Contrary to a commonly held notion, although the Amish might not use certain tools and vehicles or some modern conveniences, that does not mean that gadgets and gizmos and things with wheels don’t fascinate them.
In the village of Pinecraft, in the city of Sarasota, Florida, there is nary a horse and buggy to be found, save for the buggy at Yoder’s that serves as a prop.
Instead of horse and buggy, bicycles or walking are the preferred way of getting around the neighborhood, and there are several places where visitors, whether Amish, Mennonite, or even people like me, can rent a bicycle by the day. You can ask around where the bike “shops” are, which really aren’t shops but operations literally out of someone’s garage.
High-end bicycles will sometimes (shhhh) have motors to give riders a bit more zing as they head out for shuffleboard at the park. Chances are, many Amish will ride a simple three-wheeled cycle with a basket in the back. Some also attach little trailers to the back of the cycles to tote children or loads of laundry.
I should say, though, that there are indeed some buggies in Pinecraft, but not like any the Amish would ride in back in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Indiana.
One Mennonite gentleman has designed a solar buggy, which can spin and lights up at night. For the Amish, Mennonite, and English alike, the solar buggy is a fun diversion and something the Amish can say upon arrival back home after vacation (or maybe not say, depending on their community) that they took a spin around the block in.
Another type of unusual buggy is the “horseless buggy” which doesn’t have a regular car horn, but has a horn that makes the sound of a neighing horse and clomping hooves.
An annual tradition in Pinecraft which brings out all the vehicles, horseless buggies and otherwise, is Pinecraft’s annual Christmas Day parade. Thousands line the parade course which winds through the village. If you go, the parade is held in the afternoon, and you will see the solar buggy, the horseless buggy complete with neighing horn, and even a motorized recliner making its way down the street (its owner and operator, however, are not Amish).
You can see all kinds of the motorized vehicles and buggies of Pinecraft at Ernest Bontrager’s YouTube Channel. Ernest is a Pinecraft snowbird who entertains people in the village and beyond with his videos of village life.
In my new release, A Promise of Grace, you’ll get to see the Christmas Day parade and some of the fun vehicles and gadgets of Pinecraft.
Look below to win a copy of her upcoming book, A Promise of Grace!
Lynette Sowell is the award-winning author of over 15 titles for Barbour Publishing, Harlequin, and Abingdon Press. Her latest title is A Promise of Grace. Lynette was born in Western Massachusetts in the shadow of the Berkshire Mountains, raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country. She loves reading, cooking, watching movies, and is always up for a Texas road trip. When she’s not writing fiction, she works as a reporter for her city newspaper and has a weekly column called My Front Porch.
Purchase Lynette’s books here.
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