August 7, 2020

Are porches becoming a thing of the past?

Are porches becoming a thing of the past?, Bayfront Westcott House
BY: BAYFRONT WESTCOTT HOUSE The porches have always been my favorite place at Bayfront Westcott house, and maybe in this world. It has been home to many plants, a few stray songbirds, and our guests spend countless pleasant hours there. The wicker chairs provide a comfortable place for morning coffee or afternoon wine, and we are far enough from the sidewalk to have privacy, but close enough to see up and down the street and wave to people walking by. When the breeze stirs the ferns and the American flag, the porch glistens in the sun, and the red geraniums compete with the blue sky for attention, there is no more beautiful and peaceful place in the world for me. For me, this is home, and all seems right with the world. I am sure many of you have fond memories of porches, childhood, and summer nights. The social role of porches as a transition space between indoors and outdoors and as a link between private and public realms evolved during the 1800s. By offering grand entrances and sheltered landings with views of the surroundings, prominent porches became expected features of inns, hotels, and resort spas, where they could serve as promenades, social gathering spots, and refuges for more private retreats. Porches were also added to private homes to serve many of these same functions. As the country began to thrive and expand, porches became more than just covered entrances or ceremonial features; they became an integral part of domestic social life. The second half of the nineteenth century was the golden era of porches. The social role of the porch evolved into an outdoor parlor, an extension of the house into the landscape. Often partially screened by shrubs, porches could provide occupants with discreet opportunities for social contacts that might otherwise be difficult to achieve in an age obsessed with manners and proprieties. For many, sitting on the porch became an important part of their daily routine. Unfortunately, new inventions helped lead to its decline in the twentieth century. As the automobile boom of the early twentieth century made it easier for people to get out of the house for entertainment and relaxation, porches began to lose popularity, especially as architectural styles and social attitudes changed. With the telephone, neighbors and friends could chat without personally meeting. And housing styles popularized after World War II often omitted front porches all together as backyard patios became the focus of private outdoor activities. Finally, in the mid-twentieth century the broad availability of air conditioning and television enticed many people to stay inside at night and brought the golden era of the American porch to an end. Of course, our porches are here to stay! Our wrap around porches with beautiful views of the Matanzas bay possess a tranquility of peace and relaxation. Wicker love seats and chairs with soft cozy cushions line the porches. Listen to the fountain trickling in the background, birds singing and yes even in the hot summer there is usually a breeze from Matanzas Bay, which is just across the street. We invite you to sit on our porches and reminisce of your favorite porch memories.  

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Are porches becoming a thing of the past?, Bayfront Westcott House

146 Avenida Menendez St. Augustine, FL 32084 United States | (904) 825-4602  | onthebay@westcotthouse.com

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