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National Trust for Historic Preservation Selects Chapel Hill, North Carolina As One of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2011

Chapel Hill, NC. (February 15, 2011) — Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Chapel Hill, North Carolina, one of its 2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations. Chapel Hill, nominated by Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau, was selected for its stately charm, dynamic cultural offerings and its citizens’ dedication to protecting and sharing its unique heritage. From February 15th to March 15th, Chapel Hill will be participating in a public online voting contest to select the 2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations Fan Favorite.
Chapel Hill received that award at a press conference and celebration event at The Carolina Inn today. “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.”
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. 
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 to take for granted what visitors find to be a truly unique destination. Families, parents, couples and those who pull off 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.”
The host for the press conference, The Carolina Inn was built in 1924. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a member of the prestigious National Trust's Historic Hotels of America.

Patti Thorp, wife of Chancellor Holden Thorp, represented the University of North Carolina and encouraged those in attendance to participate in the online voting and spread the word to make Chapel Hill the 2011 Fan Favorite. From February 15th to March 15th, any legal resident of the U.S., 18 years of age or older, can vote once per day for his or her favorite city or town on this year’s list. The winner of the popular vote will be announced on March 16, 2011.  Voters are automatically entered to win a complimentary two-night stay at any Historic Hotel of America. No purchase necessary. Offer void where prohibited. Visit to begin voting!
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. 
About The National Trust for Historic Preservation                     
The National Trust for Historic Preservation ( is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington, DC, eight regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in 50 states, territories, and the District of Columbia, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national network of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories.