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Valley Parents: Valley Quest; The Solar System

The Solar Quest was an artist residency project involving the integration of art, science, math and language arts. The project was conceived and implemented by science teacher Paul Dunne, art teacher Cynthia Cummings-Birch and sculptor Emile Birch. The eighth grade students at Indian River School in Canaan worked throughout the 2008-2009 school year with Emile Birch to create a scale-model of our solar system in which the planets are represented by concrete sculptures that have been placed throughout the towns of Enfield, Canaan, Grafton, Orange and Dorchester. Each planet has been placed on its actual orbit in relation to the sun, which is a six foot sculpture located at Indian River School. All the sculptures and icons were designed completely from the ideas and input of the 8th grade students.

The Solar Quest will take you to the New Hampshire towns of Enfield, Canaan, Grafton, Orange and Dorchester. It’s a moderate excursion offering natural vistas and an educational opportunity to learn about the planets in our solar system. You will need your car or spaceship to complete this Quest and a crayon to make a rubbing at each planet. Each rubbing counts as a stamp impression.

To the Sun

Take Route 4 toward Enfield/Canaan. Turn into Indian River School/Mascoma Valley Regional High School on Royal Road. Indian River School is located behind the high school and the sun is located right in front of Indian River School.

To Mercury

Traveling from the sun to Mercury e_SFlbCan be done without your car.e_SFlbFollow our directions. You won’t have to go far!e_SFlbStart at the compass, walk southeast.

Follow the sidewalk on your feet.

Stay on the sidewalk until the front of the high school.

Cross on the yellow, but not like a fool.

You’ve reached the grassy hill, you’re doing fine.

Now follow the trees in a straight line.

Look straight ahead.

Mercury you will see.

You’ve reached the first planet; the next one will be ...

To Venus

From Mercury to Venus is another you can walk.e_SFlbIt’s downhill, so you will even be able to talk!

With Mercury behind you,

Rolling, running or walking down the hill is what you’ll do.

Cross through the parking lot.

Head for the purple spot.

And then you will see

Where Venus will be!

To Earth

It’s time to go, hop in your car.e_SFlbDon’t worry too much; it’s not too far.

Turn left on Route 4 for a little while

And drive for half a mile.

Next, turn left onto Goose Pond Road.

Be careful you don’t hit a toad.

Look for a planet in front of the door

That is on the right with the number 54.

Get out of your car. Go ahead pop out of your seat

To find your treat.

You’ve found Earth, surrounded by trees.

You may see pines or perhaps evergreens.

(54 Goose Pond Road, West Canaan)

To Mars

Throw the car in reverse and go back to Route 4e_SFlbWhere the next sculpture will be at another door.

Take a left on Route 4

And go just a little more.

Go .1 mile to find Stark Hill.

Turn left onto this road for another thrill.

The first gray house on the right with a garage for cars,

There you will find the planet called Mars.

(12 Stark Hill Road, West Canaan)

To Jupiter

Start on Stark Hill Road to find the
gas giant.e_SFlbTurn right on Route 4, don’t be defiant.

After .6 of a mile, turn left on
Black Water Road

And you will be closer to the gold.

On the left you will turn onto a road called Jones Hill.

After about a mile, alas Jupiter, but don’t stand still.

Look for the shingled, colonial house with a two-car garage

You’ve arrived! This is not a mirage!

(77 Jones Hill Road, Enfield)

To Saturn

You’ve now finished Jupitere_SFlbBut don’t be stupider.

Head back down Jones Hill Road for a mile

When you see Blackwater Road,
you will go wild.

Take a left down that road

And another left (Route 4) to figure out your next code.

When you hit the Enfield Park,
turn left onto Main Street.

When you see the laundromat,
jump to your feet.

(59 Main Street, Enfield)

To Uranus

Go right out of Saturn past Huse Park.e_SFlbGo right on Route 4 (8.6 miles) back toward the start.

Don’t turn into the school

Or else you’re a fool.

When you see the park in Canaan, you’re going the right way.

Stay on Route 4, on that road you’ll stay.

On the left, you’ll see a big white house with a star

And you’ll know where you are.

(1541 Route 4, Orange)

To Neptunee_SFlbStarting at the white house with a star,

Head east on Route 4, but don’t
go too far.

Drive one mile, then turn left on
Razor Hill Road

Without running over a toad.

Go up Razor Hill Road for 1.3 miles

And the sight of Neptune, on the left, will make you smile.

There will be a brown house on
your right

But up the hill on the left, you will need to hike.

When you reach the top of the hill,

A view of Mount Cardigan will give you a thrill.

(197 Razor Hill Road, Grafton)

To Plutoe_SFlbThe way to the planet you’re
looking for

Is back the way you came, onto
Route 4.

Back on Route 4

Pass Uranus once more

Look for the green and

Turn right on Route 118.

If you pass the racetrack

Then you know you’re right on track.

Stay on Route 118 for 8.7 miles.

This planet will bring lots of smiles

A sharp left on Town House Road you will take

Next to a little red schoolhouse.
Do not forsake!

Your final planet will be found

In lovely Dorchester, downtown!

(24 Town House Road, Dorchester)

Valley Quest is a program of Vital Communities, a regional nonprofit organization. Valley Quest is a collection of treasure hunts to help you discover and enjoy the wonder of the Upper Valley. For more information, visit their website at www.vitalcommunities.org.

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