Stowe Covered Bridge — With Amenities — Hits the Market | True 802 | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

News + Opinion » True 802

Stowe Covered Bridge — With Amenities — Hits the Market


Published July 22, 2022 at 5:25 p.m.
Updated July 27, 2022 at 10:10 a.m.

  • Courtesy of Squarelight Photography
  • Bridge House in Stowe
James and Mary Connacher have a bridge to sell you — seriously.

The Stowe span extends over a stream and a waterfall, has 12-foot trusses and sides made of glass. Like some bridges in Vermont, it's covered. But you can actually live in this one — it doubles as a house.

The Connachers, who live in Toronto, put the property on the market on July 15, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal. They're asking $17.5 million.

“It’s a cool property,” said Wade Weathers, a principal with LandVest, which is selling the 240-acre site.

Known as both the Bridge House and Deerwood, the estate comes with the whole second- (or third-) home shebang, and more: five ponds (including a swimming pond with a dock and gazebo); tennis court; orchard and gardens; views of the Worcester Range; caretaker’s apartment and an additional house (not resembling a bridge). Property taxes were $52,846.48 for fiscal year 2023, according to the Town of Stowe.

The 4,800-square-foot Bridge House features an 18-foot cathedral ceiling, glass sides that open onto patios, and a maple-and-oak spiral staircase that connects the two floors. It was designed by Toronto-based architect Jim Strasman and built in 1994 by DBI, a company based in Morrisville, said Weathers, who is handling the sale with a colleague.
  • Courtesy of Squarelight Photography
  • Bridge House in Stowe
“It’s one of those houses that really stands out,” said Weathers, a realtor with 45 years experience. “It’s a spectacular design. That’s the magic of it.”

It's gotten plenty of attention over the years.

"The house derives its inspiration from old New England covered bridges, which I reinterpreted," Strasman, the designer, said in an Architectural Digest piece about the place. "I felt the covered bridge was a natural in this terrain, but we didn't want to just reproduce the form and let it go at that. We were after a contemporary look and feel."

In arriving at the $17.5 million sale price, Weathers said several factors were considered: “No. 1, it’s Stowe,” he said. “No. 2, it’s 240 acres.”

“We thought that if there were ever a time to try to the market,” this is it, Weathers continued. “It’s certainly been one of the hottest markets that we’ve seen in my career.”

The price is also one the sellers agreed to, Weathers noted. The Connachers are in their mid-eighties and no longer use the Stowe home as a family gathering place, he said.

"You've got to love it, and you've got to maintain it," Weathers said. "It's like a boat. You can't have a boat just sitting there in the water. All it does it cost you a lot of money."

A prospective buyer expressed interest within days of the public offering; the first showing will be on Saturday, July 23, according to Weathers.

“It’s not uncommon to have somebody who has the capacity to buy a property like this to have a residence in Florida, a pied-à-terre in New York and a ranch in Colorado,” he said. “And this becomes a summer place.”
  • Courtesy of Squarelight Photography
  • Bridge House in Stowe
Realtors use comparable properties — comps, in real-estate jargon — to help determine the market value of a property. As it turns out, there’s a comp for the Bridge House — but it's not for sale.

The structure is in Stowe, about five miles away. Built in 1844, the wood-frame edifice known as Gold Brook Covered Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It spans a lovely running brook and is accessible by car and horseback, on foot, or by bicycle. You can’t make pancakes in it or watch a Red Sox game on a big-screen TV. But it comes with at least one SUV with Massachusetts plates, speeding through.

Correction, July 25, 2022: A previous version of this story misreported the Bridge House's property taxes.