When I moved to New England back in 2005, there were plenty of new things to get used to– galley kitchens, new vocabulary (“You call them ‘jimmies‘?”), the lack of any straight roads. I eventually figured those out, but one thing continued to stump me– what was with all the pineapples? Pineapple signs, pineapple prints, pineapple decorations, they were everywhere, and it wasn’t like the fruit was native to the area.
Finally a friend enlightened me to the history of the pineapple in New England. The story goes that Colonial sailors would often return from voyages to the tropics with fruits, animals and other exotic treasures. When a sailor came home, families began placing a pineapple outside their home as a signal to the neighborhood that their loved one had returned safely and visitors were welcome. Thus the pineapple become a symbol of hospitality and fortune, and continues to be a popular motif in seaside locations to this day. (More on the history here.)
When I lived in Providence, I loved the giant pineapple that welcomed visitors to Federal Hill, the Italian neighborhood near my apartment. When we visited for a wedding about a year after moving back to the Midwest, my best friend and I decided to get tattoos to commemorate our time out East. For me, there are no better symbol for my time in Providence than the pineapple; it represented my adventure to a new and unfamiliar place, and returning safely back home in the end.
All that to say, I’ve definitely got a soft spot for pineapples, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see them show up as the motif du jour around the blogosphere and Pinterest lately. Here are a few of my faves–