I’m joining Robin at Breezes at Dawn for her annual Walktober post. This year, I chose to visit the Stone Bridge in Ashfield, MA. Built in 1880, supposedly by Italian immigrants, this bridge is as solid today as it was the year it was built, having weathered many storms, including several gully-washing hurricanes. Quite the feat, considering how many ‘modern’ bridges we lost to Hurricane Irene in 2011 alone.
The last and only time I’d visited the structure was in 1988, when I was pregnant with our first child. I asked my brother where it was again and after a bit of reconnaissance, found the wooded road that led to it.
An ideal autumn day in the low 50sF (10C), the foliage was a glorious mix of yellow, red and orange, tucked among the still-green oak, beech, hemlock and pine. I love to see the tapestries of color that play across our wooded hills.
We parked in a road pull-off, leashed the dog and set off on the old road now primarily used for logging and snowmobiling. The woodland was strewn with fallen leaves, the path edged with with moss-and-lichen-encrusted stone walls, and everywhere we looked, high or low, was beauty.
Ferns, moss and fungi clung to old stumps and stone, inviting a closer look and touch.
Before long, the road curved and there amidst the undergrowth and ferns was the Stone Bridge.
Here is a photo of the historical marker at the site:An amazing structure, given that it was built largely with horse-and-man-power, without mortar, each stone snug to the next, built to weather the tides of time.
The peaceful sound of trickling water coming from the 3′ x 4′ opening, told of the scant rain we’ve had of late, but I could imagine the stream in full spate after a good rain. Perhaps we’ll return again in the spring for snowmelt, when the hills will dump gallons of water into the watershed.
Thank you for joining me for our woodland Walktober ramble. This meme is open to everyone, so if you would like to post your own Walktober, click the link above for details. The deadline is October 19th to be included in the round-up post. I encourage you to grab a cuppa and visit to see other bloggers’ walks from all over the world.
Thank you, John.
In my visits to Ashfield, mostly to Chapel Falls, I’ve not come across this bridge, know of its whereabouts, nor heard of it. It’s history reminds a bit of the Porter Arch Bridge inside Gate 30 in New Salem.
Lovely shot of out foliage atop this post, Eliza, and the whole walk looks lovely too.
I’ve seen your comments elsewhere and decided to look at your blog. Pleased to see you are a neighbor…so to speak.
Thanks for your visit, Steve. The Ashfield Trail Assn. lists it, but it seems to be a well-kept secret and is hard to find without a guide. Even though I’d been there before it took me two attempts to find it again!
I’ll give it a shot one of these days. No mention of it on Google after a quick look. Maybe if I dig deeper.
Private email me and I’ll give you directions.
What a gorgeous post, Eliza. That bridge is amazing and all your photos are beautiful.
Thank you, Dale!
Hi Eliza – just found this post! And just missed the Walktober deadline! I;ve added it to my calendar for next year…Loved your walk to the stone bridge, the descriptions and the photos. Makes me want to make a road trip there…it’s in Massachusetts? (Apparently I’m incapable of pronouncing the state’s name correctly…I’ll need to sort that out if I ever make it there…) 🙂
Thanks, Chris! Native peoples’ names for places are common in New England/NY. Some are real tongue-twisters like ‘Pawcatuck.’ 😉 This is a lovely part of the state (western MA) with mostly rural, wooded hills– hope you can see it one day.
You might still be able to write Robin for an extension. She even allows for it in her post, so long as you give her a heads up.
While your opening shot shows the incredible splendor of the colors of fall, and therefore my favorite for simply beauty – I do like the photo collages you have of the walk and bridge…and also the dog 🙂 Refreshing photos and I bet you were thrilled to have found this place again after so long an absence. Cheers to a continued wonderful autumn.
Thank you very much, Randall. It is a special place and I’ve decided I need to visit it now in every season. I’m already imagining the stone with a dusting of snow. 😉
Happy autumn to you as well.
Funny you say this, I was just on a hike this past weekend and was looking forward to returning on the first light snow to see the same affect 🙂
Yes they do 😉
Looks like a wonderful outing … a mix of nature and history! Nice photo essay!
Thank you kindly, Denise. It was a beautiful day for an autumn walk.
Oh wow. How beautiful your walk was, Eliza. The ferns and mosses give it a fairy tale look. It’s amazing how those old bridges have held up. Perhaps modern builders and engineers could use a few lessons from the past. 🙂
I thought the same – this is a bridge built to endure! Thanks for hosting, Robin!
Hi, Eliza – I love this stone bridge. It is amazing how it has survived so many ravages of time — it must have incredible stories to tell. Thank you for sharing your #Walktober with us.
BTW – I was also pregnant with my first child in 1988!
Thank you for reading, Donna. That bridge is quite the achievement, quite outlasting our more modern bridges.
1988 – hehe, hottest summer ever as I recall. I spent a fortune at the mall seeking air conditioning, lol! 😉
What a wonderful walk. I love finding old structures like the stone bridge. I came over from Robin’s Walktober.
Thank you, Helen! Glad you could join me. 🙂
Such a beautiful walk and interesting bridge history, Eliza. The stone bridge construction reminds me of stone temples/ structures in Peru, all hand made, all tightly aligned, and long lasting. Thank you for sharing your #Walktober with us.
Thank you, Natalie. Nice to have you along!