They're known for their hard work, long beards, and plain clothes. But you may not know that thousands of Amish people take vacations to the Sunshine State.
One of their favorite vacation spots is Pinecraft in Sarasota. Busses regularly arrive here, filled with Amish and Mennonite people from cold places like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.
"There's no other Pinecraft in the world," says Larry Yoder, a Mennonite who retired here with his wife several years ago.
In the crowd waiting for the busses to arrive is Pinecraft resident Katie Troyer. She grew up Amish, but left the church to find her own way. Her life's journey brought her to Pinecraft where she enjoys living among the Amish.
Around her neck hangs something seldom seen in Pinecraft -- a small camera. She takes pictures of people and turns them into postcards sold at nearby Yoder's restaurant.
Amish people won't pose for pictures and often turn away when they see a camera. Don't ask an Amish person if you can take their picture.
"I never ask them because, coming from the Amish, you're obliged to say no, even if you mean yes," she smiled.
Her photographs are amazing windows into the Pinecraft lifestyle. There are photographs of Amish children playing and Amish men riding bicycles to the beach.
AMISH ON THE BEACH?
Yes, Amish people do go to the beach. Some, especially the young ones, even strip down to swim trunks or bikinis. But since they don't believe in driving cars, chances are they arrived at the beach on a city bus, leaving their bikes chained at a bus stop near Pinecraft.
Surprisingly, this has been an Amish vacation spot for more than half a century. It was about 60 years ago that vacations became OK in the Amish culture.
"Unless you take an airplane trip," continued Troyer. "Then you have to confess, because that's a mode of travel that, except for a few Amish groups, is a no-no."
So, if you want to see the Amish arriving, don't go to the airport. They come here in busses by the thousands.