Here's Why Amish Families Have Flocked to This Florida City Each Winter for Nearly 100 Years


Every year for nearly a century, hundreds of Amish and Mennonite communities flock to the small neighborhood of Pinecraft, Florida.

Since many come from Northeastern areas like Pennsylvania and Ohio, the mild winters found in Pinecraft are welcomed in contrast to the cold and snow.

In the 1920’s, the first Amish families saw potential in Pinecraft’s real estate prices and mild weather. They had hoped that they could farm celery, but quickly realized how poor the soil was.

While their hopes for celery growing were squashed, they enjoyed the lifestyle they found in Pinecraft. It became a place that they could “let loose” for a few weeks or even months.

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For many, time spent in Pinecraft is a chance to rest from the work they view as sacred. It is also a chance for many to get to know people from communities outside of their own.

If you look hard enough, you might even spot women wearing earrings, which are usually forbidden, under their bonnets.

In Pinecraft, houses are adorned with satellite dishes and horse-drawn buggies are replaced with oversized tricycles.

People use tricycles and bicycles to get around there, especially to get to the community park on the weekends for live music.

Each week, the community comes together for a fish fry. And of course, ice cream at the local parlor has become a nightly tradition.

Activities like swimming, bocce ball, and shuffleboard are common ways to pass time. In fact, the women’s volleyball game is one of the main events, nearly treated like a Texan football game.
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Buses for the transportation of “Plain people” arrive and depart every day in the mid-afternoon from October until April, and are always met with cheering crowds.

People gather to say their hellos and goodbyes to new friends and to Pinecraft until they meet again in the years to come.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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