Friday, August 27, 2021

Photo of the Day: Covered Bridge, West Arlington VT

Maybe it’s because, as a New Jerseyite, I come from the most densely populated state in the nation. But whenever I see a covered bridge, it reminds me of the rural part of the country that I have rarely seen over the years.

And covered bridges represent no state more than Vermont. In the 19th century, roughly 700 of these bridges existed there, as the men who built the state recognized that these coverings protected the timber structures over streams and railroads, with the ancillary benefit of calming animals that were crossing rushing waters. Since then, the "Historic Bridges" Web site operated by the Green Mountain State notes that the number has dwindled to a little over 100 of these structures, or more per square mile than any other state.

I live from the George Washington Bridge, a mighty expanse across the Hudson that is justly famous. But nobody breathes so much of Americana to me as the covered bridge. And how much more Americana can you get than one in a town associated with Norman Rockwell?

That would be West Arlington, VT. I happened to be in nearby Manchester two months ago, for a dear relative’s wedding that weekend. A short drive away took me to an inn that once belonged to the beloved New England artist. And just a stone’s drive away from that was this red bridge, crossing the Battenkill River, only two miles from the New York border.

Built in 1852, the bridge was badly battered by Hurricane Irene in 2011. Luckily, this mainstay on the National Register of Historic Places survived, and now endures as one of the most popular and picturesque sites for travelers and photographers in Vermont.

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