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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Bridges of Madison County (Winterset, Iowa)



My sister and I were headed back to Arkansas from a road trip to the North Shore (Duluth to Grand Portage) in Minnesota. We were looking for a break from the long ride and decided to do a driving tour of the bridges. We thought it would take about 1 ½ hours but took much longer. The GPS signal wasn’t that great and we sort of got lost a few times! You would think getting lost in the middle of nowhere, with no map, surrounded by nothing but cornfields would be scary. Not for us! We were laughing and having fun the whole time! 



Madison County is the Covered Bridge Capital of Iowa, with the largest group of covered bridges in one area. The beautiful bridges were popularized by Robert James Waller in the book, The Bridges of Madison County.  Clint Eastwood’s movie version of the book made the little town of Winterset a desired destination. 





Our first stop was the Imes Bridge. It was built in 1870 and is the oldest of the remaining covered bridges.  Originally located over the Middle River, the length is 81 feet.





Ten miles from the Imes bridge, we stopped at the Holliwell Bridge. A popular one for its feature in The Bridges of Madison County movie. It was Built in 1880 and is 122 feet long.




The Cutler-Donahoe was the third bridge on our route. The location is in the city park. Featuring a pitched roof, it was constructed in 1870 and is 79 feet in length.



We almost skipped this one because someone told us it was gone but decided to take a look anyway. Cedar bridge was almost completely destroyed by arson on April 15th, 2017, but there are plans to restore it.




The Hogback Bridge was the next to the last bridge that we visited. It was built in 1884 and measures 97 feet in length. Traveling through a lot of corn fields is required to reach this one.  





Located on the back wall of the bridge is a notepad for leaving where you are from and a note if you so wish. We enjoyed reading where everyone was from and how far they had traveled. There was even one from Japan!





Our final stop and the most popular of the bridges, the Roseman Bridge. Built in 1883 and at 107 feet in length, it was one of the main locations for the movie and novel. The Roseman remains in the original location of its construction.

It is also known as the “haunted” bridge. Supposedly, two officers thought they had trapped an escaped prisoner inside the bridge, but he rose through the roof and disappeared.




Headed back to the main highway, we came upon this sign. I really wasn't too concerned until we topped the first tall hill and was looking at one that was even taller and without much slope. I refused to drive up it! My sister was laughing at me the entire time that I was trying to turn around at the top of the hill we were on...


She called me chicken! I called myself being logical! I was thinking.... what if we get half way up and have to back down, what if we meet a big tractor, what if.... 😅



The tour of the bridges turned out to be much more fun and entertaining than we expected! Be sure your car is full of gas and you have a printed map in hand before heading out on the tour. Have fun!

Google Map of bridges

Location:

Winterset is 36 miles southwest of Des Moines, Iowa and 100 miles north of Kansas City, Kansas



Happy Travels!





















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