The Amish community in the Sarasota-area Pinecraft neighborhood is one of the most unique Amish settlements.
So if you don’t know much about this unusual community, I’d suggest checking out those.
One difference between now and that 2013 visit: there are now two church districts in Pinecraft.
A small Amish population is present here year-round. But the community really swells in the winter months due to seasonal visitors.
As I drove in this past Tuesday, I was reminded that Pinecraft is located in a busy part of the city.
Here are a couple of Amish people on tricycles waiting at a well-trafficked intersection.
But when you pull off the main four-lane Bahia Vista Street which runs through the neighborhood, it quiets down significantly.
Tricycles are a common vehicle here.
So are bicycles:
And don’t forget old-fashioned leg power:
No buggies clip-clop the streets of Pinecraft, so you won’t find those familiar signs. But you do see golf cart warning markers:
Many of the streets feature typical Amish last names:
In this shot you can see signs for Yoder, Graber, and barely visible, Miller Avenue:
Here’s the Pinecraft Amish Church building:
Food & More
I met with two local friends Tuesday, and an Amish couple who live part of their year in Kentucky and the other part in Pinecraft.
We ate lunch at a relatively new place called Sommers Dutch Restaurant, located on Cattlemen Road (about a 10-15 minute drive from Pinecraft).
This is a buffet-style restaurant similar to Der Dutchman, but smaller and cozier.
We had a great lunch and I learned a lot about the Amish couple, who have lived in places including Indiana, Missouri and Iowa.
I picked up some Bear Jam and Pecan Coconut Oatmeal cookies on the way out. I’m glad my friend made sure I didn’t miss this!
I’ve tried the cookies, they are tasty. The coconut feels like a Florida touch.
Later I met a new friend for a cup of coffee at Der Dutchman, the largest Amish-style restaurant in the area.
It also has a bakery and gift shop.
You can pick up another Amish staple – the Budget newspaper – here, as this barely-visible window transparency informs us:
There are several Amish-style businesses in the community, including furniture stores and a quilt shop.
Since my last visit in 2013, the place seems a bit more developed, though feels mostly the same. One main change is the presence of a Carlisle Inn just behind Der Dutchman.
It was described to me as Walnut Creek (a popular tourist town in Holmes County, OH) being transplanted into Sarasota. It has that feel, though with palm trees:
Sadly the main post office building is no longer a post office. I learned it has had several uses since it stopped functioning as a post office, including housing some sort of historical display one winter.
I forgot to take a photo of what it looks like now, but previously it was something of a symbol of Pinecraft. Here’s what it looked like six years ago:
Shuffleboard at Pinecraft Park
I also had a chance to get a closer look at the shuffleboard area. This is a popular pastime for people in Pinecraft.
When I arrived close to 4pm there were several Amishmen there, two of whom were playing.
They had their tricycles parked in the park pavilion area. You can see a battery onboard this one:
After they finished I was able to get some closer shots of the shuffleboard lanes. There are eight of them.
There is a special lane reserved just for the ladies.
The park committee asks for donations to play. Fifty cents per two games is the suggested amount.
Some benches and the scoring boards:
There was a shuffleboard tournament scheduled for later in the evening.
At the park pavilion, there are message boards similar to what I remember on the old post office.
There are some real estate offers, construction, and ride-related businesses including Amish taxi services.
How about an electric dryer? (Pinecraft bungalows are electricity-equipped)
Or golf cart rental?
I picked up a brochure from the Journey Tours company, which runs trips from Daviess County, Indiana to Pinecraft. It also covers the Arthur, Illinois community and Kentucky.
There are several lines which shuttle Amish back-and-forth between this southern outpost and settlements in the Midwest and East Coast.
A good-bye stop at Yoder’s
Before I left Pinecraft, I made sure to grab a slice of pie from the take-out window at Yoder’s.
Red raspberry this time:
I also picked up some grape cherry tomatoes and mini pumpkins (“Jack B Littles”) from their produce stand.
I don’t recall this produce stand from my last visit, but it did feature in the Ukrainian travel show episode with Sherry Gore.
The last time I was in Pinecraft, it had a more deserted feel, owing to it being earlier in the autumn.
Now in mid-November, there are definitely more people around.
You can see Amish folks walking, biking, and triking up and down the palm-lined Pinecraft streets.
A bus had arrived that morning, and another one is due to come today.
I can only imagine what it is like in January and February, which are the community’s peak months.
I hope you enjoyed this look at Pinecraft.
If you’re in the area, it’s worth visiting – especially in the colder time of year.
It’s definitely an “Amish” place, but one unlike any other.