Walktober 2019 – Stone Bridge

Fall foliageI’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.

Fall foliageWe 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.Stone bridge, Ashfield, MA

Here is a photo of the historical marker at the site:Stone bridge, Ashfield, MAAn 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.

About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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142 Responses to Walktober 2019 – Stone Bridge

  1. I really enjoyed your walk through the woods on the way to the stone bridge. Impressive structure and wonderful photos of the season.
    Itโ€™s the peak weekend for fall colours here, quite the season here too๐Ÿ˜Š

  2. Majestic! Beautiful!

  3. Anne says:

    Eliza you write so beautifully and have chosen the most apt photographs to showcase what must have been a delightful walk. I have enjoyed every step of the way!

  4. Sandra J says:

    Beautiful park, nothing like hiking this time of year. So much to see. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Treah Pichette says:

    I LOVED this! Truly felt as if I were alongside you guys. Thanks for the lovely stroll!

  6. Catwoods says:

    What a grand forest that is! Your beautiful photos made me feel like I was there, thanks for taking us all along this walk.

  7. Holy cats, what a post! Beautiful words and images. And that bridge is a wonder, that’s what it is. Wish there were more like it all around, in Maine as well as Massachusetts.

  8. Gorgeous, Eliza – your pictures make me miss the woods! and the moss and rocks!!

  9. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    What a beautiful wood. And that bridge was built to last. Thanks for sharing this walk Eliza and sharing you lovely photos.

  10. Alice says:

    So amazing how hard they used to work & build such a beautiful, lasting bridge…if they only knew it was still there. There must be some descendants that know their grandfathers or uncles worked on that bridge. I really like the opening for water to come through. Beautiful photo of the Arrowood Vibernum…such pretty colors & the veins are so pretty, too.

  11. I really enjoyed your Fall tour. I spent two Autumns in New England and the colors were spectacular. Italians were known for their stonework and I remember back in PA, my hometown hired some of the craftsmen to make a wall around the new court house.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, fall color here is well renown. Glad you got to experience it.
      Our 118 year old library in town was made of granite exterior and Carrera marble interior with a mosaic foyer, all built by Italian artisans. It is so beautiful! I’m grateful every time I walk in there.

  12. Jim R says:

    Beautiful sights and story. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Kris P says:

    Absolutely gorgeous scenery, Eliza. I was surprised to see how much fall color you have already. A spring visit is a must I think.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Kris. Our color peaks this week, the best it has been in years, which makes us happy. They estimate the peak moves 15 miles a day, so we enjoy it while we can, taking lots of walks.
      When all the leaves and the garden is over, I will look forward to escaping the winter, if even for a week or two. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Beautiful images Eliza! Enjoyed seeing them!

  15. Irene says:

    What a lovely walk! ๐Ÿ˜Š

  16. Vicki says:

    What a lovely woodland walk. I enjoyed your images enormously, particularly the old stone bridge. Makes you wonder why they don’t build more of these bridges in lower use country areas where a stone bridge clearly stands the test of time and is adequate for the local traffic.

    We have some lovely old stone bridges in Tasmania – the island state to the south of mine (in Australia).

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Vicki. I think this type of bridge was a skill set not many had. I suppose wood was cheaper and easier, not to mention quicker, but of course, didn’t last long by comparison.

  17. Steve Tanham says:

    Loved it, Eliza. I must admit, I did a double-take with one of the bridge photoโ€™s captions. At first glance I thought it said โ€˜Spouse and dog for saleโ€™…

  18. Annika Perry says:

    Breathtaking first photo of your stunning Fall … made my heart sing! How I would love to see it for real. The stone bridge I initially thought was from the Yorkshire Dales in England! They are atmospheric and you can sense history upon walking across such bridges.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Annika! Fall foliage in New England certainly is legendary.
      The craftmanship on this mortarless bridge did make me think of the British Isles. We don’t have many on this side of the pond, but they endure!

  19. Pete Hillman says:

    Stunning colours and scenery you have captured there Eliza! Wonderful! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. aFrankAngle says:

    OMG โ€ฆ now this is an autumn walk. Love the colors and setting – then again – who wouldn’t. Well done, Eliza!

  21. Beautiful fall foliage in your neighborhood, but I had to smile at the moss. I love moss, and you grabbed some great shots here. Happy Fall.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Judy. The moss and lichen was wonderful, despite the lack of significant rain lately.
      Enjoy peak foliage season this week, just watch out for those out-of-state leaf peepers, who use no signals and brake suddenly. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  22. bittster says:

    What a beautiful collection of autumnal woodland photos! I love the mossiness and light trickling through the leaves. -and it looks like the fall color has really arrived!
    Thanks for the photo with person and dog included, at first glance I thought the bridge was MUCH smaller than it really is.
    Have a great autumn ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. What lovely autumn-walk scenery and amazing bridge, Eliza! I love old bridges and their history, thank you for sharing that info as well!

  24. Jewels says:

    Sooo lovely, Eliza! That stone bridge is really cool, I would love to see it in person. Beautiful images from your walk, thank you so much for sharing! โค

  25. Debbie says:

    Eliza, thank you for taking me along on such a fabulous walk!! How I love seeing your part of the country and all those glorious Fall colors! That mossy stump is splendid, and I love the water trickling from beneath the stone bridge. It’s wonderful that Robin does Walktober every year — this way, we all get to see and enjoy places we might never otherwise see — and “meet” interesting bloggers along the way!!

  26. Amazing colours and I love the bridge!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Andrea! It was an amazing thing to see, standing solid for nearly 140 years. (Of course, the UK probably has many a whole lot older, but for us, that is old!)

  27. Tranature - quiet moments in nature says:

    Gorgeous Autumn colours Eliza and what a treat to walk here! ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚ xxx

  28. Widdershins says:

    There’s nothing quite like Autumnal forests. ๐Ÿ˜€

  29. dawnbirdau says:

    What an amazing walk! I used to love autumn in Canada, despite what came after! Stunning pics and that little dog, won my heart!

  30. Val Boyko says:

    What a great autumnal walk, Eliza. Thank you for sharing nature, spouse and dog

  31. Pete Hillman says:

    These are stunning photos Eliza! What a magical place to journey! ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. myplaidheart says:

    Stone Bridge looks like a hidden gem. Such lovely scenery, Eliza. I can feel the crispness of the air looking at your photos.

  33. Thanks for sharing your beautiful walk and photos, especially loved the bridge and stained glass woods photos and always enjoy seeing a dog out enjoying a ramble!

  34. What a wonderful walk! The bridge is magnificent, I can only imagine the sound of the water underneath. Beautiful Eliza!

  35. Cathy says:

    I really enjoyed seeing pictures of your walk Eliza. The autumn colours are lovely, but all those shades of forest green are quite spectacular too. The old bridge is just the icing on the cake! ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Ben Naga says:

    Lovely pictures.

  37. Your fall color is stunning Eliza, but then New England is known for that. Ours hasn’t started yet. I think it’s waiting for winter.
    Love the hiking photos and the bridge. It’s hard to imagine moving those stones, let alone piecing them so they fit together. Amazing. We have an area of Ohio called Hocking Hills that looks like those photos. Makes me want to go hiking. It’s so beautiful and you don’t feel like you’re in Ohio at all.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Cindy. The foliage has been very good this year, the first in many years of poor color.
      You’ve had some unusually warm weather this year, so I guess the trees are slow turning. Let’s hope you get some good fall weather and it doesn’t just jump into winter.

  38. Bela Johnson says:

    Beautiful, beautiful photos. I, too am fascinated by stone structures built by hand. Just amazing! โค๏ธ

  39. Brenda says:

    We are so lucky in New England to have such amazing old stone structures AND gorgeous foliage to enjoy. Not many parts of the country have both. Thanks for sharing this walk.

  40. There is such a sense of gentleness in your images, Eliza. What a fascinating walk! Thank you for the history lesson as well. My astonishment knows no bounds as a found out the bridge was built without mortar. Wow! Try finding someone today who would be willing to take the time to fit each stone as those who built this bridge did. Amazing! I’m thinking of using the link for my next post … my walk at Reinstein Park, a place I go to all the time. It’s close and convenient. I so enjoyed not only your pictures, but your narration. Lovely lovely post!

  41. pbmgarden says:

    Peaceful walk. Great photos and descriptions. I love the photo of Arrowwood Viburnum.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Susie. The colors this year have been phenomenal. Today I saw an Arrowwood that was mottled purple and yellow – I thought the design would make lovely fabric!

  42. Maria says:

    Beautiful place Eliza!

  43. Lovely! Stunning colors. This is one of my favorite posts of yours–absolutely vivid.

  44. naturebackin says:

    Beautiful post Eliza – each photograph is special and the bridge is so remarkable – thanks to spouse and dog for providing scale! I love the caption “Stained glass woods” – a perfect description.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Carol. I brought a couple friends there today (more stained glass please ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and they were amazed at the workmanship as well… it’s got quite the history.

  45. Thanks for sharing the experience! Loved your pics too. I’m a bit partial to the Stained Glass Forest ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Dang, that is an awesome bridge. Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful and one more Beautiful for all those photos.

  47. Pingback: A Walk In The Park – Connecting Beyond

  48. ladyfi says:

    Wow – stunning shots!

  49. Chocoviv says:

    Beautiful leaves!

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