The Porch

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Mark Twain

(love the Vivienne Westwood-esque booties!)

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Scarlett flirted with the Tarleton twins there.  Atticus lovingly dispensed his infinite wisdom to Scout and Jem on the porch, their swing gently moving in the still night.  It was a favoured place of repose for the great Mark Twain, one of my literary heroes, his witticisms slicing through the cigar smoke hanging heavily upon the wysteria scented air. What thoughts come to mind for you when you hear the word “porch”?  I would venture they are pleasant, perhaps tinged with nostalgia.  For me, as you can see, it’s a connection to the Deep South, albeit only a literary one, as I hail from much cooler climes- and therein probably lies one of the very reasons I’m so enamored of the porch, this most classic and beloved element of traditional American architecture. But who doesn’t love the front porch and all the romantic, idyllic images it evokes?  The creaking rockers, white wicker and striped awnings, the tinkling of chilled glasses of lemonade and fireflies flitting frantically here and there amongst the night blooming jasmine…heady stuff indeed.  In a world that rushes by at much too fast a pace to suit my rhythms, I find it  comforting to harken back to the days of Twain, Williams, Faulkner and Harper Lee, when a single summer felt like a lifetime.

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Slim Paley Photo

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Slim Paley Photo

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Slim Paley Photo

It was true love  when I first set eyes upon our home, so many years ago now, the front porch slightly decayed but still gracious, the gigantic oak tree standing vigil.  There’s just something about a good old-fashioned American front porch that pulls more at my heart-strings than any other part of the home.  Mention a screened porch and I’m likely to swoon-  Add rain on a corrugated metal roof – I’m in HEAVEN!

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Painting by Diane Johnson

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.Maison Couturier porch

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New Book!

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Oak Alley

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New Orleans

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Scarlet and The Tarleton Twins on the front porch at Tara

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Southern Writers

William Faulkner, Reynolds Price

Eudora Welty, William Styron

Mark Twain

Tennessee Williams, Shelby Foote

Truman Capote

Carson McCullers, Alice Walker

Harper Lee, Maya Angelou

(Please feel free to add to my list :) )

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Photo from “Rural Escapes- A Celebration of American Country Homes”

My Dream Porch Has:

Lots of comfortable furniture, books & magazines, a day bed, lots of throws and pillows, soft lighting, hanging lanterns, pots of flowers and ferns, candles, music, a wooden screen door, a stoop to ‘set’ on, a Scrabble game, an old coke machine, a wide wood plank floor, peeling paint, fire flies, and last but certainly not least, family and good friends!   Oh wait! I forgot the lemonade martinis!

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Slim Paley Photo

The front porch of the Inn at The Grand Canyon

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Slim Paley photo………..Walking out to the porch in Sun Valley

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I love paintings of women reading..

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Slim Paley Photo………………My wrap around porch in Sun Valley…

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Slim Paley Photo.……….Wraps around to this screened octagon (with a metal roof :) )

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Photo from “Rural Escapes”

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New Book!

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I love this painted wooden deck

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Birmingham News Living photo

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Lemon and Green Apple Thirst Quencher

(from SQUEEZED by Jane Lawson)

1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

6 green apples. stalks removed

Mint leaves to garnish

Pour the lemon juice into a serving pitcher.  Juice the apples in a juicer.  Add the apple juice to the lemon juice and stir. Serve over ice, garnished with mint leaves.

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The Best Porch Ever

Atticus and Jem

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Thanks for stoppin’ by!.

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Sun Valley Shopping Serenade

Slim Paley photo……………………..Front Hall  Sun Valley

Slim Paley photo…………..Winter from the porch

Slim Paley…………………………………….. Spring skiing. Sun Valley, Idaho

.It was fun to finally get back up to Sun Valley again this weekend.

Spectacular weather, gorgeous cornflower blue skies and just enough snow left on the mountain to have a great ski day without the huge crowds.  As I’m still getting used to my single eye lasik surgery, I chose not to ski (even though these conditions are perfect for a woos skier like me)

 Oh, let’s be honest- when I get up there and nestled into my cozy house, or walking around in town, I can’t be bothered with all the schlepping involved in getting myself together to ski for just a couple of days.  Is that so wrong??!!  Our younger son and his friend had a great time  “shredding” the slopes and I love their ruddy cheeks when I pick them up at the end of the day.  Of course I never get those. I just get a runny nose, red eyes, severe helmet-head and shaky thighs.

So instead, I was once again selfless and devoted my Saturday afternoon to doing a little reconnaissance shopping for this post.  We’ve been Sun Valley-ites for many years now so I often get inquiries as to what to do, where to shop, where to eat… It would be an awfully long post if I included everything in one go, so herewith, are just the results of yesterday’s wanderings within a two block radius (I told you I was slow)

Naturally, the first stop is ALWAYS my favourite bookstore ;

Slim Paley photo

Although I miss the decrepit charms of the older locations, The Iconoclast in it’s newest setting is still, in my opinion, the best book store in town.  They have fantastic inventory, helpful, enthusiastic staff and have managed to retain that overwhelming feeling of excitement when you walk through the door.

 Need it. Want it. Gotta have it!!

Slim Paley…………………….Oh Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Slim Paley …………………….Chock-a-block Children’s section

Fun special events and a small cafe for those family members who are a little quicker with their book choices than others.

A pretty hip selection of magazines

and some interesting ‘Staff Picks’

BTW, have you read “The Lost City of Z; A Tale of Deadly Obsession in The Amazon” yet?  I enjoyed it very much. It tells the true story of the famous Victorian explorer Percy Fawcett’s  final expedition into the Amazon along with his young son and son’s best friend. 

Fawcett was obsessed with finding the lost city of El Dorado (The City of Gold) and had been to the Amazon several times before, but with each expedition the city eluded him.  He was convinced this final attempt, following intricate maps and codes he had created to keep other explorers at bay, would end in success.

  In the Victorian era, when adventurers were the rock stars of the day and Fawcett was one of the most highly respected of them all, the whole world watched and waited…but the trio was never to be seen or heard from again.  Heeby-Jeeby inducing accounts of insects, fevers and oozing pustules…all those icky adventure bits that make you squirm while happily tucked in your cozy bed instead of some steaming tent in the Amazon jungle.

  God I love my flannel sheets when I read these kind of books :)

Continuing down the street from The Iconoclast you’ll find a string of lovely shops including;

Slim Paley

Pure is a lovely one stop shop for lotions, potions, and make-up.

Cute little manicure sets at Pure $25

.Directly across the street from Pure sits “The Open Room” again, in a new location, much bigger and brighter than it’s previous spot.  Lots of goodies here for the home and garden, ranging from tableware, linens, and cushions to outdoor furniture.  Local craft persons are featured – but not like, you know, Dream-Catcher crafts.  I fell in love with the large photo of old Havana below but it was a little out of my Saturday Strolling budget.  Instead, I settled for a Man In the Moon Face Squishy Stress Ball for my desk that my son tried to hide because “God Mom- that’s like so disTURBing”   (Do you ever notice how many things are “disTURBing” to teen-agers??

Unique hand-thrown porcelain by local ceramic artisan Lauren Street.  (Dishwasher, oven and micro-wave safe)

Don’t think I wasn’t tempted to save these for the last installment of my Black & White posts!

Slim Paley………I had to take this photo from the side to minimize  reflections, so I didn’t really do it justice.

“Golf Saleta, Havana” by Andrew Moore Chromogenic print (1999) Edition  #2/5  40″ X 50″

Spring porch

SFP Studios” in the same complex as The Open Room had a wonderful exhibit of photos shot in Africa by Stephanie Perenchio.  I peeked through the windows but unfortunately  the studio was closed by the time I arrived. 

Again in the same complex (Lucky for all the other shops!)

Ciro Market & Wine Merchants; wine bar, food to go, live music (wonderful pianist and guitar player) and a fantastically delicious restaurant.

‘Must Have’ are the homemade Truffle and Parmesan Crisps.  OH. MY.

Slim Paley

Delightful take-out from Ciro - Large entree (which serves two) plus two sides, dessert and a bottle of vino for $32.95

giant killer bread sticks

A little further down the road you will arrive at Tully’s, THE place to get your Frapp on or some sweet hot chai tea after skiing.

Slim Paley

Slim Paley photo

Right around the corner from Tully’s is Elizabeth Lucas Home.  Elizabeth has been a popular retailer and interior designer in the area for many years.

She has a great selection of pewter and Simon Pierce stemware

Autumn on the porch

And lastly, although not in the same block as the above shops, but within walking distance (just passed Atkinson’s grocery store)  is  The Picket Fence.

Recently renovated, The Picket Fence has grown into a much larger and beautiful space that includes two floors of wonderful finds for every room in your home, including kitchen and bath.

They also have a great selection of books, and carry Diane James silk flowers.

I’m a big fan of Diane James silk floral arrangements.  They are incredibly realistic, very well made and let’s be real, sometimes there just isn’t the time to pull living arrangements together, especially for vacation homes and areas where it is difficult to find fresh flowers year-round.

This little “Monkey Tree” looks so realistic I want to plant it by my front porchWell, that’s all the shopping investigative work I had time for before picking the boys up from the mountain. Please note that I didn’t mention clothes, not even once. But there are some fab clothing stores, as well as really great jewelers, eye glass shops, and of course sports outfitters.  I promise to get around to more Sun Valley shops and restaurants, as well as fun things to do as we draw closer to summer.

Speaking of clothes,  I would be terribly remiss if I didn’t warn you that I wore my Target denim leggings for the first time on Friday (after I posted) and  was hugely disappointed. They stretch out BIG TIME but don’t bounce back.

I’ve seen elephants with tighter knees.

Sorry about that.  Next time I won’t post about $12 steals until I wear them first.  :(

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I don’t find the Stress Balls disturbing, do you?! (I got the one on the back left)

Hope YOU had a great weekend!

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