Northeast Georgia Covered Bridges Fall DriveVillage Green Brasselton
About this event
Fall Foliage Harold Wilson Memorial Drive
Northeast Georgia Covered Bridges and History
October 22, 2022 10:00 a.m.
The Georgia Department of Tourism lists sixteen surviving covered bridges in Georgia and estimates a drive time of over seven hours to visit all. Over two hundred existed in an era gone with the wind. Early Georgians found that wood bridges required constant repair after decades of use, allowing many to fall into disrepair. Bridges begin to be covered to partially protect them from the elements and to add to their life span. The focus of this event was limited to three bridges (a fourth is optional), approximately two hours drive time between stops, and less than a hundred miles.
The drive will start from the Village Green Gazebo in Braselton, at exit #129 off I-85 north near Chateau Elan. Turn right and drive a mile or less, turning right on Davis Street where the Village Green and gazebo are located. Recommend you have breakfast before you get to Braselton. The Galloping Gourmet located adjacent to the village green does open at 1000 hr.
Enjoy an eighteen-mile drive to the Crawford Long Museum in Jefferson, GA. Long, a physician, developed the medical use of ether in the 1840s. The entry fee and tour cost are included in your registration. A guided tour with the curator has been scheduled for 10:30 hr. The first covered bridge encountered will be 7.9 miles away at Hurricane Shoals Park. After suffering a $5.00 parking fee charge one can drive over the restored covered bridge. Note the nearby shoals, which are shallow rapids. Horses could be led across the slippery rocks but without a bridge wagons and buggy were not trafficable.
The next leg is twenty-five miles to Comer’s Bridge, located five hundred feet off Comers Mill Road adjacent to a mobile home. The bridge is deteriorating with vines beginning to cover the sides. This bridge is included to illustrate why most covered bridges have disappeared. They were located on private land, originally maintained by fees from the families that owned the land and bridge. Later roadbeds avoided the covered bridges as bridge building engineering evolved to adopt to motor vehicle use.
After a twenty-six-mile drive arrive at Watson Mill Covered Bridge. Many early Covered Bridges, like Watson’s, were collocated with gist mills where corn was ground for a fee. Watson Mill bridge has the most length of any of the surviving covered bridges in the state. Watson Mill Bridge survived because the bridge was donated to the state of Georgia and is the centerpiece of a state park. Again, you can drive across the bridge. Note that shoals are located near the bridge. The park visitors center has cold drinks and memorabilia.
Howard’s Covered Bridge is a four mile near by drive. It is included as optional because the last two miles of the trek are dirt road, which although lightly covered with little gravel is always either very muddy or dusty. The bridge resembles Comers Mill but is longer, and less accessible. Howard Covered Bridge was added to the National Historic register recently.
Recommend unless you brought your four-wheel drive to visit Howard’s Bridge, that you proceed fifteen miles to our end point, Cali n Tito’s East at La Puerta del Sol, not to be confused with their Lumpkin Road shack located in little Five Points near the UGA campus. The large, themed restaurant with an abundance of free parking, indoor and outdoor seating, serves freshly made Caribbean and Peruvian sandwiches ($8.45 to $12.95), salads ($10 to $12.95), and seafood, chicken, or pork entries ($10.95 to $23.95). Beer ranges from $3.50 to $5.00 with wine $8.00 per glass. This is the new hot spot in Athens for thirsty and hungry dogs. Remaining funds from the entry fee will be expended on appetizers for attendees.
Event fee is $15.00 per vehicle. Same cost regardless of how many folks you can cram into your Mercedes.