Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bridge Over Covered Waters

When I was a kid, I hated "drives" more than anything. On weekends, it was common for my parents to decide that we should "go for a drive," which just meant wandering aimlessly through the many open roads of Northeast Ohio - in the days before GPS, no less. Even now, I equate these drives with Amish country, where we often ended up.

But this weekend, I became my parents. I was in Vermont for work & thought it'd be a great opportunity to, you know, go for a drive. Remembering fondly a trip to look for covered bridges with my dad, uncle & cousin when I was 6 or so, I decided I'd embark on a Vermont covered bridge hunt of my own. There was one in downtown Woodstock,  where I was visiting, & I figured the "hunt" would end there. This bridge is the second picture to come up when you do a Google Image search for "covered bridge," so I figured it'd be a good one, & I wasn't wrong:

Beautiful no? It's right in the middle of downtown Woodstock, still used as an everyday road through town. It may sound silly, but I've rarely felt so connected to my father as I did standing underneath this bridge. Quiet, old, a little bit eerie - I don't know much of my dad, but I knew he would've loved this one. It was just perfect.

A pair of shivering Floridians took this photo for me. Where is my left arm...?!

And the view from the bridge is gorgeous, though it betrays recent flooding in the area from Tropical Storm Irene:

When I explained to a local woman my interest in covered bridges, she let me know that there were two others in town! I couldn't find one of them, which was badly damaged in Hurricane Irene, but I happened across this one, which is, sadly, shut down because of aforementioned flooding & damage from flying debris. Still, this bridge fared better than so many of New England's historic covered bridges, which were washed away in Hurricane Irene. (For example, this video broke my heart.)

Seeing my Facebook posts, a friend suggested I head to her hometown to check out the longest wooden bridge in the U.S. (perhaps second only to New York's Old Blenheim Bridge, wiped away during August's storm). It was about half an hour out of my way, but what's half an hour when you've got all day free? I decided to go for it.

Along the way, I: stopped at a garage surely hosted by a woman storing bodies in her freezer; tried (to no avail) to visit a bakery located in an old firehouse; and wandered through a very, very old graveyard.

Finally, I stumbled across the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge when I literally, you know, went across it. It spans the Connecticut River between Windsor, VT, & Cornish, NH, & I spent the duration of my 15-second drive confident that mine was going to be the car that sent the old bridge crashing into the Connecticut. Let's be honest: Covered bridges are a little creepy.

This view is from the New Hampshire side, which is much better than the Vermont side, if I may say so myself. The Vermont side just looks like... a bridge. Here it is again, with Vermont's Mount Ascutney in the background. Don't you love the fine warning? Walk your damn horses, people!

I'm cranky to learn tonight that there are three other covered bridges in Cornish, just down the road from where I was. I wish I'd researched this beforehand! I could've scored half a dozen covered bridge sightings in one morning! And yes, I know I might be crazy, but I think I'm just become a covered bridge enthusiast. Anyone else? Bueller?

And now, in case you couldn't already tell, another requisite New-England-is-beautiful photo:

And finally, a question. Why on earth does the gas station I stopped at in Vermont carry this much bacon?!?!
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