By Kevin Williams
AMISH SNOWBIRD HOTEL: The Dutch Hospitality Group, which owns and operates Der Dutchmanb, and a host of other Amish-themed properties, is building a 100 room hotel in Pinecraft, the increasingly congested Amish enclave of Sarasota. Amish people arrive in Pinecraft by the busload during winter and snap up about every available room in the tiny village. So the hope is that this new hotel might ease some of the pent up demand for beds. Amish people will absolutely stay at modern, amenity-filled hotels when traveling, in fact, that is one of the joys of traveling for the Amish: they can use modern conveniences that simply wouldn't be tolerated at home: TV, microwaves, microfridges, and hot showers are favorites. I have a feeling this hotel will find themselves booked solid during the winters. Click here to read more.
MILLIE'S "ALMOST LASAGNA" - Millie Otto is Amish and writes a column from her home in Arthur, Illinois. This week she shares a recipe for "almost lasagna" and writes about the tradition of having "Pepsi and tacos" on Christmas Eve. Her particular church is definitely more.....progressive and worldly....than some horse and buggy groups. Click here to read her column.
RISE AND ROLL: This is quite a success story...an Amish husband and wife start selling doughnuts from their cedar chest shop. I have sampled their caramel cinnamon doughnuts and they are amazing. The challenge now - like any growing business - is whether they can remain connected to their roots even as they grow. If there caramel cinnamon doughnuts eventually become soggy facsimilies of what they once were then that would be quite a shame. That said, it appears they are handling the growth in a measured, good way. Click here to read the article.
"WEDDING HOUSES" - Okay, for the past decade or so "wedding wagons" have been a trend among the Amish. Wedding wagons are basically portable kitchens that can be towed onto a property. The kitchens are equipped with ovens, stoves, utensils, work space, linen, table service, and anything else needed to feed a crowd. Now, Amish entrepreneurs have jumped into the market with "mobile wedding houses", temporary structures meant to hold large groups that congregate for Amish weddings. Click here to read more. Fascinating trend!
BECOMING AMISH: This is a fascinating story (ahem, if any family are reading this...Christmas list, please?) and I should read it. This book is about Bill and Tricia Moser who attempted to, and for awhile did, join the Amish. What happened to them and what is their story? Read a review in the Mennonite World Review to find out more. You can purchase the book from Amazon and read more reviews here. I hope to one day catch up with the Mosers. I once tried to visit them when they lived near Marion, Michigan, but all I found was an abandoned property. And I think I once missed them in an Ohio Amish settlement by a day or two....Successful converts to the Amish are rare, but I have met several successful ones...so it does happen on occasion.