Amish/Mennonite vacation Capital
Posts tagged pinecraft
From December through April, Amish travelers pack charter buses making overnight runs from Ohio to Florida. Stiff black hats are gingerly stowed in overhead bins as the bus winds its way through hilly farm country, making pickups in small towns like Sugarcreek, Berlin and Wooster.
One afternoon, I boarded one of those buses, full of grandparents, neighbors and childhood friends. They talked into the night, using conversation as entertainment instead of movies and music. I sat up front next to two boisterous bishops named Roy J.C. Yoder, 75, and Andy Miller, 65. They peppered me with questions: “Are you married?” “Will you have kids?” “Do you believe in Christ?” But they mostly killed time on our 19-hour ride by ribbing Lee, one of two bus drivers on board, and then each other.
“When Roy became a preacher, he was a little bit of a slow learner, so we sent him to seminary school,” Andy told me. “They asked him ‘Where was Jesus born?’ And he says ‘Pittsburgh.’ So they say ‘Nope, Bethlehem.’ And then Roy says, ‘I knew it was some place in Pennsylvania.’ ”
The rows behind us exploded in laughter. We were headed to Pinecraft, a village east of Sarasota, on Florida’s Gulf Coast. What started out as a tourist camp around 1925 has evolved through word of mouth into a major vacation destination for Amish and Mennonites from all over the United States and Canada. Some 5,000 people visit each year, primarily when farm work up north is slow.
On the bus, older passengers reminisced about going down to Pinecraft as children when roads were just sand and dirt. One man wistfully recalled a great-uncle who hitched a ride down in a Model T. But I didn’t fully understand the town’s popularity until we reached the end of our 1,222-mile drive, at a church parking lot, where we were greeted by 300 people under a hot Florida sun — bus arrivals are a community event in Pinecraft.
Walking around Pinecraft is like entering an idyllic time warp. White bungalows and honeybell orange trees line streets named after Amish families: Kaufman, Schrock, Yoder. The local laundromat keeps lines outside to hang clothes to dry. (You have to bring your own pins.) And the techiest piece of equipment at the post office is a calculator. The Sarasota County government plans to designate the village, which spreads out over 178 acres, as a cultural heritage district.
‘Amish Las Vegas’
Many travelers I spoke to jokingly call it the “Amish Las Vegas,” riffing off the cliche that what happens in Pinecraft stays in Pinecraft. Cellphone and cameras, normally off-limits to Amish, occasionally make appearances, and almost everyone uses electricity in their rental homes. Three-wheeled bicycles, instead of horses and buggies, are ubiquitous.
“When you come down here, you can pitch religion a little bit and let loose,” said Amanda Yoder, 19, from Missouri. “What I’m wearing right now, I wouldn’t at home,” she said, gesturing at sunglasses with sparkly rhinestones and bikini strings peeking out of a tight black tank top. On the outskirts of the village, she boarded public bus No. 11 with six other sunburned teenagers. They were bound for Siesta Key, a quartz-sand beach about 8 miles away.
After a couple of days, I started to pick up the rhythms of a seasoned Pinecraft traveler, thanks to tips from a chatty Amish-Mennonite woman. I had rented a private room from her for $40 a night.
Breakfast starts as early as 6 a.m., when men start settling into booths at the back of Troyer’s Dutch Heritage, a sprawling restaurant. They trade news from home over mugs of coffee and plates of bacon, eggs and biscuits.
On a Friday morning, I followed yellow fliers to the backyard of the Miller family, where I found that most Amish of activities: a yard sale and auction. Throngs of shoppers inspected long rows of plastic tables overflowing with an eclectic mix of household goods that included a 1979 book on “Modern Refrigeration and Repair.” An auctioneer standing in the back of a pickup truck sold off a box of shoes for $2 and a bunch of wrenches for $42.
When the auction started to wane, foot traffic migrated over to the shuffleboard center at Pinecraft Park where the first court, according to a sign, is always “Reserved for Ladies.”
Miriam Lehman, 60, from Shipshewana, Ind., sat on the sidelines dispensing advice after playing two games in flip-flops. “Knock her out of there!” she yelled as a Pennsylvania woman named Ida slid a yellow puck down the court and scored. They had met that afternoon and had become fast friends.
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.”
Just over 3 feet tall and always riding around on a bike with a camera, Troyer is a beloved fixture in Pinecraft known for discreetly taking pictures of daily life that she posts on her blog, Project 365.
Evenings in Pinecraft almost always culminate in music. The Chuck Wagon Gang, a gospel and bluegrass band, often plays on a patch of grass that’s been dubbed Birky Square. More than 400 people turned out on the night I visited. A giant cast-iron pot of elk stew simmered over an open fire while the barefoot lead singer of the Chuck Wagon Gang harmonized with his wife.
One audience member, Alva Yoder, 67, from Elnora, Ind., has traveled to Pinecraft almost every year since 1972. “You’ll never find another place in the world that’s like this one,” he said.
By Miki Meek
New York Times
Readers were pumped up and fully engaged in casting ballots for their favorite arts places in AmericanStyle’s 2011 Top 25 Arts Destinations competition. It’s the 14th annual edition of our wildly popular readers’ poll, and the results are now official. For the fourth year in a row, no other major city in the country has been able to unseat the Big Three: New York City held on to first place in the Big Cities category, with nearly 40 percent of all votes cast; Chicago remained in second place, with 23.4 percent; and Washington, D.C., stayed in the No. 3 spot, with 20.2 percent. San Francisco came in at fourth place, followed by Boston at No. 5.
In the Mid-Size Cities category, St. Petersburg, Fla., held on to the No. 1 spot with 26.9 percent of the vote. Former sixth place city Savannah, Ga., leapfrogged four places ahead into the No. 2 spot, pushing last year’s second place finisher New Orleans down a notch to No. 3. Rounding out the top five in this category are Charleston, S.C., at No. 4, and Scottsdale, Ariz., at No. 5.
The tightest voting margins played out in the Small Cities category, with Asheville, N.C., winning by a hair with 16.7 percent of the votes over No. 2 Santa Fe, N.M., with 16.5 percent. Third place went to Gloucester, Mass, a total newcomer to the Top 25 Small Cities list, which pushed Saugatuck, Mich., down a notch into fourth place. Sarasota, Fla., held its position again this year at No. 5.
Best Places for Senioritis
by G. Scott Thomas Dec 16 2010
Retirement has never been a hotter topic.
The first wave of baby boomers—men and women born in 1946—will reach retirement age next year. More than 3 million Americans will turn 65 in 2011, the largest group to become eligible for Social Security in a single year.
Most of these prospective retirees are expected to remain in their current homes. Only 4 percent of the nation’s 36.8 million senior citizens (65 or older) moved to a new residence in 2008, the latest year analyzed by the U.S. Census Bureau.
But that’s still a significant number—1.4 million seniors searching for the ideal place to spend their golden years. Which communities do these retirees find most attractive?
Their No. 1 choice, according to a new study by Portfolio.com, is Bradenton-Sarasota, Florida, which earns the designation as America’s most popular retirement destination.
The top of the list, to no one’s surprise, is dominated by warm-weather cities. A pair of Arizona markets—Prescott and Lake Havasu City—are right behind Bradenton-Sarasota. The remaining seven members of the top 10 are all in Florida.
Yet there are some nontraditional sites, as well. Three Northern metros are among the 30 leading retirement locations: Seaford, Delaware (13th), Barnstable, Massachussets (14th), and Eugene, Oregon (29th).
Portfolio.com devised a six-part formula to rank the most popular retirement destinations, using raw data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. The study encompassed all 157 metropolitan and micropolitan areas with at least 40,000 senior citizens.
The approach is different from the 2009 Portfolio.com analysis of popular retirement areas in that last year, the study was broader and looked at 940 areas without placing a floor on the number of retirees. Last year’s top spot honors went to Pahrump—a community of about 44,000 people in southern Nevada where more than 22 percent of residents were seniors. Because of the difference in approach this year and the focus on communities with larger senior populations overall, Pahrump is not on the 2010 list.
The highest scores this year went to areas where the population of seniors is already substantial and is growing rapidly. The study’s six factors included the percentage of residents who were 65 or older, the share of seniors who were born in another state, and the recent rate at which retirees moved to a specific market.
Bradenton-Sarasota ranks first because of its striking performances in several categories:
- Nearly 27 percent of its residents are 65 or older, the fourth-highest concentration of seniors in any market. That’s more than double the national average of 12.9 percent.
- Bradenton-Sarasota has a median age of 48.1. A median is a midpoint, with half of all residents being older and half being younger. The national median age is 36.8 years.
- Fully 95 percent of the seniors in Bradenton-Sarasota moved to Florida from another state. Only 53 percent of the elderly residents of a typical U.S. market were born out of state.
The Portfolio.com study also pinpoints the most popular retirement communities in eight classifications of size or geography.
Urban markets: Tampa-St. Petersburg leads this group, which is restricted to metropolitan areas with at least a million residents. It’s followed in popularity by Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix, Riverside-San Bernardino, California, and Tucson.
Small markets: The Prescott, Arizona, area, with 215,000 residents, ranks first in this classification, which is limited to regions with fewer than 400,000 people. The runners-up are Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and three Florida markets: Naples, Homosassa Springs, and Ocala.
Florida: Bradenton-Sarasota, of course, is the leader on this list, the only one that’s confined to a single state. The four retirement destinations ranking next in popularity are Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Naples, Palm Bay-Melbourne, and Homosassa Springs.
Rest of the South: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which is 25th overall, ranks as the No. 1 Southern retirement market outside of Florida. It’s followed by Chattanooga, Tennessee; Wilmington, North Carolina; Roanoke, Virginia; and Kingsport-Bristol, Tennessee.
Northeast: Seaford, Delaware, which offers easy access to the Atlantic Ocean and a fairly warm climate, is the most popular retirement destination in this group. Next are Barnstable, Massachussetts (better known as Cape Cod); Portland, Maine; Washington; and New Haven, Connecticut.
Midwest: This region is not especially attractive to retirees, which is why you won’t find a single Midwestern market among the national top 35. The regional leader is Rockford, Illinois, followed by Springfield, Missouri; Akron and Youngstown, Ohio; and Detroit.
Interior West: Arizona dominates this classification, placing Prescott and Lake Havasu City in the top two slots. Reno, Nevada, is sandwiched in third place, followed by a pair of major Arizona metropolitan areas: Phoenix and Tucson.
Pacific Coast: Santa Rosa, California, earns the highest score in this group. Four other California markets round out the top five: Riverside-San Bernardino, Stockton, Vallejo, and Oxnard-Thousand Oaks. The favorite retirement destination outside of California is Eugene, Oregon.
The article above was posted on www.Portfolio.com.
Sherry has written an especially neat cookbook called Taste of Pinecraft: Glimpses of Sarasota, Florida’s Amish Culture and Kitchens, a tribute to the area’s culinary heritage. It is one of the most entertaining cook books I’ve come across.
I’ve been looking forward to getting the behind-the-scenes on Sherry’s book and community for some time now.
Today we’ve got an interview with Sherry, which I think you’ll enjoy. We’ve also got a 5-book giveaway of Taste of Pinecraft.
Taste of Pinecraft 5-book giveaway: How to win a copy
The rules for this contest are simple. This is an Amish America subscriber contest.
If you are subscribed to Amish America, you are entered–just let me know that you are by leaving a comment on this post. Your comment can be an observation, a question, or just “Hey, count me in, I’m a subscriber”.
If you are not a subscriber yet, you can do that here.
What being a subscriber means is you will get email updates in your inbox whenever new posts go up on Amish America (usually a few times a week). That’s it, no spam, and you can opt out at anytime. Once you sign up, just leave a comment on this post letting know you did.
The contest ends in one week’s time, on Monday, November 8th.
On Monday I’ll also select the 5 winners at random from the comments, and announce them on the blog.
Taste of Pinecraft interview with Sherry Gore
Amish America: Your cookbook, Taste of Pinecraft, is more than just a collection of recipes. In it you share observations on Pinecraft, many of them excerpted from your writings for The Budget.
Sherry Gore: Some people travel the world in search of extraordinary subjects to write about, I found them in my own backyard, so to speak. Kids, dogs, and old folks. Originally, I set out to compile recipes from Pinecrafters for a local cookbook to be given as sort of a souvenir gift – I have many such treasured books from my own travels. To give folks a real feel of life here in Sarasota, I went a few steps further and began to add pieces I had written over several years for The Budget.
“Letters from home” in the National Edition of the paper has been keeping Amish and Mennonites (scattered wide across the world) connected for over 100 years. Through these “letters” we tell of daily happenings in our churches, homes, and neighborhoods.
In my cookbook, I included a broad range of happenings. Like the time Eleanor Miller dumped an entire plate of spaghetti on a customer’s lap while working her first shift as a waitress. And how Kris Knepp shared of his courtship days at a dinner in the home of one of our ministers. “With Rebecca going off to the Dominican Republic for two years rather than one, Kris told us, “If Jacob waited seven years for the wrong girl, then I can wait two years for the right one.“ Rebecca’s father said to him, “You know, I do have an older daughter.”
And then there are the fish stories. Lots of them. All true, of course.
You can also find a bit of Pinecraft history, and historical moments taking place today, like records of births, and wedding announcements, and ordinations of ministers.
Also found in Taste of Pinecraft are stories of death, and tragedy. My younger sister’s life was taken last December, and I wrote some in The Budget of different acts of kindness from folks in the community, just soon after. And upon returning from the funeral for nine in Burkesville, Kentucky, I wrote a 10-page account of the accident on March 26, 2010 that claimed the lives of our close friends, the Eshes. It too, was one of the more difficult pieces I’ve ever written.
Bro. John Esh was a regular visitor to Pinecraft every January. He preached in our churches, visited old friends, and made new ones. He also attended the Haiti Benefit Auction with his wife, Sadie. Their daughter, Anna Lynn, had worked at Overholt’s produce, a hub of sorts in the community.
The Pinecraft Pauper made its debut just around the time Taste of Pinecraft was completed, so I was fortunate enough to have been able to include stories from it as well.
AA: Reading your descriptions, you get the idea that this is a fun place to be. Is that the case? Are Pinecrafters really all that cheery, and why (I’m assuming it has something to do with the sun, and maybe all the vitamin C in the air) ?
Sherry: I haven’t been everywhere, but in my travels throughout America this has to be one of the merriest. Imagine leaving the north to spend the winter months in a sun-kissed environment with no burdensome snow to shovel, no cows to milk, and no alarm going off at 4:00am. That alone would make anybody happy.
But throw in white sandy beaches, mild temps, a gulf beach sunset, salt-water fishing, shuffleboard games that last till dusk, nightly volleyball games and never-ending visiting just makes winter all the more sweeter. Pinecraft is laid back. Even a mere week here seems to jolt some folks out of their sternness and puts them in a more relaxed mode.
Who can stay grumpy, when there’s pie to be had at Yoder’s Restaurant? Or the buffet at Troyer’s Dutch Heritage Restaurant? And don’t forget the friendly folks that make a living down here, year-round. One host/cashier, Brent, likes to tell people where to sit, and then ask them how they enjoyed overeating.
The sun seems to have an effect on snowbirds of all ages. Often, you’ll see girls step off the Pioneer Trails bus wearing bullet-proof stockings and their black everyday shoes. A week or two later these same girls climb back aboard the bus heading north wearing flip flops.
As to your question, are they all cheery in Pinecraft? There’s a sourpuss in every crowd, maybe more. We have two.
AA: Another question on Pinecraft: what makes this community so unique? And what’s the deal with the tricycles?
Sherry: With the exception of the radar-laden Sarasota County Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol officer’s horses, we’re basically horse-less. The only buggy in town sits in the courtyard at Yoder’s Restaurant, mostly for photo opportunities. The most common mode of transportation are these three-wheelers. Drivers are hired of course for doctors appt. etc, and some use golf carts, but you’ll see most folks get around the village on the broad-seated trikes.
Thomas Peachey, a minister of the Amish Church, has been known to many as “The Flying Dutchman.” His faster-than-necessary motorized trike took him many miles from home everyday to his store, where he makes his famous Big Olaf Ice-cream.
On a return trip to Pinecraft recently, his axle broke sending him and the bike into oncoming traffic. Thomas was hit by a truck and suffered a severe leg injury. As in all other aspects of his life, he took the incident in stride. His motorized bike is totaled so Thomas has been reduced to riding a rather adventure-free version of a three-wheeler; one that goes about five mph in a good wind. “Well, Sherry, I suppose you’ll have to change my name now. Perhaps to something along the lines of “The pedaling Dutchman.”
There’s a great many good ideas drummed up in Pinecraft, too. Some months back, Sam Peachey shared his version on the latest news on the oil spill: BP officials have announced they will lower a giant Amish hat over the gusher. A spokesperson said they are very optimistic this plan will work. An Amish hat is used to control wild, out-of-control hair. There is no reason it would not have the same effect on oil.”
AA: There are a lot of cookbooks out there. What does yours have that others don’t?
Sherry: Embarrassing moments, directions on how to cook an alligator, how not to catch a mouse, an inside look at the #1 Amish snowbird capitol of the world, and the answer to life‘s biggest question. This is not your Grandmother’s cookbook.
And here’s one reader’s take on it: “A regular recipe book has just recipes. Your special book cannot just be considered a “recipe” book. It is entertaining, heart wrenching, comical and enlightening as well as educational. You can make a recipe and while you are waiting for it to cook/bake, you can read a story or more and the time goes by faster. Before you know it, you are ready to eat.” ~ Monique Wood
Amish America: I’m not a cook. Things can get ugly in my kitchen. Which recipes should someone like me try out first?
Sherry: That depends. Are you looking for a get-me-to-the-table-quick kind of meal? The Florida Avocado Egg Scramble is easy. Five ingredients, five minutes, and it’s on the table.
Don’t mind waiting? Try Rebecca Fisher’s Sour Kraut- three ingredients and a six week interim. It’s somebody’s favorite.
Numerous recipes are no-fail classics, like easy Barbecue Meatballs and Vera Kipfer’s Pan-fried Chicken; she’s been a Pinecraft resident for 54 years.
Other dishes, like the Grilled-lime Fish Fillet (a reader favorite), or Fried Alligator Nuggets, call for a little pre-kitchen adventure, both easily had in Sarasota.
AA: And which are your personal favorites?
Sherry: Esther Souder’s recipe for Coquina Soup epitomizes Florida living, but it was the story she told of growing up in Pinecraft and trekking to the beach with her family that captured me.
Another favorite can be found in the Pie section. Amish Henry Detweiler (there’s three fellows in town with the same name, somebody had to get a nickname) was holding an auction on Graber Street to disperse Gary Eash’s worldly goods. Across the road, Fannie Kay Yoder had made her Chocolate Cream Pie and was selling it by the slice.
In the midst of the auction, the Pioneer Trails bus arrived at the Tourist Church parking lot filled to the brim with pale-faced northerners itching for some Florida sunshine. That crowd seeing the crowd on the opposite end of Graber Street came down to see what was shaking. While Gary may have owned some hard-to-find items of interest, I’m more inclined to think it was Fannie’s pie that made the crowd swell.
AA: In addition to being a national scribe for The Budget, you are also a writer for The Pinecraft Pauper, which I’d have to describe as a local paper of mirth and a bit of mischief (the good, fun kind of mischief of course). Really, reading through some issues your founder Daniel sent me, I found myself audibly laughing. It takes a lot to do that. Tell us a little about the PP.
Sherry: Our village paper, the first of its kind, was launched by Daniel Fisher and Leon Hostetler to provide a creative outlet for the Amish. It certainly has a Florida feel to it. Since the maiden issue of the PP several folks have jumped on board.
While most of the writers are local, some send their carefully type-written pages via snail-mail. Steven Fisher, a young farm boy in PA, began his literary debut last winter by sharing his observations on birds, a topic of great interest to many plain folks. This year, Steven has takes a more journal-type approach and is broadened his scope to include an array of wildlife happenings on his wooded 100 year-old farm in his nostalgic writings.
The wide variety of readers we have took me by surprise In addition to quite a few Old Order Amish folks, there’s a Kentucky Derby race horse owner, two New York Times best-selling authors, and at least one professor included in the list of subscribers.
With five books of my own scheduled to be released by Christmas 2012, I recently sent word to Moby Dick, a rather witty and satire-filled fellow, explaining my lack-of-time dilemma. He’s agreed to continue answering questions sent to the Editor.
One feature tells of notable Pinecraft Facts:
“The smallest house in the village, found on Shrock Street, measures 8 x 12 with 96 sq. ft. It belongs to Katie Troyer, one of Pinecraft’s little people.
The largest house, also on Shrock Street, has an astounding 6,000 sq. ft. We don’t know who’s moving in, but one fellow claimed who ever it is must be fat. At least in the wallet.”
AA: In Taste of Pinecraft, you mention “the world’s only Amish-owned Post Office”. The Amish are getting into the postal business? I thought Uncle Sam had that market locked down.
Sherry: This tiny, frumpy building and it’s parking-lot-for four, houses more than just mail. Sitting across the road from Big Olaf Ice-cream is one of the distribution boxes for the Pinecraft Pauper. Outside, on the east wall is the famous bulletin board. Here you can advertise for an up-coming benefit supper, find a job, announce your woes of not finding a job, or disperse a litter of kittens. If your lucky, you can find someone to do your ironing. Senator Lisa Carlton did that once. It was a good job; one I rather enjoyed.
Inside the post office you’ll find gems written on bits of pink paper and taped to the walls – words of wisdom, such as “You can’t stumble when you’re on your knees.”
What you won’t find are computers; not even a hand-held debit card machine. Postal clerk Magdalena Graber uses a small calculator. Receipts are hand-written and hand-stamped. Mark Shrock works the winter season. Expect to stay longer if you ask him a question regarding current politics. But never quote him.
AA: So if I pay a visit to Pinecraft, what do I need to do while I’m there? Anyone I need to watch out for?
Sherry: Eat. First go get your fill of home-cooking Amish-style at one of the two restaurants. We must be doing something right. Recently, 600 people came to Pinecraft, for liver and onions. Then go rent yourself a three-wheeler on Kruppa Ave. They’re only $4 per day. You’re better off taking the long route so by the time you pedal your way to the Pinecraft Park you’ll be ready for shuffleboard, marbles, loafing, or for the youngie, volleyball. And don’t leave without sitting down with Amish Henry, at least once. And watch out for Becky Fisher. She’s 81, and caught a burglar recently.
AA: Let us know how to get a copy of Taste of Pinecraft, and how one might get ahold of The Pinecraft Pauper too while you’re at it.
Sherry: You can find Taste of Pinecraft in many Amish and Mennonite stores across the country, but those living outside a plain community can order a copy on my website at www.SherryGorebooks.com. Subscriptions for 8 bi-weekly issues from Dec.-April to the PP can be ordered by sending $11 to Pinecraft Village Publishers PO BOX 50231 Sarasota, FL 34232. You can also find us on Facebook.
Below are some web sites that offer excerpts in the pennsylvania dutch language.
There are 12 different lessons on this web site. http://hiwwewiedriwwe.wordpress.com/
Here is another site with some excerpts. http://csumc.wisc.edu/AmericanLanguages/search_clip_type.php?clip_type=PennDutch
Do you have any websites or know where to buy tapes or CD’s that help you learn Pennsylvania Dutch? Share them here.
About the Movie
The peaceful Amish community of Nickel Mines is forever changed when a gunman senselessly takes the lives of five girls in a schoolhouse shooting before taking his own life.
What transpires afterward takes the community by storm, as the media descend on the town and criticize its Amish leaders for their notion of unconditional forgiveness of the shooter and their outreach of support to his widow, Amy Roberts (Tammy Blanchard). Devastated by her daughter’s death, Ida Graber (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) finds herself struggling with her community’s belief in the transcending power of forgiveness. Deeply conflicted and unable to forgive the gunman and his family, Ida is tempted to leave the only life she’s ever known before re-embracing her faith.