Friday, 21 November 2008

Sarasota Neighbourhoods - Pinecraft

This morning I wandered around the Pinecraft area of Sarasota. This is the home to many Amish and Mennonite peoples.

My pictures show some of the modest homes and trailer homes, the bird houses, the Churches (one a Church at the front and a home at the rear), the tiny Post Office, some Amish/Mennonite names; the wonderful “Yoder’s” restaurant and “Big Olaf’s” Ice Cream shop; a Luncheonette; an odd saucepan; and some birds in a tree.

You’ll not see people. Amish/Mennonite folks are very reserved, so I did not invade their privacy by taking pictures of humans.


The following article is “taddled” from Wikipedia.

While you may know that the Amish are found in about 20 states, it may surprise you to learn that there are Amish in Florida. However, the existence of the Amish community there is unlike any other. As with many other Americans, some of the Amish have made Florida their temporary home during the winter months.

On Florida’s west coast is the city of Sarasota. Every year it hosts several million visitors from all over the United States and beyond. They come to enjoy "the whitest beaches on earth." But the city is also known for its cultural activities, and the Ringling Museums with their collections of art and circus memorabilia. In fact, a large number of circus people make Sarasota their winter home, too.

Within Sarasota is a neighborhood known as Pinecraft. Narrow streets and small houses in a grid layout mark this as the area’s "Amish community." In truth, the area is made up of Amish, Mennonites, and others, but it is those members of the Plain Sects, in their traditional clothing, that catch the eye.

The Amish and Mennonites here come from many different states, so you see a great deal of variety in the styles of Plain clothing and prayer coverings. Even an expert might have difficulty in distinguishing the people from various Amish and Mennonite communities.

You will see familiar Amish names on many of the mailboxes. One house had a wooden sign over its door indicating the occupants were from Ronks, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County, PA . And it is not just the older people who may be seen in Florida, but some families and groups of teenagers as well.
Many people gather at the park or local post office, the entire exterior wall of which consists of post office boxes for the many residents.

Sundays, since the houses are much too small for church services, you’ll see people attending the "Mennonite Tourist Church."

Most people stay pretty close to home. They do, of course, use public transportation, but within their neighborhood they often get around on large-wheel "tricycles." These have a box on the back to transport items. I saw one lady pedaling down the street with a card table behind her.

In the Pinecraft neighborhood, there is a Farmers Market on Saturdays. During the week you’ll also see some "roadside stands," similar to what you see here in Lancaster, except that oranges and grapefruits are common items for sale.

If you visit Sarasota’s Visitor Information Center, you will surely notice brochures for the five "Amish restaurants." They are Der Dutchman, Dutch Haus, Dutch Oven, Sugar & Spice, and Yoder’s. A sixth restaurant, Miller’s Dutch Kitchen, in nearby Bradenton, also advertises "Amish cooking." While these restaurants may not be owned by the Amish, you will see Amish and Mennonites working and sometimes eating there.

Several of the restaurants offer special menu items on certain days of the week, such as chicken and dumplings, or liver and onions. Some have received awards from various local reader polls, such as "best meal under $10."

The proprietors of Yoder’s Restaurant even have a newsletter. A story told of a misprint in one of their advertisements, promoting a special Wednesday "bib meatloaf" dinner. Obviously, the employee had mis-typed "bib" for "big." When asked about her mistake, she replied, "We serve bibs with that meal. That’s our sloppy meatloaf."

Many Sarasota residents order pies from these restaurants for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In addition to Florida’s popular key lime pie, they also make a variety of fruit and crème pies, such as apple, strawberry, rhubarb, and even shoofly. So, on your next trip to Florida, if you get a craving for some good old shoofly pie, you can always head for Sarasota. But don’t expect to see any horse-and-buggies going down the road!


  1. Greetings neighbor!
    I googled "Pinecraft blog" and was thrilled to find your site.

    I am one of the few in our circles that use a computer.
    This is a great post you wrote about Pinecraft. Its nice to read someone else's view. Pinecraft is definitely the most unique community in the world.Thanks for the kind words.

  2. Nice blog you have!~I was looking for Pinecraft World, I think that was it, a lady had a blog and now I can't find it. she took wonderful photos and was a "little person". Do you know her!?!? I'm worried about her, that maybe something happened?!? her blog disappeared. thanks

  3. Sandra, Katie's blog was hacked so it has not only been changed, but has been made private. She is well. As a matter of fact she just left yesterday for travels that will keep her out of state through the end of July. You might be interested to know, Katie is our photographer at the Pinecraft Pauper. You can google the info online to learn about our village newspaper.
    Sherry Gore ~ editor

  4. Hello,
    My name is Tim Hurley.
    Back in 1963 I met Mary Plank and she is amish.
    Mary and I use to go to school together in our class in Happiness House Rehabiltation on Braden Sarasota,Fla.
    Is anyone know where about her locate.
    I want to say hello for her.
    She is my very good friend of mine.
    I missed her.
    If found her please give my email address.
    I appreciate it.
    Thank you very much.
    God bless you and your
    Signture Tim Hurley

  5. Mary Plank lives in Georgia with family members.

    1. who do i contact in your community to find out about joining an amish community?

  6. Dear Anon 28th June 2012

    Regret I do not have such information. I am not Amish/Mennonite - but would suggest that you "show up" at an Amish/Mennonite Church near your home

  7. What a darling neighborhood! I love the design of the church near Sarasota. I would love to stop and visit sometime soon!