Distinctive Destinations from the National Trust for Historic Preservation: 2004

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Source: National Trust for Historic Preservation.

From a Spanish settlement to a historic resort community nestled in a beautiful Rocky Mountain valley, America offers alternative vacation destinations that symbolize an increasing dedication to historic preservation. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the country's largest private, nonprofit preservation organization, offers an annual list of unique and lovingly preserved communities that make interesting alternatives to the homogenization of many other vacation spots.

Astoria, Ore. (pop. 9,800): The oldest U.S. settlement west of the Rockies, Astoria has long been revered by residents and visitors alike for its picture-perfect setting on the Columbia River. This port city provides a bounty of historic sites, natural beauty, and great seafood.

Galena, Ill. (pop. 3,600): Rich deposits of lead ore near Galena were the source of many fortunes in the 19th century. Today, spectacular architecture and reminders of eras past are the real treasures in this hilly riverside town that touts down-home charm and plenty to keep visitors busy.

Glenwood Springs, Colo. (pop. 7,700): Snugly nestled in a beautiful valley, this historic resort community serves up a restorative dose of natural hot springs, exciting outdoor activities, eclectic dining and shopping, and evocative links with the Rocky Mountain frontier past.

Guthrie, Okla. (pop. 10,000): Literally born overnight in the epic Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889, Guthrie was Oklahoma's first territorial capitol. Today, this unique and thriving community offers many opportunities for visitors to experience the rough-and-ready spirit of the Wild West.

Lewisburg, W.Va. (pop. 3,600): Civil War history, arts, folklore, and natural splendor are plentiful in historic Lewisburg, where visitors can soak up small-town charm while enjoying interesting architecture, sophisticated shops and galleries, and a wide range of outdoor adventures.

Macon, Ga. (pop. 97,000): Shaped by diverse cultures spanning 12,000 years of history, this friendly city boasts thousands of historic buildings and charming neighborhoods, plus museums that celebrate everything from ancient civilizations to sports and rock-and-roll.

Marshall, Mich. (pop. 7,460): Famed as an open-air textbook of 19th-century American architecture, Marshall's expansive historic district boasts tree-lined streets, interesting shops and restaurants, and an inviting atmosphere that entices visitors to linger and enjoy themselves.

Napa, Calif. (pop. 70,000): The hub of the famed Napa Valley wine region, this charming city was a staging site for the Gold Rush of the late 1850's. Today its historic neighborhoods showcase great architecture and enjoyable attractions—plus an inviting year-round climate.

New Paltz, N.Y. (pop. 6,000): A hip college town with a proud history, New Paltz combines the vibrancy of a campus environment with the traditions of its French Huguenot past—all displayed in a setting that offers great natural beauty and glimpses of centuries gone by.

Newport, R.I. (pop. 25,000): Calling itself “America's First Resort,” this compact, walkable community is a treasure-trove of museums, historic buildings, and rocky shoreline—all reminders of the city's past as a bustling colonial port and a 19th-century millionaires' playground.

Oberlin, Ohio (pop. 8,200): Often called “the most cosmopolitan small town in America,” Oberlin nurtured many of the major reform movements of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today it nurtures visitors with interesting historic sites, varied cultural offerings, and easy-going charm.

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico (pop. 443,000): Founded in 1521 as a military stronghold and base for Spanish explorers, this picturesque urban center offers something for everyone: colorful colonial architecture, lush patios and plazas, historic sites, shops and restaurants for every taste, hopping nightlife, and great nearby beaches.

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