National Trust Names 'Distinctive Destinations' for 2011

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has announced this year's list of "Distinctive Destinations," and the organization is asking voters to weigh in on which place deserves the number one spot.

For 11 years the organization has pulled together a list of a dozen locales that "exude an authentic sense of place" by harboring rich cultural and recreational experiences. The winning cities range from laid-back wine country destinations to eclectic seafront towns.

Which cities made the top 11 this year? The trust chose Alexandria, Va. for its blend of American and modern chic; Chapel Hill, N.C. for its well-preserved historic district; and Colorado Springs, Colo. for its vibrant historic town with commanding views of Pikes Peak.

Also on the list was Dandrige, Tenn., picked by the National Trust for Historic Places as a "quintessential Southern Appalachian town"; the beautifully preserved Victorian seaport of Eureka, Calif.; and Muskogee, Okla. for its storied Native American past.

Once one of the world's largest whaling ports, New Bedford, Mass., made the list for its maritime history and scenic beaches. Paducah, Ky., the heart of Kentucky's Four Rivers Region also made the list, along with the frontier city of San Angelo, Texas.

Saint Paul, Minn. was picked for its architecture and historic buildings, while Sheridan, Wyo. claimed an honor amongst the top cities for its abundant recreational opportunities and authentic Western experience. Last but not least, the wine country of Sonoma, Calif. rounded out the list.

"This year's Dozen Distinctive Destinations include some of America's best places to visit," says Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a statement. "They combine historic appeal and modern culture in a way that keeps visitors coming back."

Anyone can vote for his or her favorite destination on the list through March 15, and when you cast your ballot you will be entered in a contest to win a two-night stay at any Historic Hotel of America. For those who wish to stuff the ballot box, voting is allowed once per day.

Photo, zaimoku_woodpile, flickr.

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