In Vermont: Catch a Covered Bridge

Chiselville Covered Bridge crosses over the Roaring Branch of the Batten Kill River, a tributary of the Hudson.

Vermont boasts more than one hundred still remaining covered bridges, the most in New England and a testament to America’s golden age of craftsmanship. Often spanning rivers and streams in mountainous regions, covered bridges are inevitably inviting and many are called “Kissing Bridges.” Photographers collect them, schoolkids picnic in them; winter sleigh rides and horse-drawn carriages traverse them. And lovers kiss in their sheltered privacy. All are still in active use.

The Silk Road Covered Bridge, one of three in Bennington, dates to 1840.

You can cross three covered bridges in the town of Bennington in the state’s southwestern corner. All three traverse the Walloomsac River. From there, if you take a side trip to West Arlington, you’ll see the house where artist Norman Rockwell lived for ten years. A shaded green by the bridge makes a pleasant picnic spot with a view of the Batten Kill River. The sign on the Chiselville Bridge, pictured above the article title, reads “One Dollar Fine for Driving Faster than a Walk.”

Vermont’s largest concentration of intact covered bridges is found in the Waterville-Montgomery area, just north of the mountain resort town of Stowe. From the neat little village of Waterville, Route 109 drops down, twisting back and forth along the north branch of the Lamoille River. Rocky ledges and strong currents give the river an exuberant character and six covered bridges here afford dramatic lookouts.

Outside of Waterville, in tiny Belvedere, are two wooden bridges, the Morgan and the Mill. With any luck, you can catch sight of 12 covered bridges in a day’s time. Waterville’s Codding, or “Kissin” Bridge, still bears a sign tucked into it in the 1950s that started its local romantic tradition.

Lincoln Covered Bridge, near the village of West Woodstock, spans the Ottauquechee River

Just off Route 4, drive across the Lincoln Covered Bridge to reach a country road with views of the river as it meanders under the bridge. Then, head back on Route 4 into Woodstock for a view of the Middle Covered Bridge sited within view of the village green.

A bend in the river creates a shaded gathering spot on a sunny day.

There is really no one best time to visit Vermont. Each season is unique. But the Green Mountain State does have a season all its own, sometimes shared with the rest of the New England states. “Colors” is Vermont’s name for its fall foliage season. Color changes begin in mid-September and run through the first two to three weeks in October. Color intensity varies by elevation, gradually progressing from north to south. You can mark its movement from the higher peaks to lower elevations during the course of a few weeks. As such, there are many ‘peaks’ so you can make your leaf peeping plans based on the timing and location that best serves your schedule. You may be lucky enough to come across that one iconic covered bridge surrounded by foliage that gives a whole new meaning to the word psychedelic. And don’t forget the kissing bridges.

Brown Covered Bridge, Shrewsbury, cherished as one of Vermont’s oldest wooden bridges, was built in 1880.

Combining leaf peeping with covered bridge viewing is one way to appreciate all Vermont has to offer. For more, visit the Vermont Office of Tourism: https://www.vermontvacation.com/plan-your-visit

An earlier version of this story appears on Epicurean Destinations where you can view dozens of award-winning national and international travel destination articles. Visit here: https://epicureandestinations.com/

I wrote about another New England travel experience here: https://epicureandestinations.com/maine-lobster-restaurant/

And one more here: https://medium.com/batw-travel-stories/ogunquit-a-beautiful-place-by-the-sea-2b0a48eb478f

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Bay Area Travel Writers tell stories through media, old and new — newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, blogs, videos, books, and online publications.

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Lee Daley

Travel writer, photographer, editor, I cover travel, culture, art & architecture. Featured in NY Times. Share the journey at https://epicureandestinations.com