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Dst On Spectrum News – Bay News 9

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Trolley tours explore Sarasota’s Pinecraft Amish Community

SARASOTA, Fla. — Some trolley tours down the historic streets of Sarasota are aimed at highlighting the Pinecraft Amish Community, a spot where Amish and Mennonites come to vacation every year.

What You Need To Know

  • Amish and Mennonites vacation in the Pinecraft Amish Community every year
  • Visitors can explore the community on Discover Sarasota Tours
  • One of the tour guides has knowledge of the culture from her own family
  • The tours offer looks at local hotels and visits to bakeries and quilting shops

While many people might not know this spot exists, tour guide Kendra Cross is making it a mission to educate guests and share her knowledge of the area. Cross, who moved to Florida with her husband several years back as a retiree, originally had no plans to find another job, but the gig with Discover Sarasota Tours was too good for her to pass up.

“I do know quite a bit about the culture,” Cross said. “My grandmother was Amish until she said ‘I do’ to my Catholic grandfather, and then my husband’s great-grandparents were Amish until great-grandfather decided he wanted a truck and they ended up leaving the church.”

Cross shares stories on the 90-minute trolley tour, and riders can hop on and off the bus at several distinct locations around the 10-square-block Pinecraft community, including local hotels. They can also pop inside bakeries full of delicious sweet treats or get a chance to walk through one of the quilting shops, where they might even see a live demonstration.

It’s a look behind the curtain into the community and culture. The hope for Cross is to educate her guests and help create understanding and showcase a different way of life.

“The goal is not to agree but to understand,” Cross said. “When you understand, you realize that while you may not buy into it…(you) understand why they live the way they do….You understand that they are primarily Christian and Amish is their culture, and this is the way they live it out. That’s what is so important to me — and that the legacy is embraced and understood.”

Discover Sarasota Trolley Tours offers its Pinecraft tours and a host of other tours all year. To book a reservation, visit its website.