Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pinecraft Florida

Pinecraft - Sarasota Florida in summer
 Pinecraft in Sarasota, Florida, a sleepy little village during the summer, comes to life each fall as northern Amish and Mennonites descend by the hundreds to their winter playground, a mecca of socialization seen everywhere; in homes, at the shuffleboard court, the post office, along the streets, at the markets, restaurants, and churches.  I just passed through the village yesterday where it seemed to be almost a ghost town, but by October it will begin to bustle when Pioneer Trails begins their weekly shuttle service to the south.

Pioneer Trails provides Amish Transportation

With a fleet of busses, Pioneer Trails provides shuttle service for the Amish from Indiana and Ohio to Florida, and returning shuttles back north.  During heavily-traveled winter months, three busses headed for Pinecraft depart the north every week.  My husband's grandfather, Enos Miller, an Amish preacher, once said, "There are so many people in Pinecraft, we
have to take turns breathing."

Pinecraft Post Office/Message Board

Many Old Order and the New Order Amish enjoy the opportunity to bask in the Florida sun during the winter.  Often men fish during the day, gather for daily coffee at Troyer's Dutch Heritage or Yoder's Restaurant, or play shuffleboard.  The ladies have their quilt houses, or quilt garages, where they quilt the quilt tops they assembled while in the north.  Usually the ladies are quite peticular who may come and quilt at their place.  They have specific guidelines about the quilts and the order in which they will be quilted.  Sometimes a lady is specifically invited to quilt if it is known that she is a good or fast quilter.  Often, when the quilt frame is seated on all sides with ladies, it can be finished in three days.

Mural on Yoder's Market in Pinecraft
Pinecraft, located on the east side of Sarasota, borders Bahia Vista streets and Beneva Road, offering easy access to nearby plazas, Troyer's Dutch Heritage, Yoder's Restaurant, Alma Sue's Quilt Shop, and other services provided by skilled persons enjoying a southern reprive.  The local SCAT bus, Sarasota County Area Transit, provides transportation to points throughout the county, including Sarasota's beautiful beaches and the malls.

An Amish church meeting house and an Amish/Mennonite church serves year-round residents. Attendence swells to great numbers in the winter. They do not use horse and buggies in Florida, and their church permits the use of electric and telephones.  Membership in the Pinecraft Amish church allows those same members to use electric in their northern summer houses.

Scene Yoder's Restaurant

More information about the culture may be learned while staying at the Millersburg, Ohio, Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast, where cultural information is shared daily at the conclusion of the morning hot country breakfast.

The Amish life depictions are the work of artist, Bill Browning from Gibsonton, Florida, usually a circus illustrator.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
August 31, 2011

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