New Hampshire: Monadnock Covered Bridge Tour

One of my favorite states in the US is New Hampshire. There’s something about the forests, lakes, historical architecture and the broad sense of community that really makes me happy just being there. I lived in Southern New Hampshire for over five years and earned my college degree there. Most of my time was spent in a town called Keene. It’s a college town, so the usual college fun of pubs, food, and activities is abundant. A few movies have even been filmed there. You can still see the Parish Shoes sign from the movie Jumanji on the side of a building in the roundabout.

During the fall, this entire region is buzzing with “leaf peepers”. Leaf peepers are the tourists who come from all over to see the beautiful fall colors of the deciduous forests. It’s one of the things I miss most. Each year, right around Halloween, Keene sets the stage for thousands of jack-o’lanterns to be simultaneously lit. Their goal during the Pumpkin Festival is not only to celebrate a fantastic time of year, but also hoping to break the Guinness World Record for the most lit jack-o’lanterns in one place.

There are a lot of things I loved about living there: I miss the smell of maple syrup, the small country stores, and the abundance of covered bridges. The folks who live near Keene drive covered bridges all the time. I am sure they take them for granted most days, but I loved them. Each one is so special.

In 2010, I had a chance to visit my old stomping grounds: Keene, Swanzey, and the Monadnock region of southern New Hampshire. On one of the days we spent there, we decided to follow the Ashuelot River and tour the seven covered bridges there. I found a site that had a great map and details about each bridge, so we printed it off and away we went.

Nothing demonstrates the charm of New England villages like a covered bridge. They represent the inventiveness and know-how of our forefathers.

The romanticist might see that covered bridges represent a more relaxed time, free from the stress of the modern age. These structures evoke images of a slow horse and buggy ride to church on a quiet Sunday, a stolen kiss under the cover of the bridge, or the peacefulness of fishing from a seat on the edge of the bridge.

One of the highlights of our trip was reading the history on our printout as we drove through each bridge. It was interesting to think about how they were constructed and how much they cost to build in the 1800s. Sharing stories from the printout really made the day special. Here’s one of the ones I liked the best: “The bridge was reconstructed in 1859 at a cost of $1,735.94. The event was celebrated with a big dance held right on the bridge. Lanterns were hung from the rafters, a four piece orchestra played, lunch was served at midnight, and the dance continued all night.”

I hope you can enjoy this trip on your own someday, but until then here are a few of the photos we took from our covered bridge tour.

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