NEW HAMPSHIRE FALL PHOTO
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next to the river was a large home which was the main building in a extensive farm.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 bridge was a beautiful bridge in a colorful setting. Along the right side of the bridge road were a series of red berry bushes.
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.
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.