Covered bridges of Bennington

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Vermont has a higher concentration of covered bridges than anywhere else in the US. So it isn’t surprising you will find several bridges just outside Bennington in the south east corner of the state right next to Massachusetts and New York. If you have made it here you might as well take the short drive out of town along the 7A north and then take the signed turn out to the 67A north there are three covered bridges close to this road.

The covered bridges are a traditional part of the New England landscape – the locals put a roof on the bridges across the local streams and rivers to protect the wood from the harsh New England weather. The bridges are pretty big since they were built so a fully loaded wagon could pass through without having to unload part of the high loads. In addition to their main purpose of transportation the bridges also served as a secret hide out for young couples in love who could walk across a bridge protected from the watchful eyes of the older local residence.

 

In Bennington the three bridges span the small river of Walloomsac. If you want to take in all the three bridges you probably should start with the Henry Covered Bridge which is the one furthest away from the city.

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Henry Bridge

The Henry Bridge is 121 feet long and built in 1840 and it is the oldest bridge in Bennington County. The bridge was completely rebuilt in 1989 so you can safely take your car across the bridges without fear of the wooden planks breaking under you. There is a big building next to the bridge which is or used to be Henry House Inn – but if it is still operating as an inn it was clearly closed when we went by in the middle of foliage season so somehow I doubt the inn is currently operational.

From the Henry Bridge you can take the small Murphy Road until you reach the second covered bridge – the Paper Mill Bridge. With a length of a bit over 125 feet it is the longest of the covered bridges around Bennington. It was built in 1889 and is located right next to a surprise surprise an old paper mill. Of the tree bridges this one is closest to the 67A so you will easily spot it if you are driving along this road.

The last of the bridges are the Silk Bridge at 88 feet it is the shortest of the three bridges but is pretty old dating back to 1840. Apparently it was damaged by floodwater following hurricane Irene in 2011 – but it has been repaired and there are no signs of the destruction. The bridge is very close to Bennington so you can head back there for the night, a meal or just continue your journey through Vermont.

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