Amish and Mennonite folks have been vacationing in Sarasota for the last century. The Pinecraft area of Sarasota – now 3,000 strong – was originally two tourist camps for Amish and Mennonites looking to get away from the winter weather. The conversion from a tourist destination to a residential community occurred in the 1940s and 1950s.
Sarasota continues to be a popular vacation spot for Amish and Mennonites today. Winter is a slow time for farming – the way many Amish and Mennonites making their living – so it’s the perfect time to enjoy some Florida sunshine. Although the Amish are not permitted to drive themselves, their beliefs allow others to do the driving for them. During the winter months, charter buses let off loads of Amish passengers in Pinecraft daily.
Like most people who spend time in Florida, the beach is a popular destination for Amish and Mennonites. Other downtime activities include fishing, volleyball and – of course – shuffleboard.
Erik Schlake is a mural artist from Cape Coral FL. Erik has studied art at the university level, including Washington University, as well as lessons from various international artists. For the past few years, Erik, along with his daughter Allison, have been participating in chalk festivals since 2016. Erik and Allie, together and individually, create with an attitude of "go big or go home". "We don't mind pushing the limits and failing or falling on our face. It's part of the creative process, and we love putting it out for the world to see. We hope that, in some way, inspires others to get out and try because the feeling of failure goes away but the feeling of 'I wish I at least tried' lasts much longer".
Nanette Crist is a retired lawyer who began blogging when she moved to Florida. It was an online diary of sorts, a way to keep track of her new life. It was also a good way to share her discoveries with friends and family outside the area. Over time, Nanette realized her writing makes her experience the world differently. She keeps an eye out for interesting things to write about and then delves more deeply into them as she crafts her words. It's all about telling the story. Nanette's blog can be found at http://nanettesnewlife.blogspot.com.