Behind an unassuming gate lies a spectacular 164-acre property centered around one of the largest private lakes in the Hudson Valley.
Wooded and secluded, Auchmoody—located in bucolic Esopus, New York—borders the Black Creek State Forest and the John Burroughs Nature Sanctuary. Both the forest and the sanctuary are part of a network of public and private conservation lands. They are protected from development, guaranteeing privacy for Auchmoody in perpetuity.
In fact, Auchmoody is so private that in the 1930s, it was home to a nudist colony, known as the Fresh Air Club or the Out-of-Doors Club. The club was founded by writer, activist, and nudist Jan Gay, who had visited nudist camps in Germany and Switzerland. Inspired by her European travels, Gay wrote On Going Naked and then started the Fresh Air Club, where members could feel free to frolic in their natural state. Nudism had a bit of moment in the 1930s and Auchmoody has been described as the most exclusive of the American nudist clubs, with surviving photos showing members enjoying lakeside card games, climbing trees, relaxing on the rocks, and canoeing—all au naturel, of course.
Auchmoody’s main buildings, comprising the primary house and four additional cottages nearby, date from the 1930s—back when the nudists were in full swing—though they’ve been renovated and extended in recent years. The main residence is a 7,000-square-feet symphony of stone and wood that was in finished in 2016 and is faithful to the spirit of the original structure. The house’s elevated rustic style includes polished wood ceilings with exposed beams, elaborate wainscotting, interior and exterior stone walls, and detailed wrought iron railings.
“Whether it’s the view from the bathtub or the bedrooms, everything in the house is oriented toward the lake,” said Andrew Harris, one of the agents handling the sale. The house’s greatest luxury is its breathtaking setting, and all the rooms, including the two primary bedroom suites, the three guest bedrooms, and the many common areas, all have large windows framing the view. And it’s not just the living rooms and the bedrooms that have vistas—even a shower stall and the kitchen sink have been specially placed to face the lake, the waterfall, and the land beyond.
A smaller lakefront residence known as the Boathouse, with three bedrooms, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and a small deck for launching boats, is down the road from the main house. There are also two separate one-bedroom guest cottages and a two-bedroom caretaker’s cottage for any additional human guests, as well as a three-level barn and a large kennel for residents of the four-legged variety.
“The lake is such a unique character and is so integral to the property,” says Fred Waring, another agent for the property. The current owners swim, jet ski, and ride on canoes, rafts, and pedal boats on the lake. Waring points out it’s rare to find a private lake of this size in the area.
“The beauty of the property is the privacy,” says Harris. Just 90 minutes from New York City, Auchmoody is completely your own and once inside the gate, the outside world falls away. This lakeside playground is yours to enjoy, whether nude or fully clothed.