By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The French King Bridge

The French King Bridge. Click on image for more photos.

Ever since 2009, when our son started attending the Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turners Falls, I’ve been fascinated by the French King Bridge — a wonderfully ornate bridge connecting the towns of Erving and Gill across the Connecticut River. Now that our daughter has enrolled at Landmark College in Putney, Vt., we’re going to see that much more of it.

Today, on my way home from freshman orientation at Landmark, I had my first good chance to pull over and take some pictures. The river water was mud-brown — an after-effect of Tropical Storm Irene, as the water is clear and blue in this picture taken from the bridge.

The bridge was built in 1932 and rebuilt in 1992. The idea was to improve an old stretch of the Mohawk Trail Highway. I find it to be a really nice break from a long ride.

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  1. Michael Wyatt

    Dan, curious as to how many delays/detours you encountered this week taking your daughter to school. Losing power right from the onset of the storm last Sunday for a few days, didn’t really see any footage of W. MA or VT flooding (which also leads to the comment that those of us who didn’t find Irene overhyped weren’t in a position to judge coverage we couldn’t see).

  2. Christian Avard

    Best of luck to your daughter Dan. Landmark College is a great school and she’s in a very beautiful area of southern Vermont. Putney is the home of Vermont’s Gov. Peter Shumlin and former resident and Academy Award-winning actress Melissa Leo.

    The Putney Coop also has THE BEST apple turnovers ever. I’ll be surprised if anyone can top theirs. Guess who I’ve also seen in the Coop more than once? Christiane Amanpour. Swear to God.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Michael: Not a thing — we threaded the needle. Parts of I-91 were out just south of Route 2, but we were going north. Route 9 west was closed west of Brattleboro, but that didn’t affect us, either. Putney is considerably uphill from Brattleboro, and Landmark College is way uphill from Putney Center.

      @Christian: How can you not love that area? Hope things are returning to normal for you.

  3. Ron Newman

    Route 2 is my favorite road in Massachusetts — it’s heartbreaking to see so much of it washed out (further west of this bridge). I hope the state can rebuild it quickly.

  4. BJ Roche

    The view south from the French King Bridge is one of the loveliest in New England! Good places to eat en route, Dan: The Box Car (fabulous desserts) in Erving and the Wagon Wheel in Gill.

    Route 91 south is finally opened up between Greenfield and Deerfield, but we are still unable to get to North Adams from Charlemont on Route 2!

    A several-mile stretch of road that travels through Savoy and follows the Cold River was washed out. If they don’t do something fast, it will be a very bad leaf-peeping season.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @BJ: You know what’s terrific? The Rendezvous, in Turners Falls. Kind of a gin mill, but the food is top-notch.

  5. Patricia Daukantas

    Isn’t there a restaurant right next to the French King Bridge? I can’t remember whether it’s on the east side or the rest side, but I recall going there to dine with my parents when I was young.

    My parents used to love to take Sunday drives up the Mohawk Trail in the ’60s and ’70s (and presumably the ’50s, but I wasn’t around then). I remember the kitschy little souvenir shops, the lookout towers, and the “hairpin turn.” I know that the term “Mohawk Trail” is probably un-PC these days, but goodness knows some of those Route 2 communities need an economic boost these days, so perhaps they should help people “rediscover” the Trail.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Patricia: Here you go. I’ve never stopped there, but it’s on the Erving side, on the right as you’re heading west.

  6. charles pierce

    Another benefit of, you know, big government.

  7. Christopher Rowland

    It’s certainly a terrific bridge, but once you get sick of looking at it, you can save as much as 15 minutes on the trip to Putney by turning right in Erving at the fire station, going up and over a big hill, and coming out in Northfield, then picking up I-91 at the Bernardston interchange. You cut the corner and miss the lights on Route 2.

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