Front Porch Society


Many years ago, front porches were an important part of our society. People would gather on the front porch after dinner in the evening, sitting in straight chairs or more likely rocking chairs, and talk with each other. No TV, no video games. They talked, and not only with each other but with passers-by and neighbors, and kept an eye on the neighborhood children. This provided a sense of community and cohesiveness and may have solved a lot of problems.

DCF 1.0

Today most houses don’t have front porches, or if they do, they aren’t used. As neighborhoods get larger, communication ceases. I loved our first house in Evanston, Illinois; it had a front porch, and the first thing we did was buy some rocking chairs and sit outside. We met all our neighbors that way!
Today we have a lake house with a front porch, but it’s so far from the road that sitting there is not likely to encourage interaction. That’s when I discovered the beauty of the back deck and the boat house deck. We have visitors on a regular basis to our lake house, and one of the joys of those visits is sitting out on the back deck in the morning with coffee and the evening with a glass of wine and just talking.

The boat house has an extensive deck, and when the weather is warm we bring down a cooler with drinks and food or snacks and sit on the deck. Boats going in and out of our cove have to go slow – it’s a no wake zone – and that almost always leads to conversations with the people on the boats. We swim in the cove and will occasionally swim over to another boat deck and chat with the people sitting there. Sometimes, if everyone is in the water, we gather floating on our noodles and just talk.

Our boat deck in the fall

Our boat deck in the fall

View from the dock

View from the dock

As our lives have evolved, so have our front porches!


10 thoughts on “Front Porch Society

  1. Oh my goodness what a view. I’m so jealous! We have a pretty tight community in our neighborhood, but we live pretty close to one another. In fact, it wasn’t until I moved to Japan that I started feeling a sense of community. I could walk down the street and have the local venders stop and wave me over for a chat. It’s a nice feeling.

  2. What a delightful spot you have. Being able to swim out to the boats and have a chat sounds perfect. Your back deck is the new front porch in your house. Front porches were never a big architectural feature in Australia. Some house had them but more just to keep the rain off visitors or whilst you got the keys out. I used to look with envy at the old US movies where the courtship was conducted on the swinging chair on the front porch.

  3. What a lovely front porch at your lake house! I always think of US films when I think of porches. Like Tara in Gone with the Wind! Sounds great with a glass of wine and good company for a conversation about…anything 🙂

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