A Dozen Distinctive Destinations

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For the eighth year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has put together a list of 12 distinctive communities, each one rich with character, a sense of place...and historical preservation activists.

One of this year's picks is Charlottesville, Va., which Budget Travelrecently profiled, too. [Photo: My Hobo Soul via Creative Commons and Flickr]

Here's the full list:

Charlottesville, Va.-- This college town is near Jefferson's Monticello, Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland and Madison's Montpelier.

Chatham, Mass. -- Here's a coastal community with an architecturally rich downtown.

Chestertown, Md. -- Lined with 18th and 19th century houses, this town--about 90 minutes from Washington, D.C.--holds annual festivals, including a "cute dog" parade.

Durango, Colo. -- Nestled between red sandstone bluffs, this town has well preserved Puebloan ruins.

Ellensburg, Wash. -- A Victorian town that's home to Central Washington University and offers great fly fishing.

Hillsborough, N.C. -- Holds some fantastic summer festivals and boasts an original, rare NASCAR speedway.

Little Rock, Ark. -- With a presidential library, a WWII-era submarine, and the world's longest pedestrian bridge, this is the little town that could.

Mineral Point, Wis. --Cornish rock houses, Craftsman bungalows, and simple log cabins can be found in this gem hidden in rolling hills.

Morgantown, W. Va. --This university town has a Riverfront park with an amphitheater and miles of paved trails.

Providence, R.I. --On summer weekend nights, this college town holds a festival with music and small bonfires along a central canal.

West Hollywood, Calif. --This predominantly gay neighborhood offers great opportunities to spot celebrities at trend-setting places, such as the ice cream shop Pinkberry.

Woodstock, Ill. -- This Victorian village town has a nationally renowned Mozart festival and a Victorian Christmas every year.

Related: Budget Travel's list of coolest small towns.

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