Vermont boasts more than one hundred still remaining covered bridges, the most in New England and a testament to America’s golden age of craftsmanship. Often spanning rivers and streams in mountainous regions, covered bridges are inevitably inviting and many are called “Kissing Bridges.” Photographers collect them, schoolkids picnic in them; winter sleigh rides and horse-drawn carriages traverse them. And lovers kiss in their sheltered privacy. All are still in active use.
You can cross three covered bridges in the town of Bennington in the state’s southwestern corner. All three traverse the Walloomsac River. From there, if you take a side trip to West Arlington, you’ll see the house where artist Norman Rockwell lived for ten years. A shaded green by the bridge makes a pleasant picnic spot with a view of the Batten Kill River. The sign on the Chiselville Bridge reads “One Dollar Fine for Driving Faster than a Walk.”
Vermont’s largest concentration of intact covered bridges is found in the Waterville-Montgomery area, just north of the mountain resort town of Stowe. From the neat little village of Waterville, Route 109 drops down, twisting back and forth along the north branch of the Lamoille River. Rocky ledges and strong currents give the river an exuberant character and six covered bridges here afford dramatic lookouts.
Outside of Waterville, in tiny Belvedere, are two wooden bridges, the Morgan and the Mill. With any luck, you can catch sight of 12 covered bridges in a day’s time. One, Waterville’s Codding, or Kissin” Bridge, still bears a sign tucked into it in the 1950s that started its local romantic tradition.
Just off Route 4, drive across the Lincoln Covered Bridge to reach a country road with views of the river as it meanders under the bridge. Then, head back on Route 4 into Woodstock for a view of the Middle Covered Bridge sited within view of the village green.
When To Go: There is really no one best time to visit Vermont. Each season is unique. But Vermont does have a season all its own, sometimes shared with the rest of the New England states. “Colors” is Vermont’s name for its fall foliage season. Color changes begin in mid-September and run through the first two to three weeks in October and vary by elevation, progressing from north to south and higher to lower elevations during the course of the season. As such, there are many ‘peaks’ so you can make your plans based on the timing and location that works for you. You may be lucky enough to come across that iconic covered bridge surrounded by foliage that gives a whole new meaning to the word psychedelic. And don’t forget the kissing bridges.
Combining leaf peeping with covered bridge viewing is one way to appreciate all Vermont has to offer. For more, visit the Vermont Office of Tourism: https://www.vermontvacation.com/plan-your-visit