Covered Bridges in Cheshire County, NH

Two Gals and a Dog, along with friend, Kellie, RV'd to Swanzee, NH recently for this New Hampshire destination. We stayed at the Ashuelot River Campground, peaceful, quiet campground with new owners who are investing and improving. As of 2017, they write that "they have 6 new pull-through water/sewer/electric sites; 9 new riverside water/electric sites; a new bathroom and dish washing station at the north end; and we’ve remodeled the existing bath house!"  Everything was very clean.

This video was taken on a Thursday. By Saturday, most of the lots were occupied. The only noise is the highway on the other side of the river, but you can't see it and it's not that bad. There are young maple trees on each RV space in the middle of the field which will eventually provide very nice shade for the full service hookups in that area. Right now, the wi-fi is available in the office area only. Many more amenities. Do check out their website. Highly recommended for a peaceful, quiet weekend. If you can do without the sewer hook-up we recommend the sites under the mature trees on the river.

We mostly spent the weekend photographing 6 covered bridges within Cheshire County, the most famous of which is the Covered Bridge #1 – The Ashuelot Bridge.

It was very fortuitous that the weekend we decided to ‘cover’ the covered bridges, there was a special event ON the Ashuelot Bridge!

Located in the Upper Village of Ashuelot, just off route 119, it spans the Ashuelot River. It was built in the lattice truss style in 1864 for $4,650. The bridge was extensively renovated in 1999.

We enjoyed a delightful evening and obtained this interview with Jeannette Duhaime, the event’s coordinator. “This year, September 16, 2017 was our 4th Dinner on the Ashuelot Covered Bridge. About 7 years ago I saw a newspaper clipping of folks sitting on a covered bridge in VT having dinner. I just thought this was such a neat thing. At the time I was on the RED Committee in Winchester (Revitalization & Economic Development Committee).

I was encouraged to create and orchestrate Dinner on the Ashuelot Covered Bridge. Back up to 2013, while in northern NH I had seen, along the Main Street of Lancaster, banners hanging on the telephone poles. They said 'Welcome to Lancaster, NH' and had a sponsor’s name at the bottom of the banner.

I thought such banners would be a lovely adornment to our Main Streets in Winchester and Ashuelot, NH. Ashuelot is a village of Winchester and is where the covered bridge #1 is located.

So the first Dinner on the Covered Bridge, (2014) was for the Welcome to Winchester and Welcome to Ashuelot banner project. If you bought a table for the dinner, you would have a Welcome Banner with your sponsor name on it.”

“The first year we had 60 attendees and the Winchester Community Band played for us. My neighbor approached me at that first dinner and said, “Jeannette, I can get you an orchestra to play at this event if you do it again next year, we will play for our dinner”. That is how we got hooked up with Marty’s Reminisce Orchestra, through my neighbor and sax player, Justin Pelkey.

The second year, (2015) we had almost 90 attendees plus the 17 piece orchestra. The third year, (2016) we had 151 plus 17 orchestra. This, our fourth year, (2017) we had 170, plus 17 orchestra, plus 11 high school volunteers.

We’ve tried various ideas for the food. The first year you could bring a meal for your table or you could get a catered meal. The second year we had a caterer on site but that was too expensive and we only broke even. Last year and this year we had our local grocery store, Kulick’s Market, do the cooking. They deliver the food and we serve and pick up after. The Winchester Historical Society feels very strongly about keeping the ticket price at the affordable $25. Both last year and this year we raised in the neighborhood of $3000.00 for the Winchester Historical Society.

In addition to the wonderful experience of being able to dine and dance on a covered bridge, we also have a raffle with lovely prizes, some of them bridge themed and one can also visit the Sheridan House Museum which is right next to the Ashuelot Covered Bridge.”

Thank you Jeannette! Don’t you just love a small town success story!

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