For those of you who read my previous post, Robert Frost is not the only famous artist who has lived in this area. Today I stumbled unexpectedly on the former home of another one.
Camping on the Battenkill is midway between Bennington and Manchester Vermont on Vermont 7A. Both are very interesting towns as you could see from the pictures of the bookstore in Manchester in a previous post. I didn’t visit Bennington, saving that for another day but I wandered the county.
There are 5 covered bridges in Bennington County and today I set out to see them. As those of you who have followed me know, Vermont is filled with bridges and I’m trying to see all the ones within reasonable distance of both campgrounds I’ve stayed in.
There is a nice spot to launch a boat if you have a way to park a car downstream.
Pretty clear here why they call it a lattice bridge.
View through the lattice.
On to the Paper Mill Bridge nearby.
The current Paper Mill Bridge built in 2000 is a replacement for the original one built in 1889. This is also a town lattice bridge spanning 122 feet along Murphy Road. It is the longest covered bridge in Bennington County.
This site was home to one of Vermont’s first paper mills. The dam below the mill provided hydroelectric power to industry in the community. It was looking particularly lovely with the wildflowers.
Not sure what’s in the buildings immediately adjacent to the bridge now but historically it was no doubt the mill. Not terribly scenic now looking out the lattice in the bridge on this side.
There is a nice trail running down to a spot where I could see much of the bridge span and the mill falls.
Also nearby was the Silk Road Bridge. Interesting name given the actual location of the silk road in history. I couldn’t find any explanation for it.
The Silk Road Bridge also goes over the Walloomsac River in Bennington and was the first of a series of covered bridges to span the river. All of them are located within two miles of each other. A covered bridge has spanned this location since 1790 though the current one was was built in 1840.
If all three of these bridges look alike, you are right. Not sure if originally they were built by the same person but they are definitely the same style. And all are popular fishing spots. See below the bridge.
The three previous bridges are very close to each other and the town of Bennington. From there I turned and headed back toward the campground for the last two.
The Chiselville Covered Bridge was built in 1870 and sits 40 high above Roaring Branch River. It too is a town lattice truss bridge and spans 117 feet. I read that it became famous briefly in a 1987 movie entitled Baby Boom when Diane Keaton’s character leaves New York for a more peaceful life in rural Vermont. I looked for the movie on line when I got back but couldn’t find it.
Don’t you love the sign?
Forty feet looks pretty high up when looking out the lattice. No problem with the bridge possibly getting washed out in a flood.
Notice how narrow the bridges were. Good for horse and buggy but close for cars and not possible for trucks but then few of the covered bridges are tall enough for trucks.
I wonder if she’s exceeding the speed limit?
There was a trail down to the river here as well but the views ware a bit obstructed.
Really lovely spot here that I had all to myself.
I rounded out my bridge day close to home visiting the Arlington Green Covered Bridge. This one is the closest to the campground and is also on the Battenkill River. If the river were not so shallow at the campground I could float from there to here easily.
This bridge is one of the most popular and most photographed in Vermont with the little church and scenic Rockwell Inn nearby. All the cars were due to the fact that it is a very popular spot for putting in to tube or kayak the river.
It also is a town lattice truss bridge though the lattice is difficult to see except from the inside. Built in 1852 it is one of the oldest in Vermont and spans 80 across the Battenkill River.
I was here on a Sunday so perhaps there are fewer people during the week.
The river has several popular put ins but nearly everyone seems to get out at the park at the New York State Line.
Rockwell’s Retreat is an historic Inn built in 1792 which was the home of Norman Rockwell from 1943 to 1953.
I probably should have taken a picture back toward the bridge and scenic church to show what must have been a beautiful view Rockwell had when he lived her but so many cars made it unappealing. I doubt it was this busy in Rockwell’s time.
It was from this house that Rockwell employed his neighbors as models for his images for calendars, magazines and advertisements. He painted his famous Four Freedoms as a war bonds campaign in 1943 while living here.
Rather than go back the way I came, I continued on down River Road back to its intersection with Vermont 7A. It’s a lovely pastoral route.