Pinecraft: Sarasota, Florida, Population 3,000
It may seem quite odd to associate the sunshine state with the Amish, but they’ve been on the Gulf Coast since the 1920s. The Pinecraft neighborhood in the suburbs of Sarasota, Florida is a grid of streets with modest dwellings filled with Amish and Mennonite snowbirds and permanent residents. The residences are owned as a community and are available for rent by the night for short-term visitors or for longer spells.
The Amish enclave has a church in a freestanding building called the Pinecraft Amish Church. The Tourist Mennonite Church is also a place of worship that occupies a former bakery. There’s another Mennonite church called the Palm Grove. Honoring God remains as essential to the Amish as ever, even on vacation.
A Unique Community
Whereas each Amish community is typically made up of like-minded individuals, in Pinecraft there’s a mix of Amish with roots in different settlements. Some older folks and Amish retirees who’ve perhaps passed their farm or their business on into their family appreciate the sunny climate and a more relaxed atmosphere. Some Amish newlyweds honeymoon here. As a rule, however, it is the more open and entrepreneurial Amish that are part of the Pinecraft community and movement.
What About Electricity and Technology?
The lifestyle of Amish residents and visitors at Pinecraft is very different than that of their traditional day to day. Most of the homes there are equipped with electricity. Amish generally permit electricity usage in such cases where the living quarters are meant to be temporary. For instance, when staying in a hotel, the Amish have no problem using the available facilities, though the TV might stay off.
The World’s Only Amish Post Office
When the USPS discontinued postal service to the Pinecrest community, the Amish community offered to buy the building and continue to operate a post office service for its residents. It also serves as the social hub with its large bulletin board that posts everything from jobs to accommodations to community events.
Fun and Games
Shuffleboard is a very popular activity for the Amish in Pinecraft. Music and concerts with a gospel sound are also common. Of course, the Amish love the amazing beaches along the shores of Siesta Key and Lido Key, two small islands lying just off Sarasota. Fishing is also very popular, although you’ll never see an Amish woman in a bikini! Women venture into the water with full clothing, though some men will wear swim trunks.
After a long spring, summer, and harvest fall, it makes sense that the Amish love a beach vacation or ocean-side retirement as much as we do!