It all started when I asked a kind of nosy question. A few years ago, I was sitting in my Amish friend’s kitchen having coffee with her and one of her daughters. It was late February and we were talking about the snow on the ground, the freezing temperatures, and how spring just couldn’t come soon enough.
Then I noticed how tan her daughter was.
I knew I shouldn’t ask why she was tan in February, but after a while I couldn’t help myself. With a smile, she told me that she’d just gotten back from a week’s vacation in Pinecraft.
I had never heard of it.
Right away, the conversation took a sharp turn. Soon, we were talking about Siesta Key and sugar-sand beaches. Riding bicycles instead of driving buggies. Smelling fresh flowers, eating strawberries, and playing volleyball and shuffle board.
It all sounded wonderful to me!
And it is. Pinecraft stole my heart last February when I visited. My husband and I walked on Siesta Key, visited Pinecraft Park, and stood in line at Yoder’s for slices of key lime pie. We had pizza with Amish friends and ice cream cones in the afternoon.
It was warm. It was beautiful. By the time we boarded the plane, I was already planning the Amish Brides of Pinecraft Series. It launches with The Promise of Palm Grove in February.
So, pour yourself a glass of iced tea, slip on a pair of flip flops, and get ready to be charmed by a lovely place located in the heart of Sarasota, Florida.
Maybe, like me, you’ll be anxious to return again and again.
With blessings to you,

The Latest from Shelley's Journal

Bride Blog: Let Them Eat Cake!

Posted at Aug 14, 2015 5:35 am

Traditionally, wedding cakes were made to bring good luck to all the guests and the couple (according to Wikipedia, at least).  A quick internet search reveals that while the presentation of wedding cakes may have changed a lot over the years, some of the traditions and superstitions surrounding them remain the same. 

When Travis and I (Laurie) got engaged, his aunt announced she had been taking cake decorating classes specifically so she could make our wedding cake.  We were excited, so Aunt Paula and I immediately started talking about the cake design and flavors.  We decided to have one tier of chocolate cake and another tier of white cake with raspberry filling.  We selected lemon cake and spice cake for the other tiers.  I knew I didn’t want the tiers to be stacked, and Travis could have cared less about the cake–as long as it tasted good and I didn’t smash it in his face.  Referring to the stacks of bridal magazines I had accumulated over the years, I selected an arrangement that was unique to me at that time.  A 5-tier cascade wedding cake stand was required to achieve the look.  I located a cake supply store about thirty minutes from my home that assured me the had that exact stand.  Thankfully, it was available to rent on the date we had chosen for our wedding day.  Fantastic! 

When we arrived at our reception, Aunt Paula raced over to me with a look of panic in her eyes.  She explained that the cake stand was similar to what I had wanted, but it wasn’t the RIGHT one.  When I saw it, I didn’t care that one tier was “out of place.”  The cake was gorgeous!  We were so touched knowing how much time she had spent creating this beautiful cake for our special day.   And it was incredibly delicious!  In fact, years and years later, people will occasionally mention how tasty our wedding cake was.  


Jennifer Beckstrand

I love the wedding cake! It’s a work of art that we get to eat. When my first daughter got married, I was quite shocked at the price of a wedding cake, and we even got it at a discount because my daughter’s good friend made it for her. But, we also learned the hard way that you get what you pay for.

At my third daughter’s wedding, a relative generously offered to make the cake as a wedding present. We were very grateful, but when the the reception started, the cake had not arrived. About halfway through the reception, the frantic relative came and put the cake together right there on the spot. It got there just in time to take a few pictures and cut it. It was delicious, and better late than never. Jennifer Aug 3Jennifer Aug 1Jennifer Aug 2

Shelley Shepard Gray

We had a beautiful cake at our wedding. It was a surprise to me, as I’ve shared before, my father planned most of the wedding in Houston while I taught my first year of school in Arizona. I don’t really recall what it tasted like. Most of our reception passed in a blur.

However, I certainly remember two things about that cake after our wedding!

One was the top of the cake. I have no idea what it was made out of, but it was hard, felt indestructible, and could be used as a decoration. That said, I wasn’t sure where to put it. For years, we carried it from apartment to our first house, then our second house. Each time, I tentatively displayed the top of our cake in odd places.

It was big. It was girly, and to be honest, having a decoration sitting around that was once edible kind of creeped me out. We finally tossed the top of our cake into the trash before we got transferred to Colorado.

The second wedding cake memory was a piece of leftover wedding cake. We were supposed to eat on our one year anniversary. The caterer had cut off a HUGE chunk of cake and wrapped it in layers of waxed paper, foil and plastic wrap. It was about the size of a six pound roast.

Of course it had to be stored in our freezer. That would have been fine-if we had any room in our freezer. Our first year of marriage, we lived in a little apartment with a tiny freezer. The cake took up most of the space.

Our freezer literally held three ice trays and a giant piece of cake.

As the weeks went by, my husband kept asking if we ‘had’ to save that piece of cake for one year. Of course I said yes! (now I don’t even remember why we were supposed to save that piece!)

The afternoon of our first anniversary, I took out that piece to thaw, and after we came home from dinner we unwrapped it. It was soggy and stale. After we each had our bite, it went into the trash. The next day, my husband proudly bought some chicken and popped it in the freezer! Ha!

I haven’t thought about all of that in years. Thanks, Laurie, for the fun memory!

Shelley August


Be the first to leave a comment

More Journal Posts »