No passport needed for these locales
The National Trust for Historic Preservation makes a list of 12 sites each year.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- People looking for a new vacation spot might try one of 12 unusual places reachable without a passport, such as Lewes, Del., called "the first town in the first state," a town whose history goes back 375 years.
The suggestion comes from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which, each year since 2000, has named a "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" appealing to tourists' taste for historic places.
Swedish and Finnish settlers came to Delaware in 1638, a few years after the Dutch, who had established a settlement at what is now Lewes. Seventeen years later, the Swedes seized a Dutch fort, and the Dutch drove them out.
A few years later, the British drove out the Dutch and named the town after the county seat of East Sussex.
Delaware was the first of the 13 colonies to ratify the Constitution, becoming the first U.S. state.
Except for Waimea on Hawaii's Kaua'i island, where historic sites are half a millennium older, the destinations don't call for expensive trans-ocean travel.
Kaua'i, the first Hawaiian Island sighted by Capt. James Cook, boasts a canyon almost as deep as the Grand Canyon, a Russian fort and a huge irrigation ditch the Polynesians dug in the 1200s.
The National Trust's 2006 list starts with Arrow Rock, Mo. It's on a bluff high above the Missouri River, with grand views of the great stream and well preserved houses from the early 1800s, when the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled west on the river to explore the far reaches of the newly purchased Louisiana territory.
Bartlesville, Okla., enriched by an early oil strike, boasting the only skyscraper designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Bowling Green, Ky., with notable Civil War sites and an old cavern where outlaws and soldiers hid.
Milwaukee, Wis., the U.S. beer-making capital, home of a famous art museum and zoo and a deep German tradition.
Monterey, Calif., once the Spanish and Mexican capital of the region, site of a huge aquarium and the setting for John Steinbeck's "Cannery Row"
Palm Springs, Calif., an oasis known for its famous residents, its climate and jet-set lifestyle.
Philipsburg, Mont., a mining tradition in a beautiful landscape, the state's oldest operating school, jail and opera house.
Prescott, Ariz., born overnight when gold was discovered, celebrating the wild West and American Indians in its museums.
Saranac Lake, N.Y., a health resort since the early 1800s, amid lakes, mountains and evergreen forests.
West Chester, Pa., an old Quaker village with brick sidewalks and period architecture.
This year's destinations were chosen from 93 nominated in 39 states. For more information, visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation at www.nationaltrust.org.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.