Thursday, September 1, 2011

Broken Bridges Break My Heart

In the aftermath of Irene, I know that there are a lot of folks in my state of Connecticut who are still without power and a lot (including my family in my hometown of Canterbury) who will continue to be without power until perhaps sometime next week or maybe even longer if the beleaguered workers of Connecticut Light & Power run into even more difficulty restoring the thousands and thousands of lines that were downed by the thousands and thousands of trees that fell as a result of Irene's passing.  Needless to say, it's a mess.

Even more of a mess, though, is the state of Vermont - a place that I have become rather fond of over the past few years as I've had occasion to travel up that way in search of covered bridges and historic inns. I've met some truly wonderful people up there that I consider to be friends and Amanda's friend Darci now attends school in Bennington. When I heard about the damage and devastation that was wrought by Irene in their area, it broke my heart and every time I see a picture like the one below, it breaks a little bit more.

Image from
This is what's left of the Quechee Covered Bridge which was on Route 4 and the principal entry to Quechee Village. Even though it was built in 1970 as the fourth bridge to provide passage across the Ottauquechee River and it is not an authentic covered bridge, it often appears in tourist literature for the area and at 35'-1" wide, it was the widest non-authentic covered motor vehicle bridge in Vermont. It now hangs by barely a thread and it's unsure as to whether or not it can be saved.

Not too far from the town of Chester where I've been several times, the Bartsonville Bridge was unable to withstand the flooding of the Williams River and was swept away. A local resident actually captured it on film:

Built in 1870 by Sanford Granger, the bridge was a lattice truss style with a 151-foot span that was built after the the Great Flood of 1869 changed the course of the river replacing another covered bridge about a quarter of a mile up the road where the river used to flow. The Bartonsville Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was on my "list" of bridges that I had hoped to get to but was ironically one that I had hoped to see on my list visit to Chester but ran out of time to get to. I am still kicking myself for that one but there's not much to be done about it now.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
A third covered bridge, the historic 1872 Upper Cox Bridge in Northfield Falls was also damaged when the Cox Brook jumped its banks. This bridge is one of three that are located within a quarter of a mile of each other.

Image courtesy of
The Upper Cox Bridge - aka the Third Bridge - is one of the historic covered bridges that I did see in person when I made my trip to Vermont in February of 2010 and luckily I've got a few pictures of my own.

Upper Cox Bridge on Cox Brook Road
Upper Cox Bridge

As sad as the loss and damage of these three bridges is, unfortunately there is a lot more in Vermont other than a few of their iconic covered bridges that was damaged and/or destroyed by the flood waters that resulted from Irene. Entire towns were cut off from the rest of the world, roads buckled or washed out completely, homes swept downriver, businesses flooded ... the list goes on and on and none of it is pretty

It's heartbreaking is what it is but in the midst of that heartbreak I've found a major admiration for the people of Vermont as they're not waiting around for the Federal Government to save them (or not as they case may be) but instead are rolling up their shirt sleeves and digging in to help each other out of the mess that Irene left behind.  They aren't crying "Why me?" but instead are asking "What can I do to help?" I get the distinct feeling that when this is all said and done, Vermont is going to come out stronger than they were before Sunday, August 29th, 2011.

If you're wondering what you can do to help the folks in Vermont as they put back together what Mother Nature took away, please consider making a donation to the Vermont Food Bank either by visiting their website or by texting the word 'FOODNOW' to 52000 to donate $10.  You can also visit the Red Cross website for Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley and perhaps make a donation there if you're so inclined.  Either way, I'm sure that those unknown folks that you help in Vermont would be quite grateful.

I know that we all hurt from time to time but sometimes other people hurt more.


  1. I saw a covered bridge being washed away on the news here and I immediately thought of you Linda and how upset you would be. :(

  2. I saw that video on TV, too. So sad to see any of the property damages and loss. The photo on's The Big Picture of a father and daughter in NC sitting on their steps imagining that their house was still behind them as they watched the sunset did me in though. Ugh. Heartbreaking. srsly.

    I saw your blog appear in my reader and was sorta expecting photos from your PGA trip. It's coming soon, right? :)

    Big hugs xo

  3. This is sad indeed Linda. I know your love for these bridges. I hope they will be made right in time.

    As for the people of Vermont. Well there are the takers and the whiners and then there are the movers and shakers that do roll up their sleeves and get the job done. One depends on the government for everything and the others can take care of themselves. Just saying.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  4. the lost bridges are tragic for sure but the people of vermont rock! unlike another hurricane i remember where they all became victims and lived in gov't trailers for years.

    smiles, bee

  5. Anonymous7:35 AM EDT

    So very sad about the bridges. They are an integral part of Vermont's local fabric. I talked to my stepsister and luckily, her place in Quechee is okay. Thankful for that.

  6. There will be a lot of rebuilding to do in that state where so much history is built near waterways of one kind or another. I hope they do it is such a way as to retain the character of the region.

  7. I love the pic of the red bridge in the snow. I am sorry so many folks are still going through this. And another storm is on the way....


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