Mason-Dixon Line Covered Bridge Driving Tour

Mason and Dixon surveyed the border between Maryland and Penn's domain of Pennsylvania and Delaware State. This tour follows the southern border of Pennsylvania covered bridges in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. This is a tour of covered bridges, not of the Mason-Dixon line.

Thoroughly revised, 1999.

This region is far richer in covered bridges than I knew when I published the first version of this tour in 1994.

Route: From Philadelphia, take Route 1 south to Route 52 south to Greenville, Delaware.

Just over the state line, turn right on Snuff Mill Road, to left on Old Kennet Road, immediate right on Ashland Clinton School Road. Left on Route 82, right on Barley Mill Road just through the Ashland Covered Bridge. Park in Ashland Nature Center parking lot. The Nature Center has parking, picnic tables, hiking trails and an inviting visitor center with a gift shop and other, you know, facilities, as well as the bridge. Enjoy!

Continue south on Barley Mill, taking the left at the Y. Barley Mill Road now is also known as Wooddale Drive. Right on Rolling Mill Road to Wooddale Bridge, on the right. Continue on Rolling Mill to R on Rt. 48, Lancaster Pike, followed quickly by L on Hercules Road. Right on Rt. 41, Newport Gap Pike, to R on Cheltenham, L on Heritage, R on Amblerside to Westminster Bridge, a stringer bridge with no true truss. Continue on Ablerside to L on Cheltenham to R on Hercules again. Cross Rt. 41, where Hercules becomes Mill Creek, and continue to a Y intersection. Take the L onto Stoney Batter Road and then the R where the Rt. 72 Connector road diverges from Stoney Batter. Follow Rt. 72, Paper Mill Road, to a R on Corner Ketch followed quickly by a L on Pleasant Mill Road. Turn right on Thomson Station and left on Chambers Rock Road (Thomson Station is closed beyond the turn).

You are now in the White Clay Creek State Park and Preserve, a park area that overlaps the two states and includes some of the most historic Mason-Dixon Line sites. Take a left on Arc Corner Road to find the marker where the arc around New Castle -- the only circular boundary between two political units that I know of -- meets the east-west segment of Mason and Dixon's boundary. For more information, call the Pennsylvania White Clay Creek Preserve at 610-274-2471. To continue the tour, continue on Chambers Rock Road to a right at Rt. 896, back in Pennsylvania, then the first left on Lewisville Road. (Continue straight ahead and skip this segment if you don't want to drive down dirt roads! As of Oct. 24, 1999, the dirt road down to this bridge is closed, probably because of erosion from the hurricane.) Take another left on Elkton Road, toward Maryland. In Maryland, you will enter the Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area. Pass under a park road and then immediately turn right on Black Bridge Road by the sign for the nature center. Pass through the parking lot and down the one-lane dirt road that bends to the left, past the hitching posts to the parking lot at Foxcatcher Farms Covered Bridge. Retrace your steps back to Rt. 896 north at Kemblesville in Pennsylvania.

Continue north on Rt. 896. Left on Rt. 841 to a right on Thunderhill Lewisville Road to a left on Rudolph's Camp Bonsul Road to the Rudolph and Arthur Bridge.

Continue through the bridge and go straight ahead at the intersection where Rudolph's Camp Bonsul Road becomes Rt. 472, Oxford-Lewisville Road. Take the second right, King Row, to Linton Stevens Bridge. In October, 1994, this bridge was closed to traffic and signs indicated that it was private property and was dangerous. In early 1999, Linton Stevens Bridge was open, reconditioned in 1996, but signs indicate road closed and it may be closed beyond the bridge. In any case the road beyond the bridge has always been very poor. Return to Rt. 472, turn left and take the first right on Chrome-New London or Peacedale-New London Road. Take a left on Hickory Hill Road, which becomes Providence Road, and continue to the Glen Hope Bridge.

Return and go right on Glen Hope Road to Lewisville Road, and then right, south, into Maryland. Follow Rt. 213 to a right on Rt. 273, and five miles to left on Rt. 272 to Gilpin's Falls Bridge, which is just beside the highway about four miles south. Continue south to Interstate 95 north (turn left to get on) and return to Philadelphia.

Alternative route. From Philadelphia, take Interstate Highway 95 south. Take the Chichester Avenue exit, the last in Pennsylvania. Turn right, and follow Chichester Avenue to Concord. Turn left, and follow Concord Road straight ahead through a complex intersection with Chelsea and Foulk Roads to a left on Smith Bridge Road. Continue on Smith Bridge Road into Delaware State. Please drive carefully on Smith Bridge road, a pleasant drive at moderate and sane speeds but a killer at high speeds because of its hills and sudden dips. Just after crossing the state line, you will cross Brandywine Creek at Smith's Bridge. Smith's is not covered, but it was at one time. In 1959, Smith's was described as Delaware's finest and best preserved, and as a "sturdy reminder of Brandywine legends." Now it is a legend rather than a reminder.

Continue on Smith's Bridge Road to Pyle's Ford Road and take a left. Take a right on Route 82 and follow it to Barley Mill Road; and go left on Barley Mill to the Ashland Nature Center, on the right just through the Ashland Covered Bridge. Continue from there.

Food and services: Services are rare on this route. Picnic places can be found at Ashland Nature Center, White Clay Creek State Park, and at the waterfront in North East south of Gilpin's Bridge. Restaurants are also available in North East. Picnic supplies and sandwiches may be obtained at Jansen's Market, about two miles south of Pyle's Ford Road on Rt. 52.