Saturday, August 7, 2021

Jody Takes me on a Tour

Thursday July 15, 2021                                                Most Recent Posts:
Moose River Campground                                    Keeping Busy Despite the Rain
St Johnsbury Vermont                                       Vermont State Parks – 7 in a day

I didn’t have a wonderful school experience as a kid.  My family only actually moved once in those 12 years but due to “redistricting” I was moved every two years to a different school.  5 schools in all. 

My friends were always at “the other school”.  Once they even drew the line right down the middle of my street and my best friends on the other side went to a different school. So I was constantly a new kid moving into a place where everyone already knew each other.  I wasn’t the only one, but there weren’t very many of us. 

All this to say that I am not in touch with anyone from my school days in Ohio except for Jody.  When he found out that I was going to be in Vermont, where he has lived for years, he invited me for a visit. 

IMG_7080Jody works mornings at a Bed and Breakfast in Woodstock Vermont so I planned to stop at Quechee Gorge on my way down and do some hiking before going to his place.  He has a hip problem and hiking is not possible for him. 

I stopped at the visitor center which is also the trail head and is in the state park.   From there the trail dropped down and ran along the Gorge.  The first section of trail on the way to the gorge was very nice.

IMG_7116The Gorge is 165 feet deep and the deepest in Vermont.  It is lovely I’m told but the extent to which they have gone to protect everyone has made it pretty impossible to really appreciate the beauty.

Wire fences taller than I am went the entire way along the trail.  No views at all of the gorge.  “Maybe” if you were 7 feet tall.   In my opinion, to protect the stupid, they ruined this for the majority.

IMG_7082At the dam, there were all the buildings and machinery ruining the view but thankfully not the sound of the waterfall.  I held my camera up over my head and took pictures since that was the only way I could see the water. I cut out the buildings and machinery after the fact.  This is the only head on picture I could get.  They looked to be big and lovely falls but still the flat kind that comes over an artificial dam.

I certainly wished the park had made a nicer spot for falls viewing.


I think this was about the best shot I could get of the falls and the river.  I didn’t really know what it looked like until I saw this picture


Here’s a zoomed in shot to cut that pipe above out.   The machinery on the near side and beyond the falls was ugly so I didn’t show what this spot actually looked like to those of us on the trail.


From there the trail went on along the river to Dewey’s Landing.  It was a mowed path, wet and muddy, but I wanted to see what was further along.

First through a field and then along the river before the damn dam.


Guess they weren’t worrying about anyone falling in the river here.  I could walk right up to the edge.



Turns out Dewey’s Landing is a boat launch with two nice benches marking a former village called Dewey’s Mills.

Sixty three buildings sprung up around Dewey and Company Woolen Mills.  I suspect it was a “company town” from 1849 to the 1960’s when the construction of the dam forced the closing of the mill and the demolition of many of its buildings including people’s homes.

At that point I turned around and walked back to the auto bridge over the gorge to see if I could see the gorge. Everything I read raved about from that vantage point.  No luck here either.  I couldn’t even take pictures over the  huge rounded fence over the road bridge.   They really don’t want anyone falling/jumping from here.


Here’s what I saw.  The gorge is referred to as Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon.  Imagine the Grand Canyon on either side with a fence like this all along to prevent people from jumping.  But I suppose public outcry forced the city to do this as there were 14 suicides from here between 2007 and 2018.  Wish I’d been here 5 years ago.   It seems the information on line isn’t up to date about how much you can actually see.


IMG_7143I returned to the gorge trail and took it to the bottom where you could actually be right next to the river but it was difficult to appreciate the gorge from there since I was WAY beyond the gorge walls.  Still it was pretty and the best part of the hike.

Here’s a short video so you can hear the lovely sounds of the water in the Ottauquechee River.


It was a long slog back up, with only a short distance of steps.  A lot of people were struggling and in the wrong sort of shoes.  I was anxious to be on my way and didn’t stop to take pictures of the footwear.  I can’t honestly recommend a stop at Quechee Gorge.


IMG_7156From there I went to meet Jody at his cute  little cabin in Hartland Vermont near Woodstock. 

When putting this post together I realized I had been so busy admiring everything he’d done there that I hadn’t taken nearly enough pictures.  None of the hot tub, none of the beautiful sun room house.  Not even a good one of the rocking chairs for sittin’ a spell  on the front porch which we did.  Too busy talking I suspect.  But I did get two pictures of the outhouse.  Hmmmmm.

And a few other pictures when we returned from our outing.


There are more pictures of Jody’s place from a visit David and I made in June of 2013.  Here’s a link if you’d like to see it all 8 years ago.  He’s made A LOT of changes since then.

I was  hungry and suggested I’d take him to lunch if he’d drive and show me the sights afterwards.   We went to Frazer’s Place which looked like it was right out of our high school days.  Wish I hadn’t clipped off the top of their sign in this  photo.


He knew where all the local covered bridges were and I was able to get pictures of them to add to my growing collection.




Walk your horse or pay a $2 fine it says above the entrance.  I love it.




Taftsville Bridge also has a lot of “stuff” all around it like I saw at Quechee.  This is also due to the dam creating the waterfall.  It obviously detracts from the old fashioned beauty of the bridge.




View of the falls from the bridge window.  Dam falls aren’t as lovely in my mind as a natural falls which isn’t level straight across.


We drove through


And so did someone else.  One at a time.


Nice view of it from the dirt road you are on once you drive through.


Unfortunately this day was three weeks ago and I can’t find any notes on the name of this bridge.  Perhaps Jody will comment and tell me if he knows.  It was a sweet little small bridge in a perfect setting for it.


IMG_7198The sun was in a terrible position for me to take this picture of  the Woodstock Middle Bridge which is actually “new” in that it was built in 1969. It replaces an 1877 iron bridge which was condemned in 1966.  It’s known as the first major authentic style covered bridge constructed in New England in the 20th century.

But there was a lot of controversy in replacing steel with wood and an adjacent landowner refused to allow jacking on his land so the builder, Milton Graton, built a wooden track for rollers on Union street and the assembled bridge was pulled over the river by Ben and Joe, two local oxen, “to the delight of hundreds of spectators. An engineer later wrote to Graton ‘Milton, in removing a metal bridge and replacing it with a wooden bridge, you have made bridge-building history.’” (quotes from Covered Bridges of Vermont by Ed Barna). 

The seemed to stem from the decision to replace steel with wood being made by the selectmen and a bridge committee after Town Meeting so as not to risk a public vote.  The anger culminated when in 1974 arsonists soaked the bridge in gasoline and set it ablaze. But firemen were able to put it out with water from the river.  The builder returned and renovated the bridge.  I assume the town is happy at this point that it didn’t burn down.  It’s still a 16 ton bridge with no structural steel.  It’s clear a lot of tourists like it.

It’s right off the Woodstock Green in a very busy and touristy area.  Jody had to let me out and drive around the green and pick me up so I could get some pictures.  I ran through and got this picture of the backside which is painted unlike the front.  I wonder why?


The Lincoln Bridge is also over the Ottauquechee River as are the previous bridges

The last stop on the tour was the Eshqua Bog Natural Area protected by the Nature Conservancy in 1990.  In a former life I was on the Speaker’s Bureau for the Nature Conservancy so I was particularly interested in seeing their work in Vermont.  

The wooden walkway through what is more accurately named a fen was not terribly long and it was clear I should have been here in June when the pink and yellow lady slippers, which probably were the reason for the protection, abound.  I’ll have to remember this for next time.  To see all the various slippers and orchids you need to come once a week from the third week in May through the third week in June.   If I lived as close as Jody does, I’d for sure do that.


Thanks for the picture Jody.  I can now prove I was actually here.

Back at the cabin, Jody and Sparky show off the inside of the outhouse.

We sat around in the back and chatted and I unfortunately didn’t get a picture of that or several other really neat things  Jody has done to his place since I was here last.  Things like the hot tub and the Sun Room.  Really more of a sun house.  It was a favorite of mine.

But before I left, I did get a video of Sparky chasing bubbles which is great exercise for her at age 10.

Thanks Jody for the hospitality and the tour.  It was good to see you again.
And thanks too for being the longest standing friend I’m still in touch with.


  1. Nice to see you got in touch with an old school friend. You certainly had a good time with him as he showed you all around.

    I'm impressed with your collection of covered bridges you've visited. Pretty soon you'll have a Ph.D in their locations and construction. Remember when we used to call Judy Bell the "Bird Lady"? Now we'll be calling you the "Bridge Lady". :c)

    1. I did have a good time Paul for sure. And there are even more bridges to come. I think Vermont has a hundred Bridges and I won't even come close to seeing 50%. I'm only a bridge lady in Vermont Judy was a bird lady everywhere she went.

    2. Interesting that I have been thinking of Judy the past two days. I met her once and am so glad I had the opportunity.

  2. Hey Sherry. Glad to hook up after all these years.

    The bridge you were questioning is Martin’s Mill Covered Bridge on Martinsville Rd. in Windsor, VT. Really off the beaten path!

    1. How long has it been? We were at your place 7 years ago and you have been at mine in Virginia since then I think. Thanks for the info on Martin's Mill bridge. I will add that to the Post.

  3. Great to meet up with an old friend like that. What a nice day you two had.

    1. It was great Lynne. Hope you have more old high school friends than I do.

  4. The covered bridges are a particularly pretty sight.

    1. Not sure how many I'm up to now, but there are more to come. Glad you enjoy them.

  5. How fun for you to visit with a friend from childhood! And so funny that you mostly got photos of Jody's outhouse—which is very artistic, so I can only imagine how cool his sunroom and hot tub area are. His dog Sparky is so cute chasing bubbles. :-)

    1. I do love the outhouse but I also loved the sun room and can't imagine why I didn't get pictures of it.

  6. There are no friends like old friends and it's wonderful to be able to just pick up where you last left off. That gorge fence is c-razy. I can understand the one from the bridge, but beside a walking path? There must be a story there, too. At least you checked it out and now know and have saved your other readers the trip. :-) I loved the covered bridges. It's amazing that there are so many in one area. Thanks for sharing!

    1. The gorge was so disappointing. But the rest of the day was great. Thanks for your comment Pam.

  7. Jody's place looks charming. I would have liked to see the inside. Does he really not have an inside bathroom? I loved the frogs on the other blog from when you visited the last time. I agree that the chain link fence really takes away from the idea of being in nature. xxxooo

    1. The inside is so small it's hard to get pictures. He has a murphy bed that folds up into the wall. He used to sleep in the loft but he said the ladder is too much of a literal pain.

  8. How nice to have an old friend in nice places. Especially when they show you their world! Love the video of his dog chasing bubbles. Might have to try that with Cooper.

    1. I hope Cooper likes the bubbles as well as Sparky. She also liked a laser pointer and would chase it all over.

  9. What a shame about the gorge. When we have to uglify a place to make it safe maybe we shouldn't send people there at all. Most of my friends from school days I'd lost touch with until attending a HS class reunion and following on Facebook. Now, seems most of my friends are from blogging and I've made an effort to meet many of them. You, are still on my list. These bridges are all so awesome. Nice to have a tour guide.

    1. I hate to sound like an old grump but rather than ruin a beautiful place I think we should accept that some people do stupid things and it's not our job to stop them. Having gone to so many schools, I really didn't have any friends to reunite with.

    2. I have the same problem - I had to change schools at least every two years and you don't make lifelong friends that way. My parents were doing their best to bring us up to a better place in life, but it really affected me more than any of my siblings.

  10. OMG, Jody’s place is so wonderful! Disappointed not to see more photos but it’s forgiveable since you were busy catching up with your old friend (and watching adorable bubble-chasing dogs!)! It’s so valuable to have someone (beyond family members) who knew you when you had barely even begun to be you! It was nice to be able to link to the photos in your older blog post, and yes, seeing that snow photo, I’m not quite so envious of Jody! (I won’t ask whether he actually makes it out to the outhouse when there’s that much snow on the ground)… or does he usually head south for the winter in that cute trailer?

    1. Sadly he doesn't have the trailer any more. I couldn't believe he sold it. Next visit, more pictures I promise.

  11. I know we are unique in the number of school friends we meet up with around the country, but I'm glad you have a good one in such a beautiful place. Getting tours from local friends are the best! Sad that a pretty spot has such a tragic legacy. Love your distant pic of the pretty red bridge through the trees.

    1. Thanks Jodee. I like that shot too. I'm envious of your happy high School memories and Friends.

  12. I have moved 22 times so far and have had no contact with those I went to high school with. I spent 30 years in the Coast Guard and still have contact with some of those folks, but when you keep moving around it can be difficult:)

    1. Is that possibly why it is so easy to find compatible people to make friends with on this blog? I had to move and change schools way too many times to get too close to anyone. I keep in touch with blog friends way more than I ever have with any other group.

    2. Wow you've moved 22 times. That seems like a lot even for someone in the military. Glad to know I'm not the odd man out with almost no high school friends. The thing about my childhood was that I didn't move. I just kept having my schools changed.

    3. Gypsy I'm sorry you had my same difficulty with moving and friends. Maybe that childhood experience is why it is so nice to read these comments from blogger friends

  13. I'm glad you got to visit Jody. What a unique place he has.I wouldn't recommend the Gorge either...but the covered bridges are definitely neat to see. Interesting histories.

    1. His place really is unique Carrie and what he's done to it in the last years since I saw it is great.

  14. I love the bridge pics as I also seek out the old wooden beauties! So happy to see you still enjoying the travel life!

  15. Bummer about Quechee Gorge, I'll stop recommending it. We moved when I was 11, after junior high school most of my friends went to the other school in the district. Thankfully I met my BFF in 9th grade and we're still best of friends.


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