by Rick Bretz
A trip to Vermont can provide an opportunity to remove oneself from all that prevents peace and relaxation. While travelling the highways, back roads, and by ways of the state, you can witness the vivid green mountain ranges as well as see up close the covered bridges that connect roads over valleys and waterways. Using a thoroughly modern piece of machinery, the automobile, to find architectural skill that benefited the horse and buggy rider sometimes requires compromise. For almost all bridges, there is room for only one car to cross at a time so diplomacy is required. “You go first, then it’s my turn.”
The covered bridge lives in many states across America but it also can be found in many countries such as Germany, China, Switzerland and Turkey. Covered bridges have an architecture all their own and can vary is types. color and size.
Construction workers and engineers built the first covered bridge in Pennsylvania over the Schuylkill River in 1800. Pennsylvania has its share of covered bridges, more than 200 spreading out across the state. However, Vermont has its share and the count comes in at just over a 100. The state has the highest number of covered bridges per square mile than any other state.
The covered bridge was engineered for a couple of reasons. The primary requirement was to protect the bridge from the weather by enclosing it on its sides and with a roof. Experts in the field of Covered Bridge-worthiness say that an authentic covered bridge is built with trusses. Vermont law now protects covered bridges and none can be torn down without approval from the governor and the Board of Historic Sites. A covered bridge can extend the life of bridge well past the 10 or 15 years a wooden bridge can last without the cover and enclosure walls.
Many states can boast covered bridges but they will have a tough time matching the high concentration of bridges per square mile combined with the scenery you will enjoy while looking for them. Besides the skiing, Vermont’s bridge scenery remains in place for travelers to see the past.