Chapel Hill, NC (PressExposure) February 18, 2011 -- The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Chapel Hill, North Carolina one of its 2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations. Since the year 2000, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has annually selected towns and cities across America that offer cultural and recreational experiences different from those found at the typical vacation destination. From dynamic downtowns and stunning architecture to cultural diversity and a commitment to historic preservation, sustainability and revitalization, the selected destinations boast a richness of character and exude an authentic sense of place.
"From its well-preserved historic districts to its quiet winding streets and historic downtown, Chapel Hill lives up to its nickname as the 'Southern Part of Heaven", said John Hildreth, director of the southern office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Discerning travelers to Chapel Hill have long appreciated the two centuries of architectural grandeur on display throughout the town. And Chapel Hill's commitment to the environment and sustainable practices set it apart from other towns and cities. Chapel Hill is the perfect place for travelers looking for a truly distinctive destination."
Though most well known as the home to the University of North Carolina and its basketball legacy, Chapel Hill has a unique charm and distinctive character that sets it apart from other college towns. Tree lined streets shade an architectural heritage spanning four centuries. With three local historic districts and four National Register Historic Districts, Chapel Hill is a place that prioritizes the preservation of its heritage, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Preservation Society of Chapel Hill. The concept of adaptive reuse flourishes. In the case of the Horace Williams House - a 19th century home is now an historic cultural center. Several of the community's early buildings, have been rehabilitated -- transforming them into housing, retail, restaurant and gallery spaces humming with activity.
"Visitors to Chapel Hill love strolling through the eclectic shops and restaurants along Franklin Street," said Laurie Paolicelli, Executive Director of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau, the agency that nominated Chapel Hill for the award. "We tend take for granted what visitors find to be a truly unique destination. Families, parents, couples and those who pull of the Interstate curious about our reputation love exploring the campus, and often rave about the outdoor murals painted on the exterior of downtown buildings. Visitors almost always comment on our trees and sidewalks and the friendliness of our people. They see a community that is nurturing its riches of authors, musicians and chefs. They almost always come back."
2011 marks the twelfth announcement of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Dozen Distinctive Destinations annual list. To date, there are 144 Distinctive Destinations located in 46 states throughout the country. In addition to Chapel Hill, NC, the remaining 2011 winners are Alexandria, VA; Colorado Springs, CO; Dandridge, TN; Eureka, CA; Muskogee, OK; New Bedford, MA; Paducah, KY; San Angelo, TX; Saint Paul, MN; Sheridan, WY; and Sonoma, CA.