Saturday, May 7, 2016

Porches and She-sheds: Inspiration from our Southern Exposure

One of many impressive residences in Charleston, land of the charming porches

A recent on-line article from Country Living Magazine, '21 Ways to Revive the  Lost Art of Porching' provides tips for your outdoor habitat including decorating, pastimes, cuisine and, while your at it, even a refresher on how to perfect your 'hey neighbor' wave. This how-to guide came just at the right time, as  I was planning a "porch revival" of my own, inspired by my recent trip down south where patios, balconies and terraces were de rigueur of every place we stayed.

In Michigan, where six months out of the year due to cold and snow,  you see neither bugs nor your neighbors (and mostly, I'm okay with that), it is a nice change of pace to be in a comfy outdoor space from sunset to sundown . Add a flair of southern charm and gentility and it's hard to think of a better way to sit away an afternoon.

Starting our outdoor living with my in-laws

Hello sunset, we've been waiting for you!
We started out our trip in Florida and spent our first evening at the Beach House on Holmes Beach. Here we ate fresh seafood on the patio and watched for the pink and orange sunset sky to appear, as though we were waiting for the crystal ball to fall in Times Square on New Year's Eve. AWE-some!

Now, we're just getting warmed up!

I would have stayed here and porch sat in 1888.

Rockin' out the porch at Flager College

A few days later, we drove up to St. Augustine and visited Flager College, the home of one of the original Gilded Age hotels, the Ponce De Leon. After a tour, Chris took a break on a comfortable rocking chair - an essential porch furnishing.

San Souci veranda at Jekyll Island. We could live on this porch.- and I think we did.

Our porch at Jekyll Island was, however, the most beautiful of any we have seen or sat. It was a classic southern style veranda with views of the river. We watched the sunset, ordered pizza, enjoyed breakfast and sipped tea on that porch.

Watching the sunset over the river.

Carry out pizza on the porch. We can't leave.

Yes, getting in some more porch sitting with room service breakfast.
Of course, morning tea on the porch.

It was hard to leave, but then we came to Charleston, the land of many porches.

Beautiful Charleston home porch .  .  . 

another expansive terrace. . . 

. . . they are everywhere and gorgeous!

In fact, we even dined at a restaurant called Poogan's Porch. It did, indeed, have a lovely outdoor terrace where we sampled delicious local cuisine, including shrimp and grits, and watched the busy and colorful street scene below.

Poogan's Porch, views with grit(s)!

Enjoying views and local cuisine on Poogan's Porch.

How can one stay only two days in Charleston? Well, it's difficult with all these enticing outdoor spaces. Even our hotel had a rooftop terrace overlooking the city.

Hotel rooftop terrace. Yet another lovely evening!

Our final stop before heading back to Detroit was in Asheville. At this point, we just couldn't eat dinner indoors and the weather continued to cooperate. We supped at the Country Kitchen in the historic Biltmore Village. Oh, how one gets used to feting in a dining room sans walls.

The Country Kitchen with outdoor dining.
Our hotel in Asheville had a scenic balcony with views of the mountains. All this got us thinking. . .

Our hotel balcony in Asheville provided us with some inspiration.

Lucky for us, the weather in our home state finally started warming up upon our return. This weekend, we're at our northern retreat and it's really great to be enjoying the outdoors again.

But, with all this recent inspiration, we've decided to up our game - enhance the decks and add some charm to the side patio.

 View just waiting for a she-shed porch.

Oh, and the she-shed, too. That's another Country Home inspired dwelling, and I'm planning out mine. It will, of course, have a porch with a view and be the perfect spot for a cup of tea.

In the meantime, I'll work on perfecting my 'hey neighbor' wave.

No comments: