Porches carry us away from our solitary computer screens and cell phones. On porches, the world flows by and for once, we don’t have to comment, tweet, or post. We just get together, usually with people we care about, to share news, eat meals, and relax. Or we sit on the porch—or its descendant, a deck—alone and marvel how good it feels just to do nothing.

For one lucky Osterville family, porch living is a morning, afternoon — and all night long — pleasure.

On porches, we put our feet up, maybe swing or rock; if we’re lucky, we snooze in hammocks. On Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, porches are for shucking sweet peas in June and fresh corn in August; porches are settings for summer picnics, clambakes, and lobster boils; for Fourth of July cocktails and watching fireworks over the marsh, the ocean, the bay, or the sound. Seaside porches become showcases for shell collections, cool beach rocks, sea glass finds, and driftwood discoveries.

The Porch Life

Photo by Dan Cutrona

The days when every home had a porch of some kind are gone, but all over the Cape and the Islands—on old houses, sprawling seaside contemporaries, and even tucked onto condominiums—porches are still special places where memories are made.

The Porch Life

Photo by Dan Cutrona

In Osterville, on a rambling side street close to the village, is an antique home that has porches on every side. Looking at the house, you might think these porches date to the late 1800s when the house was located on the sleepy Cape village’s Main Street. Sometime after the turn of the century, the house was moved to its current location to make way for a new library.