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Kentucky: Paducah named best of the best

Courtesy National Quilt Museum

Paducah received double honors earlier this year for its creative culture and thriving historic district.

In February, the town was pronounced a Distinctive Dozen Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which annually selects 12 destinations that offer cultural and recreational experiences different from those found in typical vacation destinations.

Paducah shares the honor this year with the likes of Alexandria, Va.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Sonoma, Calif.

“Paducah celebrates its past in a wide variety of ways, from protecting and restoring landmark buildings to commissioning artists to create life-size historic murals,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Paducah then captured top billing among the group when online voters chose it as the “Fan Favorite” in this year’s Distinctive Dozen. The public was given a month to vote after the initial February announcement of destinations. Paducah led the vote tally from the beginning and finished the contest with 31 percent of the overall vote.

The Paducah Convention and Visitors Bureau credits the win to the enthusiasm of locals and visitors, as well as an active social media campaign.

“The response from the community, state partners and fans across the United States has been overwhelming,” said marketing director Rosemarie Steele. “To be named the Fan Favorite is a testimony to both the individuals who put their hearts into preserving downtown and our historic structures and the people who love and enjoy their efforts.”

Earlier this year, the National Trust named Paducah one of the Most Romantic Main Streets in the United States, and last year the trust gave the Paducah Renaissance Alliance its Great American Main Street Award.

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Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.