Addison County is home to five of Vermont’s 100 iconic covered bridges: the Cornwall-Salisbury Covered Bridge, Pulp Mill Covered Bridge, Halpin Covered Bridge, Shoreham Covered Railroad Bridge, and the Spade Farm Covered Bridge. May is National Bike Safety Month (May 13 is National Bike Safety Week). The combination just cries out for a bike ride across some of these fantastic bridges.
Among the five, the Pulp Mill Covered Bridge is the most spellbinding. It is a two-lane covered bridge (one of only six left in the US) that hearkens back to the days of narrower vehicles (think buggy, not Hummer). Each time I drive over it I marvel. I’m anxious the bridge might not carry us all, and its slender width raises concern for my rear-view mirrors. But the bridge has carried us all over Otter Creek since 1820, I think we’re safe.
Another passage over Otter Creek, the Cornwall-Salisbury Covered Bridge is probably the most picturesque, though the Halpin is a close second. The Cornwall-Salisbury must be the best loved as it has the most names: the Station Bridge, Creek Road Bridge, Cedar Swamp Bridge and Salisbury Station Bridge. Built in 1865, the Cornwall-Salisbury crosses the Otter from Cornwall to Salisbury, of course. The names Creek Road Bridge and Cedar Swamp Bridge seem much more descriptive, however.
The Halpin Bridge, on Halpin Road in Middlebury, spans a natural waterfall (in full force since the rains of April) and is the tallest bridge above a stream bed in Vermont. If you cross this bridge on your bike, and holler up to the beams, you can get a great echo. Something about this wonderful bridge inspires a good holler.
North Ferrisburg’s Shoreham Bridge was built by the Rutland Railroad company in 1897. It is used now as part of a hiking trail. The Spade Farm Bridge is privately owned. It was originally built in 1824 on Old Hollow Road. To protect it from modernization, the bridge was moved in 1959.
While I don’t currently have any Addison County properties near covered bridges, I can recommend several Middlebury homes that are just a short bike ride to downtown – one of them is even on Halpin Road!
You can take a virtual tour of Vermont covered bridges, but it is much more fun by bicycle. Download a map of Addison County covered bridges here. If Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep were really in love, they’d have taken bike rides over most of these bridges.
image credits: info.mymovies.ge, www.addisoncounty.com