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Distinctive Destination

Bristol Honored as 'Distinctive Destination'

The town dubbed itself America’s Most Patriotic Town years ago.

Now it’s also one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2009, an annual award given by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The East Bay Chamber of Commerce presented it to state and local officials last night.

Town Administrator Diane C. Mederos said it’s an honor that few New England communities have received and she is glad Bristol is among them.

The trust has been naming Distinctive Destinations since 2000. Westerly was the first Rhode Island community to get the honor, in 2002. Newport received it in 2004 and the state’s capital city, Providence, was honored in 2007.

It named Bristol because it is a “quintessential New England waterfront town” that is “steeped in a rich history that spans three centuries.”

Richard Moe, president of the nonprofit organization, said, “Bristol’s unaffected quality coupled with its incomparable collection of historic architecture, cultural landscapes and thriving commercial district make it an important destination for any visitor who wants to experience an authentic sense of place in New England.”

Specific sites mentioned include the town center, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Coggeshall Farm, the Herreshoff Marine Museum, Colt State Park and Blithewold estate, a 45-room, English-style manor where many couples have tied the knot.

The organization said the town creates a “storybook experience that serves as an ideal retreat.”

— Alisha A. Pina