Resort Town in Florida Caters to Amish

March 23, 2004


On March 23, 2004 posted a Religion News Service article on an Amish resort town in Florida: "At first glance, it appears to be just another working-class neighborhood of tidy cottages and bungalows and sun-baked trailer courts just east of the Sarasota city limits. Behind that suburban facade, though, lies one of the most exclusive tourist resorts in the country. There is no sign to identify it. Instead, there are clues to its clientele: a plain but prominent church, a restaurant named Yoder's, an ice cream stand run by Big Olaf. The streets have names such as Kruppa, Miller and Kaufman. So do the vacationers who spill off the long-distance luxury touring coaches, bleary-eyed and blinking in the bright sunlight, the women in full-length dresses, the men in black straw hats, their skin as white as their beards...Welcome to Pinecraft, a little-known getaway for the horse-and-buggy set that defies their somber stereotype. Here the Amish go deep-sea fishing. They play volleyball and shuffleboard and golf. They cluster at street corners, speaking German and English. Kayla Gingerich, an Amish teenager from Kokomo, Ind., walks the beach in a modest dress and prayer cap, waves from the Gulf of Mexico splashing her bare, tanned feet. 'We're real,' she says with a smile. 'We like the sunshine, too'...They join thousands of other Amish who, between October and April, trade the sleet and snow of Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania for the sun and surf of Sarasota."