Jen's gorgeous Dover, NH neighborhood via her flickr photostream
Blue porch ceilings are a tradition in the south too. And you'll get a different story from everyone you ask about why we do this, most of them having to do with bugs. Farmers painted their porches blue to keep the flies out of the house; the blue color wards off evil spirits; spiders won't spin webs under something the color of the sky.
We started a discussion about this with the guy at the paint store who swore that bees won't build their nests under a blue ceiling because they think they're too exposed. He said if you're going to do it, any color blue works (in the south, they use a blue-green color called "haint blue", Martha Stewart uses her own "Porch Ceiling Blue"). The best finish on an old ceiling is semi-gloss; high-gloss shows up every little imperfection, and flat won't reflect the light.
And then there's this beautiful triple-decker in our friend Camilla's Cambridge neighborhood!