The Charleston Art of Porch Sittin'

Rain or shine, day or night, on the front or on the side, Charlestonians are experts in the fine art of porch-sitting.  Even our President remarked in 2008 that  “Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and on the front porches of Charleston.”  In one fell swoop, our porches became famous.

Not that it was necessary.  Not that it changed what we do.  

From the beginning of Charleston’s times, the porch (or piazza) has played an integral part of our lives.  Our porches are wide – 12 feet is ideal, and scattered with lounging couches and rocking chairs, dining tables, swings and joggling boards.  We are lost without them.  Where else would we sit and idly watch the passersby?  Where else would we dine with our family on a cool fall evening?  Is there a better place to entertain our friends on a sultry Lowcountry night, cold glass of wine in hand?  Would a morning cup of joe even taste right without the experience of the sunrise as the birds chirp their morning madness?  How would people know that it’s ok to just drop in unless they saw us practicing our art?  

Entire life-changing philosophies are created on our porches.  Loves are sparked, businesses are born, relationships are forged….

I’ve seen new developments being built in Charleston with nary even a balcony in sight.  I say to them – you are obviously not from here.  You obviously don’t get what it is to be a Charlestonian. We need our porch, our outside, our connectedness to nature, our town and our community.

Perhaps it was under the influence of Obama, or perhaps people are just waking up, but the porch is making a comeback.  All of a sudden, a porch is being seen as a way to connect people to their communities (imagine!).  It’s neighborly and charming and is an American Icon.  So check out the recent Post and Courier article about porches.  Get one on your house (if you don’t have one already) or find a home here that has one, and practice the fine art of porch sittin’.  You’ll discover a whole new beautiful world.

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2 Responses to The Charleston Art of Porch Sittin'

  1. Pingback: Master Preservationist Program-Day Nine. The Glory of Charleston’s Gardens | Charleston InsideOut

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