Apparently New Hampshire is LOADED with covered bridges – forty-three are registered as historical landmarks and when I found out Swanzey had three all to itself I decided why not go on a day tour and see all three… Sounded like a pleasant little trip and the weather was nice.
I got up early just in case I wanted to go further than just these three covered bridges but I ended up distracted and before I knew it the clock was reading 2PM. I still had time though so off I went!
The first bridge I came to was the Carlton Bridge on Carlton Road. Super easy find! I drove right to it! It was nestled between a lot of farmland and some houses, a really pretty area and there was a turn off to park. It’s a one-lane two-way bridge which isn’t unusual, luckily there was no traffic and better still there was a delightful little path that went down to the bottom of it where I could splash in the water and play with the camera. It was quiet here and quite beautiful. I was delighted by this. You go to one covered bridge and you sort of feel like you’ve seen them all but this one was just so sweet, so serene, that it really made me instantly fond of it. Other people were too. I got a few people slowing down to check out Daisy’s lovely new tatts and just as I drove away an old man pulled in, smiling.
The next bridge was on Sawyer’s Crossing. My GPS didn’t seem to know which road was Sawyer’s Crossing and this area was super confusing, filled with all sorts of winding roads all connecting to each other in what I can only say is the most disorienting rat’s nest of turns I have seen in a long long time. I did eventually find the bridge by looking for a river on the GPS map and going towards it. However by this time there was a sports car behind me, nudging Daisy’s poor ass, so I had to go over the bridge instead of stopping. As it turns out there’s no place to park, AT ALL. There’s no parking lot, no turn offs, you could barely pull over aside the road far enough to let another car go coming form the other direction. It was weird. I found three trails down a nearby road but not their beginning, just their middle which went across the road. My curiosity was peaked but I didn’t really know how to explore that further. Instead I wound over that damn bridge two more times, both times a car appearing out of the middle of nowhere to ride my bumper. I got annoyed, never did manage to snap a photo, though it looks much like the other bridge, just lacking in the quiet charm.
The third bridge is called Thomson Bridge and it is right on Main Street, has a pedestrian walkway right over it, and ample parking! I couldn’t have asked for better! Instantly I liked this bridge too. It was bigger but still only one lane for cars and one for pedestrians. It spanned a lovely river and a dam which apparently doesn’t exist anymore. It was such a drop dead gorgeous day I loitered and took marbled photos for quite a while. Some cars passed but not many and going back to the car I was struck by how beautiful the decaying wool mill behind it was. I wanted to explore that further so I hopped in my car, turned it on, drove over the bridge, and turned down a nearby street to see the ruins better.
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I wanted to park and just take photos – not bothering anyone – so I did. Just as I switched off the ignition I heard alarms going off all around me. Shit! I must have tripped something off driving in. I put my keys back in the ignition, not really wanting to get arrested for trespassing, only to find Daisy refusing to start. I was dead in the water. Police were probably coming. Shit! Shit! Shit! More fussing with the ignition, more fussing with every other lever, nob, and button I could think of, and nothing. She refused to give my key back, I couldn’t get anything more than the radio to turn on. I was in a fix. I called my mother, “So how do you feel about picking me up in Swanzey?” Obviously this starts panic because my mother freaks out whenever she has to go somewhere she’s never been… “I am not hard to find! I’m right off Main Street!” Alarms still shrieked around me. I continued to fuss before giving up to attempt to give her directions. “Do you need AAA?” “Oh probably… I can’t switch gears so the transmission probably finally kicked it.” Maybe I could have a tea party with the tow truck guy and the cop whose probably driving over here for the alarms! And then as if by magic, fifteen minutes having passed, she let go of the key. I tried again, nothing, but I could get the key out now… one more try and she started like nothing had happened. FINALLY! I drove off and despite the fact I had the time to go to two other bridges nearby or another textile mill I decided to go home. I knew how to take a hint… in the meanwhile I don’t think Daisy likes the heat. Also more people honked, pointed, and laughed as I drove by… so I am off to go add some more art to her!