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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

New England's Bridges

~Thursday, September 30, 2021~

Day 473

We just can’t rely on the weather forecasting on the East Coast. When the forecast is for sun, it rains. When the forecast is for rain, it’s sunny. It’s certainly making our excursion planning a bit challenging. But you just have to roll with it and adjust accordingly. One thing is certain….Fall is here.

One local told us that today was the first Fall-like day of the year with the lower temperatures, which in turn activates more leaf change. It was quite brisk, with the temps in the low 40’s at night and the high hovering around 60 during the day. And I think we timed our Fall Peeper schedule perfectly. The leaf changes are late this year due to the delay in cold temperatures…..until TODAY anyway! Can’t wait to share pictures with ya’ll. This is our first time being in the New England states at this time of year, so we’re excited for what’s in store.

Since we have no cell service due to the White Mountain surroundings, we decided to take a drive today to have a look around AND to stop somewhere where we could plan the rest of our stay in New Hampshire. We’re only about 30 minutes from our old stomping ground of Conway, NH so that’s where we ended up. We’re hoping that we can revisit the Buttonwood Inn B&B we stayed at so many years ago. But first….a brewery called Tuckerman Brewing Co.. Everything was perfect about it except for the fact they didn’t allow dogs. We couldn’t figure out why, with their perfect, large outdoor setting. Either there was an incident or the owner is not a dog person? They are currently working on the interior of the brewery, so the only option was to sit outside under large event tents or out in the open. It was delightful when the sun popped out, and very cold when the clouds took over. In any case, it was the perfect space to put up the laptop, spread out the maps, and sip some suds. Jeff gives this brewery a 9 out of 10, which I think is the highest of the trip since I don’t recall any 10 out of 10’s. And the selection of IPA’s was outstanding with 5 choices. We had company as there were about 10 other groups of beer lovers chillin’ and havin’ a good time. We got so much done taking care of phone calls, emails, and planning our week. And we’re thrilled we nabbed tickets for the highly rated Mt. Washington Cog Railroad tour. They have an option of the very popular steam engine or the diesel train ride. The optimal 12:00-3:00 slots were all taken for the steam engine tour, but the biodiesel tour had a few seats left, so we’re in. We just love train rides. The last time we went to the top of Mt. Washington was by car, where it was completely socked in clouds. Zero visibility. So we’re banking on a clear day this go around. I wonder if they still hand out those certificates of achievement for anyone who makes it to the top whether it be by foot, car or train? I guess standing at the spot where the highest recorded wind speeds have ever been recorded on earth, is not to be taken lightly. Anyway, we accomplished what we wanted in terms of planning and writing down directions for everything we wanted to see in the Granite State. Let’s just hope we find the majority of them.

When we think of New England, we think of gorgeous maples and aspens, rivers and syrup. But we also think of those quintessential “covered bridges”. So believe me, we’ve got a list going. Of the 60 in the state of New Hampshire, we visited two today…..

The Swift River Covered Bridge built in 1869

and the Saco Covered Bridge built in 1890 (reconstructed 100 years later). The Saco Bridge allows 1 car at a time with a yield in each direction, and there are pedestrian walkways on either side which we took advantage of to capture a few photos. It was Sadie’s first covered bridge experience, though I think she would have preferred the chilly waters over any bridge walk. The Swift Bridge is quite the opposite, closed to cars, but open for picnicking over the Swift River. What else do you do with a bridge that’s no longer fit to support cars anyway? But why COVERED bridges? The earliest versions of bridges were made from Spruce and White Pine, making them strong, yet flexible. Unfortunately, they decayed too quickly from exposure to rain or snow. The solution… protect the bridges with roofs and siding which bridge builders adopted in the early 19th century. The banks of rivers or streams provide the perfect location for stone foundations to support these unique structures. Many were built in the mid to late 1800’s, with a few built in the modern era. The oldest covered bridge in the United States is the Haverhill-Bath Bridge located in Bath, N.H. at 192 years old. The longest is the Cornish-Windsor Bridge in Cornish, N.H. panning 460 feet. Wow, that’s a whopper! Stay tuned for more covered bridge photos! And we’ve just learned about a “Covered Bridges” app that we’ll have to download. Evidently, it’s a very useful tool while traveling this part of the country, especially when you don’t want to end up trying to squeeze your “tin can” through one of them. Can you just imagine approaching one of these bridges with cars behind you, and you can’t get in? That would be a disaster!! 😳Well, at least the trailer will be parked the majority of the time.

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