Dear Pinecraft Community

You enthrall me. 

As a community, I admire and highly respect your commitment to simplicity, family, fellowship - and real communication. No doubt, there are challenges living in a society and culture that is so different, but in a way, very free-ing — because you’re under no pressure to conform from the rest of society. 

Within the Sarasota boundaries, we have the privilege to be home to an Amish village, that began as a “home away from home” for the Amish establishments in Pennsylvania and Ohio, years ago. But just like many of us — once you’re here in Florida, it’s hard to go back — so an impressive number have stayed over the years, and made Sarasota their home.

It’s understood that when Amish family and friends visit each season (by the busloads)… What happens in Pinecraft, stays in Pinecraft. However, before drawing parallels with Vegas, don’t. It’s entirely different - by a long stretch. Here in Sarasota’s Pinecraft community, they might ride a motorized bicycle, or even use a cell phone. These are conveniences in Pinecraft, that don’t exist in their originally settled communities. Life is even simpler there - but harder, as well. At least when they visit, they enjoy a few of the technologies - but only on a limited basis. Mostly, it’s about gathering together for food, fellowship, and music. And, can I just say - once you’ve been to an Amish restaurant, you will likely become an Amish foodie. 

It’s popular, because it’s fresh home-cooking, at it’s finest. That means a lot, coming from a Southern gal.

Many Pinecraft people also love the beach, and it’s not unusual to see them there. But, you won’t see bathing suits. The women wear colorful dresses that resemble uniforms, and the men seem to be free to wear most anything, shorts and pants, although their shirts are most often white. During “season” — which is October through March — they will come to the beach by the bus or van load. For those unaccustomed to seeing the Amish amongst them, there is lots of staring. Those of us who live in Sarasota will strike up conversations with them, and they are such friendly and loving folk.

There is something so intriguing in observing their way of life… especially the younger ones. You can’t help but wonder if they really like being in the community. Are they apprehensive of the society around them who live so drastically different? Do they want to remain in the life they are in and raise their children the same way? And, I also wonder if it’s a lot better, in many ways, to grow up without all of the distractions, entitlement, and narcissism that our current younger culture is overwhelmed with.

Maybe I’ll ask them one day. Because we do engage with them, take pictures of them (they do use cameras - and so I wonder about computers?) and chat with them while we all enjoy the beach.

Mostly, I’m very glad that the deeply spiritual, Amish society co-exists among us, and that we get to reflect on the life they live with wonder and intrigue. I’m glad that they love to share their food, and are quite good at business. There are at least a dozen Amish restaurants and bakeries in and around Pinecraft - and they are very successful. It’s quite a cottage industry for their community, and we benefit from it, in a big way.

There is no doubt our society could use some of their values, simple life practices, and community/family dynamics. And it’s amazing, still, that they are able to carry on with their traditions and legacy, with great determination to remain true to a less distracted lifestyle. For the most part, the rest of only know of the simpler days-gone-by through the stories we were told by the grandparents who won’t be with us much longer - or they are already gone.

I can hope we will revert back somewhat, somehow. There are people who live nearby who sure could show us how.

Such lovely people.

Thank you, Pinecraft, for giving our small town another wonderful component that gives this city depth, color, and culture.

I’m really glad to know you.