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New England Charm: Visit These 11 Covered Bridges in VT This Fall

Oct 04, 2021 01:31PM ● By Virginia Dean

Vermont boasts over 100 covered bridges, the densest concentration of these beautiful structures in the country. Dating back to the 19th century and originally built to protect bridges from the natural elements, the state’s covered bridges are popular attractions and great places to visit and photograph. Here are some of them within reasonable proximity to Woodstock for perfect foliage photoshoots.

The Windsor-Cornish Covered Bridge

The Windsor-Cornish Covered Bridge the longest wooden covered bridge in the country. Originally built in 1866 after three other bridges were destroyed by floods, this well-known bridge was once again repaired after suffering damage by floodwater and ice in 1977. The bridge is now featured on the Town Bicentennial Medal and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Middle Covered Bridge

The Middle Covered Bridge in Woodstock, VT, this 124-foot long construction is a breathtaking sight to behold no matter the season. With a lattice truss structure that spans the Ottauquechee River, it was built in 1969 by Milton Graton to replace an 1877 iron bridge. It was constructed using traditional methods and materials down to the wooden pegs in lieu of nails. After it was set aflame by arsonists in 1984, the bridge was repaired and, with a separate walkway, is also used for foot traffic.

The Quechee Covered Bridge

The Quechee Covered Bridge is just seven miles from Woodstock. The steel bridge was constructed in 1970 and stands at just 70 feet in length. Hurricane Irene destroyed the bridge in 2011 but was rebuilt to an almost identical finish. Standing on the bridge, looking west, provides a beautiful view over an old mill dam and waterfall with brick buildings and fall colors reflecting the Ottauquechee River. Inside the orange brick building is a turbine-powered glass blowing studio, which is open to the public. Next to it on the left is a riverside restaurant with overhanging views of the waterfall and bridge.

The Mill Brook Covered Bridge

The Mill Brook Covered Bridge in Hammondsville, VT is believed to be a private timber bridge belonging to a local landowner but spans the Mill Brook, close to Hammondsville, south of Woodstock. It is a well-made wooden construct on the way to the popular and well-known Jenne Road Farm. South of Woodstock, follow VT-106 passing by Reading and Hammondsville, the bridge sits alongside the main road less than one mile south of Hammondsville.

The Taftsville Covered Bridge

The Taftsville Covered Bridge located in Woodstock, VT (in the Taftsville area), is one of the oldest covered bridges in the country. Completed in 1836, the timber-framed bridge spans 189 feet over the Ottauquechee River and was originally constructed by Solomon Emmons III. It survived Hurricane Irene in 2011 in part due to its early craftsman design, likely influenced by Swiss tradition. The modified multiple kingpost truss design complete with arches remains one of the most stunning and effective designs in covered bridge history.

The Lincoln Covered Bridge

The Lincoln Covered Bridge in West Woodstock, VT crosses the Ottauquechee River to Fletcher Hill and Bridges Road. Constructed in 1877, it was the only known wooden example of a variation of the Pratt truss featuring flanking arch trusses made of six laminated layers. The design paved the way for steel highways and railroad bridges of the future. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places (circa 1973) and has a span of 136 feet. It is a one-lane bridge built by R.W. Pinney and B.H. Pinney was recently reopened to traffic after recent damage from an oversized vehicle trying to pass through its historic structure.

The Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge 

The Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge spans 449 feet and connects Cornish, NH, with Windsor, VT. The long, timber interstate bridge was constructed in 1866 and is the longest wooden covered bridge in the country and the longest two-span covered bridge on the planet. Because it is so long, photos looking directly through it are dark inside. External photos are better taken. Woodstock is just 30 minutes away, making it a great one to visit either on the way to or out from Woodstock on your New England road trip.

Further south, the Silk Covered Bridge 

The Silk Covered Bridge spans the Walloomsac River near Bennington, VT, and the popular Green Mountain town of Manchester in the far southwest of Vermont. The single-lane timber bridge is 88 feet long and is surrounded by peaceful countryside. Bennington is around 77 miles or 1 hour 40 drive from Woodstock on the other side of the Green Mountains. If you do make it to the Silk Covered Bridge, you can also visit the nearby Paper Mill Village Covered Bridge and Henry Covered Bridge. The three are within proximity to one another. The Silk Covered Bridge was built in 1840 by the same family who also built the Paper Mill Village Covered Bridge not far downriver. It is located near the main attractions in Bennington, including the Robert Frost Museum and Bennington Battle Monument. The Silk Bridge was also damaged by Hurricane Irene because of flooding but has since been expertly repaired.

Northern Vermont, the Fisher Covered Bridge

The Fisher Covered Bridge in Wolcott is an old disused railroad bridge, and the tracks remain today. Visitors can park up in a lot and walk around the bridge without the danger of cars passing by. This beautifully crafted tall timber bridge spans the Lamoille River and makes for truly special photographs. Hours can be spent soaking up the views from all angles, walking through the bridge, and setting the camera on ten-second timers. Fisher was the last covered bridge to transport trains across the river in Vermont and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Woodstock is 80 miles or 1-hour 40-minute drive away, but Stowe is less than 30 minutes drive. It was built in 1908, is made of timber, and is 98 feet in length.

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