I’ve been getting a lot of emails about a recent New York Times story about the Pinecraft Amish community, aka the “Amish Las Vegas”. Pinecraft is a neighborhood in Sarasota, Florida, and home to the only Amish population in the Sunshine State.

PinecraftThe year-round Amish presence is small, but Pinecraft’s numbers swell every winter, when tour buses bring loads of visitors from communities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana and elsewhere.  From the article:

Set against a backdrop of giant oak trees and Spanish moss, Pinecraft Park is a melting pot of Amish and Mennonite America. Old order, new order and nontraditional congregate. Clothing choices clue you in to hometowns: Men from Tampico, Ill., wear denim overalls; girls from Lancaster, Pa., cover their dresses with black aprons; and women from northern Indiana have neatly pressed pleats on their white bonnets.

“All these groups can mingle down here in a way they wouldn’t at home,” said Katie Troyer, 59, a year-round resident who left the Amish church but still embraces the culture. “That’s a puzzle people have been trying to figure out for ages.”

I have to say I was excited to see Katie pop up in the story.  It’s a short but interesting read; you can find the rest here.

You can also check out the Florida Amish state guide for more on Pinecraft.

Have any readers visited Pinecraft?  How was it?  What are the highlights?

Photo credit: Bobby Keith/flickr

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    1. SharonR


      Yes, this is a nice little section of Sarasota. We spent a few days in the area, and spent the day wandering around the few shops and restaurants they have here. Very good food, and couldn’t resist taking home a dozen homemade rolls from the Market, there!

      Also, we just happened to be there, on the weekend that the Mennonite church was having their annual Quilt Show/Sale!! How lucky is that?! We got to see some very fine Quilts and needlework, and meet some really nice people. It was a delight to be amongst the locals and members of the church, and instantly was met with a welcoming smile! We definitely will go back as we are not but a 3 hour drive from Sarasota!

      1. Sharon I am still due for my first visit. Between NYT, Sherry Gore’s books, and Man vs. Food, Pinecraft sure has been getting the press lately! I need to get there before it’s overrun with tourists 🙂

        1. Jane F Thompson

          Come on down

          Then come in the summer! The tourists are flocking north now, so things are thinning out all over Sarasota, Pinecraft included. Of course, to avoid the crowds you have to tolerate the heat, so visit sooner than later.

          Thank you for this post, Erik. I live a few miles east of Pinecraft (near the Celery Fields and The Big Cat Preserve, which you also should see) and am editing my novel, which is the first in a series set mostly in Pinecraft. So, naturally I’m tickled for more folks to know about our great community. (:

          The article was well done and right on. You do good work!



    3. Katie Troyer

      Erik, You have been to every place except Pinecraft?

      1. No, not nearly every place 🙂 But Pinecraft is one of those “high profile” spots on the list. As it happens I am in Savannah, GA every summer, but it is still a little more than a 3-hour drive from there, unfortunately 😉 Plus it would be summer, and as I understand that is not the hopping-est season for Pinecraft.

        By the way congrats Katie on the mention in NYT and the Project 365 link too! Fun stuff.

        1. Katie Troyer
          1. Debby W.

            to Katie Troyer

            I’ve seen & read about every one of the pics you took in Pinecraft; so appreciate your perspective & humor! THANKS! Your project is great! 🙂

    4. SharonR


      YES, ERIK,

      A trip to Sarasota & Pinecraft is a “must do”, on your TRIP LIST!! Our summers are not that bad; the beaches are not that far away and will give your constant breezes! Come on down to Florida!
      “Northerners” have left, but we are ‘still open’, and welcome all!

    5. I’m the “chatty Amish Mennonite woman” the writer rented a room from. ha! 😉

      1. I was wondering Sherry, I did not see your name…well that clears things up 🙂

    6. Donna Godfrey


      I lived in Sarasota for several years and my parents who were Mennonites lived about a mile from Pinecraft and had many friend that lived there. I often visited with mom and Dad and it is a culture that you will not find anywhere else. There is a lot of laughter and fun gone on all winter long….shuffleboard is a must to watch when the men play….I used to go to a quilting at a fabric store there and since I am no longer plain it was refreshing to fit right in with the Amish ladies, the plain Mennonite women and they all welcomed us “English”. I really learned more that quilting.
      I love to eat at 2 places there……Dad loved those places. He is no longer with us and mom is here in Georgia and living with us and she has dementia but talk about Pinecraft and she will talk about that….so this is a great subject to me….
      Here is a really neat blog by a lady in Pinecraft…..

    7. MaryAnn Pepe


      I live in Jacksonville Florida.I have got to get to Pinecraft!

    8. Wm Justice

      Amish Las Vegas

      I have a sneaky feeling my Swartzentruber friends in Randolph, Mississippi, don’t frequent the Amish Las Vegas but will inquire on my next visit with them. Let’s guess what the answer will be.

    9. Derek Dunham

      We visted pinecraft a few years ago.My spouse and I were interested in the culture of amish and mennonites and were,frankly,tired of the multiracial mainstream.We wanted to get around some,dare i say?,white people! We found them!

    10. Yikes!

      Derek, you probably wouldn’t like my church at all. I am Beachy Amish Mennonite and am a year-round resident of Pinecraft. My church is a smorgasbord of God’s people. We come in many colors. And we are all beautiful in His sight, for He created us in His image.

      1. Derek Dunham

        Yes,i know that has become the philosophy of many churches.But i think organized jewry and their collaborators have gone too far in trying to impose “diversity” into every sector of life,whether we want it or dont.I dont have anything against other races persay,but i resent not being permitted to desire the company of my own people just as non-whites do.Its no accident that the enemy has sought more non-white immigration and miscegenation in white homelands in the united states and europe.They dont want racial harmony,they want the destruction of white europeans and the great civilizations they created.I am rebelling against this agenda.This has naturally led to a greater desire for the company of my own people and a greater solidarity with them.Non-whites also prefer the company of their own people,but it is only whites who are demonized for it.

    11. Virtual tour of Pinecraft

      For the past several years I have posted on YouTube Pinecraft videos. I spend my winters in Florida and summers in Arthur Illinois. Please subscribe to my channel and you can keep up with what is happening in both communities.I am former Amish and a liver transplant recipient.