Visiting the Amish of Pinecraft (41 Photos)

Last week I made a short visit to the Pinecraft Amish community at Sarasota, Florida.  I wanted to share that visit with you via a series of photos.  If you haven’t heard of it, Pinecraft is an unusual Amish community for a few reasons.

  • It is located in a city (Sarasota, population 52,811–technically just outside city limits).
  • It is more of a vacation destination for Amish and Mennonite people, though there are a small number of full-time Amish residents.
  • It has palm trees, and no cows.

There are other things which make it unique, which we’ll get into below.  I was lucky to have a friend in Pinecraft who patiently played tour guide for a few hours.  I wouldn’t have seen nearly as much or met so many interesting folks without her help.

We start with a goodbye.  This Pioneer Trails bus left at 3:45 pm Wednesday, heading north.

Buses bearing visitors from colder places arrive and leave at the parking lot by the Mennonite Tourist Church.  Coming to the lot to see who arrives, or to bid travelers farewell, is a popular activity in Pinecraft.  There were just a few doing that last Wednesday though.


We met Sherry Gore and Katie Troyer among other folks at the goodbye spot.  That was fun.  Katie was snapping pictures as she has been known to do.

Compared to the winter months, there weren’t many people around in Pinecraft. That’s the way things are in the summer and are still mostly that way in October. Sherry informed me that this season was expected to be the biggest ever for visitors.  Ironically, I hear summers can get a little gloomy with no one around.

Large numbers of buses will be coming and going in December, which is when it starts to get very busy.  Last week there was just one bus arrival on Tuesday, and this one departure on Wednesday.

My tour guide says that it is picking up just a week later: “There is already a difference this week in Pinecraft in the number of people on the streets and at the shuffleboard court. Two full buses came, and left again with only a handful of people. So the population probably increased by 100 people since you left.”

Near the bus arrival/departure lot you will find the only Amish-run post office in America.


This is actually a privately-owned post office, which may be surprising but is something you can do.  Apparently you own the property and lease it to the US government.

As soon as the woman who runs the place began to speak, I knew where she was from.  Not because I am so good with accents, but because the Daviess County, Indiana Amish twang is distinct and unforgettable (I spent a month in Daviess County about ten years back).  She and her family moved to Pinecraft about four years ago.  They are one of the few permanent residents with children at home.


Inside the post office, one wall is full of inspirational and wise sayings.


Probably some good stuff to read if you are standing in line.




Outside the post office were parked these tricycles.  You may have heard that there are no buggies in Pinecraft.  Amish here get around in various ways, and these large adult-sized trikes are one of the most popular forms of transport. Look closely and you’ll see these two have been modified.  That’s a battery under the seat.  This trike is juiced.


Der Dutchman is one of the two large Amish-style restaurants in Pinecraft.  This is where we ate lunch with some new friends.  The Amishman whom we ate with kept us entertained with stories.  Hardly the silent, stoic stereotype of an Amish person, this fellow was.  I could tell he likes living in Pinecraft part of the year.  The rest of his year is spent in Indiana, where a lot of Pinecraft visitors come from.


This is a typical residential street in Pinecraft.  Small bungalows, palm and other trees here and there.


Where Yoders come to Fry.  A number of the streets have “Amish” names: Fry, Graber, Yoder, Kauffman, Schrock, Miller, Hacienda.  Well, all except that last one (making sure you are paying attention).  Here’s a Pinecraft street map from the Pinecraft Pauper.


Proof this is in fact Florida.


This is Pinecraft Park, where a lot of congregating happens.  By the way, if you’re wondering how Amish found themselves in Florida, there’s a little on that here.


Since few visitors were in town, the park was mostly empty.  There was this nice mural on the shelter wall painted by an Amish woman from Pennsylvania.


These are the famous shuffleboard courts.


After some intense games of shuffleboard you may find yourself craving something sweet.  Big Olaf is a local brand of ice cream.  This is one place which sells it, located on the main road running through Pinecraft (Bahia Vista Street).  Later in the day we visited the Amishman who makes Big Olaf.  You’ll see those photos a little further down.


Bahia Vista is a busy, four-lane road.  There are no windmills or barns or fields in Pinecraft.


There are different ways to pronounce “Bahia Vista”.  Some are correct, others are incorrect, I learned.


This is a small bookshop located on the other side of  Bahia Vista, opposite the Big Olaf seller.  The lady who runs it, Vera Overholt, was kind enough to open and show us around.  I picked up a Pinecraft calendar here, featuring some of Katie’s photos.


The bookshop is open by appointment though I believe may have more regular hours during the busy season.


Yoder’s is the other big restaurant in town.  This is the one that was featured on the “Man vs. Food” television program.  I did not hear who won.


There is a large decorative mural outside, along with cutout Amishy-looking figures and a buggy that rarely if ever moves (I think it has a bad horse).  My friend/guide mentioned where this buggy came from, a local person if I’m remembering right.





These guys were hard at work.  And by the way I hope you like the simulated corn field effect on this photo (I worked pretty hard to achieve that).



Inside Yoder’s is where you get one of these. Yes, it did taste as good as it looks. Ditto the slices of coconut and key lime.


We also stopped at the home of some friends of my friend, which is where I got to test-drive a trike (manual-powered version).   At least one business in town rents these out to visitors.  These trikes are harder to ride than they look.  I was told not to try to balance so much as if I was on a bike, and just drive.  That was good advice. I managed not to hit any mailboxes or palm trees.


Big Olaf ice cream is made at a location a mile or two away from Pinecraft.  We stopped by and met the fellow who runs Big Olaf.  He is medium-sized.  And his name is not Olaf.  I have never met an Amishman named Olaf.  It’s a good disguise.


Ice cream comes out of this machine through some mysterious process.



Pumpkin ice cream tastes a lot better than you might expect. Big Olaf’s pumpkin ice cream does, at least. This was really good. Tasted like chilled, creamy pumpkin pie. Very flavorful.


There are a handful of business locations sporting Amish imagery in Pinecraft.  In the vicinity of Der Dutchman you’ll find an Amish furniture outlet.  Across the street is Beneva Marketplace.


Unlike nearly everywhere else in North America, Amish at Pinecraft hold church in a special church building.  Here it is.



These trikes were locked up outside.  Their owners were not around.


Covered parking.


Siesta Key, about a 15-minute drive away, is home to a large, beautiful beach popular with visitors to Pinecraft. Abundant signs alert you to the fact it was recently named “America’s Best Beach” (2011).



Very white sand, very wide beach.


Unfortunately it was late in the day, so time here was brief, but I at least stuck my feet in the water.


I hope you enjoyed this little visit to Pinecraft.

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    1. Elliott


      As I stated earlier, this is my old stomping grounds. Thank you for the trip home even if it is only on the computer. We are going down to visit mother for Christmas, one long 12 hour drive from Asheville.

    2. City Slicker

      Visiting Pinecraft

      Erik, great photos and article!
      I know you were working (and do work hard on the AA blog, among other things), but I’ll admit I’m jealous. I’ve decided you’re proof of the adage:
      “Find something you enjoy doing and you’ll never work a day in your life”.

      Enjoy Poland!

      1. Thanks City Slicker–yes this did not feel like work at all. I should have more work days like the one I spent in Pinecraft, many more 🙂

    3. Sarah


      I live a couple of hours south of here in the winter. Your post has me excited to go visit & have a good cooked meal, altho I think I’ll wait another month when it’s busier. I’ve always thought it would be fun to ride the bus to Indiana with them. Thanks for taking the time to share your visit with us.

    4. Al in Ky

      Thanks for the pictoral tour of Pinecraft. I’ve read the news from Pinecraft scribes in The Budget for many years, so was interested in all of the pictures. The residential streets were much plainer than I had thought they would be. I had expected to see lots of flowers growing in the yards, by the houses, etc. And, the Pinecraft Amish church is not as plain as I expected. If I am correct, there are now two or three meeting places where Amish people have church when Pinecraft is at the height of its population in the winter. Glad to see the picture of Vera Overholt’s bookstore. She is a regular writer in The Budget, and often mentions the bookstore, including the hymnal her late husband edited and she still sells. Also enjoyed seeing the picture of a Pioneer Trails bus. A Mennonite man from Ohio, Noah Gingerich, who is now deceased, was a real fan of Pinecraft
      and published a whole book with pictures of Pinecraft. I’ve seen it
      for sale in stores in the Holmes County, Ohio, area. His son Roy
      Gingerich still regularly writes in The Budget.

      1. Al you are right about the multiple locations for church in busy season. I was told there are at least one or two homes where church is also held when a lot of people are in town.

        Vera was very kind and a pleasure to meet. She sent along a CD of music. We also bumped into her son outside of Der Dutchman.

        The Noah Gingerich book has a lot of photos and history of Pinecraft.

        1. Al in Ky

          Erik — Update on Amish church services in the “busy season” in Pinecraft.

          In the 1/23 edition of The Budget newspaper, a newswriter from Pinecraft reported that on Sun. Jan. 20, Amish church services were held in four locations in Pinecraft — Hines Street Church, Schrock Street Church number one, Schrock Street Church number two, and Pinecraft Park Church. It seems like the number of Amish visitors to Pinecraft keeps on growing each year.

          1. Al – neat. Thanks for this update. I didn’t realize there were that many church locations in Pinecraft. I seem to recall hearing two or three. I wonder if they have added any of those recently. Yes this suggests Pinecraft isn’t getting less popular 🙂

    5. Kathleen A. Thomas


    6. Naomi Wilson

      FL- old stomping grounds

      My husband and I spent our first three and a half years together in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. I’ve often wondered if we would ever take a family vacation to FL now that we have children. We don’t want to expose them to most of what those cities have to offer, but maybe Pinecraft would be the answer. I sure have fond memories of those wide blue skies, palm trees, and white beaches. Throw in an Amish bookstore, restaurant, and some delicious looking ice cream, and that’s about all the vacation I might ever want.

      BTW, I came across some nice photos on Katie’s blog last night. : )

      Thanks for the long post, Erik. It gives me a better sense of what Pinecraft is like than any other info I’ve seen about the place.

      1. Appreciate it Naomi. The photos are more or less chronological to how the day went. “Unique” gets overused in my opinion, but in this case I think the word fits to describe Pinecraft.

        1. Cheryl Knepper

          Dress for non Amish

          I am hoping to relocate to Florida and to live in an Amish community sounds very appealing, as they are kind people and not criminals. As an English, what would be acceptable types of dress for both genders? Skirt and shorts length? Pants ok for females? If so how loose should the pants be? Anything anyone wants to add as well is very appreciated?

      2. Chris Lisiecki

        Places to visit near Pinecraft, FL

        Not all of FL is Disney, golf and drinking. Not far from Pinecraft are soem very nice family friendly places to visit. There is Sarasota Jungle Gardens where you can see a Flamingo up close. In Tampa a little over an hour north is Lowry Park Zoo. Both of these are also great places to visit at Christmas time during the evening. And also in Tampa is the Florida State Aquarium. In Osprey there is Spanish Point and there are many nice state and county parks within an easy drive of Pinecraft. Despite what the tourism board would have you believe, FL has more to offer than Disney. And Yoder’s is the best!

        1. Sharon

          Thank You!

          Florida takes a beating on the news; it seems they prefer to run w some crazy thing some drunk “Florida Man” did. And he is quite often from the North. But as a life long resident of Florida, that is a very small segment of life here, as are theme parks. We have many naturally beautiful areas you can explore, often free or for just a few dollars. Native Floridians would give you the shirt off their back; they have their bathing suit on under it, anyway.
          Thanks for kind words abt Florida. We will come visit Yoders this summer!

    7. Carolyn

      Very nice. Enjoyed the pictures. Almost like being there.

    8. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

      Mmm, summery (welcome to November)

      Interesting stuff, wonderful pictures.

      I’ve written down some thoughts as I read, okay, thanks!

      I did not know that in the USA people can run a private Post Office, neat. In Toronto there is a museum property that, I think, is the City’s oldest Post Office, it is operated by the museum but officially affiliated with Canada Post and as such you can do your mail business, kind of cool, have a guy, perhaps, dressed in 1880s or whenever era it is clothes, do your transaction, I’d frequent that location just for the historical novelty if it where done.

      “A Man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel” ah postal humor, hehe, I like it. I suppose going postal in the Amish world means a very different thing.

      A patron and I had a brief discussion, within the context of my work, about the colour of the tricycle in the foreground, we’ll in terms of the wheel chair he needed to use at my work, and I forget what colour he called it. what colour, other than blue (or maybe that’s a purple) the “tryke” is, what name would you give the colour? (I am Canadian and I spell color with a “U”, by the way, just to remind you)

      Ooh, “where Yoders come to Fry” I don’t know if that is a cooking joke or a play on a phrase like “Where Yoders come to die”, very witty Wilde, erm, Erik (sorry, I watched the animated bio-flick on Monty Python’s Graham Chapman yesterday, and The Oscar Wild Sketch “You’re Majesty is like a stream of Bat’s piss” and I think that is where my mind went when I wrote “very witty”, just explaining)

      ? “Bay-ah Vista”? Is that close?

      Looking at the illustrated Amish folk churning, painting and doing other activities within the “simulated corn field” I all of a sudden had my imagination kick in and saw Weird Al Yankovic churning butter in his “Amish Paradise” video, the rather naughty bit with the Amish lass walking by him.

      But what if “Big Olaf” is the name given to the allusive Lancaster County Monkey from a while back?

      The beach shot (the one just after the picture of the Siesta Beach marker) reminded me of my memories of, in a likelihood, of Mennonite girls sitting on a picnic table enjoying ice cream cones in Port Dover (or maybe it was one of the other smaller towns) along Ontario’s lake Erie shore line, aww I miss summer and it is only the First of November.

      I bet your pinning for Amish town, USA, right now over in Poland (I should add in brackets that I tried to eat the grossest piece of Kielbasa I ever tried yesterday, I failed my Ukrainian heritage and didn’t eat it, usually I scarf them down real quick, but this chunk which came as part of a “deli sandwich” deal from a local European food store, was down right disgusting to me, I felt so guilty about trashing it, because I love the stuff, it is my comfort snack food when I have enough to do so), thank you for the travelogue, well dod!

      1. Shom lot of interesting stuff in your comment here. I hadn’t thought of the cooking reference but meant “fry in the sun”. Although it’s not exactly summer when all the Yoders come down, it probably feels like frying to somebody from Michigan.

        I think you are close on the pronunciation of Bahia Vista. I would want confirmation from a Pinecraft person though.

        The simulated corn field was just a stalk or two they had up as part of an autumn display. Pretty sure it’s imported.

        1. Elliott

          Erik, that is the correct pronunciation of Bahia Vista. Bay-ah vista. Bahia the type of grass that grows well in the sandy soil down there. It is that thick stemmed grass that you see. Def not as soft as the grass in NC.

          A little useless info for you, not far from where you were to the east, towards where I-75 is now, years ago were nothing but celery fields, and what use to be one of the largest cattle ranches East of the Mississippi. Don’t know what you can do with the info but there it is for ya.

          1. Thanks Elliott, that works for me 🙂 I remember reading about the celery business in I think Noah Gingerich’s Pinecraft book.

            I’ve never seen celery growing in fields anywhere, at least not that I know of. I guess it must grow somewhere 🙂

          2. Sandra Kathleen

            In Jacksonville/Amelia Island area it’s known as Ba-HAY-ah grass. That’s the only kind of grass my sister would grow (as opposed to thirsty Bermuda grass). Wonder if there are different variations?? Or my sister always pronounced it incorrectly for the 30 years she lived there!! 🙂

            1. SharonR

              Visiting Pinecraft

              Yes, Sandra Kathleen — as a Florida native, I have heard that same pronounciation, too. AND Florida does have many varieties of grass down here – another “Thirsty” and high maintenance grass is the ‘ever-green’ St. Augustine variety, that needs lots of water and fertilizers and pest control, too. Some “northerners” refer to it as a “crabgrass” type. It’s popular in the southern parts as it stays green year-round, and that seems to be what people want.

              Northern parts of Florida have Centipede grass which is totally different, and easier to manage, IMHO — since I’ve lived in both the northern and southern parts of the state, all of my live, I’ve had both in my yards. It also turns brown when frost hits it, put will return again in the spring/summer months.

            2. Linda

              It must be a local Sarasota quirk that the Argentine Bahia and Pensacola Bahia grass is Ba-HAY-ah, but the street Bahia Vista is Bay-ah.

              At the west end of Bahia Vista one can see a view of the bay, a Bay vista. The name of Bahia Vista Street used to be Bay Vista Ave. on a 1925 plat map, in The History of Pinecraft book.


              1. SharonR

                Visiting Pinecraft

                Could be the “Sarasota” way of pronouncing “BAHIA”, Linda….here in Florida, as well in other states, you’ll find different ways to pronouce words, depending on the area you are in. Since a lot of Florida’s names of towns and such, have Indian names, there is alot of them that are “tricky” to pronouce. I’m sure there is a proper way, but as long as we all understand what we are talking about, guess it’s “acceptable”.

                1. Sandra Kathleen

                  Differing Pronounciations

                  Well, sorry, Erik, because this is WAY off topic, but I gotta let y-all know how “Versailles” and “Athens” are pronounced in Kentucky: Ver-SAILS and AEE-thens! Go figure. Other bits of trivia: in TX pastures are “shred”, lawns are mowed and small ponds are called “tanks.” Just tidbits from here and there…more, if I think about it!:p

    9. Linda

      Your line, “Where Yoders come to Fry,” is the best! True Erik fashion and humor.

      Behold the clouds and the sun in the beautiful beach picture.

      In case you haven’t seen it, an article about Yoder’s Restaurant and Pinecraft came out recently. “No meal here is complete without trying Yoder’s famous pie, which comes in two dozen varieties. The most popular flavor is peanut butter, with layers of crunchy peanut butter topping and vanilla pudding. Also popular are coconut, banana cream, strawberry and chocolate peanut butter.”

      1. I noticed that Linda. Perfect timing. Also great advice on the pies.

        1. Linda

          The ABC News article link about Yoder’s Restaurant kind of disappeared. The Bradenton Herald has the same article, with the title, “Go For the Food: Amish menu at Yoder’s in Sarasota.” They claim, “The restaurant seats 130 people but on a busy day in peak season routinely serves 1,500.”

          In case that link disappears, the article by Beth J. Harpaz was even printed in Canada, with the title, “Yoder’s packs ’em in with pie, Amish comfort food in Sarasota.”

          In a Nov. 15 post from ABC7, in two video clips, Chef Judi interviews Yoder’s Restaurant, where they are planning to make over 6,000 pies for Thanksgiving:

          Just in case you aren’t aware, there is a Facebook page featuring Pinecraft:

        2. Sandy


          Where does one stay in pinecraft. We would like to visit but are 3 hrs. Away so wild need to stay over. The area sounds terrific. Sandy

    10. Katie Troyer

      I sure appreciated your visit. You both are welcome back anytime.You really do need to come in January or February to get the feel of the huge crowds.

      1. It was a delight to see you in person for the second time Katie.

    11. Lattice

      Great pictures, Erik. I feel like I’ve been on vacation!

    12. SharonR

      Visiting Pinecraft

      Erik, Thanks for the pics…..all familiar to me, and glad to see the winter folks are returning. Your pictures were very similar to what we saw, and did, too. I might add, if you or anyone is there in February, to attend the Amish/Mennonite Quilt Show/Sale, at the Mennonite church, there, too…..we attended it and saw so much beautiful handiwork, and met some really nice folks, too.

      And since it’s only in a small section of Sarasota, as soon as you start seeing those 3 wheel bikes, you KNOW you are coming into Amish country in FLorida!
      Thanks, and glad you got to visit Florida!

    13. Florida!

      It is a gloomy day here, outside of DC, and now you’ve made me homesick! My parents live near here and I’ve been to Siesta Key many times and Mom and I have been to Yoders for lunch. When we last went down, my husband and I went to the drum circle at Siesta Key — which is a great experience, though some of the younger people miss the point of the drumming — and my husband was surprised to see a fair number of Amish young people, including a few guys who got into the dancing around the circle!

      Your beach picture is beautiful. So wish I was there right now! Thanks for the treat.


      1. Sorry for the homesickness Karen. You should bookmark this page for January 🙂

        1. Bookmark for January

          Erik, I think I will be doing that! Or else fly the coop and go down there myself. I’ll send you a postcard, then. Maybe even from the little post office. 🙂

    14. Andrea green

      Wonderful pictures, feel like i have been on a holiday tour 🙂

    15. Linda Paul

      Thank you!

      Thank you so much for sharing all these pictures!

    16. Sheila Rose

      Wonderful photos, Erik! I was surprised and delighted to see Vera Overholt mentioned. You see, about 18 or so years ago, Vera and I were penpals. My last name is different now, but I often wonder if she remembers our exchange of letters. I think of her a lot, and one time, she even sent me a picture of herself and her family. I still have it and treasure it.

      Pinecraft looks like a wonderful place to visit. Maybe someday I can get down there, and perhaps even look up Vera and see if she remembers me.

      Thank you for Amish America. It’s great!

      1. You should drop her a line. I have only met her the one time but she seems like someone who’d remember.

      2. Sheila Rose

        Thank you Erik! I believe I will do just that. It would be wonderful if she does remember.

    17. ShipshewanaIndiana


      I loved this photo essay. Thanks for sharing!

    18. Shylie Sagar

      Awesome pictures and great descriptions. I was thrilled to see Big Olaf’s featured. That’s pretty much what I think about when I think of Pinecraft/Sarasota. The man behind Big Olaf’s that you mentioned – when I was a little girl my family lived across the street from him and his family and were very close to them. I’m pretty sure I spent more time on their farm than I did at my own home. They are a lovely family.

      1. Neat to hear Shylie. I liked meeting “Big Olaf”. And not just because he gave out free ice cream 🙂 However the person running it now might be a different person than who you are thinking of. He shared the story of the business. He took it over some years back from another owner, I believe the founder. The man I met is Thomas Peachey. According to this company bio the founder was Dennis Yoder.

    19. Don Curtis

      Visiting Pinecraft

      I’ve been to Pinecraft, actually several times. Until Mark moved me up to Belle Center I lived in Florida for about eight years. Every year Mark would come down for about a three week visit in the winter and he’d bring one of the Amish boys with him to help him do upkeep on my house. Every year had a special project (painting, installing new windows, new exterior doors, etc.) Also, every year we’d make a trip to Pinecraft. About two hours from where I lived at Largo. Seems like Mark would always find folks he knew down there either living there or down for a visit, as well.

    20. Tina Kegley

      thank you!

      What wonderful pictures and story! I so want to go and visit!

    21. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

      The church

      I’m kind of curious, does anyone know the history of the Amish Church building in Pinecraft? To me, it has, at least on the outside, has the feel of a Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Meeting House, was it such at one point or was it purposely built for the Amish?

      1. Linda

        Pinecraft Amish Church

        Shom, the Pinecraft Amish Church building doesn’t have any Quaker history that I know of. It used to be a two-story house. About 4 or 5 years ago, it was completely remodeled. When they went to remodel it, they ended up tearing it down and rebuilding on the same footprint. One Amish member had access to the exterior decorative stone. The building was purposely built for the Amish.

    22. Christine McMahon-Chase

      Thank you for the pictures. I’ve read some Amish fiction that has Pinecraft in it and your pictures have brought some of the places ‘to life’ (the shuffleboard courts, the park, Der Dutchman and Yoder’s…)

    23. Tracy

      Oh, the sunshine… Take me there! LOL! (Here in southern Norway, it’s cold & gray, snow not far off…bbbrrr…) This look at Pinecraft was fascinating! Love your line, “Where Yoders come to Fry,”–very fun! And so are those trike! But loved the white sand beach pic best, I think…so tranquil… *sigh*…

    24. Ray Shaw


      I normally stop at Yoder’s and or Der Dutchman when I travel in that area. My two grand sons and I were just there about two weeks ago. I often wonder about the history of Pinecraft. I have wanted to spend more time to learn more. You have given me a lot of information.
      Thank you.

    25. Margaret

      Loved this article and pictures! Thank you, Erik!

    26. Valerie

      Hope to visit soon-

      Thanks Erik, I am excited that I may get to visit this community next week. More excited that my grandchild is to be born November 12 in Naples-2 hours from Pinecraft-my daughter suggested I move to Pinecraft to be close to them but close also to the Amish in Fl-
      Anyway, if I cannot work this in this trip I will another trip.
      My daughter bought a 3 wheel bike-she & hubby, who is a surfer, moved back to Naples FL from Hawaii-
      I shared with her the Amish ride 3 wheel bikes in her area of Amish-hmm-all of a sudden not so ‘cool’ to ride a 3 wheel 🙂
      Anyways-timely sharing of your trip. Missed you by a week or two once again. (Last time was when you were in Holmes, my area of Amish)
      Also, I think their Haiti Benefit Auction is in February so it would be fun to compare to the one in OH that we attend-
      Have a great time in Poland!

    27. Annmarie

      Thanks for sharing all those great photos. It reminded me of all the pictures I took there …right down to visiting the same beach..the Siesta Keys.

    28. Kay

      A Ranch Mom

      Nice article on my childhood-winter home. 🙂 My parents took us kids to Pinecraft nearly every winter, and they are down there now. I miss the sand and sun and the 3-wheeled bikes. And bahia vista. And Vera… maybe I will get to visit again soon.

    29. Sandra Kathleen

      Thanks for sharing once again, Erik.

      I’m totally in the dark about Pinecraft’s existence. Is it an Amish community with “familiar” restrictions? Or, is it an area that caters to Amish/Mennonite? I see electric lines all over, so is electricity used by any or all? Direct me to another area on the site, if necessary.

      Thanks for photos and insight.

      1. Sure Sandra, it is more of a vacation community popular among Amish and Mennonites in the winter, with just a small permanent Amish population.

        Visitors rent the small homes and trailers which are equipped with electricity (Amish will use a place’s electric facilities when staying away from home, such as when staying in a hotel or at an English friend’s house).

        I think this post might answer a lot of your Pinecraft questions 🙂

        1. Jean Fairchild

          Pinecraft Days are here again

          I live in Sarasota not far from the Pinecraft area. Today is one of the annual Pinecraft Days so I came online to find out more info so that I know where exactly this event is held. I read your article and my comment on that and all the subsequent comments is that I believe most of the homes in the community are owned by Amish, many of who are “snowbirds” and only come to Sarasota in the winter. The area is definitely quaint as most of the homes are very small cottages rather closely packed on the roads going through, but all very tidy and well kept. Clotheslines adorn each yard, occasionally sporting clothing drying in the sun. I have often thought it might be fun to live there, but realistically I believe strangers might not be so welcome. The area did get a lot of noteriety after the TV series about some Amish was filmed here a few years ago. It must be hard for the youngsters to be stared at in public as they are taken into non-Amish places with their parents.

    30. Sandra Kathleen

      Thank you for the link, Erik. I emailed Sherry and had a reply from her assistant that rooms within Pinecraft are booked a year in advance and to put a request ad in The Budget…now, if I only knew for sure when I’d want to go NEXT year! :p

    31. Bernadette W.

      RE; Pictures

      Thank you for the beautiful pictures of the Pinecraft area! I enjoyed looking at them very much! Everything is so nice and neat and clean there! I like that way of living! Those people really care about the area they live in! God Bless them all!

    32. Thank you so much!!

      Thank you so much for this website and the 41 photographs of the Penncraft community which you have included. Looking at all your beautiful photographs brought back many memories of my March (2014) stay living near the Penncraft community, in the Saralakes community. Each evening I would take my 5 mile walk through and around the Penncraft community, meeting many wonderful Amish folks. So enjoyed Yoder’s Restaurant, the Der Dutchman, Olaf ice cream, and Emma’s pizza. I will be returning next winter, hopefully from January 15th to March 15th. See you then.

    33. HELP

      I have lived my life to I thought was suitable I have always had and contained faith through Christ but I feel I have lost my way…now I feel it is important torefind my way not through words but through actions.I have the strong will to be defined and I have hope and trust that there is warrent for me……so I am asking for your blessings and please show me the way through your knowledge to re define myself through christ please give me this chance my phone number is 813-377-6308 I really hope to hear from you soon

    34. Rico


      Stumbled on to your article when checking Yoder’s Spring menu on their website. The pronunciation of Bahia as Bay-ah must be local. Most of Florida uses ba-Hay-ah but the correct Spanish pronunciation is Ba-ee-ah. Bahia translates as bay derived from the Portugese Baia.

    35. Brenda Gingerich-Black

      Thanks for the travel back in time...

      …I love your photos. Wow, did they ever take me back in time. I grew up in Sarasota, Florida. My Grandparents lived on the street just to the left of the Amish church on Bahia (Bay-yah. Pronounced with a long a as in “bay” and “yah” as in the sound you make when the doctor says stick out your tongue and say, “ah” only with a “Y” first.). I remember riding my grandmothers three wheel bike up and down her street, then crossing in back of the church to the next street and back to her house.
      As a little girl I used to love going down to the post office and listening to the Amish men talking in Pennsylvania dutch. I was so mesmerized by it.
      I remember one year at Christmas my brother and I brought our new pogo sticks over to Grandma and Grandpas’ house. They had a concrete driveway so we were jumping on them and doing some backwards and forwards jumps. Before we knew it an audience of Amish children had formed on the shell street in front of the house. After a bit I hopped off my pogo stick, went down to the children and asked if they wanted to try it out. Every single one of them just stood there in silence not saying a word. So, I thought, “Well, fine, I’ll just put on a show for them.” And went about doing some showing off. Finally I got tired and quit but the audience never left. Hah.
      Thanks again for sharing the photos! God bless.

      1. It seems like a great place to grow up Brenda. Glad if this little visit brought back some memories.

    36. Very, very interesting

      My husband and I are planning a long weekend in pinecraft, fl. Visiting Pinecraft was a pleasure to read and learn about this area. Thank you so very much.

    37. Melissa W.

      Pinecraft pie


      Would you happen to remember what the name of the pie was in the photo?. It looked so scrumptiously good. I would love to try to find a recipe for something similar.

      Thanks, Melissa W.

      1. Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

        Melissa, definitely! well–not exactly if you want the precise name, but this one was a peanut butter pie with chocolate chips. It really was as good or even better than it looks. The other two we had, coconut and key lime, were excellent as well.

        I wonder if Sherry Gore doesn’t have a recipe for it in her new cookbook.

        By the way, I was in the Amish community at Union Grove, NC today and had pumpkin ice cream again. Very nice.

        This batch had more of a pumpkiny color to it. It was from a little relatively new business called selling dairy products like ice cream, chocolate milk and yogurt. It’s called Wholesome Country Creamery. I’ll have more on this visit in a post next week.

        1. Melissa W.



          I thought it looked like some kind of cream pie. You mentioned Key Lime Pie. I have never had that. I do like lemon pie, however so maybe I would like Key Lime also. I will have to try to get Sherry’s cookbook. I saw where she won a pie contest one year in Pinecraft. Thanks for the info.


    38. Amy

      Ok. I want to move here. I LOVE the ocean! As long as I’m on the beach.

    39. Marilyn Ackerman

      Thanks for making my reading even more of a joy.

      This was fabulous. Although I live in North Florida, I never knew Pinecraft was a real place. I have been reading Anna Schmidt’s “A Stranger’s Gift” and these photos as well as accompanying map make the story so much more real to me.

      1. Glad you liked it Marilyn! This was a great visit.

    40. Ron Wilson


      Really enjoyed your article and all the responses.

      I have been there several times, all in winter.

      Some additional info. The homes they live in seem like little cottages. Very simple. They do have air conditioning. I’m sure that’s a must in the summer. Outside the homes I have seen stands selling circus fruit. Some homes have citrus trees.

      The shuffle board courts are packed with Amish folks in the winter. To play you have to sign up on a list. I think you are allowed three games and then you have to give up the court. If you want to play again, you have to sign up at the end of the line. These folks are very serious about their game. There is a lot of cheering. One court was reserved for women!

      The Amish go to Siesta Key beach to enjoy the sand, swim and sunbathe. Very interesting to see Amish on the beach. Just outside the park is a bus stand where they get a bus to return to Pinecraft. I observed two teen girls in bikinis waiting at the bus stop with several older women in Amish attire.???