Visit Vermont … famous for its covered bridges
Vermont is home to many covered bridges, which are wooden bridges that have a roof and siding to protect the structural members from the elements. These bridges were originally built in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and many of them are still in use today.
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The most famous covered bridge in Vermont is the West Dummerston Covered Bridge, which is located in West Dummerston, Vermont. It is the longest two-span covered bridge in the United States, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other notable covered bridges in Vermont include the Taftsville Covered Bridge in Woodstock, the Scott Covered Bridge in Windsor, and the Perkinsville Covered Bridge in Weathersfield.
Many of Vermont’s covered bridges are open to the public and can be visited by foot or by car. Some of these bridges are located in state parks or forests, while others are on private property. Many of the covered bridges in Vermont are also popular with photographers and artists, who are drawn to their picturesque setting and rustic charm.
Vermont’s covered bridges are often seen as icons of the state’s rural character and history. There are over 100 covered bridges within the state; however, only 17 still carry vehicular traffic today. Dale Travis has provided and exhaustive list of all Vermont covered bridges on his website. (If you’re interested in Vermont round barns, he also has a page listing them as well.)
They are part of the New England heritage that many tourists come to Vermont in search of.
The covered bridge tradition started in the 18th century when people wanted to keep their buildings warm and dry so they built them with roofs and walls made of sturdy wood boards, shingles, and planks.
Vermont has a number of covered bridges that are popular tourist attractions. Here is a list of some of the covered bridges in Vermont:
- Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge: This bridge, also known as the “Longest Covered Bridge in America,” spans the Connecticut River and connects the towns of Cornish, New Hampshire and Windsor, Vermont.
- Taftsville Covered Bridge: This bridge, located in the town of Woodstock, Vermont, was built in 1836 and is one of the oldest covered bridges in the state.
- Bartonsville Covered Bridge: This bridge, located in the town of Rockingham, Vermont, was built in 1870 and is one of the few remaining covered bridges in Vermont that is open to vehicle traffic.
- Stowe Covered Bridge: This bridge, located in the town of Stowe, Vermont, was built in 1844 and is a popular tourist attraction in the area.
- West Dummerston Covered Bridge: This bridge, located in the town of Dummerston, Vermont, was built in 1872 and is one of the few remaining covered bridges in Vermont that is open to vehicle traffic.
- Quechee Gorge Covered Bridge: This bridge, located in the town of Hartford, Vermont, spans the Quechee Gorge and is a popular tourist attraction in the area.
- Grafton Covered Bridge: This bridge, located in the town of Grafton, Vermont, was built in 1835 and is one of the oldest covered bridges in the state.
- Cheney Covered Bridge: This bridge, located in the town of Townshend, Vermont, was built in 1879 and is one of the few remaining covered bridges in Vermont that is open to vehicle traffic.
- Williamsville Covered Bridge: This bridge, located in the town of Newfane, Vermont, was built in 1870 and is one of the few remaining covered bridges in Vermont that is open to vehicle traffic.
- Scott Covered Bridge: This bridge, located in the town of Reading, Vermont, was built in 1864 and is one of the few remaining covered bridges in Vermont that is open to vehicle traffic.
Vermont’s covered bridge were constructed during the 19th century and early 20th century, with the peak construction period being in 1850-1920s. This is because this was when Vermont’s timber industry peaked.
Covered bridges are a major tourist attraction in Vermont
A classic Vermont experience is taking a sleigh ride over one of the many covered bridges, some are wheelchair accessible. There are many scenic rides to choose from that will take you through the mountains of Vermont, passing by farms and towns along the way.
Vermont Covered Bridge Festival
If you would like to experience some of these covered bridges for yourself, Vermont Covered Bridge Festival which usually takes place in the Mad River Valley, has an annual event where you can take a scenic ride with your family or friends. Unfortunately, the event was canceled in 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic but hopes are that it will resume in forthcoming years.
At least one Vermont covered bridge, the Gold Brook Covered Bridge, also known as Stowe Hollow Bridge is rumored to be haunted. Also known as “Emily’s Bridge” due to the title of the ghost story, the Stowe area bridge attracts a lot of attention, which locals are not particularly happy about.
Troy, Vermont’s River Road Covered Bridge Destroyed
Sadly, in 2021 the River Road Covered Bridge, over the Missisquoi River in Troy collapsed following a blaze that started when a snowmobile caught file while crossing. The covered bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
The old bridge had been rebuilt between 2007 and 2008, stabilizing the structure, replacing pieces and treating it with fire retardant. Unfortunately, despite those upgrades, the bridge did not survive the intense fire.
Shelburne/Charlotte area Covered Bridge
The Holmes Creek Covered Bridge (named after the Holmes family) also known as the Lakeshore Covered Bridge,is a one-lane wooden covered bridge that crosses Holmes Creek in Charlotte, VT on Lake Road, adjacent to Charlotte Beach.
In the latter half of the 1800s, the Holmes family operated what was reputed to be the largest apple orchard in New England. The orchard was located just southwest of the bridge. If you look carefully around the Lake Champlain shoreline there are submerged pilings, which are the only remaining evidence of the pier where boats docked to load the apples.
Irasburg’s Orne Covered Bridge
The Orne Covered Bridge is located in Irasburg, VT., just south of the village of Coventry, on Back Coventry Road. Various sources claim original construction dates of 1879 and 1881. The bridge was destroyed by an arsonist in 1997 and rebuilt in 2000.
Covered bridges are a symbol of Vermont’s history and have become a treasured part of its landscape. Vermont covered bridges are great for day trips. Explore and experience the history and beauty of the state’s unique and awe inspiring classic treasures.