Fall Colors of New England – 2

NEW HAMPSHIRE FALL PHOTO

Ashland Mill pond

Ashland Mill pond

Ashland Mill

Ashland Mill


We moved to New Hampshire when the Limehurst Campground closed for the winter and we had finished with the northern Vermont covered bridges. Our first stop in New Hampshire was at the Ames Brook Campground in Ashland. It’s just south of Plymouth and convenient to the northern part of the state.


Mill below the falls

Mill below the falls

The town of Ashland has a beautiful mill obtaining it’s power from the pond above although it is no longer functioning as a mill. It has been renovated and turned into business offices.


Smith Mill Covered Bridge over the Baker river, Plymouth

Smith Mill Covered Bridge over the Baker river, Plymouth


We stopped by the Smith Mill Bridge on our way through Plymouth (our first in NH). It was reconstructed in 2001 after a fire destroyed the first bridge at this location. The first was built in 1850.

New Hampshire map with tours

New Hampshire map with tours

I decided to do the New Hampshire blog a little different. Instead of showing all of the bridges, falls, churches, etc. separately, I thought I would show the photos as we took our tours around the state. We did three tours in the northern and middle part (outlined in blue) from the campground in Ashland. Then we moved south to Henniker to the Mile Away Campground and toured the southwest portion of the state. These tours (plus the lower blue tour) also included covered bridges in Vermont that we hadn’t covered previously. However, I did include those Vermont photos in the Vermont blog.

The covered bridges that we photographed are shown by green X’s although not all are included in the photos (just too many!) You may ask why we didn’t cover the north and southeast portions of the state. There were three bridges further north, but we ran out of daylight and they were too far north for a return trip. The southeast portion of the state only had two and we again ran out of time to get to them. I’m sorry we missed the Dover bridge as the photo in the book looked good, but the Stowell bridge was a non-traditional bridge built in the 1990’s.



TOUR 1

Squam Covered Bridge,1990, over edge of Little Squam Lake, Ashland

Squam Covered Bridge,1990, over edge of Little Squam Lake, Ashland


Tour 1 was a long trip leaving Ashland and heading north east on the eastern side of the White Mountains. Our first stop was at a small covered bridge just outside Ashland on the lake. It was a beautiful small bridge which replaced an old, condemned steel and concrete bridge. The town of Ashland raised the money to convert the old bridge to a covered bridge.

Durgin Covered Bridge, 1869, over Cold river near Sandwich

Durgin Covered Bridge, 1869, over Cold river near Sandwich


Durgin Covered Bridge was off the main road several miles and we were again touring through the colorful woods on good gravel roads. The original bridge was built on this site in 1828, but was washed away in 1844. It was rebuilt three more time before this final bridge was built. Durgin bridge played a part in the underground railroad between 1830 and 1865.

Swift River Covered Bridge, 1869, over Swift river

Swift River Covered Bridge, 1869, over Swift river

Swift River Covered Bridge first built in 1850, destroyed by a flood in 1869, then rebuilt. The current bridge was completely restored by the town of Conway in 1991 after the road was replaced with a highway a short distance away and a new steel and concrete bridge built.

Swift River upstream from the Covered Bridge, Conway

Swift River upstream from the Covered Bridge, Conway

The beautiful restored covered bridge is used for foot traffic only. The view upstream from the bridge is the Swift River, a rocky stream lined with pines and hardwoods which are just beginning to show their color.

Albany Covered Bridge, 1858, over the Swift River near Albany

Albany Covered Bridge, 1858, over the Swift River near Albany


The Albany Covered Bridge is located along the scenic Kancamagus Highway which cuts through the White Mountains. A windstorm destroyed it a year after it was built, but it was rebuilt in the same spot and has been continually rebuilt to allow traffic through it to the Covered Bridge State Campground.

Rocky Gorge Falls along the Kancamagus Highway

Rocky Gorge Falls along the Kancamagus Highway

A short ways downstream from the Albany Covered Bridge is a concentration of granite rock in the Swift River stream bed. Over the years the water has carved out a gorge in the rock creating a falls and pool through the granite. The state has built a picnic area and a bridge over the gorge so that the gorge can be viewed from above.

Wentworth Golf Course Covered Bridge over Ellis river

Wentworth Golf Course Covered Bridge over Ellis river


Built in 1990 on the Wentworth Golf Course to provide access across the Ellis River for golf carts, this beautiful little bridge is privately owned and not accessable to the public. It is a replica of a larger bridge that was built back in the 1800’s over the river in a different location, but was destroyed by a flood and never replaced.

Upper Glen Ellis Falls

Upper Glen Ellis Falls

Lower Glen Ellis Falls

Lower Glen Ellis Falls


We were heading north up 16 highway through the White Mountians and were climbing up toward Pinkham Notch when we spotted a sign stating Glen Falls State Picnic area. Of course we had to see what it was and it turned out to be a spectacular set of falls cascading down the upper Ellis river. The upper falls was a short walk under the highway and along a well developed pathway with railings along the cascading river. As we passed the first smaller falls we approached a stairway cut into the shear wall of rock that led down to the lower falls. It was a long, wet trip down as the stream was bouncing along from rock to rock creating a fine mist. Then the cascade suddenly stopped and as we went lower, much lower, we began to see the arch of water at it poured over the edge of rock, bounced several times before dropping into a deep pool. It was a beautiful falls, but it sure was a long, tiring climb back up to the top. We were both tired, but happy that we did it.

Snow on Mt. Washinton in the distance

Snow on Mt. Washinton in the distance


As we drove over the Pinkham Notch, we got our first look at the back side of Mt. Washington. It is the tallest mountain in New Hampshire at 6288 feet and had very little snow on it for the time of year. As we drove down the other side of the mountain area, we came upon a turnout above a grove of oaks and maples that had turned bright red. The colors were fantastic and we couldn’t pass up taking a bunch of photos here (thanks for digital cameras!).


Red Oaks and Maples near Great Glen Trails

Red Oaks and Maples near Great Glen Trails

Mechanics Covered Bridge, 1862, over the Israel river

Mechanics Covered Bridge, 1862, over the Israel river

We turned west at Gorman and followed Highway 2 across to Lancaster where the Mechanics Covered Bridge was located. It was getting late by the time we were there and we still had three more covered bridges to see before dark.

Groveton Covered Bridge, 1852, over the Ammonoosuc river

Groveton Covered Bridge, 1852, over the Ammonoosuc river

By the time we made it up to Groveton Covered Bridge the sun was beginning to get low in the sky, thus the warm colors on the trees and support structure. The bridge is actually located within the town limits of Northumberland in the township of Groveton. It is no longer used for traffic as route 3 was rerouted in the late 30’s. It is one of the few bridges in New Hampshire painted both inside and outside.

Sunset on the Connecticut River

Sunset on the Connecticut River

We tried to make it down to the Mount Orne Covered Bridge which connects the town of Lancaster, New Hampshire with Lunenberg, Vermont crossing the Connecticut river. The original bridge was built in 1860’s, but was destroyed by a log jam. The new bridge was built in 1911 and is 267 feet long. Unfortunately, it was late and we were unable to get a good photo of it. It was impressive crossing the wide Connecticut.We drove back to Lancaster and got on I-93 for the drive back down to Ashland and the campground. I was a long day and a long drive of 227 miles with a lot of wonderful stops.

TOUR 2

Day 1

Livermore falls on the Pemigewasset river

Livermore falls on the Pemigewasset river

This tour turned out to be two days long as we got a very late start. We slept in and then had a great breakfast at a little hole-in-the-wall cafe in Ashland. Since it was almost noon we decided to just drive to a few covered bridges north of Plymouth. Our first stop was at the Livermore falls near Campton. It is the site of an old mill that used the water power of a rock cascade above it. The mill was built next to the railroad with loading platform to move the goods onto the railroad cars. The mill is now in ruins with nothing but a brick and rock base remaining. Although just barely visible in the photo, the mill and falls are beyond the railroad trestle. The old railroad crossing of the Pemigewasset river has also been abandon with one section entirely missing.

Bump Covered Bridge, unknown builder, over the Beebe river

Bump Covered Bridge, unknown builder, over the Beebe river

On a gravel road well back from the busy traffic of I-93 in what one would call a sleepy little hollow is located Bump Covered Bridge.

Blair Covered Bridge,1869, over the Pemigewasset river

Blair Covered Bridge,1869, over the Pemigewasset river

It is actually in the small village of Campton Hollow although well on the outskirts and provides access to the town for several farmers in the hollow. It was reconstructed in 1972 when Blair Covered Bridge in Campton was destroyed by a fire. The new builder made a deal with the city of Campton to restore Bump at the same time that he rebuilt Blair.

Jack-O-Lantern Covered Bridge, 1986

Jack-O-Lantern Covered Bridge, 1986

The Keating family of Woodstock built a golf course just south of the town in the early 80’s. On a pond in the golf course, they had built a replica of a beautiful covered bridge that once spanned the Pemigewasset River in the town of Woodstock. The original covered bridge was built in 1878 and was destroyed by fire in 1971. The town was unable to rebuild the original bridge again so the Keating family decided to build the replica of it on their golf course. Of course now the only traffic are golf carts and an occasional goose.

Day 2


Swiftwater Covered Bridge, 1849, over Ammonoosuc river

Swiftwater Covered Bridge, 1849, over Ammonoosuc river

The Swiftwater bridge was first erected in 1810 although it was destroyed by floods four times before this final bridge was built in 1849. It is unique because of the series of cascades that start above the bridge and end in two falls on the downstream side making it one of the most scenic bridges that we visited. We sat down below the pool on the rocks for awhile enjoying the view.

Haverfill/Bath Covered Bridge, 1829, over Ammonoosuc River

Haverfill/Bath Covered Bridge, 1829, over Ammonoosuc River

The Haverfill/Bath bridge located in Woodsville is the oldest still standing bridge in all of New Hampshire and New England. It is no longer used for traffic as the highway was moved in 1999. However; it is the first and only bridge on this site.

Haverfill pond on the Ammonoosuc River

Haverfill pond on the Ammonoosuc River

The pond formed above the covered bridge site was back water for the original mill and now provides power for the electric generating plant beside the bridge.

Bath Covered Bridge, 1832, over the Ammonoosuc River

Bath Covered Bridge, 1832, over the Ammonoosuc River

At 375 feet, the Bath Covered Bridge is the longest bridge in the interior of New Hampshire. It is a four span bridge crossing the railroad tracks as well as the river.

Jan & friends at the Brick Store

Jan & friends at the Brick Store

It is in the old village of Bath which boasts ‘America’s Oldest General Store’. It was still operating as a General Store and was filled with goods as well as antiques, photos, posters, plus merchandise that was sold in the 1800’s. Of course it was also decorated for Halloween which was obviously an important holiday in the northeast as extensive decorations were everywhere we went. Jan is sitting here between two of her pumpkin head friends. As one fellow said when we asked why the big deal about Halloween; “It’s the last holiday we have before we get snowed in for the winter!”

Mt. Washington Hotel located at Bretton Woods

Mt. Washington Hotel located at Bretton Woods

In 1772, the Royal Governor of New Hampshire set aside a grant of land at the base of Mt. Washington for Bretton Woods named for his home in England. In 1900, John Stickney, a wealthy entrepreneur built a luxury hotel at the base of the mountain. It took two years to complete and has 200 luxury rooms. The hotel had every advanced amenity available at the time, two golf courses, tennis courts and indoor swimming pools. After it was built, the wealthy from Boston, New York and Philadelphia traveled by train to vacation at the hotel. In the 1990’s, several New Hampshire businessmen purchased the hotel and surrounding area to built a winter resort at Bretton Woods. The area is now a year around resort with summer and winter activites.

Flume Gorge Covered Bridge,1871, over Pemigewasset River

Flume Gorge Covered Bridge,1871, over Pemigewasset River

Flume Gorge is a wonder and worth an afternoon of sightseeing. It is in the Franconia Notch State Park and there is an admission fee which includes a short bus ride to this beautiful covered bridge. It was built by the Lincoln Turnpike Company for the purpose of bringing people to the Flume Gorge. Currently the tour bus takes most of the visitors through the bridge to an information and restroom building at the start of the mile and a half hike up to the top of the Flume Gorge.

The climb starts with a half mile climb along side a granite outcropping with the Pemigewasset river cascading down over the rounded granite rocks. The Flume Gorge was created when a split occurred in a granite wall of rock. Over time the split was widened by water freezing and cracking away the granite walls. Now the gorge itself is over 800 feet long with up to 90 foot shear walls on each side. The state has built walkways and stairs along the base of the gorge where visitors can enjoy the beauty of the gorge and the falls within it.

Flume Gorge

Flume Gorge

Sentiel Pine Covered Bridge in Flume Gorge

Sentinel Pine Covered Bridge in Flume Gorge

After reaching the top of the flume, the trail continues along through the woods and begins to go back down to the base visitor center. It was a beautiful hike with several small brooks cascading down through the granite rocks. Crossing another branch of the Pemmigewasset high above the river is the Sentinel Pine Covered Bridge. This is not considered a historic bridge, but does have an interesting history. A white pine over 175 feet tall, called the Sentinel Pine, stood along side the canyon of the Pemmigewasset river. The trail down from the Flume went around the pine and around the canyon. In 1938, a hurricane hit the White Mountains and the Sentinel Pine was blown down. In 1939, 90 feet of the pine was used to span the canyon as the main beam of the new covered bridge across the river above the falls and large pool.

Clark's Trading Post Covered Bridge, 1904, over the Pemmigewasset River

Clark's Trading Post Covered Bridge, 1904, over the Pemmigewasset River

The railroad covered bridge was originally built across the Winooski river in Vermont on a short line between Montpelier and Barre. When the line was shut down in 1960, the Clark brothers purchased the bridge, dismantled it and moved it to their trading post in New Hampshire. There they added some old steam engines and passenger cars to carry tourists on a short trip up the Pemmigewasset river basin. The old steam engine was fired by wood and in beautiful condition. The passenger cars were gaily done which made you want to take a ride in them. Unfortunately, they were putting the cars and engines away by the time we arrived there to see the bridge or we probably would have enjoyed a ride on it.

It was a beautiful sunny day with a lot of spectacular sights, beautiful fall trees, interesting covered bridges and a natural wonder. What better way to end the day than to enjoy a delicious dinner in the Woodstock Brewery. Our good friend, Jennifer Judge (who is the Exaulted Ruler in our Elks Lodge), moved from North Woodstock, New Hampshire to Soldotna, Alaska. She recommended the Brewery (where she used to work) to us for dinner. It was a great way to end the day.

TOUR 3

We again started west from Ashland on this tour with the intent of visiting the Quechee Gorge and a few of the covered bridges that we had missed in Vermont. This would be continued on tours 4 and 5 also. However, the highlights of those covered bridges were shown in the Vermont blog and will not be shown again here.

Packard Hill Covered Bridge, 1878-1991, over the Mascoma River

Packard Hill Covered Bridge, 1878-1991, over the Mascoma River

Originally an open wooden bridge was built on this site in the 1780’s to reach Ichabod Packard’s combination grist mill and sawmill southwest of the town of Lebanon. The span was replaced by a covered bridge in 1878, then a Bailey bridge replaced the ruined covered bridge in 1952. That bridge was replaced in 1991 with a reproduction of the original covered bridge.

Croydon Branch of Sugar River

Croydon Branch of Sugar River

Along the back roads on the way to Newport, we came across a beautiful park-like setting with a pool with ducks in it surrounded by trees in bright fall colors.

Home and Farm near Newport

Home and Farm near Newport

Next to the river was a large home which was the main building in a extensive farm.

Blow-me-down Covered Bridge, 1877, over the Blow-me-down Brook

Blow-me-down Covered Bridge, 1877, over the Blow-me-down Brook

Blow-me-down bridge covers a very deep gorge of the brook of the same name near the town of Planfield. It is the same bridge that was built in 1877 and has only been restored once in 1980.

Cascading falls below Blow-me-down Covered Bridge

Cascading falls below Blow-me-down Covered Bridge

The cascading brook below the bridge is very beautiful although the trees and shrubs are dense and the sides of the gorge too steep to get a photo of the brook except from the bridge.

Falls downstream from Blow-me-down Covered Bridge

Falls downstream from Blow-me-down Covered Bridge

Further downstream the brook is dammed and a picturesque falls occurs. Although the bridge itself is not outstanding, the combination of the bridge, gorge, cascades and falls make it unique.

Dingleton Hill Covered Bridge, 1882, over Mill Brook

Dingleton Hill Covered Bridge, 1882, over Mill Brook

Near the town of Cornish Mills is the Dingleton Hill bridge. This area is on the western side of New Hampshire within a few miles of the Connecticut River. The bridge was built by James Tasker for $812 in 1882 and restored in 1983 by Milton Graton.

Kenyon Hill Covered Bridge, 1881, over Mill Brook

Kenyon Hill Covered Bridge, 1881, over Mill Brook

Kenyon Hill otherwise known as Blacksmith Shop bridge is located at Cornish City just upstream of the Dingleton Hill bridge. It was also built by James Tasker part of the eleven covered bridges he built in the area. It was also restored by Milton Graton.

Mill Brook connecting Dingleton Hill & Kenyon Hill bridges

Mill Brook connecting Dingleton Hill & Kenyon Hill bridges

Mill Brook wanders out of the Cryodon Mountain area through the Cornish township area and eventually enters the Connecticut River very near the Cornish Winsor Covered Bridge which spans the Connecticut.

TOUR 4

Fall trees reflecting in French Pond

Fall trees reflecting in French Pond

With the intent of touring the southwestern portion of New Hampshire and southeastern side of Vermont, we moved south to the town of Henniker and the pretty Mile Away Campground. It was a large campground on the edge of French Pond which was vivid with the colorful trees along it edge.

Rowell Covered Bridge, 1853, over the Contoocook River

Rowell Covered Bridge, 1853, over the Contoocook River

Since we were planning to visit several bridges in Vermont on this tour and there were only a few in New Hampshire, we decided to visit several in the Henniker area. The first was a pretty bridge below the Hopkinton reservior and electric power plant.

Henniker Stone Bridge on Contoocook river

Henniker Stone Bridge on Contoocook river

The town of Henniker is a beautiful small college town located close to the State Capitol of Concord. Therefore, the major malls and retail stores are located in the Capital and the businesses in Henniker are the local small town Mom and Pop businesses. This gives the town a homey quality and a beauty often seen in the small New England towns.

New England College Covered Bridge, 1972, over the Contoocook River

New England College Covered Bridge, 1972, over the Contoocook River

New England College is located in the town of Henniker. As part of the college, there is a covered bridge built in 1972 to provide access from the college dormitories to the college campus across the Contooook river. The bridge was built for foot traffic only.

Waterloo Covered Bridge, 1857, over the Warner River

Waterloo Covered Bridge, 1857, over the Warner River

Just east of the town of Warner, the Waterloo bridge was set in an area of colorful trees. Although the banks of the river below and above the bridge were too dense to take photos, the Warner river was bubbling over rocks into a large pool at the base of the bridge.

Fall tree colors on New Market road

Fall tree colors on New Market road

The New Market paved road was a beautiful drive through trees that were just beginning to get their fall color. Here the along the lower altitudes of southwestern New Hampshire, the trees had not reached the peak of their color except in a few places higher on the hill sides and mountain sides.

Bement Covered Bridge, 1854, over the Warren River

Bement Covered Bridge, 1854, over the Warren River

The New Market road took us to our next covered bridge near the village of Bradford. Mr. Long of Hopkinton, who was an engineer and designer for the US Army used his bridge truss to build the Bement Bridge. The bridge was made only with Hemlock.This was the last bridge on our Loop 4 so we drove back to Mile Away Campground.

TOUR 5

Fall trees near a County Farm

Fall trees near a County Farm

It was a foggy morning on the 22nd of October when we started out on our last loop looking for covered bridges. We were again touring both southwestern New Hampshire and southeastern Vermont.

Jan and I had both agreed that we were getting a little tired of covered bridges after seeing over a hundred, but we decided to do this last loop to finish the last concentration of ones in both states. It was also getting late in the season, the campgrounds were beginning to close or already closed and most of the trees had passed their peak in color. However, as we began to see this loop, the southern parts of the state still had a lot of beautiful trees.

Powder Mill Pond near Greenfield

Powder Mill Pond near Greenfield

We got lost several times trying to find our first covered bridge of the morning. The covered bridges book we were using to direct us to the bridges was either wrong about the name of the road or the name of the road had changed. At first we were disappointed when we saw the bridge. It was just another small bridge spanning a pond. Wow, were we going to be surprised! We drove across the bridge and found a small state park with a boat ramp and picnic tables. We pulled into the park and notice some bright orange and yellow trees reflected into the lake at the boat ramp. It was definitely worth a photo, so we drove into the park. As it turned out, it was one those photo opportunities that you are rarely privileged to experience. As we took the photo, we turned back to look at the bridge and were astounded.

County Farm Covered Bridge, 1937, over Powder Mill Pond

County Farm Covered Bridge, 1937, over Powder Mill Pond

There wasn’t a breath of breeze, thus the pond surface was so smooth that it became a perfect mirror with the exception of a few leaves floating on the surface. In the background, the trees were slightly muted by the remnants of the early morning fog. The fall colors on the trees were visible, but not vibrant except on the pond surface. The Bridge was perfectly mirrored in the surface of the pond and in fact, in the photo it is difficult to tell which was the top of the photo except that the bridge in the pond was slightly darker color. This bridge definitely became the highlight ‘Covered Bridge of New Hampshire’.

Carlton Covered Bridge, 1869, over the Ashuelot River

Carlton Covered Bridge, 1869, over the Ashuelot River

We continued on the loop to find a grouping of four bridges near the village of Swanzey. Among them was the Carlton bridge. The earliest crossing here was a wooden bridge built in 1789 although it wasn’t covered. In 1869, local farmers built the covered bridge. In 1996, the bridge was completely rebuilt.

Thompson Covered Bridge, 1832, over the Ashuelot River

Thompson Covered Bridge, 1832, over the Ashuelot River

The Thompson bridge is in the middle of the village of West Swanzey. Just downstream from the bridge is a large dam to hold back the water of the Ashuelot river which is used for power by the mills along the river. There still several mills to left of the photo that are still in use.

Slate Covered Bridge, 1862, over the Ashuelot River

Slate Covered Bridge, 1862, over the Ashuelot River

Continuing along the Ashuelot river southward, we found the third in the series of bridges in the Swanzey area. This bridge had a difficult past. The first covered bridge replaced an uncovered span across the river in 1837. The covered bridge was destroyed when a local farmer was crossing with four oxen causing the bridge to collapse dropping the oxen and farmer in the river. In 1862, the bridge was completely destroyed by a fire. Then in 1987, a snow plow caused extensive damage to it. Finally in 2001, the bridge was restored to it’s original condition.

Coombs Covered Bridge, 1837, over the Ashuelot River

Coombs Covered Bridge, 1837, over the Ashuelot River

And finally, the Coombs bridge was the last in the Swanzey area. This pretty little bridge was nestled among the trees just off the main road. Although the bridge is now limited to car traffic only, it is still in use by those who inhabit the other side of the river.

Road side trees in Fall colors

Road side trees in Fall colors

This drive along the Ashuelot river was beautiful with the hardwoods in full color. Although they had an early winter storm south of the area in Massachusetts and Connecticut earlier in the month that damaged the fall color, the color of the leaves in southern New Hampshire were just reaching their peak.

Ashuelot Covered Bridge, 1853, over the Ashuelot River

Ashuelot Covered Bridge, 1853, over the Ashuelot River

Ashuelot bridge was a beautiful bridge in a colorful setting. Along the right side of the bridge road were a series of red berry bushes.

Red Berry Bush

Red Berry Bush

Unfortunately we were unable to see the bridge when we were taking photos of the bushes. Ashuelot bridge was originally built to transport the Ashuelot Railroad trains across the river. In 1999, the bridge was completely restored as a vehicle traffic bridge by the town of Winchester.

Maple Syrup Cook House

Maple Syrup Cook House

As we were traveling through Vermont and New Hampshire, we continually saw small out-buildings with smoke coming out the tin chimneys. Spending our summers in Alaska, we naturally thought of a smoke house for curing meat or fish. Finally after seeing all the Maple syrup available for sale almost everywhere , the light finally dawned that these were sugar cooking buildings. This was one of the best ones we saw on the trip.

So ends our covered bridge tour through Vermont and New Hampshire. We came to enjoy the fall tree colors. With the help of searching for covered bridges, we got to see more of the beautiful areas of these two states that the average tourist never sees. We also were able to take photographs, some which are shown in these two blogs that we will enjoy for years to come. Many of these pictures will reappear again on notecards and hopefully someday on paintings by both of us.
It was time to head to Maine. We found by calling ahead that the Acadia National Park was closing the 25th of October for the winter and with it, most of the campgrounds. We managed to make it there for the last weekend. But that’s another blog story which you can read next month with our travels to see the Maine lighthouses.

Fall Color in Vermont

UPDATE:

Sorry this took so long to put together.  I know that many of you were anxious to see some of the photos we were bragging about from our East Coast Trip.  1, we didn’t have time nor often adequate internet access to put this together during our trip.  2.  It turns out that I would have been unable to put this on our blog earlier (even if it had been done) because there was a software glitch in the blog program which didn’t allow the insert of a photograph.   And as you will see, there is no way that I would update the blog without the photographs!  So, here is Vermont!

We started on our fall vacation on the first day of October.  We had been told by one of our summer guests that the peak time for the trees in Vermont was Columbus Day so we traveled fast along I-80 to Pennsylvania stopping for a quick visit with my cousin Betsy Sterns just outside Cleveland.
We got off the freeway as we arrived in Pennsylvania and took the two lane 6N highway (our normal preference) across the state enjoying the scenery, the new crop apples and the really good sweet corn roasting ears. Through southwestern New York, we skirted the eastern side of the Adirondack Mountains up to the Canadian border.  As we were traveling through Pennsylvania and lower New York the leaves were beginning to turn, but just hadn’t reached the peak that we would see in northern Vermont.

farm north of Colchester

Farm north of Colchester

We crossed into Vermont at the upper end of Lake Champlain and drove down the length of Grand Isle to Colchester just north of Burlington where we parked the 5th wheel for a few days.  We planned to leave the 5th wheel and then travel around the area with the truck which turned out to be an excellent idea.  The weather around Burlington was still warm for most of the trees.  It was influenced by Lake Champlain and of the unusual late start to fall.

Autum trees of Vermont hillside

Autum trees of Vermont hillside

However, the trees higher up in the mountains were at their peak of beauty.

Our first day in Vermont started with a chance meeting with a local farmer in a filling station.  He told us to be sure to drive through Smuggler’s notch as it was at it’s peak in color.  As we drove northeast toward the mountains, we could begin to see the wide range of colors on the mountain sides.

Grist Mill on Browns River, Jericho, VT

Grist Mill on Browns River, Jericho

We were on a paved, narrow road winding through the trees and fields of northern Vermont and entered the small town of Jericho.  A stream cascaded down from the mountains through the town and an old Grist Mill stood along the side of the stream.

Poland Covered Bridge, Cambridge Junction, VT

Poland Covered Bridge, Cambridge Junction, VT

As we were passing through the small village of Cambridge, we noticed a small covered bridge just off the side of the road.  The combination of the Grist Mill and the covered bridge really peaked our interest.

Smugglers’ Notch is a ski area on one side of the mountain and then a narrow, winding pass between the mountains and on the other side the famous Stowe ski area.  As we climbed up toward the pass, the trees turned to orange and reds and as we gained altitude they turned bright yellow.

Brilliant yellow lane up Smuggler's Notch

Brilliant yellow lane up Smuggler's Notch

It was a beautiful drive and made us realize that the real beauty of Vermont was on the back roads, many of which were winding, narrow one-lane gravel roads climbing through the mountains and hills. And that was where the covered bridges were located.

We obtained a book titled ‘Covered Bridges of Vermont’, written by Ed Barna which gave directions to locate them, photos and facts about the bridges.  There were 106 classified as original and partially functional plus others that were reproductions of destroyed original bridges. Originally there were over five hundred documented covered bridges of which most were destroyed by time, damaged beyond repair by floods or destroyed by the hands of man.
We outlined roads from our campground in Colchester which allowed us to find most of the bridges in the northwestern Vermont mountains. Each of the loop roads could be driven in less than a day.   Then we moved the camper south of the state Capitol in Montpelier outside a small town called Williamstown. There we outlined loop roads which covered most of the northeastern and middle portions of the state.
We spent the next ten days touring the state. Of the 106 existing bridges in Vermont listed in the book, we found 75 and took photos of them. In addition to the fascinating covered bridges, we encountered old mills, small villages, steepled churches, mountain streams and falls, beautiful farms and old barns.  Jan and I took almost a thousand photos in Vermont.  Obviously I can’t and won’t show all of them to you; however, I will show you what we thought were the most interesting and beautiful bridges, mills, farms, churches and scenery in the state.


A. M. Foster Covered Bridge, Cabot-Plain

A. M. Foster Covered Bridge, Cabot-Plain

Up high on one of the ridges was probably the most photogenic covered bridge in Vermont.  It is the A. M. Foster bridge located in the Cabot Plain region and is really a reproduction of an original bridge in the region that was destroyed by flood.  There was a light dusting of snow on the roof and lots of it in the grass.  I was in tennis shoes and got wet, cold feet, but the photo was worth it!
I chose bridges to show you because they were interesting or had some or lots of fall color.  Trying to decide which ones to show in limited space was difficult.

Upper Morgan Covered Bridge, 1887, on Lamoille river

Upper Morgan Covered Bridge, 1887, on Lamoille river

Schribner Covered Bridge, date unknown, Cihon river near Johnson

Schribner Covered Bridge, date unknown, Cihon river near Johnson

Codding Covered Bridge, 1877, Kelly river on Codding Hollow road

Codding Covered Bridge, 1877, Kelly river on Codding Hollow road

Seguin Covered Bridge, 1850, Lewis river near Charlotte

Seguin Covered Bridge, 1850, Lewis river near Charlotte

Upper Morgan,  Codding and Scribner Covered Bridges were chosen because of the fall foliage colors, the streams below the bridges and they were similar to the many other bridges we saw.  Codding was especially interesting because it was called the ‘Kissing Bridge’.  Back in the 1800’s courting was a little difficult due to the presence of a chaperon when the boy and girl were together.  However, Codding bridge was fairly long and it took awhile for the horses to pull the carriage through to the other end.   It was very dark inside the bridge which gave ample time for the young couple to kiss.  Scribner was special not only for the cascading stream, but also for the farm on the other side which raised Elk.  There were some beautiful antlers on some of the bulls in the pen.  We were delighted with Sequin Bridge.  It was set way off the main road down a narrow gravel road lined with glorious fall trees.  The Bridge turned out to be very old and very small, but it was still used regularly.  I took a lot of photos of it.


Smith Covered Bridge, 1870, Barnard Brook near South Pomfret

Smith Covered Bridge, 1870, Barnard Brook near South Pomfret

Smith Bridge was different in that the sides were open with a lattice structural design which was a common form of structure, but this was the first bridge where the sides were left open.  Actually the hillsides behind the bridge were beautiful, but didn’t show in the photo.  It was the entrance to a farm property and was a private bridge.  We didn’t go across it, but took photos from the front.


Upper Falls Covered Bridge, 1840, Black river near Downers Four Corners

Upper Falls Covered Bridge, 1840, Black river near Downers Four Corners

Upper Falls Bridge was unique because it had just been renovated with a new metal roof and siding.  Put into an area where the hardwoods were at their peak of color and the bridge became spectacular!  Located west of the Connecticut River, it was owned and restored in 1975 by the local town. Nearby, there were stone remains of old mills that were destroyed by floods of the past.


Willard Twin Bridges, 1870, above the Ottauquechee river dam near North Hartland

Willard Twin Bridges, 1870, above the Ottauquechee river dam near North Hartland

Willard Bridges were built over two separate dams on a lake feeding power to a woolen mill on the side of the first bridge.  There was an island in the middle of the dam, thus requiring two separate bridges.  The falls over the dam were both spectacular, but we were unable to get close to them because it was private property WELL POSTED! I have included them here because it was very unusual that two bridges were so close together.
That did bring up an interesting antidote from the book.  It seems that in a small village in Vermont the locals were trying to decide whether to build another covered bridge across the stream that bisected the town so other farmers from that area could come to the town.  One of the councilmen made the following statement:  “We already have four covered bridges on the stream in town.  Why don’t we just cover the whole damned stream?”  The bridge never got built.


FALLS AND CASCADES
Streams and covered bridges go together obviously the latter to get over the former.  But in addition, water was a main source of power for all the towns and villages in the early Vermont.  Upper Vermont being mostly mountainous provided many beautiful falls and cascades through the rocky mountainsides.  Put streams and covered bridges together and the photo opportunities increase exponentially.

Sayers Covered Bridge, date unknown, over Ompompanoosuc river near Thetford Center

Sayers Covered Bridge, date unknown, over Ompompanoosuc river near Thetford Center

A magnificent example of the beautiful combination of cascading water and covered bridge.  Not only were the cascades beautiful, but the right sides of this area was covered with the stone walls of a grist mill and a sawmill.  However, they were so overgrown with vegetation that they were barely visible.


Warren Covered Bridge, 1879, over Mad river in Warren Village

Warren Covered Bridge, 1879, over Mad river in Warren Village

A dam was constructed below the bridge to produce electricity is located on the left side of the photo although not visible.  The water from the dam fed a huge tube which dropped through a turbine creating electricity for the town.  Originally the white building on the left was a woolen mill with a water wheel.  It had been renovated into a home.


mill-covered-bridge-photos

Mill Bridge built in 1883 just outside of Tunbridge was another example of a bridge, waterfall over a dam that generated power.  Originally there was a Grist Mill next to Mill Covered Bridge using the water from the dam, the Saw Mill  had its own wheel and a blacksmith shop as part of a mill complex using the river power.


Old Grist Mill converted to Power Generator plant.

Old Grist Mill converted to Power Generator plant on Gihon river

An example of a mill that was changed into a power generating station was found on the Gihon river.  We took this photo from the center of the covered bridge that crossed the stream.  This mill channeled the water off the stream upstream, ran it through turbin-wheels under the building and out the rear into the stream again.


Renovated Grist Mill on Brewster river, Jefferson

Renovated Grist Mill on Brewster river, Jefferson

This Grist Mill was located on a very small stream using a water wheel.  However, the mill had be sold and then renovated into a home.  The water wheel was moved from the stream side of the home to the street side where is was visible for the tourists.  There was also a covered bridge upstream from it.


Old Sawmill at Kent Corners

Old Sawmill at Kent Corners

Then there was the old 1803 sawmill that had be abandoned over a hundred years ago.  It was fed by the water through a pipe from the small lake where the water is falling over the dam.  It was under restoration by the locals in Kent’s Corner, but had a long way to go.   A very small, private covered bridge drew us to the area and we were able to photograph it hidden in the trees at the back of the owners yard (we tried to get permission, but nobody was home).


Old Mills on Otter river downtown Vergennes

Old Mills on Otter river downtown Vergennes

The ultimate use of water for power was at the city of Vergennes where a very large dam held back a lake  in the center of the city.  We drove over the dam noticing the water cascading down the under the city street and then drove around the back to see the falls.  There were two of them and they had originally provided power for several mills, but were now used to generate electricity for the city.  It was interesting because the dams were a natural barricade of rock across the Otter river damming it.  The mills were built on top of the rock base forcing the water to go through two separate cascades.  The city street over the dam was actually a bridge.


Moss Glen Falls between Granville & Warren

Moss Glen Falls between Granville & Warren

We were driving up a winding mountain road looking for another covered bridge when we saw this beautiful falls cascading down the side of the mountain.  It wasn’t on our map, but later found it on the topographic map and it was called Moss Glen Falls.  There were many falls and cascades on the streams in Vermont and we stopped to enjoy them as we covered the back roads in the mountains.


CHURCHES, FARMS, OLD BARNS, OLD HOMES & BEAUTIFUL TREES

churches

It seems to be a tradition to photograph the white churches of New England and far be it from me to be any different.  It seems that the people of New England made the bright white spires on the their churches to stand well above the surrounding forests to guide the parishioners to their doors.  The results were often quite spectacular.


Boyden Winery Farm, Cambridge

Boyden Winery Farm, Cambridge

On that first loop tour through the Smuggler’s Notch we came over a hill to see the Boyden Winery Farm down below us.  The tasting room was closed for the year so we didn’t stop to taste the local wine.

farms

house-18121

The original bridge across the Ottauquechee river was old iron Union Street bridge when the yellow home was built in 1812.  It was condemned in 1965 and Middle Covered Bridge was constructed by the last of the covered-bridge builders, Milton Graton.


1883 Home at Mill Bridge, Tunbridge

1883 Home at Mill Bridge, Tunbrid

Another beautiful old home was found behind the Mill Covered Bridge in Tunbridge.  The sign on the side of the home indicated it was built in 1883.  These are but a few of the beautiful homes and farms that we photographed on our tours through the back country of Vermont.


And finally, I can’t finish this overview of Vermont without showing a few of the photos of the fabulous autumn trees in the Green Mountain State.

autumn-trees-vt1