|White Thorn Lodge - Report|
This report is brought to you by Jim Dodge.
Trip Report White Thorn Lodge R.R. 1, 383 State Line Road, Darlington, Pennsylvania 16115 Phone: (724) 846-5984 Written by James Dodge. July, 1997. Truly hidden away in the NW almost corner of Pennsylvania and about 50 miles slightly NW of Pittsburg, the White Thorn Lodge, member owned and operated, has been for me one of the moat pleasant surprises in many years of visiting nudist resorts in the USA. One does not expect this far North a facility so well equipped and operated, with such attractive homes, landscaping, sport and social facilities. In the deep South where the "season" is very long, or year-round, perhaps such quality is not unusual. Situated on some 100 acres in the hills North of the Ohio River as it flows from PA into Ohio, the site has been "in development" for over 30 years. Formerly it was a strip-mining area to the total ruination of the landscape. But in the course of time these devastations have been covered over, trees have grown in abundance, and one would never know the terrible condition of the surroundings of that time. As one drives North on SR168, coming to the top of a rather steep hill there is a cross road--Lisbon Rd. to the Rt. and State Line Rd. to the left. There turn left and go about 4 miles on a very winding road that seems to be heading ever deeper into the "boonies". It is fair black top, sometimes a bit narrow, yet at all times adequate for my 31' Airstream. As one ascends another of the hills, close to the top on the East side of the road one abruptly comes upon a very new ('97) automatic gate and broad entry way. The usual phone and numeric pad are there so that one can call in for a gate opening. If that does not immediately work, there is a pedestrian gate so that one can walk in to the reception kiosk to call again for help! The entry area is very neat and well kept with a vista through the trees of some of the residences and sport complex. While only a very few of the members reside here throughout the year, there are many mobile homes, cabins, a brick dwelling and numerous other buildings. Among these are the recreation halls, rental units, restaurant and snackbar, shop, and sanitary buildings all in attractive brick. Of course there is the customary pool, hot tub and a real finnish sauna!! Many of these are situated around two sides of a very large open quadrangle with water and electric hookups for rv's and campers. A bit farther away is another very large flat, grassy field with hookups for some 30+ campers. It is easily understandable how 2000 guests can be squeezed in for the huge volley ball matches the weekend after Labor Day. For the sport enthusiasts there are two permanent, hardsurfaced volley ball courts, two tennis courts that double for volley ball, All of these are in full use for the big championships that dray visitors from a very wide area. Nudity on the courts is obligatory, though evidently not always for the spectators--but no media are present to "record" the events (at least not officially)! Other sports facilities include horseshoes, boccia (petanque), shuffleboard and a large, well equipped play area for children. Thus all ages are well provided for, including a special building with pool tables, juke box and other "equipment" for the 'teens. For those not interested in participatory sports, there are many trails through the woods so that one can spend hours hiking nude through the natural surroundings without meeting another person. Along the various roads, all well kept, covered smoothly with fine gravel, there are many RV's, mobile homes, log cabins and other appropriate vacation structures, many with lawns and pleasant landscaping, flower beds, etc. When one recalls that 30-40 years ago this was a strip mining site, it is difficult now to imagine what it then must have looked like, now with a variety of large trees of many kinds. Perhaps this is what surprised me most: that a resort (I could hardly call this in any sense a "camp") that is used primarily for weekends and only in the Spring to Fall season could provide such pleasant, attractive and abundant facilities easily comparable with any in the deep South or Florida. As a co-op with some 300 members and the income from the volley ball tournament in September the rates are likewise amazingly low. Everyone is expected to and most do pitch in to do the maintenance, supervision, and usual running of the resort, again cutting down on the general overhead. Since obviously many come to such a setting to escape the "madness" of the textile world, I shall say little about the attractions which seem to dominate that scene other than to remark that TV reception is adequate for all the necessary information that one might need. And NPR is clear from Pittsburg on 89.3! Certainly for anyone in the area or passing within 50+ miles or more of WTL a visit would be more than worth while. As an added attraction, the rates are truly very moderate. Furthermore, on weekends (with much heavier attendance) there is a well-run restaurant serving meals prepared by the volunteer staff. White Thorn Lodge is without question one of the best spots I have discovered in the whole Northeast. N.B. Coming from the North, as one drives South on SR168 at the crossing with SR251 (Blackhowk Rd), turn West (Rt) for about 1.7 miles. Watch closely on left for "State Line Rd." Turn left for 1.5 miles to entrance of WTL. BUT just beyond SR251 on SLR there is a somewhat narrow bridge with a sharp rt turn that has to be negotiated carefully with motor home or trailer.
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