Charleston, South Carolina -- As I was riding to historic Charleston, the driver told me, “Take a look at the front porches. Your tour guide will say they’re for prevailing winds, but they’re not. What the tours don’t tell you is that homes were taxed on the frontage, so those that are narrow and big have porches off to the side.”
He continued, “If the porches were meant to catch the breeze, then why are they all on different sides?"
And sure enough, that is exactly what the tour guide told me. Which is correct? I decided I didn’t care, because the tax story is plausible and interesting. What I did see were homes with long, multi-level side porches. The houses immediately adjacent didn’t have many windows overlooking them so as to give the residents privacy. Apparently, they lived and slept on their verandas during the hot, humid months.
Beaufort, South Carolina -- The historic home district in Beaufort was much more modest in size and scale. But the front porches still ruled. They wrapped around one or two sides, and were plenty wide to hold many people; not as long or narrow as in Charleston. They felt more practical. Or, perhaps it was seeing the two wooden rocking chairs that graced almost every one that made the verandas more welcoming.
Tybee Island, Georgia -- Sitting on the Tybee Island Lighthouse grounds is a rare example of a raised plantation house. This home style starts on the 2nd story (think flooding), with a big staircase up to the front door and a massive wraparound front porch. I think this one ranks as the favorite porch I visited. You could enter it from multiple spots off the first floor, and from the elevated perch, catch views and breezes.
All over I saw sky blue outside ceilings. Why? Allegedly, birds and bugs think it’s the sky and don’t build nests and webs.
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My southern hospitality takeaway is to make your front entrance more inviting. Flower boxes and a rocking chair or two, and a gallon of blue ceiling paint. With sweet tea in hand.
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Katie Pocras, MBA, Associate Broker
Location Real Estate