A few weeks ago, my sisters and I traveled to Indiana to attend its annual Covered Bridge Festival. No strangers to Indiana as our dad was born and raised there, we’d visited there many times during our childhood and beyond. Who knew that Parke County, Indiana is the Covered Bridge Capital of the World? I sure didn’t. This festival is a big deal folks. It always starts on the second Friday in October and runs for 10 consecutive days. Thousands (and I mean thousands) flock to this area annually. The main attractions are 31 historic covered bridges. In my 56 years on this earth, I can’t say that I had ever seen a covered bridge in person much less walked or driven across one.
We were only there for 2 days and saw approximately 12 covered bridges and two of the festivals. It was interesting to read the history of the bridges, walk across the old boards, and gaze out the windows of the bridges to see the surrounding landscapes. Some bridges were drive thru and others you had to park and could walk over. The people we met at the festivals were all so nice and welcoming and there were lots of arts and crafts to see and purchase and good food to eat.
Indiana’s most popular covered bridge is Bridgeton. It has an interesting history and was burned down in 2005 and rebuilt by the community in 2006. You can even see actual pictures of the fire on site. It is interesting to tour the mill which is still in operation and you can buy many of the products made right there in the mill.
There are five different color-coded bridge tour driving routes with free maps and color-coded signs pointing the way. Some of the roads are narrow and winding and almost all are paved. You can see some beautiful farm country on the driving routes. It was very peaceful and serene. All total, if you added up the mileage from all the five bridge tour routes, it would be 161 miles, so it’s quite a bit of driving. Obviously, we couldn’t see all the bridges in the few days we were there. But what we did see, we enjoyed immensely. I would indeed go back again.