I was in Vermont with my parents for a short, but busy vacation as I wanted to visit as many places as I could in the short amount of time I was there. I had spent the morning in the Hanover and West Lebanon region, having arrived to visit Corey Ford, an author whose short stories had been a part of childhood. Note: more about Corey Ford can be found here: Corey Ford.
I headed eastward on Vermont Route 4 to visit another of Vermont’s Covered Bridges, one that had been recommended by a number of people as a place to visit while in the region. The initial plan was to stop at the visitor’s center at the Quechee Gorge, but those plans were halted as we approached. Slowing down, we saw the parking lots were filled and people were everywhere. Choosing to skip the visitor’s center, we continued on Route 4 and passed over the gorge. Even the lots on the other side of the gorge were full, so I wasn’t going to be stopping here on this journey.
Known as Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon, the Quechee Gorge is 165 feet deep, making it the deepest gorge in Vermont. The gorge is a result of Ice Age activity – as the glacier that once covered Vermont receded, the melting waters cut through the bedrock and created the natural formation. At the base of the gorge, the Ottauquechee River continues to flow and it is a popular place for recreation and relaxation.
A short distance after crossing the gorge, we turned onto Waterman Hill Road and immediately spotted the Quechee Covered Bridge ahead. We passed through the bridge and found a spot to park at the junction of Waterman Hill and Quechee Main Street.
Before I crossed Waterman Hill Road, I stepped over to the fence to look at the rocky formations carved by the Ottauquechee River. Far below, I could see people in the water and lounging on the rocks. Crossing Waterman Hill Road, I entered the covered bridge via a walkway on the western edge of it. From this point, I had a view of the Ottauquechee River where it spills over a dam and boulders and into the gorge below.
This covered bridge is a modern one, having been built to replace the former covered bridge that stood here. The original bridge, which was a concrete bridge with a wooden cover added in 1970, had suffered massive damage due to Hurricane Irene in 2011. The hurricane dumped enough water in the region that the gorge had filled, flooding the bridge and damaging it and nearby buildings.
Rebuilt in 2012, the bridge is not the typical covered bridge – it is identified as a Covered Concrete Stringer Bridge, meaning it is erected atop beams to support the traffic flowing through the bridge. The exterior of the covered bridge retains its natural coloring unlike the normal reds and whites which are the typical colors one thinks of when imagining covering bridges. It has a length of eighty-five feet, which is fifteen feet longer than the previous covered bridge. The sides of the bridge are open, giving views both up and down stream of the Ottauquechee River.
Note: While the truss, or the beam design to support the bridge and its roof is merely decorative, it reminds me of a multiple kingpost design.
With more people arriving, I carefully made my way back to the vehicle and headed westward on Route 4 toward a number of covered bridges that were located a short distance to the west.