Saturday, October 9, 2021

The Bridges of Bennington County

August 8, 2021                                                         Most Recent Posts:
Camping on the Battenkill                             Robert Frost’s Stone House
Arlington, Vermont                                             Return to Lowell Lake



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.


IMG_8865The Henry Bridge  is what is known as a town lattice bridge and carries River Road across the Walloomsac River. 

There is a nice spot to launch a boat if you have a way to park a car downstream.





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Pretty clear here why they call it a lattice bridge.

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View through the lattice.

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On to the Paper Mill Bridge nearby.


IMG_8882The 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.


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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.

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There is a nice trail running down to a spot where I could see much of the bridge span and the mill falls.

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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.


IMG_8907The 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.


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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.


IMG_8911The 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?


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Forty feet looks pretty high up when looking out the lattice.  No problem with the bridge possibly getting washed out in a flood.


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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.

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I wonder if she’s exceeding the speed limit?


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There was a trail down to the river here as well but the views ware a bit obstructed. 


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Really lovely spot here that I had all to myself.

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IMG_8931I 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.



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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.


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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.

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The river has several popular put ins but nearly everyone seems to get out at the park at the New York State Line. 

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Rockwell’s Retreat is an historic Inn built in 1792 which was the home of Norman Rockwell from 1943 to 1953.

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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.

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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.


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24 comments:

  1. These really are beautiful bridges.

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  2. I think Vermont is almost as good as Oregon for covered bridges. Love the red and the lattice.

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    1. Seems like red and lattice were the prevailing design Sue. I hope to see Oregon's bridges some day. Do they have more than 100?

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  3. Beautiful photos. I'm working on next summer's Vermont plans. Love your covered bridge photos.

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    1. Thanks Brenda. You are starting early for summer already. But I guess 11 months to a year in advance is what one has to do these days.

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  4. Lots of covered bridges, many pretty old.

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    1. There are definitely a lot of covered bridges in Vermont. I have hardly put a dent in seeing them.

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  5. Enjoyed the pics of covered bridges. Hope life is going well for you.

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    1. Thanks Tom. Are you in Alaska now or Florida?

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  6. I love the bridges, but the most amazing part of this post is that you have not seen Diane Keeton in "Baby Boom." It also stars former C'ville resident, Sam Shepard,and has one particularly hysterical scene with him. You have to find it, particularly after visiting that area. Thank you for posting this. I have to visit Vermont!

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    1. You definitely must visit Vermont. Short of buying the movie I haven't found any way to see it. Not sure I want to own it.

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  7. Beautiful bridges. I like that sign. Rockwell's house is quite pretty. Really nice pictures.

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    1. I thought the Rockwell house was beautiful too and he had such a great view. I'm surprised the house is a private business rather than owned by some Rockwell Foundation and open to the public given how many of his famous paintings were done here.

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  8. I love that they paint their covered bridges red in Vermont—it makes them so picturesque! In Oregon and other places they're sometimes red, sometimes white, sometimes not painted at all. I wonder if anyone enforces the fine for driving faster than walking? I hope so. ;-)

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    1. I'm with you Laurel. It would be great if there was enforcement of the rule. What would that be? 2mph? :-)

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  9. What a lovely post about more bridges in Vermont. I'm envious that you got to spend so much of the summer there.

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    1. I do feel very lucky to have been in such a lovely place Laurie.

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  10. Your bridge hunting is so fun. Love the latices.

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    1. Wish you could have come to join me. Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Maybe I should try fishing from under a covered bridge. I've never caught a fish while standing out in the open. :cD

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    1. Who knows Paul, it's worth a try if you like to eat fish.

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  12. So many lovely bridges. We saw several when in Vermont and New Hampshire but not as many red ones. Love the lattice patterns! Beautiful pic with the water cascading below :-) You definitely need to find Baby Boom - it's a delightful movie that will make you laugh and cheer (and wonder how we ever thought shoulder pads was a good look!).

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  13. While I may be woefully behind in blog reading, your VT covered bridge pictures bring back great memories of time spent with my folks. We visited all the ones in this post. Thanks for such a grand tour of VT.

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