Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Al and Terry Search for the Covered Bridges of Vinton County

At the risk of making you want to stick your finger down your throat as I continue to rhapsodize over my brand new love for all things Vinton County, I’m posting the remaining pictures of the county’s covered bridges

While I was feverishly working my arm and back muscles, hefting around those large probate ledgers, my spouse was becoming buds with the very nice lady at the Vinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau. I swear I could drop that man in the middle of the Gobi Desert and he would come out with a newfound friend and directions to nearest watering hole!

We had made a half hearted stab at trying to locate the Ponn Bridge the day before with less than stellar results.

Me: “I think we should turn around.”

Hubby: “What was your first clue – the dirt road or the sounds of Deliverance?”

My Kentucky friend Linda, had given us superb directions to Curry Cemetery (Linda, we would still be driving in circles without those directions – THANK YOU), and at the bottom of the map she had included the covered bridge.

Proving that Al and I would be the nice, always get along couple that you either hate to love or love to hate on the Amazing Race, we nonetheless failed our map-reading test. Al was trying to explain to the nice lady at the VCC&VB about our unsuccessful attempt when she too made, I kid you not, her own reference to “Deliverance.” Isn’t Ohio humor great?

So when my husband met up with me in the lobby of Vinton County’s courthouse, he was loaded down with all kinds of goodies to help us navigate the back roads of Vinton County. With all those maps and guidebooks, not to mention a pamphlet entitled, “Covered Bridges of Vinton County,” we decided to go for it and spend the afternoon looking not just for Ponn Bridge, but all five covered bridges in the county.

Understand that the county apparently does not think it sporting to put up any signs indicating that you are in the vicinity of a covered bridge. Nor are they big on little conveniences like road signs – so while they might tell you in their pamphlet to turn onto Cox Road, you have no idea if the road you turned onto is indeed, Cox Road. Oh and Road 43 B intersects Route 32, three (maybe four) times and should not be confused with Road 43 A or 43C. (I know you think I’m exaggerating but trust me, I’m not.)

In any case, Al and I found all five of the bridges and we actually had a great time doing it. The hunt took us all over the county, led us to some beautiful sights, and was just difficult enough to make us feel like we had accomplished something each time we found one of the bridges.

Only one of the bridges, the oldest, Arbaugh Bridge, is open to traffic. Built in 1871 it was closed to traffic for 30 years before money was obtained through a federal grant to allow needed improvements. I don’t know what the price tag was for the improvements but it was worth every penny. It was so nice, we went through it twice!

If covered bridge hunting sounds like the kind of “sport” you might be interested in trying yourself, ODOT maintains a webpage with a map and directions to Ohio’s historic covered bridges that you can check out yourself.

Going on a trip or live in another state? No problem. A website entitled “Ohio Barns” has covered bridge listings for 42 states as well as directions for unique barns such as Mail Pouch Barns, Ohio’s Bicentennial Barns, Quilt Barns, Round Barns and just about any kind of special barn you can think of to enjoy.

Proving that once you start looking for covered bridges you just gravitate to them, we found, by accident, Byers Covered Bridge in Jackson County, and Helmick Bridge in Coshocton County.

Until Next Time!

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