One Drive, 5 Covered Bridges: The Bridges of Bennington County Vermont

  • 01 of 06

    Covered Bridge #1: Silk Bridge

    Silk Road covered bridge in Bennington, Vermont
    ••• John Hoey/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    If you want to see covered bridges during your visit to New England, you can't beat Vermont's Bennington County for its dense concentration of picturesque covered bridges. Bennington County is located in the southwest corner of the state, and this driving tour will take you to five covered bridges in close proximity.

    From Bennington, Vermont, follow Route 7 North to a left on Northside Drive, which becomes Route 67A West. Watch for a left turn onto Silk Road, where you'll discover your first covered bridge.

    The 88-foot-long Silk Bridge was built circa 1840 to span the Walloomsac River. The builder is believed to be Benjamin Sears. Silk Bridge is open to vehicular traffic, but if you drive through, turn around, as you're headed back to Route 67A to continue your covered bridge tour.

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Covered Bridge #2: Paper Mill Village Bridge

    Paper Mill Covered Bridge - Bennington, Vermont
    ••• Doug Kerr/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    As covered bridges go, Paper Mill Village Bridge is fairly new. The bridge you'll see on your tour was built in 2000 to replace the original 1889 covered bridge built on this site by Charles F. Sears.

    To reach this next covered bridge, return to Route 67A West, then, just about .2 miles down the road, turn left onto Murphy Road.

    Like all of the bridges you'll see on this Vermont covered bridge tour, Paper Mill Village Bridge is an example of town lattice truss design. The town lattice truss system features timber diagonals with no verticals.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Covered Bridge #3: Henry Bridge

    Bennington Covered Bridges - Henry Bridge
    ••• This replication of the original 1840 Henry Bridge was built in 1989. © 2003 Kim Knox Beckius

    If you drive straight through the previous covered bridge, Paper Mill Village Bridge, and continue on Murphy Road, you'll find the next covered bridge, Henry Bridge, 1.3 miles down the road at the intersection of Murphy Road and River Road.

    Henry Bridge was built originally in 1840, but the bridge you'll see is a replica constructed in 1989. The covered bridge is named for land owner Elnathan Henry, whose nearby home, which dates to 1769, is now The Henry House Inn.

    Do you know why most covered bridges were painted red? It's because iron ochre was an inexpensive paint pigment.

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Covered Bridge #4: Chiselville Bridge

    Chiselville Covered Bridge - Vermont
    ••• Doug Kerr/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    After driving through Henry Bridge, turn right on River Road, which reconnects with Route 67A. Turn left and follow Route 67A to Route 67 East. Turn left on Route 7A, then right on East Arlington Road in the town of Arlington.

    Here, you'll discover yet another covered bridge. The 117-foot 1870 Chiselville Bridge was built across the Roaring Branch Brook at a cost of $2,307.31. Located high above the water, Chiselville Bridge, once known as High Bridge, survived the flood of 1927. Many other Vermont covered bridges were not as fortunate.

    The most intriguing thing about the Chiselville Bridge is the sign, which warns motorists that there is a one dollar fine for driving across the bridge at a speed faster than a walk. Besides saving a dollar, there's another good reason to drive slowly if you're touring Vermont's covered bridges with someone you love. Covered bridges were once known as "kissing bridges" because they provided a moment of privacy during the days of...MORE horse-and-buggy courtships.

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  • 05 of 06

    Covered Bridge #5: West Arlington Bridge

    VT Covered Bridge - West Arlington Bridge
    ••• The 1852 West Arlington Bridge is a well-preserved Vermont landmark. © 2003 Kim Knox Beckius

    To reach the final covered bridge on your tour, return to Route 7A and continue north to a left on Route 313 West. You'll find the West Arlington Bridge about 4.5 miles down the road.

    The West Arlington Bridge is one of Vermont's most photographed and painted covered bridges. Dating to 1852, the picturesque red bridge is located on the town green near the former home of painter Norman Rockwell, which is now the Inn on Covered Bridge Green.

    West Arlington Bridge spans the Battenkill River, a popular spot for kayaking and fly fishing.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Driving Directions for Vermont Covered Bridge Tour

    On the road
    ••• 130920/Getty Images

    Follow these directions to find five covered bridges on one drive through Vermont's Bennington County:

    1. From Bennington, Vermont, follow Route 7 North to a left on Northside Drive, which becomes Route 67A West. Watch for a left turn onto Silk Road, where you'll discover Silk Bridge.
    2. Return to Route 67A West, then, just about .2 miles down the road, turn left onto Murphy Road. Drive through Paper Mill Village Bridge and Henry Bridge on Murphy Road, then make an immediate right onto River Road, which returns you to Route 67A.
    3. Turn left and follow Route 67A to Route 67 East. Turn left on Route 7A, then right on East Arlington Road in the town of Arlington. Here, you'll find Chiselville Bridge.
    4. To reach the final covered bridge on your tour, return to Route 7A and continue north to a left on Route 313 West. You'll find the West Arlington Bridge about 4.5 miles down the road.