I embarked on a quest quite a long time ago: to visit as many of our 50 states in the United States of America as I could. I‘m pleased to account that, so far, I’ve visited 40 with 10 more to check off the list.
I suspect I acquired this desire from my father, who loved to travel and enjoyed poring over a Rand McNally road atlas of America just imagining all the trips he could encounter. He managed a number of those with my mother, but after she passed away, his zeal to journey too far from home waned. But he still studied those road maps.
For the last year, the you know what slapped the kibosh on our own travels, which is why I’m looking back over places we’ve visited in the past including the covered bridges featured on my Tuesday Tour.
A few years ago, Papa and I traveled to the New England states on two separate trips to check them off my to-do list. Our first trip took us to parts of New York state we had never visited before and then on into Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
On our second excursion to New England in the summer of 2018, we ventured into Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. And it was in Vermont that I discovered I liked photographing covered bridges, although with our packed itinerary, we only visited two that we happened upon while on our way to other sightseeing stops.
The first covered bridge that caught my eye was West Dummerston Covered Bridge which we passed on our way from Brattleboro to Weston. Papa graciously turned the car around and drove back to the site so I could jump out of the car to snap photos.
This historic covered bridge, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, is named the longest entirely covered bridge, at 280 feet long, in the state of Vermont. And we just happened upon it by chance.
Spanning the West River in a small town named Dummerston, Windham County, the bridge, which stands on stone abutments and a central stone pier, features two spans, flush vertical boards on its sides, wooden clapboard ends, and a corrugated metal roof. The interesting feature, I think, of this one-lane bridge is its side walls which have diamond-shaped openings in them admitting light inside.
I found this one so picturesque, we drove through it twice and I took multiple photos of it. In my research later, I learned that it is the only known surviving architectural example of a renowned master bridge builder named Caleb Lamson, who constructed it in 1872.
Back on the road again, we stumbled upon another covered bridge on our way to Woodstock, Vermont that same day in Taftsville. This wooden bridge is one of the oldest remaining covered bridges in not only the state of Vermont but also in the United States as it was constructed in 1836.
Located along US Route 4 in Windsor County and spanning the Ottauquechee (pronounced (AWT-ah-KWEE-chee) River, the Taftsville Covered Bridge is 189 feet long and 20 feet wide (with a roadway of 16 feet) and was designed with kingpost trusses with arches on a central pier.
Prior to 1836, three bridges once stood in that spot but were destroyed by floods. A local resident, Solomon Emmons III, was then contracted to build the timber-framed bridge that still stands today and is used for vehicular traffic. The bridge was so busy, we only drove through it and I only managed photos from inside our vehicle. The photo at the beginning of this post is from inside the Taftsville Covered Bridge.
Having stood the test of time, the Taftsville Covered Bridge is one of over 100 covered bridges still existing in the state of Vermont, where at one time there were more than 600 such structures.
At the time we visited Vermont, I hadn’t yet developed an interest in seeing more covered bridges, but now, I’d love to travel back to New England – preferably in the fall to be awestruck by the colorful foliage – and visit more of these charming reminders of days gone by.
A link to the past – that’s what these quaint and picturesque bridges symbolize to me. They take me back in time to an era when life was simpler. And I think we need to remember our past in order to secure a better future. Not make the same mistakes, learn from history not erase it, and use that knowledge today.
“Today is the bridge between the past, regarding which we unconditionally accept that
everything has occurred according to God’s plan, and a future where we place our unconditional trust in God’s omnipotence and His benevolent design for our lives.” ~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie