Why such a random topic as porches and pumpkins on a blog post you might ask?  Fall is a great time to capture porches adorned in the season’s splendor, isn’t that reason enough? 🙂  There’s just so much beauty around this time of year.  A couple months ago I had posted some of my summer garden flowers on Instagram and I happened to have a picture of our porch.  “Wow, you have a porch, in my dreams!” exclaims SkipRatSusie in Yorkshire, England.  I guess we do take porches for granted?  So, I set about trying to find out more about the American porches.  Thanks Susie for the inspiration, I think I learned a few things myself.  All the pictures taken for this post are mine, some from our neighborhood, some from our travels and a couple from our own porch.

The most striking cultural significance of the front porch is its connection to nature and the land.  Throughout our history, Americans have enjoyed the great outdoors.  The porch in essence was an outdoor living room.  The porch signified the cultural ideals of family, nature and community.

The tradition of gracing an American home with a front porch goes back to the early days of the country’s history.  Porches are synonymous with American culture as apple pie.  It is a transitional space between the private world of the family and the more public area of the street.  In the early days before air-conditioned homes, families retired to their front porches after supper for a bit of reprieve from the harsh humid heat of the day.  Parents talked about the day’s work, arm chairs or porch swings were common, children played together and everyone enjoyed the cooler temperatures as the sun set.

The majority of the first immigrants that came to America were from Europe.  They brought with them their European architectural traditions. These traditions did not however feature a porch.  It is said that the first porches in America were built by the immigrants from Africa. It is also noted that porches first grew popular in the south.

See some of the gorgeous southern mansions above on our trip to New Orleans for Jazz Fest earlier this year.  The picture below was a plantation home that we visited just outside of New Orleans. It featured a wrap-around porch.

 

If you look at porches nowadays, you’ll find rocking chairs, a porch swing, chairs and a table.  Some are more elaborate.   On most holidays porches accent the season.  It could be pumpkins and gourds, wreaths and berries around Christmas time, or decorated green on St. Patrick’s Day.  I recall a friend visiting us from Australia a few years ago.  She found it quite fascinating walking around the neighborhood with camera in hand, capturing the wreaths on the doors, the decorated porches, the patriotism of the American flag flying proudly in the wind and the welcome mats depicting warmth and hospitality as you entered the front door.

 

Porches in America aren’t as pronounced anymore as in our yesterdays.  Air conditioning, televisions and the comforts of home tend to leave the porches more abandoned as a way of entertainment.  You still see some being used in the summer time, but for the most part decks and patios in the backyard are the way to escape.

Here’s a typical porch in our neighborhood.  The American flag flying high, the chrysanthemums depicting the Fall season and comfortable seating outdoors.  I have seen people reading the Sunday newspapers on that porch, so all’s not lost when enjoying the great outdoors on the front porch.

 

Here’s a glimpse of porches decorated for the Fall season.  Pumpkins, gourds, mums and seasonal fare adorn the front steps of the porch.

 

I know Safari of the Mind reaches readers far and wide across the globe, so I am putting together a few collages to give you an idea.

 

Last but not least, is our porch below.  We do enjoy sitting outdoors in the summer time, enjoying gin and tonics or a glass of wine.  It’s always fun talking to the people who pass by.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed a wee bit of how the American porch came to be.  I’d like to link this post to my blogger buddy Johanne, who blogs @ French Gardener Dishes.  She has quite a following on her porch posts, so here’s a couple of her posts to give you some ideas on furnishing and enhancing the area and for those who do not have porches, please enjoy her creativity.  Use the search button to look for further posts.

Autumn Welcome on the Front Porch

Thanksgiving Welcome on the Front Porch

 

 

16 Replies to “Porches and Pumpkins”

  1. Wow…some great porches I love them that is one thing that has always struck me on family visits those beautiful porches and how open fronted the houses are…We have a patio area to the front but behind big gates so not so open…:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it certainly is inviting when the porches are open fronted the way they are. I know a lot of homes have the large gates in front, so one cannot take a peek as to what is going on behind those gates 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My favorite places in our home are the front and the back porches. We spend lots of time just sitting and watching life from these two well loved places. This post is just lovely. I am a Southerner and can live without many things, but a porch is not one I care to live without. Happy November.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I know you are a Southerner Teresa…..not one, but two porches? Wow! Do you use one more than the other and on different occasions? Do the mosquitoes bother you at all? I know there’s a certain time in the evenings when they do bite after the sun goes down, so we do light citronella candles which usually keeps them at bay.

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  3. A lovely post Loretta. Growing-up in the Southern US, a porch was a necessity. We had a front porch just as you described and a screened-in back porch. The screened in back porch was for living and the front porch was more for show. At our last home in the US, we had lovely porch with two rocking chairs and yes it was nice to sit and enjoy a G&T or glass of wine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ron. Whereabouts were you in the Southern US? Yes, sad to say most of the front porches are more for show these days, but there seems to be a resurgence of the front porches these days or so they say. Back patios or porches are more in use now, especially with the outdoor built in kitchens, or the fire pit that so many homes now boast of….it makes sitting outside and partaking in activities even in December more doable with these additions.

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