NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.—An August paving project in Volant and a bridge replacement across the Little Neshannock Creek on SR 956 forced me to take side roads to get to campus at the start of the fall semester. I usually drive Rt. 956 from Rt. 19 on my commute from Zelienople, but sometimes I’ll use Potter Run Road to SR 208 in Volant. But this fall, I found myself re-routed onto roads that were new to me.
These roads have also offered scenic tour of rural life in Lawrence County during my daily trip to and from campus. My alternate routes have included roads with names like Gerber, Allen, Wagner and Sipe suggesting some of the families that have lived and farmed in the area for generations.
Roads on my detour include- worth wandering
- Allen Road
- Covered Bridge Road
- Carter Road
- George Washington Road
- Fayette-Neshannock Falls Road
- Fayette-New Wilmington Road
- Vosler Road
- Lake Road
- Old Mercer Road
- Sipe Road
- Wagner Road
- Vosler Road
I often found myself leaving home earlier than usual to give me some time to meander around this part of Wilmington Township. The morning light will turn pumpkin patches, cornfields and farms into an amazing agrarian patchwork.
If you drive beyond Volant and the streets of New Wilmington, you’ll discover Covered Bridge Road. It’s a small, but visual journey that introduced me to a richer glimpse into this countryside life and I started noticing details. Fences vary in construction, age and materials and some of those fences do not work so well. On more than one occasion, my drive featured dairy cattle wandering the road.
I also found myself parking my car a few times along the road so I could get out and do some exploring by foot. I started carrying my camera so I could seize the opportunity to preserve a sample of what I was witnessing. Autumn colors enhanced the experience even more as September gave way to October.
Driving across the Banks Covered Bridge made me curious enough to pulled over few time to explore. There’s a path on the north side of the bridge that leads under the 1889 structure. Large sycamore tree branches shield the bridge from direct sunlight and changing leaves scatter it, making for a shifting shimmer on the slow moving water of the Neshannock Creek.
Driving Wagner Road into the community of Fayette is also a kaleidoscope of color and texture both in the morning and the late afternoon. The low sunlight makes the white Amish homes and barns pop from the landscape. The fences and roads create powerful vectors pulling your eyes in various directions.
I offer some of my photos here as a glimpse into what I’ve been enjoying this semester. The new bridge on Rt. 956 should open in November, allowing me to return to my established commute. While the construction may have been an inconvenience at first, it became a welcomed detour with a scenic view that was hidden for the past 16 years of my commute.