- Maine's Covered Bridges
There are no records of the men who built Maine's covered bridges. Available town documents show that the chief concern of the thrifty citizens at town meetings was the amount of money their new bridge was to cost - which was entered to the last odd cent - and a brief line or two about its manner of construction. In the case of the Lovejoy Bridge, it was recorded that it is "... to be built of square-sawn spruce, and of the Paddleford plan, at about a cost of $743.47".
Typically, covered bridges were put together by local builders, and like Maine-built ships, the skillful construction that went into them was more a matter of instinctive craftsmanship than engineering training. The designs used were those of professional bridge builders - Palmer, Burr, Town, Long and Howe - who held patents on different types of trusses. Their ideas went back to ancient principles. Two of the remaining covered bridges in Maine use a Long truss - Lowes Bridge and Robyville Bridge. Three use a Howe truss - Morse (no longer in existence), Watson Settlement and Babbs. The other five are of Paddleford construction (a modified Long truss) - Lovejoy, Hemlock, Bennett, Sunday River and Porter-Parsonsfield. Two of these, Hemlock and Porter-Parsonsfield, are strengthened with laminated wooden arches.
The first bridge across the Kennebec River at Augusta was a Palmer design; an open structure put up by a private company when Maine was still a district of Massachusetts. The covered bridge, which replaced it in 1819, is thought to be the first of its kind in the state. The last-built covered bridge which still survives is the Watson Settlement Bridge, built in 1911 in Littleton.
The two longest covered bridges in Maine, no longer in existence, were the Bangor-Brewer Bridge, a 792 foot structure across the Penobscot River built in 1846 at a cost of $60,000.; and the bridge at Norridgewock, a 600 foot structure across the Kennebec River.
Once there were a hundred and twenty covered bridges in the state of Maine, but fire, flood, ice, progress and the great freshet of 1896 have removed all but nine. Those attending SW4 will have an opportunity to view at least 3 of these on one of our suggested tours.
- OK, since Shark Week 4 will take place in both NH and Maine, it's probably time that I give a couple of Factoids about NH here. NH has a land area of 9,351 sq. miles and a population of 1,235,786 .... ranking it as the 41st most populous state. It's capitol is Concord, and it's largest city is Manchester. New Hampshire is bordered by Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont, plus Quebec, Canada to the north. It also has a short stretch of border on the Atlantic ocean.
It's nickname is the Granite State and it's motto is, "Live Free or Die". It was the 9th state in the U.S. New Hampshire has the distinction of being the only state without a state income tax or a general sales tax. It has three large rivers and the largest lake is Lake Winnipesaukee which has a surface area of 72 square miles, 253 islands, and a distance of 182 miles around the lake.
Most people know New Hampshire for one or more of the following four things:
1. It has very aggressive pricing on liquor through it's state owned and operated liquor stores. Look around the parking lot of one of the stores located near a major highway, and you'll see plenty of license plates from Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, and other states. Many from surrounding states "stock up" their liquor cabinets in NH. You won't have to go far to find a liquor store as they are conveniently placed near the borders along any of it's major highways. For those coming north on I-95 the liquor store near the Mass./NH border has it's own exit. And there's also one located across the highway on the south bound lanes so you can fill your saddle bags on the way home!
2. Mt. Washington is the highest mountain in NH. It is part of the Presidential Range of the White Mountains that runs along the NH/Maine border. Mt. Washington rises 6,288' above sea level and has the highest wind speed ever recorded by man at 231 mph. The weather at the top of the top of the mountain is frequently referred to as "the worst weather on earth" due to the fact that it has winds that exceed hurricane force an average of 110 days per year. From November to April, these strong winds are likely to occur during two-thirds of the days. Mount Washington's official record low of −50 °F (−46 °C) was recorded on January 22, 1885. Add to that, an extremely high snow fall total and you can see that it's reputation is well deserved. The adventurous can reach the top via several hiking trails, the famous "Cog Railway" (http://www.thecog.com/
), or by the Auto Road (http://mtwashingtonautoroad.com/
). A SW4 day ride to the top is planned ... more about that as we get closer to SW4 dates.
3. N.H. is well known for it's "White Mountains" and it's mountain resort areas. The White Mountains are a mountain range covering about a quarter of the state of New Hampshire and a portion of western Maine. Part of the northern Appalachian Mountains, they are the most rugged mountains in New England. Most of the area is public land, including the White Mountain National Forest as well as a number of state parks. Mount Washington is one of a line of summits called the Presidential Range, many of which are named after U.S. presidents and other prominent Americans.
In addition, the White Mountains include several smaller groups including the Franconia Range, Sandwich Range, Carter-Moriah Range, Kinsman Range and Pilot Range. In all, there are forty-eight peaks over 4,000', known as a group as the Four-thousand footers. The Whites are known for their system of alpine huts for hikers, operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club. The Appalachian Trail crosses the area from southwest to northeast.
There are mountain resorts in this area for every budget. One of the most luxurious is the Mt. Washington Omni Resort. A grand masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance architecture, the Omni Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire's White Mountains was a two-year labor of love for 250 master craftsmen. Conceived by industrialist Joseph Stickney, this National Historic Landmark opened in 1902 and has been attracting generations of families ever since.
4. Laconia Bike Week - it's the oldest motorcycle rally in the U.S. It takes place in Laconia, and around the entire lakes region, as well as the mountain towns to the north. It takes place each year in June and this year was the 90th Anniversary of the event. Having attended all of the "Big 3" motorcycle rallies (including Daytona and Sturgis) several times, I think Laconia has the finest riding roads and scenery of them all.
Now we'll cover some attractions and roadside oddities starting with southern Maine and working our way north:
Factoid # 11 - The Kittery Trading Post
- if you're an outdoor sportsman (or sportswoman) you want to visit the "Trading Post" in Kittery, ME. Maine's own version of the ultimate store for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. East to get to, less than a mile off I-95 (Maine Turnpike) it features everything needed for a day of kayaking, hunting, or fishing ... or a safari to some remote corner of the world. One of the recent attractions to the KTP is a full body mount of 2 moose who were found dead, locked in battle by their antlers. It's a stunningly large piece of taxidermy.
Kittery Trading Post
Address:301 US Hwy 1, Kittery, ME
Directions: I-95 exit 3, then a half-mile north on US Hwy 1. On the left.
Factoid #12 - The World’s Only Life-Size Chocolate Moose
Lenny is made of 1,700 pounds of the finest milk chocolate
Lenny was sculpted on-site in approximately four weeks
Lenny’s pond is white chocolate tinted with food coloring
Lenny was unveiled on July 1, 1997 and continues to delight visitors today!
Len Libby Candy
419 US Route One
Scarborough, Maine 04074
[B]Factoid #13 - "Eartha "/B] Located just a 20 minute ride north of Portland, ME. is the World's Largest Rotating Globe. It spins in the lobby of a venerable Maine-based family-owned mapping company. DeLorme (now evolved into a software company), put itself on the destination grid in 1998 with Eartha, a 41-ft. diameter globe.
CEO David DeLorme wanted something big to flag his company in the physical world -- so he designed the Worlds Largest Revolving and Rotating Globe. Eartha took two years to build. She would have been built faster, but halfway through her assembly DeLorme noticed a slight flaw. Eartha was torn down and reconstructed properly. The governor of Maine attached the last of her map panels, which included Maine, on July 23, 1998.
A year later, officials from Guinness World Records ran a tape measure over DeLorme's creation. Eartha, they learned, is just under 131 feet around, and 41 feet, one-and-a-half inches across her middle (DeLorme had guessed 42 feet).
Eartha mimics the earths movements inside a weatherproof three-story glass atrium at Delorme headquarters, mounted on a custom-designed, mechanized cantilever arm. Visitors can marvel at DeLorme's creation from three different observation levels, roughly at the South Pole, the Equator, and Greenland. Viewing Eartha from these up-close vantage points can leave you feeling like an ant, an astronaut, or a god, depending on your elevation.
Eartha is tilted on a 23.5 degree axis, mimicking the real Earth's angle. The surface is composed of 792 panels printed from a computerized database and incorporating shaded relief and depth info, roadways and cities. According to DeLorme, it's the largest Earth image ever created.
Directions: I-295 North from Portland take exit 17 (Rte. 1). Take a right off exit, then immediately turn right into Delorme headquarters.
We interrupt this list of attractions and roadside oddities for the following important announcement:
The fun of attending SW4 just won't stop!!! It's mid-August and you're up here for SW4 and you're just not ready to head back home yet. If you like live kick-ass blues music we've got the answer for you. SW 4 ends on Friday the 15th. and the White Mountain Boogie and Blues Festival starts that day and runs through Sunday.
"Springer Todd" and I have attended it the last couple years and it's a blast. Very low key, held outdoors in a a natural amphitheater, surrounding by views of the White Mountains. Featuring some local craftsmen, locally made food, and some kick-ass national blues acts. Starts at 5:00 on Friday and runs through about that same time on Sunday. Three days of fun in the sun for a weekend pass fee of $60. Camping is extra.
Check it out on here: http://www.whitemountainboogie.com/
It was voted Best Blues Festival in the U.S. in 2012. Big name acts but relatively small crowds.