April 21, 2018

"Each winter, for close to a century now, hundreds of Amish and Mennonite families have travelled from their homes in icy quarters of the U.S. and Canada to Pinecraft, a small, sunny neighborhood in Sarasota, Florida."

"Arriving on chartered buses specializing in the transportation of 'Plain people' from areas such as Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Holmes County, Ohio, they rent modest bungalows and stay for weeks, or sometimes months, at a time. It’s vacation.... [W]ithout barns to raise or cows to milk or scrapple to prepare, the typically stringent rules of Anabaptist life are somewhat suspended in Pinecraft.... Earrings, usually forbidden, can be seen glittering from beneath white bonnets, and houses are outfitted with satellite dishes. Horses and buggies are nowhere to be seen, but adult-sized tricycles abound. Swimming, volleyball, and shuffleboard are encouraged; ice-cream cones are a nightly ritual."

"Where the Amish Go on Vacation" is a colorful photo essay at The New Yorker.

I'm interested in:

1. The Amish, who seem to have pared down their lives to the essentials, still maintain a need to travel. Is it because travel is essential (in a way that applies to all or us) or because their lives are so restricted that they have a special need for periodic variation?

2. How do people who keep horses and cows ever leave their farm? Is it easier for the Amish, because there's a system of covering for each other when they take these Amish vacations? When I consider getting just one dog, I think of it making travel much more difficult (but perhaps that's because I'm pretty averse to travel, and I need to worry that if I added a strong anti-travel factor to my life, I'd never leave home).

3. The New Yorker doesn't seem to be looking down (or up) at the Amish. Maybe you'll disagree (assuming you can get to the photographs at this mostly subscription site). It's seems to be just a subject for photography. Look, this exists. Our camera is pointed at something you're not looking at. But maybe that's my subjectivity, looking at The New Yorker.

4. One of the benefits of limiting your life is that you preserve the potential to get great pleasure from things as simple adult-sized tricycles, swimming, volleyball, shuffleboard, and ice-cream cones.

35 comments:

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Hunter gatherers were constantly traveling. It was a challenging and interesting lifestyle requiring expert knowledge of a broad range of environments. Our current largely unchanging environment and routines is unusual in the annals of human existence.

This being said, today I will do exactly what I do every Saturday.

rhhardin said...

The dog keeps you home because the dog is nice to be around too.

rhhardin said...

My first Doberman Susie was a veteran of NJ-OH commutes. I always rest-stopped at the same places so there was a familiar routine to it.

The destination in NJ apparently had a certain scent because she started waking up and looking and sniffing about twenty miles from it.

Danno said...

I feel your thoughts (in my case, pain) on the pets versus travel issue. I have two legacy cats that were taken on when my children were younger and at home and now I just hope I will outlast them.

tcrosse said...

It can be exhausting to keep up such a rigorous life style, so the Amish need an occasional break. In the same way, Las Vegas offers a break from Virtue Signalling for people exhausted by that rigorous practice.

David Begley said...

"The New Yorker doesn't seem to be looking down (or up) at the Amish."

HA!

My default position is that when any East Coast media runs a piece like this they are mocking the poor unsophisticated flyover people.

Because of the paywall I can't read this story, but my gut tells me that the theme is hypocrisy. Of the genre that of the "pastor as sex fiend and person who uses prostitutes."

I well recall a New Yorker piece about a gay nightclub in Omaha called "The Max" and a drag beauty contest it runs every year. The angles of the story was: how can such sophisticated stuff from the gay culture be happening in the rube city of Omaha or there are gays in Omaha?

After the piece last week in the New Yorker about how NYC has been invaded by the Chick-a-Filet fast food company, we can now mark the end of that publication as being important and serious.

Anonymous said...

If they are vacationing, who is taking care of the animals?
Cows, chickens, pigs, et al don't have Spring Break.

Otto said...

Ah carnal man. We have our Weinstein but....

Rob said...

Somehow I’m reminded of the SNL classic, “Christmastime for the Jews.” (Not linkable, because the URL contains https, but google it.)

Rob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
m stone said...

The majority of Amish are not farmers. Many lean toward skilled trades, but also work in towns and even take jobs in sales. True Amish would shun mechanized vehicles, although they will ride in vehicles driven by non-Amish. The subjects in the photo essay are likely Mennonites.

Farmers always must have others to cover for their animals: milking cows four times a day is demanding.

As to their vacation behavior, much like many middle-Americans really. Only their dress seems out of place.

M

David A. Carlson said...

Take the Empire Builder, City of New Orleans or the Greyhound. You will find a number of Amish travelling. I guess if your not a deplorable who still relies on that transportation you wouldn't know that.

Mrs Whatsit said...

I'm puzzled by the photographs. Many of our neighbors here in rural New York are Amish, and I've gotten to know some of them a little. It's well understood that they do NOT want to be photographed, and the "English" (non-Amish) people around here, including journalists, carefully respect that. You'll see photographs of the backs of their buggies, or distant shots that don't show faces -- but never, ever any recognizable shots of people's faces like the pictures here. I wonder if the New Yorker snuck these photos without the subjects' consent? Or maybe the prohibition against photographs, like other prohibitions, is relaxed for the happy vacationers?

Now that I look more closely, I see that the caption sneaks in the information that many of the vacationers are Mennonites -- who live around here, too, and are much less restrained than the Amish. They lead lives much closer to those of the mainstream. Maybe the people in the photos are Mennonites - and, in their colorful clothing, they do look more like Mennonites than the Amish folks we know. If that's the case, the New Yorker is being quite dishonest.

AllenS said...

I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but fewer and fewer Amish farm for a living. There's a very large sawmill in New Auburn WI, and the Amish workers seem to have adapted to a large yard (acre or two) where they live close to the sawmill where they work.

Blogger is acting blogy this morning.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that we have both sects in the county here in MT. Next town east has a sign right after you cross the bridge with a buggy indicating that you should watch out for them on the road for the next 20 miles. And, yes, just like Lancaster, you will find buggies on the roads there. Interesting because the town is named for its horses, and rodeoing is big there. Down here, we have the sect that allows motorized vehicles, which means minivans for the women and their flocks of children, and pickups for the men. Saw such yesterday at the post office. Four kids below the age of maybe 10, 3 boys in plaid shirts and jeans, a girl in a long dress and pig tails, and mother with hair pulled back into a bun under an abbreviated bonnet, in an even longer dress. What was remarkable was that the kids, including those three boys, were perfectly behaved. So calm. Normally two or more boys together of those ages means chaos. Not for those kids. The two places you see them most around here are at the grocery store and the library.

They make good neighbors. The men do great handiwork, including making furniture, amidst their farming, and the women cook and run a store across the highway from my partner's ex's ranch. Her uncle visited a couple decades back, and they found him quite entertaining (which was his intent). They would bring sausage and baked goods over with them when they would come to visit to see him perform. And it was some of the best sausage she had ever eaten. Neighbor was tells big me about one of the men whom she hired on occasion to do handiwork around her house. She is supposed to send me his name, so that we can get a (bear proof) screen door put on the front door.

I can't help contrasting their modesty with the article on celebrity women who supposedly need to learn better how to get out of cars in short skirts. Yes, that means the paparazzi sitting around trying to snap beaver shots. Is that race to the bottom by women really good for them? Might it not be better to move back to a time when young women in this country had a bit more modesty? Not the level required by the more militant Muslims, or even the Amish and Mennonites around here, but moving a bit in that direction?

paminwi said...

The Amish man in Waushara county who took apart our old pontoon boat and refurbished it for us took a train to Texas, had someone drive him into Mexico to have surgery done last winter. The surgeon was from Colorado, but the Amish contract him to do surgery in Mexico because there are far fewer regulations on insurance and less personal information required than in the US. He said he took all of his medical records with him. The Amish like their privacy.
By the way, after the marina delivered our boat he had his horses pull the boat into his barn so he could work on it throughout the winter. All canvas coverings were sown with a treadle sewing machine! He did a wonderful job. When asked how he wanted payment he said with a chuckle "I don't take credit cards!" So, cash it was.

buwaya said...

Our family annual holiday was much like this.

We would go for a week to Camp Mather, the San Francisco city-owned summer camp up in the Sierras by the Tuolumne, a few miles downstream from Hetch Hetchy. I don't know about now but back then there was no useful phone service, no tv and no internet of course.

Biking, hiking, horses, ping pong, tennis, and a fine lake/pond. The kids all learned to bike there. We would try to go Fourth of July week, when all the campers would put together a parade.

But, of course, the kids grew up.

I pity the people who can't enjoy a week like that more than I pity the people who can't get away.

Some Seppo said...

I'm not a subscriber. Did the NYT mention Yoder's Restaurant in that community? Excellent food at a good price.

Althouse should note that they serve both onion rings and carrots.

rhhardin said...

Telecommuting makes it possible for young people to keep a dog.

Sal said...

They look like photos taken secretly, and not very good ones at that. But the subjects will probably never know.

Eleanor said...

When you have a dog, you make friends with other people who have a dog. When they vacation, their dog stays with you. When you vacation, your dog stays with them. That's the way the folks who live out in the country do things.

Amexpat said...

Is it because travel is essential (in a way that applies to all or us)

They travel during the winter, so it's more likely a preference for warmer winter weather.

Unknown said...

"4. One of the benefits of limiting your life is that you preserve the potential to get great pleasure from things as simple adult-sized tricycles, swimming, volleyball, shuffleboard, and ice-cream cones."

The basic idea behind self-discipline.

Michael K said...

Our family annual holiday was much like this.

We would go for a week to Camp Mather, the San Francisco city-owned summer camp up in the Sierras


I used to take the kids to Tuolomne Meadows in the Sierra but one year we were robbed so our family vacations became boat trips to Catalina Island. My kids spent se
veral weeks at the island every summer. I finally sold my last boat about 6 years ago.

My younger son takes his kids camping every summer.

When we travel, we have a dog/house sitter stay with the dog. It is only a few dollars more than boarding at a kennel. The dog is much happier, too.

Fritz said...

Across the river in St. Mary's County MD, it's pretty common to see Amish horse and buggies going down the road. They even have hitching posts at the local markets to tie them up at. The Amish do a big business making furniture and sheds to sell to the rest of us (they do great work, relatively inexpensively), and hire truckers to deliver their wares.

Roy Lofquist said...

"Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear" when The New Yorker and The Atlantic were actually reasonably good magazines.

(Classical reference)

HT said...

maybe they just like the coast

Kelly said...

We went camping in northern Indiana where a lot of Amish were also camping. It really surprised me. Isn’t their whole life basically a camp out with no electricity, no cars, no running water. Then I happened upon the laundromat area where the woman were huddled around the machines with tremendous amounts of laundry in big bundles waiting to be washed. It became clear this was a true vacation, at least to the woman. They also ordered a lot of pizza using the lodges telephone.

eddie willers said...

Say what you will, but they sure look happy.

etienne said...

There is a "Clean and Green" tax deduction in the Northeast states.

By not farming the land, they get a tax deduction for keeping the area clean and green with beautiful properties.

Since there is no farm work to do, the money they would pay in taxes can be used to get the hell out of the state for awhile.

MaxedOutMama said...

Ann - it's not as hard to travel with a dog as you would think. Very many hotels are pet-friendly now. It would be different, and of course if you want to travel to an urban environment and wander around and take photos, that is not suitable for the dog. You would need to leave pooch home with a sitter.

As for the vacation - Amish and Mennonite people like to be warm also, and crave the sun after a few months of dark cold weather. The photos seemed to be more Mennonite than Amish. It's more I think that it is set up to make it easy for them - they can basically live their way and mostly, get there and back easily.

We went to the beach when we were young. It wasn't forbidden by any means. My grandfather, who was from a different background entirely, even moved to the Sarasota area (which is where Pinecraft is).

Rockport Conservative said...

The Amish and Mennonites have certainly traveled to our community of Rockport, Texas. They have come in groups and have repaired and rebuilt homes for those who need help. They are still here and in the surrounding communities, one group will leave and go home as soon as others are here to take their place. We value them and their skills very highly in this area.
We do have a video of some of the women dipping their toes in the water at the beach.

Temujin said...

I live in Sarasota. It's such a wonderfully beautiful and bizarre town full of natural beauty, generations of native Floridians, a base mix of midwesterners, north-easterners, a lot of Canadians, a load of upscale vacationers and 2nd homers from all over the world, and our Mennonite community. The Amish/Mennonites are a firm foundation of our community and though the article points out that they come and go, many stay here and have been here for generations. They are a part of Sarasota. The pies on our Thanksgiving table came from them.

It's a very cool town.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I'm saying Mennonite as well. Both groups, especially the Amish, continue to grow in number, and are spreading well beyond Pennsylvania.

Joe said...

Wow, the photographs are awful.