Before we lost the very last of the gorgeous fall foliage colors, we wanted to make our trek out to Washington County, PA for the covered bridge tour. Last year, we got our feet wet with the smaller, 4-bridge, Eastern tour, but this year, we went for broke, taking on the 13 bridges and 89 miles of the Southwest Covered Bridge Tour.
Before we saw our first covered bridge though, we had to stop for gas. And lucky for us, the BP we pulled into was attached to a 7Eleven with a real diner in it! And since we’ve got a diner tour to complete this year, we were sold. (Interestingly enough, I can find no evidence online that this 7Eleven Diner exists, except for photos from a few other rare souls who have found it… so it’s possible this diner is only accessible to people on a Covered Bridge Journey.)
The stop was definitely worth our time: the day’s special was this plate of blueberry pancakes with sausage patties. For me, the mark of a good diner blueberry pancake is seeing more blueberry than pancake when I look at the plate, and this certainly delivered. The sausage was excellent as well, somehow crispy and juicy and salty all at once. Yum!
The first bridge on the tour was the Hughes Bridge, which is visible from the road, but not accessible by car. It’s apparently featured every year in the annual Covered Bridge Festival, held in September (which we will make it out to some year, I promise!).
The bridges are rated in the guidebook by their difficulty to reach by car. The first three bridges are all ‘easy drive’ bridges. But after this one (the Day Bridge), things start to get a bit more complicated.
Bridge #7 was the Longdon Bridge. Things had gotten SERIOUSLY complicated by this point. Just a warning if you’re going to attempt this drive: use a GPS if you can, because the maps are not exactly to scale, and the road signs are… almost completely eroded. Our 89-mile-drive turned into well over 100 miles by the end because of backtracking and turning around. Still fun for sure, but we were glad we had a whole afternoon to spare, because we needed it!
Finally, just before the sun was getting ready to set, we reached the final, 13th bridge of the tour: the Sawhill Bridge. Earlier, I’d said, “We are going to get out and take a hundred celebration pictures when we get to this final bridge.” Little did I know, there would be a weird old man washing his truck with a bucket of soapy water on the other side of the bridge.
Seriously. At the start of the drive, you could have said, “Guess what ridiculous thing you’re going to see at the end of the final bridge?” and never once would ‘old man washing truck’ have come into my brain. There was no house anywhere to be found, no hose nearby, and I kind of got the impression the dude was a little annoyed with us ruining his peaceful truck-washing experience.
If you’d like to see the rest of our tour, including photos of all 13 bridges on the Southwest Tour, check out our Facebook page. If you’d like to attempt the drive yourself, check out the driving guide online (it’s also available at the Washington County tourist information booth, which is where we got our glossy copy). I do recommend that you pick a dry day with good weather, because some of the roads could get a little sloppy. And make sure you’ve got a full tank of gas, a GPS (don’t rely on your phone, because we had very limited service), and your camera. If you’re really daring, you can go for all 4 driving tours, which would take you through THIRTY covered bridges!