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Charlottesville Voted Best "Distinct" Destination
by National Trust for Historic Preservation
Posted Date: 3/7/2007

With a captivating blend of colorful history, distinctive architecture and Southern hospitality, Charlottesville, Va., is a destination unlike any other. In the shadow of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains in Albemarle County, Charlottesville still reflects the revolutionary ideals of the founding fathers who once called this place home. Here visitors can walk in the footsteps of Jefferson at his beloved University of Virginia and at Monticello, the home he designed and redesigned, built and rebuilt over the course of four decades. Nearby are Ash Lawn-Highland, the home of Jefferson’s dear friend, James Monroe, the nation’s fifth president and Montpelier, a National Trust Historic site located in nearby Orange, Va. and the home of James Madison, father of the Constitution. All of the presidential homes run year-round special events, including programs specifically geared for children, guest lectures, wine and opera festivals, hunt races and archaeology workshops. Because Thomas Jefferson is credited as being the father of American wine, it’s no surprise that today the area surrounding Charlottesville is home to many nationally recognized wineries, which offer tastings and tours for discriminating palates. Charlottesville is also known as one of the most scenic spots in the Mid-Atlantic for a hot air balloon ride and is quickly becoming an entertainment destination with the restored Paramount Theater, the newly built Amphitheater and The John Paul Jones Arena. Spectacular scenery and championship courses designed by some of the industry's top architects create a winning combination for golfers. Charlottesville’s many nearby rivers and lakes also provide the perfect setting for aquatic pursuits, such as sailing, swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing and tubing. And at the end of a long, enjoyable day, visitors find the Boar’s Head Inn, a country resort outside Charlottesville that is a member of National Trust Historic Hotels of America, the perfect retreat.

For these reasons, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the country's largest private, nonprofit preservation organization, today named Charlottesville, Va., to its 2007 list of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations, an annual list of unique and lovingly preserved communities in the United States. Charlottesville was selected from 63 destinations in 27 states that were nominated by individuals, preservation organizations and local communities.

“When you combine the spectacular natural beauty of the region with Charlottesville’s architectural and cultural heritage, it’s easy to see why this is such an ideal destination,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Jefferson loved his home here more than any place on earth, and two centuries later, visitors are just as captivated by Charlottesville’s charms.”

The 2007 list of America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations includes:

Charlottesville, Va. -- In the shadow of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville, Va., is a picture-perfect college town with vibrant shops, restaurants, wineries and a slew of presidential homes including Jefferson’s Monticello, Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland and Madison’s Montpelier, a National Trust Historic site located in nearby Orange, Va.

Chatham, Mass

Chestertown, Md

Durango, Colo.

Ellensburg, Wash.

Hillsborough, N.C

Little Rock, Ark.

Mineral Point, Wis.

Morgantown, W. Va.

Providence, R.I

West Hollywood, Calif.

Woodstock, Ill

This is the eighth time the National Trust for Historic Preservation has announced a list of Dozen Distinctive Destinations. To date, there are 96 Dozen Distinctive Destinations located in 41 states throughout the country. To see a complete list, visit In each community, residents have taken forceful action to protect their town’s character and sense of place. Whether by enacting a local preservation law to protect historic buildings against demolition, rewriting zoning codes to prevent commercial sprawl, removing regulatory barriers to downtown housing, making downtown areas more walkable, enacting design standards, or taking some other major step that demonstrates a strong commitment to their town, residents have worked hard to preserve the historic and scenic assets of their communities, with rewards that transcend town limits.

To download high resolution images of this year’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations, please visit

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America's communities. Recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Trust was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to protect the irreplaceable places that tell America’s story. Staff at the Washington, D.C. headquarters, six regional offices and 28 historic sites work with the Trust’s 270,000 members and thousands of preservation groups in all 50 states. For more information, visit the Trust’s web site at