Joy Rides … Close to Home
[During the Year of the Pandemic our ventures abroad have kept us very close to home. We began a series of day trips that we deemed Joy Rides. These involved packing a lunch, hopping into the car, and setting out to experience Vermont’s many wonders. The lunches started out as elaborate affairs, but devolved into ritualized peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Here’s one such adventure.]
It was a rainy morning on July 11, not a good day for a Joy Ride. But, it cleared after lunch, so we hopped in the GileadMobile to take an abbreviated Joy Ride.
The video is our executive summary. More extensive descriptions and photos follow.
Our journeys are not about covered bridges so much as the people and places you encounter on the backroads of Vermont. We took a left off Route 12, then another on Findley Bridge Road, then another on Christian Hill Road. We passed by the home of our friends Davis Dimock and Victoria Weber.
They were out and showed us around their unique “farm” that straddles both sides of the road with quarried stone, sculptures, creative art objects, and expansive herb and perennial gardens.
We continued to South Randolph, where we found the Kingsbury or Hyde Bridge in a beautiful pastoral setting that neither of us knew existed. Built in 1904 with multiple kingposts, it is among the youngest of the older generation of Vermont Covered Bridges.
From there we headed north, a trek of about 6 miles where we encountered three more previously unseen bridges. The first was the Gifford Bridge, also built in 1904 to cross the Second Branch of the White River. The unusual truss design of larger multiple kingposts over smaller multiple kingposts suggest that it was originally uncovered.
The Braley, or Upper Blaisdell Bridge, was built in the same year as the other two Randolph covered bridges across the Second Branch of the White River. The hidden gem is at the bottom of a steep road off Route 14 near the intersection of Laughing Waters Way.
Our favorite bridge sighting of the day was Flint Bridge in nearby Chelsea. It was built in 1845 across the First Branch of The White River. Light shines through the sideboards and the broad window affords a tranquil river view.
Then it was over Chelsea Mountain Road, unlocking a lot of rich memories along the way, finally intersecting with Route 110 and one of the most bridge-intensive stretches in the state of Vermont. We were actually happy to discover a covered bridge in restoration. Built in 1883 of queenpost construction, the Moxley Bridge spans the First Branch of the White River. We explored along the river banks and decided to return another day to visit the five covered bridges in nearby Tunbridge. Sensory overload!