"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

March 28, 2015

Abaco Picket Fences

We’re sitting in Man-O-War waiting on what we hope is the last winter storm to pass through the Abacos. The wind howled all day, but we did have a chance to go ashore for a while and walk on the beach before the threat of rain chased us back to the boat. Weather like this forces us to relax and unwind, but it also makes blogging a little more difficult. So today I thought I’d share part of an article that I read in the Abaco Life magazine.

“Good fences make good neighbors,” wrote Robert Frost in his famous poem “Mending Wall.” In Abaco, nothing is more American about the island village scenery - or more neighborly - than white fences.

Wall fences were, and still are, the most common property definition used in the British Isles, especially in rural areas. The idea of picket fences in the American colonies, particularly in New England and New York, was inspired by pointed iron fences in Europe, which symbolized the affluent status of the home owner. But metal was expensive in the New World, and wood was abundant, so picket fences were born. The same laws of supply and demand existed in Abaco when American loyalists began arriving in 1783 to build settlements, the majority of the fences were built from local cedar and pine.

Picket fences make a bold and sturdy statement, and while they may serve at times to keep out the neighbor’s dog, their main purpose in Abaco is beautification. The standard height of four to five feet actually invites socializing rather than discourage it.  

The best examples of these fences today are in the settlements of New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay and in Hope Town on Elbow Cay. But wherever they are found, construction and care still add to the home owners’ status in the community, just as his garden does. Sometimes, a white picket fence blends regally with a flowing and fiery bougainvillea, and different styles can express individual tastes for simplicity or ornateness.

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