With a heavy twang in their voice, you might have heard this: “You can’t get thar from heah”. I’ve lived here in New England for 15 years (before 22 years in the AF) and I heard this saying from many comedians on TV so I assumed it got said rather frequently.
Sadly I’ve said a few times in jest but never really meant it. In fact I was in Maine and a gentleman broke into a smile when he said it to me. He said afterward he’s been waiting to say that for years. Why he got to say it, I don’t remember now but today you will hear it from me.
The Gates farm covered bridge, You can’t get there from here!
Last fall, Lisa and I were driving from Swanton Vermont to Stark New Hampshire on Route 15 and Lisa told me that, as many times as we had been on this route, we had missed several covered bridges. So we decided to go is search of a Vermont covered bridge. As she says this we are in Cambridge Vermont and just about to cross the Seymour River. When I spy out of the corner of my eye a covered bridge and since she’s checking for the nearest covered bridge, I tell her we just missed one right here!
She tells me that is impossible because none are listed here. I go down the road and turn around as she is trying to figure out if the Gazetteer was wrong or she misread it. (Note* she didn’t mis-read it, it was not listed) I park and while there is a tractor path down to the covered bridge, it feels like private property. So I photograph it from the road. (good thing as it turns out!) I get back in the car and she is adamant, there is no covered bridge in this spot. (She’s right, sort of but we have no idea of what we just found)
I shot this at 2:07 in the afternoon and this presents us with a contrasty problem with the light. I fixed this problem by shooting 3 shots, rapid fire. Most cameras can be set up to “Bracket” 3 or more shots. This means you tell the camera to shoot X amount of images and to put anywhere from 1/2 of a stop to 2 stops of light between each image. so in my case I held down the button till the camera fired three shots (the limit of my camera) and the camera gave me 1 image balanced, one shot was 1 and 3/4 over exposed and 1 and 3/4 under exposed. When I get home I blend the three together in Google’s EFX HDR pro and come up with the image at right. The image above was taken a bit further with painting software from Topaz labs.
The reason I went to the extra trouble it that this covered bridge is more photogenic than most. I really liked the leading line of the tractor path which actually made this a wonderful vantage point. I had knocked off one more covered bridge in my quest to photograph all the covered bridges in Vermont and then New England. We left and arrived at out B&B in Stark NH.
(Side note as of this writing the Stark Village Inn is $59/night. while remote from amenities you could do a lot worse)
Lisa found a a Stowe Vermont guide book from 2008 at the Inn and told me it had an article about the Gates farm covered bridge. It used to be called the little river covered bridge. Due to the Seymour river changing its course in the 50’s, the owners of the Gate’s farm were cut off from their fields and since the new route of the river made the old “Little river covered bridge useless, the bridge was picked up and moved to this new location on the Gates property.
So it turns out I was correct, First, the bridge was on private property and without permission “You can’t get there from here”! You can see it from the road but unless you find a family member to get permission from, you can’t get any closer to it, than the road. Being a private covered bridge is also why it’s not in the Gazetteers. They don’t usually list items that you need permission to get access to.
So that is today’s story. The Gazetteer’s are a great resource but they may not always have all the information you want. So keep your eyes open for those small guide books. They can be useful to pick up on your arrival into any town.
You never know what will be in them and whether they will have a nugget of fascinating lore.
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I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
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I started with Yankee Magazine as their first blogger on everything fall foliage. Now I blog on my own blog on my favorite subject, telling leaf peepers where the fall foliage is showing up in New England and helping them (to some extent) plan their fall foliage vacations.