Gateway from the west to the Mascoma Valley-Cardigan
Mountain towns of Enfield, Canaan, Orange, Grafton, and Dorchester
is Mascoma Lake. The four mile long lake separates the two villages
that comprise the town of Enfield, and lies between Routes
4 and 4A. If one drives along Route
4 for fifteen minutes the elevation will gradually increase from
760 feet to 945 feet in downtown Canaan. Then quickly the elevation
rises to 1,450 feet at the Orange Common. Slightly to the east is
Grafton, approximately 850 feet above sea level near the village
store. Above Grafton and Orange, the
granite outcropping of Cardigan Mountain majestically rises to 3,121
feet in the middle of Cardigan Mountain State Park. The fire lookout
tower points skyward. In the foothills of the White Mountains,
the district is the home of many lakes, Cardigan Mountain State Park,
Tewksbury State Pond, and Cold Pond State Wildlife Area. The Appalachian
Trail bisects the northern boundary of the school district.
Along the way you will have seen the streams rushing
to their final destination of Mascoma lake, on their way to the
Connecticut and the sea. The streams that in the spring are dotted
with trout fishermen. The streams that have begun their journey
in the nearby hills and spots like Crystal lake, Goose Pond,
Spectacle Pond, Grafton Pond, Canaan Street lake, and Kilton
Pond. Indeed one of the area's great attractions is its waterways.
Providing residents and visitors alike with a wide variety of
recreational activities. The area is known for abundant four-season
recreational opportunities including hiking, camping, biking,
sailing, fishing, climbing, snowmobiling, skiing and hunting.
The district is near numerous major ski areas.
Many consider the area to be representative of
a unique part of America where mountain beauty and quiet serenity,
coupled with historic homes and open countryside provides home
to people seeking that special lifestyle found in fewer and fewer
spots. This lifestyle is further enhanced by the area's close
proximity to the Hanover-Lebanon area. There is easy access to
both stimulating educational programs and cultural aspects of
Dartmouth College, shopping at the plazas, the Dartmouth Hitchcock
Medical Center and many other attributes of the area from golf
to restaurants. The Hood Museum of Natural History and The Hopkins
Center for Performing Arts attract world-class art and natural
history exhibitions, resident and traveling theater performances,
and a variety of performing artists. The district is home to
the LaSalette Shrine and the Museum at Lower Shaker Village in
Enfield. These sites attract visitors year round. Interstate
highways 89 and 91 are within easy travel distance, and airline
service is available at the Lebanon Airport. Both train and bus
services are also accessible. The district is within two hours
of the Boston metropolitan area, and the cities of New York and Montreal
are also easily reachable by interstate highway.
Like the rest of the Upper Valley the Mascoma-Cardigan
area has grown steadily. From 1970 to 1985 the population went
from 3,900 to 7,050 - an 80% jump. The increase ranged from 62%
in Canaan to 220% in Dorchester. If proof is needed that the
increase is due to persons in search of a lifestyle the in-migration
statistics are illuminating. Population growth from in-migration
ranged from 23 % in Canaan to 88 % in Orange and 98.6 % in Grafton.
But that doesn't mean it's getting crowded.