One of our goals on this RV weekend was to video and photograph the 6 covered bridges of Cheshire County, NH. Such a beautiful New England location, we were there during the lush of fall but before the colorful foliage season.
The Ashuelot Bridge has the distinction of being Bridge #1 on the list of bridges archived by the State of NH. 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.
It was very fortuitous that the weekend we decided to ‘cover’ the covered bridges, there was a special event ON the Ashuelot Bridge! 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!