Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Burkeville Covered Bridge, Conway, MA

Burkeville Covered Bridge
Lots of covered bridges cater to the tourist trade. Going up Route 10 in New Hampshire, I saw lots of signs directing passers-by to the covered bridges along the way, they even had them numbered. Suggested a bicycle tour of all six.

Not this bridge. The Burkeville Covered Bridge just sits placidly in a spot, guarding the placid South River that it crosses. You'd miss if you weren't looking for it, no signs that I saw indicating it existed, even the Google Map leads you to the wrong spot (close by, but still wrong). Crawl down one country road and then another and then another and there it is -- between a farmhouse and a church, next to a machine shop, closed to car traffic by an old mill stone but still welcoming the walker.

It just is.

Burkeville Covered Bridge interior (and my car!)
The Massachusetts Covered Bridge web site shows that back in 2003, at least, the bridge was in dire shape. A plaque inside the bridge claims the bridge was built in 1871 and restored in 2005. The site linked above says it was variously built in 1951 and 1970, replacing an earlier bridge. I kinda believe that this bridge is not the same one built in 1871 -- these wooden bridges just don't last that long. Best care in the world won't make that timber not weaken after decades of traffic.

3G Construction seems to specialize in the restoration of covered bridges, by the way. They did this one and also Coombs Bridge, which I'll probably post about next.

Portal to the bridge, note millstone
Conway's annual "Festival of the Hills" features a 10K run, "The Covered Bridge Classic", that starts here.

It's a nice little bridge. If you happen to be heading toward (or from) Vermont on I-91 passing through Massachusetts, and you have a spare hour or so, it might be worth seeing. The Eunice Williams Bridge is nearby, and there's another covered bridge not far from this one that I didn't have time to go to (looked like another hour of threading narrow country roads, and this was the day I was heading to New Hamster).

You can park where I parked, on the other side of the bridge. There's a little area to pull off. I'd suggest making this bridge part of a bicycle tour, if you happened to be bicycling through the Berkshires anyway.

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