Daily Archives: January 28, 2008

Landscape: Vermont’s Covered Bridges

Taftsville Covered BridgeCovered bridges are a unique aspect of the Vermont landscape, adding—I suppose—to the state’s old-world charm. Over 100 covered bridges can be found across the Vermont countryside, many of them historic sites. On recent family roadtrip trip to Killington, we were able to see a few covered bridges in Vermont’s South Central region (the Woodstock/Quechee/Rutland part of the state). In the 1800s, many Vermont towns charged a bridge toll to help pay for the construction, but we weren’t charged anything to drive over (or under) the ones we crossed. My big question about covered bridges was: why are covered bridges covered in the first place? No one on the roadtrip knew the answer for sure, but I just visited the Vermont Only website to find out. No—it’s not because they would get slippery in all of the snow, as we speculated, but rather that a cover over a bridge helps protect the trusses that keep it together. All of that sun, wind, rain, and snow might only allow the trusses to do their job for a decade, but once covered, they’re good for a century. Good to know. Pictured at right and below is the Taftsville Bridge:

Taftsville Bridge Side View

The Taftsville Bridge is located just outside of Woodstock, and it was built in 1836. It is the state’s third oldest bridge. A newer bridge we crossed was the Quechee bridge, built in 1970:

Quechee Covered Bridge

If you’re entering Quechee from Highway 4, you’ll cross this bridge. While the bridges, themselves, add to the landscape, it’s worth getting out of the car to see what’s running under and around them. Here’s a nice dusky evening view from the Quechee bridge:

View From Quechee Bridge

One bridge worth mentioning is Middle Bridge in Woodstock. I don’t have any photos, but if you’re walking around in Woodstock (which I highly recommend doing), you can walk to the bridge from the town center. Middle Bridge was built in 1969 as a reproduction, and even though it’s not really that old, it looks ancient, and it would have made a good photo–if only I had taken one. Anyhow, seeing things first-hand is better than a photograph anyway, so put Middle Bridge on your list of things to explore next time you’re in Vermont!