A Bridge with a View: The Upper Delaware’s historic bridges
Further along on route 97 you’ll find the turn-off for Route 371, leading you to the Damascus-Cochecton Bridge. A wide expansive bridge and heavily trafficked between the two states, its town is long gone. History of the old town and its popularity can be found at the Damascus Community Center in Cochecton Road. However, the view of the river is spectacular, and it is possible to come upon this bridge the back way, by traveling along the meandering and curvy River Road from Milanville to Damascus. (For the intrepid among you, it is also possible to take River Road from Narrowsburg to Milanville, and on to Damascus.)
Still further north on 97, approaching the hamlet of Callicoon in the Town of Delaware, you will cross a wide high bridge, but this bridge crosses Callicoon Creek. You must take the turn into town and stay right to reach the Callicoon Bridge over the Delaware. This is a small two-lane bridge with a pedestrian walkway that affords great views of the narrowing river and its many upriver islands. Callicoon is a great place to visit as well, with restaurants, art galleries, shops and a health food store.
Less than five miles upriver on 97 is the Little Equinunk Bridge, which natives refer to as Kellam’s Bridge. This suspension bridge, constructed in 1890, appears to be from an earlier generation when people rode in carriages and produce was carried along in a wagon. The single sign of modernity is the now defunct railroad tracks that traverse the New York side. This one-lane, picturesque bridge has heavier traffic than one would imagine, but cars and people are polite about the short waits. Fishing access is available here, as the Delaware begins its wander into prime trout territory.
The last of the bridges along this route is the Lordville-Equinunk Bridge. Accessible on the New York side from Route 97 and the PA side from 191, this crossing is loaded with charm and history. There are stories that suggest that at Lordville a ferryman would transport passengers in a basket and— judging from the town itself, one of the region’s most colorful—such a legacy would not be surprising. On the New York side you’ll find roosters running freely among manikins on the road and in the windows of the houses. On the PA side, you’ll find the Equinunk General Store stocked to the brim with containers of molasses and flour, walnuts and candies, weighed out for daily use. The Equinunk Historical Society is also a treasure trove of old photographs and information. The road north from this spot on both sides of the river descends and ascends into some truly wild and breathtaking scenery.