The Covered Bridges Of Southwestern Pennsylvania

Achievement: #35. Covered Bridge Tour | #6. 5 Diners | #72. Fall Foliage Documentary Part Two

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.

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.)

Covered Bridge Tour
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!

Covered Bridge Tour
After filling up on coffee and arming ourselves with our map, we were ready to go!

Covered Bridge Tour
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!).

Covered Bridge Tour
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.

Covered Bridge Tour
We interrupted these cows in the middle of their lunch. Sorry cows!

Covered Bridge Tour
While the drive was long, the views were just beautiful. We couldn’t have picked a better day for this drive.

Covered Bridge Tour
Here I am waving from the Wyit Sprowls Bridge, the final non-difficult drive for a while.

Covered Bridge Tour
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!

Covered Bridge Tour
The good news is, if you like cows, this drive is just right for you. We met some really friendly cows who tried to lick our car.

Covered Bridge Tour
And we also met these bulls, having a chat and sharing some smooches in the middle of a field.

Covered Bridge Tour
We took this picture because we were so excited to see a road sign that we could actually read. HOORAY!

Covered Bridge Tour
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.

Covered Bridge Tour
But we were going to celebrate anyway!

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!

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Filed under #35, #35-12, #6, #6-12, #72, #72-12, autumn, bridges, covered bridge, diner, diner food, driving, fall foliage

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