Sunday, September 29, 2013

So ... We Weren't Really Finished

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Beautiful day for a drive.  The sun was shining. Perfect.

First stop. The Floating Bridge on Sunset Lake in Brookfield.  The bridge, originally built in 1820, is closed to vehicle traffic but foot traffic is allowed.  There is only one other floating bridge in the US which is located in Washington state. The Vermont FLoating Bridge was rebuilt in 1978. It's deck was held up by fiberglass flotation barrels filled with styrofoam (that are now waterlogged). This rare bridge is scheduled to be restored in the summer of 2014!

The Floating Bridge in Brookfield

Next stop on the agenda, Quechee Gorge.  Busy place today. 

Then we revisited the Taftsville Covered Bridge which was closed for repair on our July 14th visit.

Taftsville Bridge - July 14, 2013

See what 2 million dollars will get you! (It was a very busy bridge today. Hard to get a good shot.)

Taftsville Bridge - September 29, 2013

Stopped at the Taftsville Country Store across from the bridge for a quick drink. 

Taftsville Country Store Rootbeer.  Quite tasty!

Enjoy.  Nancy

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Almost Last but Not Least

September 28, 2013

So today our summer covered bridge adventure concluded with the Maple Street Covered Bridge in Fairfax. Yup, we saved the closest bridge for last.  Just 1.2 miles from our home.

Maple Street Covered Bridge in Fairfax

This town lattice bridge is 56.8 feet long.  At 17.3 feet it is one of the widest covered bridges in the state.  It was built in 1865 by Kingsbury and Stone.  Looking pretty good for being 148 years old.  During the flood of 1927 the Maple Street Bridge was dislodged and came to rest on the banks of Mill Brook.  According to Ed Barna, some histories report that the bridge was reversed when it was put back in place. Guess we'll never know.
Mill Brook
Dan has many memories of "the bridge" both on and under!  I was not a townie and never visited the bridge as a student of BFA. (Bellows Free Academy) From the looks of the bridge foundation it is still quite a popular spot.  For those of you who don't know the area, the bridge is a scant quarter mile from the school on the way to the local grocery store, Steeple Market.  The bridge is known for both romance and fights!


The painting below of the Maple Street Bridge can be seen in the Fairfax Community Library. It was painted by Eric Sloane who was a regional painter who painted from the 1920's to the 1970's. He painted barns, farm tools, weather vanes and covered bridges around New England. For more information on him, check out: Eric Sloane's Home Page.

After we left Maple Street we headed up to Barton to do a little leaf peeping and to look for a covered bridge that my dad had seen on a recent outing.  Dad was right.  We found the Sugarmill Farm Covered Bridge just south of Interstate 91 on Route 16.

Sugarmill Farm Covered Bridge in Barton

Here are a few of the leaf peeping photos we took as well. It was definitely peak viewing in the Northeast Kingdom.

Fisher Bridge

Route 16

Jay Peak in the distance

Near Lowell - Route 58

Mt. Mansfield (not peak yet)
Thanks to you all for joining us on our latest adventure.  We had a blast finding some of Vermont's less traveled roads and learning some of the history surrounding its amazing covered bridges.  

Until we are on the road again, remember it's all about the journey.

Nancy and Dan Gross

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Beautiful Bennington Bridges

Saturday, August 31, 2013

We had eleven locations in Bennington and Windham Counties on our list for today.  Dan and I headed out early and stopped in Colchester to pick up our good friend, Cheryl, for a ride-along.  She was with us at the beginning of our journey and we are getting close to the end.  How many of you know where Sandgate, Vermont is located?  We took 22A south from Vergennes to its end in Granville, New York.  From there we traveled east then south through the rural towns of Pawlet, Rupert, and finally Sandgate.  Navigated a road that might give us pause in the spring. You just never know what you are going to see along the way.   As Dan says, "It's all about the journey!"

Who needs Champ!

After about 2 and a half hours of driving we finally found the Kreffer Covered Bridge over the Green River on Sandgate Road.  This pretty open lattice style bridge is privately owned.  It was built in 1977 as a gift to a retired town clerk who had always wanted to live on a road with a covered bridge!

Kreffer's Crossing in Sandgate

We had been looking for the next bridge since the beginning of our journey.  One of the most often photographed covered bridges in Vermont is the Bridge at the Green in Arlington.  It was on the front of our Vermont map!

The Bridge at the Green in Arlington over the Battenkill River.

Whoever too the map photo must have climbed up the mountain across the road from the bridge to get that shot. 

There was a lot of activity at this location as a wedding was going to take place in the next few hours.

There were several red bridges on the trail today.  They all were very similar in design and style.  The next bridge was just over the town line from Arlington in Sunderland in the township of Chiselville.  It crosses Roaring Branch Brook.
Chiselville Bridge in Sunderland

A short ride down the interstate-like section of Route 7 brought us into Bennington which boasts three covered bridges and the Covered Bridge Museum. The first one we saw was the Henry bridge which was completely rebuilt by Blow and Cote of Morrisville in 1989.  Apparently this complete reconstruction happened without a review by the Division for Historic Preservation! Ooops! Looks very authentic.
Henry Bridge in Bennington

Next was the Paper Mill Bridge also restored by Blow and Cote in 2000.  I think they got permission this time.
Paper Mill Bridge in Bennington
The final bridge in Bennington, just a short drive from the other two is the Silk Road Bridge.  Looks pretty much like the other two.
Silk Road Bridge in Bennington
After a brief tour of downtown Bennington and a drive past the "Garlic and Herb Festival"

we found the Vermont Covered Bridge Museum at the Bennington Center for the Arts.  We didn't actually go in as you had to pay to see the whole thing and not just the covered bridge part.  We didn't have time for that.  Another time perhaps.

The Covered Bridge Museum
If you haven't been to Bennington, all over town, there are painted moose on display.  There were four at museum. 

Interesting place for a covered bridge!
The moose were actually done several years ago.  Now as you travel through Bennington you see catamounts (mountain lions) all over the place.

We had a nice lunch at the Sunny Side Diner right on Route 9. Seemed a popular place.
Lunch in Bennington.
A short ride up Stowe Hill Road just off Route 100 hundred in Wilmington we spied this little gem. It used to be called the High Mowing Farm Bridge.

So cute.

High Mowing Farm Bridge

A must on our quest was the new Hermitage Road Covered Bridge. Check out the website for all the details on how this old style covered bridge was built.  Very nice two lane bridge.
The Hermitage Covered Bridge in West Dover
This big guy took a minute to pose for us. 
In Jamaica is the Island Bridge.  Interesting new little bridge built in 1989.  I think it is called Island Bridge because this piece of land seems to be surrounded by tributaries of the West River.  Big brother was watching there as well!  And the mosquitoes were swarming so we only stayed a minute!  West Nile anyone?!
The Island Bridge in Jamaica

Mosquito breeding ground!
The final bridge of the day! Gotta love Stratton Mountain for being creative and promoting Vermont heritage with a covered bridge over a ski trail!

The Snow Bridge at Stratton Mountain in Bondville.
Other sights along the way.

Church window in West Rupert. (I think.)

Rock art in the 'closed' park near the Henry Bridge.

Route 9 in Wilmington just before we turned onto Route 100.
We think this house had been flooded by Irene two years ago.  What a HUGE project!!!
Holy cow!!!

Post Irene Rock Art in Bondville!

We were told that a man built all of these in tribute to his dog.  The story teller also told us that someone didn't like all the spectator traffic and he knocked them all down.  Boo ... hiss.  But a Vermonter on a mission is hard to stop!  It was amazing.  We had to turn around and go back to snap some photos. Dan built a couple of small towers as well!  There were other people there building rock towers and taking photographs. If you are out leaf peeping this fall these are located on quarter mile stretch of Route 30 between Bondville and Jamaica. (Provided we don't get any flash flooding between now and then!)

Another enjoyable day.  Eleven more bridges.  117 seen.  One to go! 

Thanks Cheryl, for coming with us today.

It's all about the journey.  Happy trails.  Nancy