We love Holiday decorations here at Row House and wanted to share some of the festive row house decorations we’ve seen this year.
Decorating for the winter holidays seems to transcend all religions and cultures. Since the color of nature has pretty much abandoned the city at this point, it only seems fitting that the row houses take over, at least for a short while, before the gray of winter sets in. We absolutely love how some owners have decorated their row houses and storefronts for the holidays.
Here, the idea is to hang your wreaths by closing the window on a ribbon. Voila! No nails needed. Your row house will thank you.
We love how our historic neighborhood looks during the fall, especially how people decorate for Halloween. We typically spend the evening walking about. Below were some of our favorite haunts of the evening.
This row house had a costume. I wish I had a better camera for these night shots but this homeowner turned their row house into a ship, complete with sail and cannons. These Federal row houses are fantastic with minimal decoration but this was really creative. Inside, the party-goers were in nautical costumes as well. This particular home pre-dates the Revolution so of course, British colors.
And the less spooky.
There simply isn’t enough time to capture all the wonderful decorations we’re seeing around the neighborhood! But, we’ll do our best.
We were out and about in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia and this lovely home caught our eye.
The arches over the windows and doors are fairly unusual and I would love to learn more about the history of this home. Meanwhile, I thought their window was really very cute and the graveyard a nice compliment to the Gothic architecture of this home. It’s amazing what you can do on a window sill.
Some of our favorite holidays occur during fall; Halloween, Thanksgiving, Oktoberfest.
Quite a few of our neighbors are getting into the spirit and have decorated their row houses and I thought I’d share a few for inspiration. Things are just getting started and there will be more posts to follow.
It doesn’t take much to accent your home. This is a very simple pine cone wreath with a bright orange ribbon. Elegant and understated, yet it totally pops against the black door. When it’s time to decorate for Christmas or Hanukkah, all they’ll need to do is change the ribbon.
Some of the more grand row houses have fencing, which is great for decorating. The lights and leaf garland is very festive.
Of course, we’re currently experiencing summer-like weather so it doesn’t feel like fall but hopefully things will kick into gear soon. As for us, we’ve decorated our own little row house as well!
It’s been a long time since I’ve walked through Elfreth’s Alley but this morning was perfect weather for an outdoor run, my first in months, so I headed to my favorite block. I wish I had gone earlier because I saw this wonderful, colonial influenced holiday window display. I suppose it’s better late than never!
It’s the quiet before the storm (not really – just figuratively) here in chilly Philadelphia. We spent the evening walking around, shopping for last-minute presents at some of our favorite local stores (Blendo on Pine Street, Greene Street Consignment on South Street, and Paper Moon on Fourth Street), where it’s more like visiting friends. We have a wide variety of stores, many very reasonable, and the sidewalks aren’t crowded, even this close to Christmas.
Over the last week I’ve really enjoyed my commute home. Yesterday there were carolers in front of a restaurant, which was a lovely treat even if it was only for the five minutes it took to walk by. Most homes are decorated really nicely. Many row homes don’t need much more than fresh greenery, little white lights, and red bows to look really festive. There are a few that are channeling alien life on other planets but it wouldn’t be the holidays without at least a few over-zealous light displays.
I’ve also really enjoyed having the Christmas Village to look at from my office window. It’s a family tradition to drool over the German decorations, drink Gluhwine, and eat wurst at least once and we’re planning on visiting once more before it ends.
With all this Philadelphia activity going on, it seems odd to post a picture from Boston but I discovered this wonderful photo during the ongoing content transfer and since we don’t have any snow, I thought it would be nice to share.
Originally posted September 2007.
Normally we fill this space with reviews of snazzy products that keep small spaces, budgets, and multitasking usefulness in mind. But considering the upcoming holidays, we figured we’d go a little organic and devote this issue’s column to pumpkins.
Pumpkins grow all over the world, except for Antarctica, so everyone probably knows what a pumpkin looks like. But maybe you don’t know that, technically, the pumpkin is a fruit and is considered a native American crop probably originating in Central America. The pumpkin is segregated into four species in the Curcurbita genus, the Pepo, the Maxima, the Mixta, and the Moschata. It’s related to other squash like the butternut and zucchini.
American Indians have been using the pumpkin for food and household uses for centuries. Pumpkins are high in beta-carotene (Vitamin A), a good source of potassium and high in fiber. You can eat almost the entire thing and pumpkin dishes include pies, cookies, biscuits, breads, mashed, soups, and roasted seeds. My personal favorite is the Harvest Pumpkin Soup at Au Bon Pain. It’s so popular that you have to get to the store before noon or there won’t be any left.
We love carving pumpkins! Last year we splurged and got several. The biggest one was reserved for a masterpiece while the remaining smaller ones got simple faces. Now that we have a stoop, we hope to get a whole collection to put in front of the house. We have a debate about carving them or not since there is always the chance that unruly teenagers might abduct them or possibly launch your pumpkins through your window. We think perhaps a carved pumpkin might cause less damage. If you do carve, I find that a good steak knife will suffice for simple faces. If you want to take your creation to another level, it’s definitely worth investing in a carving kit. Implements with wooden handles will last longer but the inexpensive plastic tools have worked for us just fine. If you want to think outside the box, or gourd, you can go to your local hardware store. Woodworking tools work well as pumpkin carvers. Beyond just carving, you can paint them or add other materials to get
a really unique work of art.
The following sites have some really great pictures of carved pumpkins. Seeing what others have done is a great starting point.
A traditional pumpkin event, popular at many country fairs, is the largest pumpkin contest. I recently watched coverage of a nearby Pennsylvania contest. The grand winner almost weighed as much as my first car. The current world record holder was over 1,500 pounds. I can’t imagine how much pie that would make. The pumpkin has amazing diversity because the smallest types of pumpkins are just the size of baseballs. Not all pumpkins are orange either. Some types range in color from green and blue to red.
Additionally, today’s pumpkin goes beyond art and culinary into the world of physics. Every year there are contests to see who can build the most effective pumpkin catapulting device. Called “punkin-chunkin,” events draw big crowds and get televised coverage. The idea is to launch a pumpkin the farthest using basic mechanical means. There are several types of contests depending on type of device or size of pumpkin to be tossed but in most cases you can’t use an engine driven system. Participants plan all year long as the competition is fierce.
Our haunted row house!