Lepreau — A local entrepreneur has taken typical New Brunswick hospitality in a different direction.
Albert Seeley has founded what he calls a “rudist beach,” outside of Lepreau, N.B.
“What we were looking to create here is a safe space for disagreement and aggression,” Seeley said. “Our theme is ‘Be engaged, get enraged.’ We want visitors to shed the mantle of civility and just expose their most primitive self.”
Immediately after its opening earlier this summer, Seeley began to notice that the beach appealed almost exclusively to a particular demographic.
“We were not targeting the Ameri-Canadian community, specifically, but they really seem to enjoy the experience. We opened the rudist beach not knowing what to expect and ‘woooooo, tractor beam’ — the Americans just started lining up.
“A lot of Americans south of the border come up here, love the scenery, love the people, love the beaches, but are really not comfortable with the level of friendliness. Many find the experience to be far outside their comfort zone and, frankly, quite unsettling.”
Beach-goer Walter Jennings commented, “Y’all are a heaping pile o’ friendly folks. But fer us ‘muricans, hang it awll, sometimes we jes wanna brawl.”
The beach itself features a disorienting and poorly signed entrance that encourages beach-bound drivers to engage in battles of wit and creative hand-gestures. At the canteen, you can find exactly the same calorie-rich items you find at other New Brunswick restaurants, but with an American twist. For instance, customers can have their poutine served by an excitable Donald Trump impersonator.
“If you tip well, you can punch him,” explained Seeley. “That has been popular.”
Voyeurism has been a growing issue, with with several local bookies taking up shop on the cliff faces and making wagers on the frequent waterfront altercations.
Not all locals are as enthusiastic about the rudist beach’s success. Thelma Morrissey’s property borders the beach. “I’ve had 3 cats run down by speeding General Lee replicas,” she said. “And if I have to listen to ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ one more time I will puke. I’ve got Confederate flag beach towels blowing across the lawn like tumbleweeds. Just yesterday, an inebriated Elvis Presley was defecating in the driveway.”
Opposition aside, Seeley remains positive about the direction of his business.
“We did have some problems with the Elvis impersonator the other day, but overall, the rudist beach has been an huge success thanks to the Americans. They hardly ever shoot each other.”