Emily’s Bridge in Stowe looks like any other covered bridge in Vermont. But how the bridge makes people feel is an entirely different story.
Officially called Gold Brook Bridge, the one-lane bridge was built in 1844. Over the years, the bridge has become better known as Emily’s Bridge, named after the young woman who is said to have died there heartbroken.
The stories of how Emily died are varied. One story is that she was supposed to elope with a lover who was meeting her at the bridge. When he didn’t show, she hanged herself from the rafters. Another version is that Emily was jilted at the altar and fled in the family wagon. As she approached the bridge, she failed to negotiate a turn, drove the carriage over the bank and was killed.
Whether Emily really existed remains a mystery. Still, strange happenings have taken place at the bridge for many years. Some hear a woman crying in the distance or footsteps on the bridge. Cars that pass through the bridge at night have been reportedly scratched.
I think I might have felt Emily’s presence during two recent visits to the bridge. During my first visit, I parked at the entrance of the bridge to take some photos. When I turned around, a deer walked behind me and stood in the middle of the road. No big deal, right? At the time, I didn’t think so and took a photo of the deer with my phone (see below).
A few weeks later, Dave and I stopped at the bridge again on our way to dinner. As we got in our car and drove away, we debated which version of Emily’s story we believed. A few seconds later, a deer out of nowhere ran in front of our Subaru and we slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting her. My mind raced. Is this the same deer? Is it Emily? Is she trying to tell us something?
Shawn Woods, who owns Stowe Lantern Tours, has heard many stories about Emily’s Bridge over the years. He told me about some people who didn’t believe in ghosts until they visited the bridge. He knows of others who visited the bridge once and vowed never to return. Woods has not heard of any other haunted happenings involving a deer. But anything’s possible.
“The bridge definitely has a feeling. What is so intriguing is that there are so many different things that happen there. Not everyone gets the same experience,” he said. “None of the stories I’ve heard are of people feeling threatened. But the feeling of some sort of presence is what seems to get people riled up. And it only increases this time of year around Halloween.”
Do you have a story about Emily’s Bridge?
Getting there: Travel south on Route 100 south from Stowe Village for about 1 mile and take a left onto Gold Brook Road. Follow Gold Brook Road for 1.8 miles and Emily’s Bridge will be on your left.