Years ago, the bridges in New Hampshire were made with covers on them so they almost looked like small barns or house stretched across the rivers. This was done for many reasons. The most obvious was that it protected them from the weight of the intense snowfall during the long winter, which could have caused the bridge to collapse. It also helped to keep the bridges clear and less icy than they would have been to increase safety in crossing. During the Spring and Fall season, the covers also help to keep the roadways clear from falling leaves and branches.
The reason why the covered bridges remain such a popular spot to visit with tourists in New Hampshire is that every town and builder began to take on a style of their own. These aren’t just bridges with an auto port roof; many of them reflect the architecture of the town and era they were constructed in. One of the best trips to take in New Hampshire is a tour of all the bridges and view the spring melts. Not only are they fascinating to see, but they will get you off the beaten path and out into parts of New Hampshire that are little seen, but well worth the detour.
Where to find them
There are a lot of different listings and places to find information about covered bridges, but the most comprehensive is provided by the state offices of New Hampshire. This list is broken down by location and will give addresses for the bridges and occasional links so you can load your GPS and take off for a weekend adventure. If you want to make a real weekend of seeing the bridges here is a simple way of doing it:
- Make a list of the addresses or GPS coordinates of the bridges you want to see
- Go to a trip planning site that allows you to map routes between destinations
- Enter in your bridge addresses and map a route
- Then look at your different lodging options in those area
- Coordinate your reservations with your bridges and you will have a detailed and easy plan to follow
Another option is to explore the idea of taking one of the many guided tours that are available. The covered bridges of New Hampshire are such a rich part of the local history that you can miss out on their full story just seeing them by yourself.
How to see them
You don’t just have to drive to see the covered bridges. There are also maps available that can show you which bridges tie in to mountain biking and equine trails. There are also many that are within walking distance of popular attractions so you can see more, while still getting in your covered bridge. Always be mindful that most of these bridges are still in use and use caution when taking pictures or walking over them. Don’t assume that just because many tourists visit that drivers are expecting them.