being more open about being nudists. More and more people are willing to talk about it outside the grounds, using their own names and their full names. That’s made the atmosphere a lot more open and friendly.”
Creating such a welcoming environment was what Fred and Jo Anne had in mind in 1989 when they purchased the property, hoping to build the weedy 60-acre tract into a first-class nudist club. The couple had their eyes on another parcel until Fred, a private pilot, flew over the Cedar Trails property and found an ideal nudist location with rolling hills, nature trails, and groves of trees.
By visiting clubs in the Midwest and in Florida in the 1980s, the Roesslers learned what they liked and didn’t like about nudist clubs. They established two priorities when they received their AANR charter in 1991: sufficient bathrooms and aesthetically-pleasing campsites.
A master automobile technician, Fred quit his job to take a hands-on role in the development of the club while Jo Anne initially continued to work for the Department of Human Services as an aid to abused and neglected children.
Jo Anne has since joined Fred full time managing the club, which has become a four generation affair. One of their daughters lives at Cedar Trails full time and the other makes it up most every weekend. They also have two granddaughters and a great-granddaughter.
Cedar Trails has seen its membership level off but the number of visitors increase, a trend seen at many AANR resorts as people tend to make fewer regular commitments and travel more on vacation. Jo Anne states even with the economic downturn more people are taking “staycations” to Cedar Trails and traveling less distances.
An outdoor pavilion by the swimming pool provides food services at the CT Café on weekends, hosts numerous activities and provides shelter for those looking for a break from the sun. The club’s signature event is an annual hog roast over Labor Day weekend. There’s always something going on with the members and visitors taking an active part in the activities. Someone always has a great idea along with DJ music and dance, occasional live music, regular pool, pétanque, and cornhole tournaments, and karaoke once or twice a month.
There’s a lot to experience within the 60-acre property, which the Roesslers named Cedar Trails after the Eastern cedar trees that dot the area and the hiking trails that run throughout. Since Eastern cedar is a fine quality hardwood used to make cedar chests and closets, Fred cut several down and put his logging experience to use, enlisting the help of a friend with a portable sawmill. The lumber has been used in several of the resort’s buildings.
The Cedar Trails property is adjacent to two of the more unique attractions in Ohio. The Serpent Mound Crater is estimated to be more than 320 million years old and is several miles in diameter. The crater is named after the Serpent Mound, a three-foot high effigy mound in the shape of a serpent that lies within the crater. The mound is believed to have been built by members of an ancient civilization.
The meteor crater is visible from the property and hiking trails, with an area carved out of the woods on the back of the property serving as a vantage point.
“It’s definitely an attraction,” Jo Anne Roessler says. “We’ve had visitors from as far away as Europe.”
Visitors to Cedar Trails enter the property along a 700-foot driveway. Halfway up, a natural grove of trees shades the pool and the volleyball court from view. There’s a natural cedar wood hot tub and a recreational hall that hosts dances and other activities.
The heated pool, which measures 20 by 40 feet, is the central meeting place of the club. A one-acre manmade fishing pond also is an attraction. The pond was originally used for swimming before the swimming pool was added, and one of the upcoming improvements is to restore the beach and swimming area to allow for swimming and beach parties.
The club has one of the more intricate systems of hiking trails in all of AANR, winding through the woods with wide paths to all but gym shoes in the al’ natural. Even with clearing an additional 10 acres for added campsites in recent years, that leaves plenty of wooded acres, preserving the club’s original natural woods for use. While the rural setting allows nudists an opportunity to get away from it all, Cedar Trails actually is centrally located. It’s just an hour’s drive from Cincinnati, 90 minutes from Lexington, Kentucky, and two hours from Columbus. The club also attracts visitors from West Virginia.
The club has a full offering of nudist sports, including volleyball, pétanque, horseshoes, fishing, badminton, and cornhole. The heated/air conditioned bathhouse allows for year-round use by the members and residents.
The club is officially open only from May through September for visitors. (Members can use it year-round.)
Fred has saved the club thousands of dollars over the years by putting his handyman skills to work. He cleared the property for the pond, added a workshop, bathhouse, and rental units, and even installed the resort’s commercial sewage system.
The club has attracted a fair amount of publicity in recent years, especially surrounding AANR’s World-Record Skinny Dip. Ohio Magazine has featured Cedar Trails several times, and the club has been profiled by a number of Ohio newspapers and a TV station out of Columbus.
The club’s 20th anniversary celebration on June 25 no doubt will be newsworthy. There will be a day-long party with music, activities, an auction, door prizes, and a slide show chronicling the club’s history. Members will open a time capsule buried on club property in 2000.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years,” Jo Anne said. “The best part has been all of the different people we’ve met. It’s been a lot of fun. A lot of work, but it’s definitely been worth it.
For more information, visit www.cedartrailsnudistretreat.com.
This article republished with permission of The American Association for Nude Recreation, originally appearing in the May 2011 edition of the AANR Bulletin.