Covered Bridge VII – August 6th, 2022

Date/Time :
Aug062022
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Feeling cooped up? Looking to get out for a day of driving on scenic New England roads with stops at several historical covered bridges along the way? Then come join your fellow enthusiasts for the seventh annual NAAC Covered Bridge Tour on August 6!

The tour is approximately 110 miles long, of which 24 miles are great Vermont dirt roads. (Sorry, not all covered bridges have the courtesy to be on paved roads.) Lunch will be on your own, with the official lunch stop at The Little Grille at the Mill in Bradford VT. Other options are the Hungry Bear, Bliss Village Store, and Colatina Exit. The route will end in North Woodstock, NH at Merland’s Taps and Tables, where they have indoor and outdoor seating, and we can enjoy some refreshments and nourishment for the ride home. If it’s a hot day, don’t forget to bring your bathing suit or flip-flops for some cooling off in the Ammonoosuc River at the last covered bridge stop of the day.

As before, this year’s Covered Bridge Tour will benefit New Hampshire Best Buddies (BB). BB is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Over the past six years, NAAC’s Covered Bridge Tour has raised over $4,000 for Best Buddies, $1500 of that in 2021.

The starting location is 102 Railroad Row, White River Junction, VT. This is the White River Junction Amtrak station at the end of Railroad Row, which is off Bridge St. Registration is through MSR here and the entry fee is $40 per vehicle, with all proceeds going to Best Buddies. While you are registering, please consider making an extra donation to Best Buddies; it’s a great organization! Sign-in will begin at 8:30 AM, and first car off is at 9:00AM, with the tour ending around 5:00PM. Questions? Email event master Mike Collier at [email protected]

Come enjoy the day!

-Mike Collier, Event Master

A bit of background…

White River Junction (actually Hartford, VT) is a town that has been a crossing point for vital water, road and rail routes for more than two centuries. Atop the railroad depot’s cupola, a weather vane features a small engine and tender steaming into the wind. This is where we will learn about “Old 494”, a coal-fired locomotive that was built by Manchester Locomotive Works in Manchester NH around 1892.

Along the route, we will visit several covered bridges of the Connecticut valley and touch on other interesting historical information along the way.

A covered bridge is a timber-truss bridge with a roof, decking and siding, in which most covered bridges create an almost complete enclosure. The purpose of the covering is to protect the wooden structural members from the weather. Uncovered wooden bridges typically have a lifespan of only 20 years because of the effects of rain and sun, but a covered bridge could last over 100 years.

Covered bridges represent a link with our past. They stand as monuments to builders who had the vision and the ability to design and construct engineering masterpieces of wood. Men such as Ithiel Town, Stephen Long, James Tasker, and more recently, Milton Graton, have left a lasting impression on the landscape.

There are about 14,000 covered bridges that have been built in the United States, most in the years 1825 to 1875. Today surviving bridges number fewer than 1000 by the United States Department of Transportation, and 814 by the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges as of 2009.

Remember too, each covered bridge is captured at a moment in time. These structures will change. Some will disappear, succumbing to the ravages of time and the carelessness of man. The outward appearance of some bridges will change in the future as they are rebuilt. Many bridges will appear to grow stronger as everything around them ages while others will appear ancient in their modern surroundings. Each bridge however, contains a character and an individuality all its own.

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