People of all ages enjoy visiting the scenic covered bridges, which present great photo opportunities, any season of the year. Driving, biking, or walking through these quaint covered bridges can be magical for a variety of reasons. For some people, it’s a reminder of the slower pace of yesteryear, reminiscent of a horse and buggy traveling through.
For romanticists, it’s a chance to take a romantic stroll. Some people enjoy fishing from a covered bridge. Others appreciate the architecture of these magnificent, yet practical structures.
Covered bridges are part of New Hampshire’s history. There were an estimated 400 covered bridges in New Hampshire at one time, of which 54 or 55 remain today, depending on the source. Located throughout the state, “each one of these bridges is distinct, and each has a story to tell. Because of their meticulous construction and connection to New Hampshire’s past, covered bridges were the first type of historic structure specifically protected by state law in New Hampshire.” (from the visitnh.gov website)
A list of New Hampshire’s covered bridges by town is available.
Why were covered bridges covered? While there are many reasons, the most commonly accepted purpose for the covering is to protect the wooden beams, floors, and trusses from the weather – rain, snow, ice, and sun. Uncovered wooden bridges typically have a lifespan of only 10 to 15 years because of the effects of the weather.
We think that New Hampshire’s most impressive covered bridge is the Cornish-Windsor Bridge that spans the Connecticut River connecting the towns of Cornish, New Hampshire and Windsor, Vermont. This 449.4-foot long “Town lattice” truss style bridge is the longest wooden covered bridge in the United States and the longest two-span covered bridge in the world, accommodating two lanes of traffic.
There is likely to be a covered bridge near any Bed and Breakfast in New Hampshire – ask your NHBBA innkeeper to direct you to a nearby covered bridge.
In the Monadnock Region, six covered bridges are near the Bridges Inn at Whitcomb House, which is named for the covered bridges and located a stone’s throw from the Thompson Covered Bridge. The Bridges Inn provides a map of the covered bridge loop, allowing you to see all six covered bridges in just over an hour.