I have never read the bridges of Madison County nor did I see the movie, but we were going to be in the area, so I thought I would check them out.
The first and easiest to find bridge is Imes Covered Bridge,
located right off a main road in St. Charles it is called the “gateway to the bridges.”
There is a place to picnic right next to it and parking is easy (as long as there aren’t too many cars.)
If you walk through the bridge you will come to a lovely lit pathway along the cornfields called Davids path.
Nearby is a winery that we stopped in for a tasting and to purchase wine for our trip.
Holliwell Bridge is the longest Bridge
located down a dirt road, surrounded by farm land,
it had started to rain when we arrived, there was the faint odor of damp cedar while walking through the bridge.
Our brochure said this one was also featured in the movie.
In the Winterset City Park you will find Cutler-Donahue bridge,
located between the park and a residential area, it is hard to imagine anything other then foot traffic crossing this one.
In spite of the recent heavy rain, there was just a trickle of water under it.
While in The City Park we stopped into the Rotary Hedge Maze right across from it, where we immediately found the hidden sun dial (thanks to Don using google earth…cheater.)
The Cedar Covered Bridge is featured on the book cover,
Sadly the bridge has been burned down twice,
at this time the once beautiful bridge has been reduced to a pile of burnt wood and ash with only the steel beams remaining,
it was the only bridge that could be driven across. Don and I went to the site of the bridge to pay our respects and sit in the quiet park that is nearby.
Our brochure stated The Roseman Bridge is the most famous,
And said to be the haunted bridge, though we found nothing but peace and beauty as we walked across it.
Many of the bridges have been relocated over the years, but this one remains in its original spot.
The river below was swollen after several days of heavy rain in the area and the sound of the water running added to the ambience of the walk across.
Hogback Bridge was my favorite.
There was a natural beauty not only in the bridge itself but in the surrounding area.
Located down a dirt road, there were beautiful flowers growing all around,
as we walked across there was a gentle cooing of the nesting doves.
There is no charge to see the bridges, but in the town of Winterset they do offer guided tours.
If you plan to see all of the bridges give yourself at least 2 hours for the drive between, and to allow yourself some time to take in the unique peaceful beauty that each of them has to offer.
These bridges were built over a hundred years ago as a part of the infrastructure of the area, they were practical and necessary to allow travelers to cross the rivers safely, though the remaining bridges are now closed to vehicles they sit quietly and proudly in the Iowa countryside adding a romantic feel to the already natural beauty of the area.
They are not easy to get to, many are down dirt roads that will leave your car dusty and in need of a bath, but the drive was worth the view. Now I suppose I should read the book to find out the story that gave these historical structures worldwide notoriety.