Day Tripping from the Brewster Inn: Solar System Scavenger Hunt in Maine.
One of the things guests enjoy about our location is the ability to use us as a base for multiple night stay and go explore different areas of the state without constantly packing and unpacking. Our central location is perfect for day tripping. We decided to do some of the day trips ourselves so we could share the experience with others.
Our first journey was a solar system hunt. Yes, that’s right, you can do a planetary scavenger hunt right here in the gorgeous state of Maine. We heard about this and thought that sounds interesting. So, one day we set off early to check it out ourselves before passing the info on to guests. It turned out to be a fun day with lots of surprises.
We didn’t know until later that the models are done to scale so they aren’t always easy to spot at first. The Maine Solar System model is the world’s largest scale model of the solar system and is built to scale 1:93,000,000. It’s one of the largest scale models in the world and covers 40 miles on Route 1 starting in Houlton and ending in Presque Isle.
We decided to pass on our experience and some tidbits to make it easier for others to be successful. We passed a few up and had to scout the area to find them. It was well worth the effort though. There was snow on the ground when we had our adventure and we plan to do it again sometime when the weather is nicer as well. There were a few things we would have liked to have gotten out and explored further but the ground conditions prevented it.
The “Sun” was one of the most difficult to find (as you’ll see later). You get a good sense of the sizes and distances between the planets as they’re done to scale.
Our adventure started at the visitor’s center in Houlton. That’s where we found Pluto. The staff there were helpful in providing us a pamphlet that listed the planets and gave you some idea where to look. We still missed some but doubled back and were successful each time in finding the one we had missed. It was a fun day for us, and I can imagine that children would enjoy the hunt as well.
The weather and driving conditions weren’t the best for pictures, but that was part of the adventure. The description for each is above the corresponding picture. So, come along with us-
Pluto: as we said, Pluto is found in a small box inside the Houlton Visitor’s center, right outside the main room where they have all the brochures.
Neptune is next and it is found on the Left side of the road in the Littleton township. The color on this one is gorgeous.
Uranus is next. It’s located on the Right side of the road, in front of the Bridgewater Town Hall.
Saturn is next and is also on the Right side of the road. You can’t really miss this one with the distinct rings!
Jupiter is next and on the Left side of the road. The colors of it are also very striking.
Between Jupiter and Mars we just happened to notice the small model of the Ceres Asteroid Belt.
Mars is next. It’s on the Right side of the road and outside the “Welcome to Presque Isle” sign.
Our planet, Earth, is next and is also on the Right side of the road. We found it outside an auto dealer.
Venus is next and on the Left side of the road.
Mercury is one of the harder ones to find. It’s on the Right side of the road, not far from Venus.
Finally, the Sun. The Sun is located inside Folsam Hall University of Maine, Presque Isle. We were lucky there was some classes and meetings going on that day, so we were able to get inside the building. After some searching, we realized the Sun is a huge multi story curved yellow beam going all the way up the inside front of the building.
We hope you enjoyed following along on our adventure and will come with us on new adventures this year. We plan to do some covered bridges, waterfalls, lighthouse, state parks and other day trips that may take us off the beaten path.
Cheers, Mark and Tina
p.s. As we were traveling on Rt. 1 toward Houlton, we happened upon a model for the dwarf planet, Eris. This one is VERY easy to miss. It’s on a pole near the intersection of Rt.1 and Rt 6 and located near the Topsfield/Codyville Veterans Memorial.