Quaint yet practical, and full of rural charm, covered bridges anchor many picturesque landscapes throughout New England. Painters and photographers love them, and it’s easy to see why. Whether they’re basking in the summer sunlight, or surrounded by fall foliage, or blanketed in winter snow, these special wooden bridges possess an enduring appeal that lasts all year, through every season. Those idyllic qualities also make them very Instagrammable. Here are six covered bridges that are picture-perfect any time of year.
Cornish-Windsor Bridge (Cornish N.H., and Windsor Vt.)
This landmark that connects New Hampshire and Vermont is one of the longest historic covered bridges in the country (www.coveredbridgesociety.org/cb-faq.html). Built in 1866 and measuring nearly 450 feet long, this impressive structure spans the Connecticut River and features a memorable sign that warns visitors to “Walk your horses or pay two dollars fine.” You can’t get more old-school than that. For photographer Joann Vitali, (www.joannvitali.com) this is one of her favorite covered bridges in New England. “I’ve made the trip to photograph it several times at sunset in a couple of different seasons,” she said. “Not only are there fantastic views from both the Vermont side and the New Hampshire side, but also from both sides of the bridge on the New Hampshire side where you have a beautiful view of Mount Ascutney. At sunrise the rays set the mountainside ablaze in color.”
Honeymoon Bridge (Jackson, N.H.)
This covered bridge over the Ellis River is a favorite spot for newlyweds. According to the Jackson Historical Society, it’s been called Honeymoon Bridge since it was first built in 1876, and today couples continue the tradition of getting photographed there after they tie the knot. The bridge was closed in March of this year to undergo renovations and reopened to traffic on May 20, according to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. Photographer Keith Tharp (kateandkeithphotography.com/) said Honeymoon Bridge is a great place to get photos. “It’s a beautiful, quintessential New England covered bridge, and it’s a pretty vibrant landmark for Jackson, N.H.,” he said. “The couple in this photo have some history in the area, so the bridge also had a special meaning to them.”
Haverhill-Bath Bridge (Haverhill and Bath, N.H.)
Built in 1829, this is one of the oldest surviving covered bridges in the United States. The 256-foot-long bridge over the Ammonoosuc River has been closed to traffic since 1999. Joseph Mitchell lives in Woodsville, N.H., and is impressed by both the bridge’s age and its architectural design. “I also appreciate the style of this bridge because it has a separate walking section to it, and a section just for driving. And of course, the rounded inside frames,” he said. “Although it’s closed to drive traffic now, I took this picture imagining what it would be like to drive an old car through it on a crisp autumn day.”
Pepperell Covered Bridge (Pepperell)
There’s been a bridge over the Nashua River in this spot since around 1740, and this latest incarnation was completed in July 2010, according to the town of Pepperell’s website. Town officials pride themselves on the bridge, which they say is one of the few in Massachusetts that is still open to vehicular traffic and the closest one to Greater Boston. This covered bridge is so loved by the locals there’s even a road race named in its honor: the 8th annual Pepperell Covered Bridge 5K is scheduled to be held Sept. 22. (www.facebook.com/PepperellCoveredBridge5k)
Squam River Bridge (Ashland, N.H.)
When the state of New Hampshire condemned the old concrete bridge over the Squam River in the 1980s, the plan was to replace it with another steel-and-concrete bridge. But the town of Ashland had other ideas, and decided that a one-lane covered bridge would be much better. Through bake sales and fund-raising dinners, residents managed to raise the money needed to build this old-fashioned covered bridge, which was dedicated in July 1990. This photo was taken by Peter Trapp, a pharmacist who enjoys photographing landscapes in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. “I’ve grown up in New Hampshire almost all my life and I’ve always loved covered bridges,” he said. “There’s something special about their construction that transports you back in time.” His ultimate goal is to photograph every covered bridge in the state, “but I’ve still got a long ways to go,” he said.
A.M. Foster Bridge (Cabot, Vt.)
Travel and Leisure magazine named this one of America’s most beautiful covered bridges (www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/americas-most-beautiful-covered-bridges?slide=143592#). The bridge, which sits in the middle of farmland, was designed in the 1980s by Richard Spaulding, who modeled it after a 19th-century covered bridge in Marshfield, Vt. Photographer Dave Long (davelongphoto.com/) said he chose to shoot this bridge for its postcard-like setting. “So many New England bridges are tucked into the trees, surrounded by buildings, or marred by power lines,” he said. “This has none of those. . . . I also decided to do the shot in winter, when the surroundings are stripped down to the bare minimum.”