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10 great places to leave the beauty unspoiled Печать E-mail
Новости - Зарубежные новости
Автор: Newsmaster   
04.01.2009 00:34
Resolved: Pick a place to visit this year that does not involve trashing the planet. Call it "geotourism," which is defined by the National Geographic Society as "tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place. It's a destination where you can have an authentic travel experience without harming the place." Jonathan Tourtellot, director of the society's Center for Sustainable Destinations, shares his list of favorites with Tim Smight for USA TODAY.

"Grenada is one of the last Caribbean island countries not yet overwhelmed with huge, all-inclusive resorts," Tourtellot says. "The beaches are beautiful, the forested and mountainous interior is ecologically rich, and the capital of St. George is the most attractive historic port town in the Caribbean." grenadagrenadines.com

Interactive map: Zoom in on these 10 pristine spots
More 10 great: Browse previous columns

Founded in 1554, Guanajuato is about 230 miles northwest of Mexico City in the country's historic silver-mining region. "This hilly, Spanish-colonial city teems with life and history," Tourtellot says. "That presents a nice balance for both tourists and residents. Several of the city's historic buildings have been tastefully converted into hotels and restaurants, and the narrow streets of the city center are delightful to wander through." guanajuatocapital.com

Ashland, Ore.
Nestled in the foothills of the Cascades about 285 miles south of Portland, Ashland is famous for its annual Shakespeare Festival. It is also one of the USA's most historic and appealing small towns, Tourtellot says. "Ashland's downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods are remarkably well-preserved, with charming, turn-of-the-century Queen Anne architecture. The wonderful array of boutique-type shops and restaurants attracts both tourists and locals." 541-482-3486; ashlandchamber.com

Isle of Skye
If you adore Scotland, you'll love this quiet island retreat off the country's northwest coast, Tourtellot says. "Skye combines dramatic mountain and coastal scenery with a vibrant cultural and social scene. The residents maintain a strong focus on protecting the natural environment and preserving traditional Gaelic culture. There are castles to visit, tiny villages to wander through, and a wonderful food and drink festival that has become an annual event." skye.co.uk

Mackinac Island
Situated in the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas, Mackinac Island is a throwback to an earlier time. Homey, rural and scenic, the island exudes authenticity and a relaxed feel. "Mackinac Island is a slice of true Americana, and the pace is kept purposefully slow," Tourtellot says. "One big reason is that no cars are allowed — the only ways to get around are on foot, bicycle or by horse-drawn carriage." 877-847-0086; mackinacisland.org

Cape Breton Island
Nova Scotia
"Located off Nova Scotia's northeastern coast, Cape Breton is a beautiful, semi-wild island where the locals are part of the experience," Tourtellot says. "The aesthetic appeal is high, with scenic drives and unique fishing villages to visit. Authentic culture and history are everywhere — you'll find Celtic traditions in one village and Acadian in the next. Best of all, tourism hasn't harmed these communities; the revenue it brings in has helped preserve them." capebretonisland.com

Wachau Valley
With few development pressures and an appreciation for history, Austria has a good record for taking care of its landscapes. "In the winemaking region of the Wachau, each village tries to outdo the others in preserving and promoting local heritage," Tourtellot says. "Take in the scenery from a river cruise on the Danube, sample some of the area's renowned wines, and be sure to tour the well-preserved Benedictine Abbey in the medieval town of Melk." 212-944-6880; austria.info

Chaco Culture National Historical Park
New Mexico
Located in the northwest corner of New Mexico, Chaco Canyon houses the remarkably well-preserved remains of what once was a huge Anasazi city called Pueblo Bonito. At its peak, around 900 A.D., the settlement was the center of Anasazi society and home to thousands of Native Americans. The site includes sports arenas, places of worship, a marketplace and cliff dwellings up to five stories high. "A long, unpaved access road helps keep this archaeologically rich site untrampled," Tourtellot says. 505-786-7014; nps.gov/chcu

Northeast Kingdom
"The three counties of the Northeast Kingdom are — in the opinion of residents and tourists alike — the real Vermont," Tourtellot says. "This is rural America at its most nostalgic, enlivened by a vibrant cultural arts community and the wonderful Vermont scenery. There are scenic back roads to drive, quaint little towns to explore, wonderful hiking in the summer and great skiing in the winter." 800-884-8001; travelthekingdom.com

Coastal Fjords
Rugged terrain and a cool, wet climate help to keep the Norwegian coastline beautiful and unspoiled, Tourtellot says. But when the sun does shine, it's truly spectacular. "Avoid the huge summer cruise ships, which let you see the fjords but not really experience them. Instead, go for a springtime mix of driving, hiking and short trips on the Norwegian coastal ferry line. Stay at the local inns, which serve foods unique to each fjord." visitnorway.com

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