So one of our recent guests checked in the other day and commented, “Brattleboro was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal today”. Surprised, I asked what the article was about. He answered “All of your naked people”.
Of course, this was both a surprise, and not. It seems that in recent months, Brattleboro has been getting a lot of attention for some rather off-beat news. As a matter of fact, a quick search shows that Brattleboro has appeared in Reuters Oddly Enough (an RSS feed I subscribe to) 5 times in the last 6 months.
In case you missed the controversy about the nudity in Brattleboro, I will give you a short recap. (You can read the whole WSJ article here if you’d prefer). About 2 years ago, some teenagers were goofing around on one of the rare “hot” days in Vermont. They got naked (after learning that there is no anti-nudity law in Vermont) and were playing some instruments on the town green, in the Gazebo. An AP photographer was up here on vacation and staged a photo with them covering all of their **ummm… parts** with instruments and the like. He uploaded his photo and lo and behold, it got picked up by hundreds of local papers as a human interest story.
Well, things were rather quiet at the outset. The summer came and went and it seemed that other than some funny conversations and emails, there was little backlash.
Of course, the next summer (2007) the word had spread and nudists started trekking their way to Brattleboro. There was one older gentleman who we would often see bicycling with nothing on other than a fluorescent pink fanny pack, downtown past our Inn. He was harmless enough and clearly made for some interesting conversations in our pub! Unfotunately from there, things started to get out of control. PETA was starting to take advantage of the opportunity and staged naked protests in the downtown park. Nudists were coming up on trips to stroll the downtown together. It was really odd, and admittedly I will say that (other than the PETA models perhaps) not much to look at…
Ultimately after much debate (read – months of discussions and public hearings) an ordinance was passed making it illegal to be naked in Brattleboro any longer. Punishment – “An officer of the law is to order you to clothe”. Failure to obey of course could result in a $25 fine (or you could be tasered – so just get dressed!).
I honestly thought that this was all said and done, until this new article in the WSJ. It was a pretty level headed and well done article, but I wonder what the inspiration was. Anyhow, for those headed up to visit us at Forty Putney Road, or to Brattleboro in general: just remember, you will have to keep your clothes on when visiting downtown. Of course, if you are into nude bathing, we have a few swimming holes that we would be happy to give you directions to that we wont be listing on the blog – we don’t want to be the source of this years debate!