Day Trip Adventure: The Bridges of Madison County

Hello, friends, it's been a while. I have so many pictures and posts on the back burner, yet I just haven't bothered to put any of them together. The reason is two-fold: partly, I am kinda lazy, and the other part is that I've been busy living life again. Since I started my new position nearly a year ago (a year?!) it's kept me busy and I find myself coming home in the evenings not thinking about things like blogging. On the weekends, I've begun living my life in the same manner I did back in 2018. You can trust that I'm working hard to get back to the best parts of one of my best years, so please forgive my absence. 

Alas, I digress. Back in late April, on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, my best friend, Keith, his baby girl, and I took a day trip adventure to check out the famed Bridges of Madison County, near Des Moines. I had been wanting to do this trip since I got the idea back last fall, but it just didn't happen then. I got the idea because I keep travel books, pamphlets, maps, and guides for many states, particularly the ones nearest to my own state of Nebraska. I was perusing through my Iowa ones when I came across a pamphlet for the Bridges. It gives good information about Madison County, the Bridges, and a couple of maps. Armed with this and a picnic lunch, we set off. I decided the best way to tackle all the bridges - plus a couple other points of interest - was to go around in a circle.

Our first stop, then, was Roseman Bridge. 

All of the bridges are made using timber lattice trusses overlaid with Queenpost frames. It makes for visual interest. 

The next bridge on our list was Cutler-Donahoe Bridge which is located in Winterset City Park - Winterset is the major town and seat of Madison County. 

After our stop, we drove along the road that circumvents the park. This old stone bridge is interesting and allows for foot traffic to cross a creek.

On the opposite end of the park is Clark Tower. It was built in 1926 out of native limestone as a monument to one of the county's first pioneer families by their descendants. 

A view into the first floor of the tower.

These stairs lead to...

the second floor.

A smaller set of metal stairs leads to the third and uppermost floor of the tower. This open floor gives one an incredible view of the Middle River below.

We made our way out of the park and continued on with our bridge journey, where our next stop was at Holliwell Bridge.

This bridge crosses the Middle River and provided a lovely view of it.

We carried on to the smallest of the bridges: Imes Bridge.

After leaving Imes Bridge, we had to backtrack to Winterset, so we stopped at Madison County Winery.

As it was April, it was still a bit chilly outside so sitting on the couch next to this fire was nice.

Their wine tasting also helped warm me up.

The next bridge up was the Cedar Bridge. It was the only one that seemed to allow cars to drive through and the only one without a sign over the entrance of it.

So, I took a picture of the sign located a few yards away.

The final bridge was the Hogback Bridge. 

This was the only bridge that had a guestbook to sign - you can see it hanging on the left. Again, it has that characteristic truss and Queenpost frame.

Since this was the last site on our adventure, we decided to end the day at Winterset Cidery. I mean, I love a good cider! Unfortunately, they are only open May-October so we were a few weeks early. I was totally bummed, but since it's literally a half mile from the Covered Bridges Winery, we took our sadness down there.

Since it was Sunday, and most wineries have acoustic music on Sundays, we were able to have entertainment with our wine. Now, if you remember from a post I did a few months back, you know that I've been to this winery before.

If you ever want to get away for a day, or even a weekend, Madison County is a great place to do this. Winterset has plenty of things to see and do, particularly in the warmer months, as well as motels and camping. It's also a mere 30 minutes away from Des Moines so there's no shortage of things to see and do in this neck of the woods. For more info, check out the Madison County Chamber website.

I'm currently on a much-needed vacation until July 5th, so I'll have plenty of things to post from these next few weeks in the future. Let's just hope I get them out a bit quicker. Until next time, friends, be well...and have some adventure.

- H.A.



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