What is the fascination with covered bridges? Do they remind us of a time when traveling around the country brought you to small towns steeped in Americana with their own distinct charm and character? Is it the indisputable fact that covered bridges are an endlessly photogenic architectural structure? Are we all just hopeless romantics that swoon at the very idea of a whirlwind affair between Clint Eastwood & Meryl Streep? Whatever the reason, seeking out covered bridges anywhere in this great country, and especially across New England, will bring you to some truly gorgeous places. Escape to the Squam Lake Inn in the Lakes Region and explore the splendor of the covered bridges of New Hampshire.
Start your day waking up from a peaceful slumber to the aroma of a freshly prepared breakfast featuring locally roasted coffee, freshly baked pastries, and one of our signature entrees such as ham & egg nests or orange cream stuffed french toast. We promise you will leave perfectly satisfied to begin your busy day. While spring and summer each exhibit their own distinct characteristics, we recommend autumn as the ideal time for a meandering drive to seek out New Hampshire’s many covered bridges.
Not five minutes from our door and you have already checked one of the bridges off of your list. The Squam River Bridge on US-3 in Ashland marks the end of Little Squam Lake and the start of the Squam River. One of our favorite activities is heading out in a kayak and getting a view of the bridge from underneath after a truly gorgeous paddle down the Squam River!
Steer clear of the highway and head down Route 175 North & NH-3A South to take a right over Smith Bridge Rd. in Wilton over the newly rebuilt Smith Millenium Bridge; From here, enjoy a leisurely 6-mile trek on Fairgrounds Rd. to US-3 North before taking a right on Blair Road in the town of Campton over the picturesque Blair Bridge. This restored bridge is a local favorite and surrounded by some truly beautiful natural landscape.
Now we get to the truly special part of your journey. Head north from here onto Highway 93 and begin to soak in some phenomenal fall foliage as the size of the hills and mountains around you continues to grow. You are about to head to the 1-2 punch (or should we say 4-5 punch) of Sentinel Pine Bridge and Flume Bridge, both located in the Flume Gorge of Franconia Notch State Park. In North Woodstock, NH at the junction of NH-112 & US-7 head north on US-7 for 5 miles to the entrance of the park. From here we highly recommend the 2-mile loop hike out to Sentinel Pine Bridge overlooking the pool and a view of Avalanche Falls. We hate to play favorites but this is one of our favorite activities in White Mountains, and definitely the highlight of a covered bridge expedition.
Are you in the mood for one more unique stop on your way back to Squam Lake? We thought so. How about a train ride over your last covered bridge of the day! Before you get back on Highway 93, head south on US-3 for just over 3 miles over the Woodstock/Lincoln town line to Clark’s Trading Post. There is no shortage of activities, but taking the 25 minute ride on the wood burning, steam powered locomotive through the 1904 Clark’s Bridge and across the Pemigewasset River is what you’re here for. Be sure to check their Schedule before you head out as their hours change seasonally.
We think the best part of the adventure are the stops you can enjoy along the way. Grab a freshly prepared sandwich, delicious salad, and sweet treat from the Squam Lake Marketplace and enjoy a picnic along your route… Stop by Owen’s Farm Stand on Route 175 in nearby Plymouth for fresh from the garden fall produce and unique garden knick-knacks…stroll the quaint main street and fun shops of the village of North Woodstock… Why not stop by the MarketPlace again at the end of your journey for another treat? It’s not too late in the season for a cone or ice cream sandwich.
Drive back to the Squam Lake Inn and stop by the dining room for a freshly baked cookie of the day and a cup of tea or selection from our wine list to enjoy on our covered front porch. The on-site Inn Kitchen + Bar is open for dinner from Wednesday to Sunday through October, so stop in for the perfect meal to end the perfect day!