October 14, 2011

Maine in Autumn.....Exploring Covered Bridges

The Maine House prepares for another family visit this weekend. Pensacola family is arriving on Saturday for a week long visit with us. Remember in Bridges of Madison County when those romantic scenes were filmed at the covered bridges? Well, that is leading to our fascination with these old, vintage beauties. We have planned excursions to experience the Maine Autumn days and learn more of these state treasures.

Between the mid 1800s and early 1900s, covered bridges began to appear over Maine’s mighty rivers allowing travelers in horsedrawn carriages to forge rivers without getting swept downstream. These wooden structures had roofs added to protect them from the elements and had it not been for the “covers” over these bridges, the wood would have rotted and slowly disintegrated. Once there were a hundred and twenty covered bridges in the state of Maine, but fire, flood, ice, progress and the great freshet of 1896 have removed all but nine.

Babb’s Bridge Covered Bridge Road is located in South Windham, Maine

Babbs Bridge was built in 1864. The original bridge was burned by vandals in 1973. An exact replica was constructed and opened to traffic in 1976. It is located two and a half miles north of South Windham, then one half mile west, over the Presumpscot River between the towns of Gorham and Windham.

Watson Settlement Bridge Carson Road Littleton, Maine

This bridge, built in 1911, is the farthest north and the youngest of Maine’s original covered bridges. It has timber trusses of the Howe design and has two spans with a total length of 170 feet. In 1984 the bridge was closed to traffic when a new bridge was built. The bridge is located on the road to Woodstock from Littleton over Meduxnekeag Stream in the town of Littleton.

Lovejoy Bridge Covered Bridge Road South Andover, Maine

This bridge, built in 1868, is 70 feet long and spans the Ellis River. It has Paddleford trusses and is Maine’s shortest covered bridge. The bridge was reinforced in 1984 to carry local traffic. It is located at South Andover.

Sunday River Bridge (Artist's Covered Bridge) Sunday River Road Newry, Maine

This bridge, built in 1872, is named the Artist’s Bridge because of its reputation as being the most photographed and painted of the venerable covered bridges in Maine. The bridge, an 87 foot Paddleford truss, was closed to traffic in 1958 when a new bridge was built downstream. It is located about four miles northwest of North Bethel.

 Bennett Bridge Magalloway River Lincoln Plantation, Maine

This bridge, built in 1901, has trusses of the Paddleford type with a total length of 93 feet. It spans the Magalloway River. The bridge was closed to traffic in 1985. The bridge is located one and a half miles south of Wilson Mills.

Parsonsfield-Porter Bridge Off Route 160 Porter, Maine 

The Parsonsfield-Porter Bridge was built by the towns of Porter and Parsonsfield as a joint project over the Ossipee River in 1876. The bridge is a 152 foot structure of Paddleford construction strengthened with laminated wooded arches. The bridge, located one half mile south of Porter, was closed to traffic in 1960 when a new bridge was built upstream.

Estelle's is treating us to two scrumptious Autumn dishes
that have long been our family favorites!
Oh delicious New England Autumn!

Autumn Apple Squash Casserole

4 teaspoons sugar
3 cups cornflakes, coarsely crumbled
3/4 cups pecans, chopped
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Apple Mixture
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
6 1/2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced (not too thin)
4 teaspoons granulated sugar

Squash Mixture
6 cups fresh cubed butternut squash,boiled until tender
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix topping ingredients in a bowl; set aside.
Prepare apples: Heat 2 1/2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add apples and sauté about 3 minutes, or until tender. Stir in granulated sugar. Transfer to a glass or ceramic 9" x 13" baking pan, spreading apples evenly. Prepare squash. In a bowl,mash cooked squash with 4 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, and salt. Spread squash evenly over apples. Sprinkle cornflake topping over squash.Bake for 20 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and crunchy.

 Sweet Butternut Squash With Apples
5 lbs butternut squash
4 apples
1 1/2 cups pineapple tidbits ( canned)
2 tablespoons apple cider
 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1/2 cup butter, melted 
 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons flour
 1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Cut squash in half and remove seeds, soft pulp, and fibers. Then peel the squash and place it cut side down on a cutting board. Cut in half length-wise and then cut into into 1/2-inch slices. Combine the cider, marmalade, melted butter, sugar, flour, salt and spice. Layer half of the butternut squash in the bottom of the crockpot; top with one half of the apple slices, one half of the pineapple and half of the sugar and spice mixture. Repeat layers. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour, then switch to LOW and cook 4 hours longer, or until butternut squash is tender. Add in the cranberries, give it a stir, and turn off the crockpot to let it cool for about 45 minutes. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and some chopped walnuts!

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