covered bridge tours
Start at the Sussex train station on Broad Street. Turn right upon leaving the parking lot, crossing the railroad tracks and turning right on to Church Avenue. Climb hill (the steepest of the ride), passing the famous Sussex “sulphur fountain” along the way. Pull over and taste the water the original Sussex Ginger Ale was made from. From there, head out towards Wards Creek. The McFarlane covered bridge is 8.4 km into the tour. Two km past the bridge, turn left at stop sign, onto Route 111, heading towards Sussex Corner. At the 17.2 km mark, you will pass Trinity churchyard, the oldest in the area.
Turn left at stop sign, continuing into Sussex Corner. Straight ahead you will see Hugh McMonagle’s stagecoach house. Mr. McMonagle was a prominent local businessman, sportsman and politician in the mid-1800s. He helped Sir John A. Macdonald break a political impasse, leading to the creation of Canada. It was also his cattle breeding program that earned the area the nickname the Dairytown.
Turn right at flashing light, following on Route 111 east for 3 km to Eardhardt Road. Turn left at stop sign. Follow Eardhardt Road one km to highway overpass. Turn right over highway and follow Route 114 towards Penobsquis. Two km after overpass, turn left onto Plumweseep Cross Road where you will find the Plumweseep covered bridge. Travel almost one km before turning left onto Plumweseep Road and follow ** km until stop sign. Turn left onto Route 890 and you will see the Salmon covered bridge on your right. This bridge is no longer in regular service, and has been converted into a park.
Follow Route 890 into Sussex, passing the world’s largest cows on your left at the highway overpass. Turn right immediately before railroad tracks onto Maple Avenue. Follow to end of road, easing right onto Main Street. Switch to left lane and turn left at traffic lights onto Queen Street. Follow road around bend and turn right into train station to conclude your tour.
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Why cover a bridge?
Covered bridges were built for a very practical reason. An uncovered bridge lasted 10 to 15 years. But erecting a roof over the working timbers (the beams that support the bridge floor) protected them from the alternate wetting and drying that shorten a bridge’s useful life. This simple measure extended a bridge’s life to 80 to 100 years.
Most of New Brunswick’s 64 surviving covered bridges are built with the “Howe Truss” design. Patented by William Howe of Massachusetts in 1840, this building method involved trusses, posts and “chords”. This building method is easily recognized by the series of crossed supports in the bridge walls. The threaded metal rods enclosed in the trusswork can be used to adjust the strength and line of the bridge. Stronger than earlier all-wood models, this design allowed for longer bridges to be built. The Howe Truss design is credited as the forerunner of iron bridges.
* These tours feature generally good road surfaces & light motor vehicle traffic. But, road surfaces can vary and traffic can be heavier during peak periods. Many secondary & rural roads have little to no shoulder.
* NB traffic laws require cyclists to travel single file and in the same direction as motorized traffic.
* Bicycle helmets are mandatory for cyclists of all ages riding on New Brunswick highways.
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