Did you know that Vermont has the highest density of covered bridges in the country? If you are looking for a scenic road trip this fall, we suggest combining a look at the beautiful foliage with a covered bridge tour. This is a fun, affordable way to explore both Vermont’s natural beauty and its rich history. While a covered bridge tour is enjoyable for all seasons, we especially love how the bridges look when surrounded by colorful fall foliage, especially in mid-October at peak foliage.
These covered bridges were all built during the 19th century. Today, many are usable for driving and all are lovely to look at. The covering protects the structure of the bridge underneath, allowing it to last many years longer than an uncovered bridge. In the past, they served to protect pedestrians and prevent horses from shying away from the water on either side of the bridge. There are about 1600 covered bridges in the world and over 100 here in Vermont. Here are a few within a short drive of Swift House Inn.
Halpin Covered Bridge
A charming bridge over the New Haven River just outside of Middlebury with views over a waterfall below. Located at Halpin Covered Bridge Rd, New Haven, VT 05472.
Pulp Mill Covered Bridge
Originally built between 1808 and 1820, this bridge has been preserved and rebuilt to continue being usable even today. It crosses the Otter Creek between Middlebury and Weybridge on Seymour Street, just under a mile from Swift House.
East Shoreham Covered Railroad Bridge
This bridge is not passable, but is lovely to look at as part of a covered bridge tour and has a unique history. It was built in 1897 with the Howe truss style of construction and is one of just eight remaining covered railroad bridges in the country. (Library of Congress) Located about 15 miles from Swift House at 18 Shoreham Depot Rd, Orwell, VT 05760.
Sanderson Bridge in Brandon
Built in 1840 and rebuilt at the turn of the 21st century, this bridge crosses the Otter Creek and is Brandon’s only remaining covered bridge. Located on Pearl Street in Brandon, about 18 miles from Swift House. Combine a visit to this bridge with a walk around the charming town of Brandon.
Cooley Bridge, Depot Bridge, and Hammond Bridge
These three bridges are all found in Pittsford, Vermont, about a half-hour drive from Middlebury on Route 7-S. They were all built in Town Lattice style in the 1840s and have been well-preserved ever since.
Vermont has many more covered bridges if you’re willing to venture a bit further, but these seven are a great start for exploring some of Vermont’s historic structures. We’d be happy to recommend some restaurants or additional sites to see on your day trip as well! Book a memorable fall getaway today.