UNCOVER THE COVERED TREASURES OF THE NORTHEAST KINGDOM
It’s fun to travel back in time.
Movies are the easiest way. With the push of a button, you can fly back as far as any Discovery Channel show will take you. Books can do it, too, but there is more imagination required. But if you really want to work for it, you can drive back in time. And Vermont’s covered bridges provide that portal.
Close to 1,300 covered bridges were built in Vermont between the early 1800s and 1900s. They were covered with roofs to protect the wooden truss work from the weather and the rot it would bring. But rot was the least of anyone’s worry when the Great Flood of 1927 poured into the state. Over two days in November of that year, north of 1,200 of the iconic structures were swept away. There are little more than 100 left standing today.
That number got even lighter in February. The River Road Bridge in the NEK town of Troy burned when a snowmobile crossing it caught fire, its flames leaping onto the bridge’s timbers. Within minutes, the bridge was fully engulfed, eventually collapsing into the Missisquoi River. It was 111 years old.
When it was built in 1910, people in town were still getting around on horseback. The newly formed Green Mountain Club had just started to cut what would become the Long Trail. And down the road in St. Johnsbury, 10,000 people showed up at the Caledonia County Fair to watch the first airplane flight in Vermont.
The town of Troy didn’t just lose a bridge. It lost a part of history.
There is, however, still plenty of history to be had.
There are eight covered bridges still standing in the NEK. Not only do they offer the opportunity to travel as far back as 1878 (the Millers Run bridge in Lyndon,) visiting them takes you off the beaten path and into the soul of the Kingdom. And if that’s not enough of a reason to jump in the car, we now have a NEKed Covered Bridges Adventure for you. (So, now you’ll come away rich with shwag as well as historical knowledge.)
The new Adventure will take you to a town or two you have probably never heard of. (Lemington, anyone?) You might even find yourself in New Hampshire. And as an added perk, routes along the NEKed Bridges Adventure just happen to intersect with a few destinations from the Naturally NEKed Adventure, doubling your chances to earn some sweet getNEKedVT shwag.
The warm season is coming NEK fans. It’s time to take a drive.