Twelve towns, including San Juan Island’s Friday Harbor, a French colonial village in Missouri and a town on the Florida Panhandle, have been honored this year by the National Trust for Historic Preservation for their commitment to historic preservation and community revitalization.
The list of a “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” has been issued annually since 2000 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, www.nationaltrust.org.
This year’s honorees are Friday Harbor; Ste. Genevieve, Mo.; Aiken, S.C.; Apalachicola, Fla.; Columbus, Miss.; Crested Butte, Colo.; Fort Davis, Texas; Portland, Ore.; Portsmouth, N.H.; Red Wing, Minn.; San Juan Bautista, Minn.; and Wilmington, N.C.
Friday Harbor: Recognized as a small, well-preserved community in the San Juan Island chain, ideal for outdoor adventurers, wildlife enthusiasts and history buffs. Information at historicfridayharbor.org or 888-468-3701.
Ste. Genevieve, Mo.: “The most significant collection of French colonial architecture in the U.S,” according to the preservation group. The town of 4,400 people was settled by the French in the early 1700s, making it one of Missouri’s oldest settlements and the only French colonial village left in the U.S. Ste. Genevieve is on the Mississippi River, 64 miles south of St. Louis. Details at www.saintegenevievetourism.org or 800-373-7007.
Aiken, S.C.: Boasts historic homes such as the Rose Hill garden estate, along with a cosmopolitan downtown where you’ll find art galleries and antiques; downtownaiken.com or 888-245-3672.
Apalachicola, Fla.: A charming coastal town known for its seafood, waterfront, eclectic shops and historic buildings; www.apalachicolabay.org or 850-653-9419.
Columbus, Miss.: The birthplace of playwright Tennessee Williams and a mix of Southern history (including antebellum homes), natural beauty and culture; www.columbus-ms.org or 800-327-2686.
Crested Butte, Colo.: A former coal mining village in the Rockies that offers rugged beauty, history and year-round adventure, including mountain biking, whitewater sports, fishing and skiing. Call 800-814-7988 or go to the Web site www.gunnisoncrestedbutte.com.
Fort Davis, Texas: A 19th-century western frontier town with majestic scenery and wildlife but no traffic lights or chain stores; www.fortdavis.com or 800-524-3015.
Portland, Ore.: A big city with a scenic, small-town feel, from the enormous yet funky Powell’s Books to the famed rose garden in Washington Park; www.travelportland.com or 800-962-3700.
Portsmouth, N.H.: An old New England seaport dating to 1623 with 18th century homes and a Harbour Trail; www.portsmouthchamber.org or 603-610-5510.
Red Wing, Minn.: One hour south of the Twin Cities, with 19th century architectural gems, a sweeping view of the countryside and the Mississippi River from atop Barn Bluff, and a paved 20-mile bike trail; www.red-wing.org or 800-498-3444.
San Juan Bautista, Calif.: Dubbed the “City of History” for its Spanish colonial architecture; www.san-juan-bautista.ca.us or 831-623-2454.
Wilmington, N.C.: With riverboats, battleships, grand old mansions, gardens, Civil War sites and historic museums; www.cape-fear.nc.us or 866-266-9690.