The first-ever Hometown Highlights contest in 2012 was a huge success, with ab60811’s Asheville, NC taking the top prize. While we highlighted the winning city in a curated content post last December, there were so many great entries we wanted to share a few more. One look at the list of finalists, and it’s easy to see that it doesn’t take a big-ticket destination to intrigue; from McDowell County, WV to South Carolina's Surprising Capital City, smaller cities made a big impression on the Insiders community. Below we explore a few of the other top-running finalists.
California is a tourist’s dream—from warm weather and beautiful beaches to celebrities and theme parks, the state has it all. Yet Fresno - The Seat of California's Central Valley isn’t the city that comes to mind when people think of the Golden State. Pluto77 put the spotlight on her hometown, pointing out that it’s a “gateway to two popular U.S. national parks…[and] offers the curious tourist some off-the-radar activities and sights…as an added bonus, it’s affordable.” At the top of pluto77’s to-do list is Yosemite National Park, where the “trails are amazing and endless” and “the geography is breath-taking.” She says “spring and early summer are the best seasons to enjoy the spectacular waterfalls.” Painedplatinum offers a detailed trip report from Kings Canyon and Sequoia National parks, with great images and useful information. He started his trip at General Grant in Kings Canyon National Park, where the “modest” walking trail “is filled with many giant sequoia trees…This was our first time being in the presence of these natural wonders. Shock and awe applied to our reactions.” He then journeyed on to Sequoia National Park, where the “trek to see General Sherman is much more taxing,” but the trees are “spectacular. The feeling you get is nothing short of inner peace…It was a privilege to see the majestic giant sequoias. If you get to California, it will be worth your time to visit these unique wonders.”
Fresno is just 60 miles south of the park and offers a number of Marriott hotels. Sandyweb33 stayed at the Courtyard Fresno, where the staff is “great” and the location close to shopping and dining. “I would definitely stay here again,” she says. Nacho took note of the exemplary service at Fairfield Inn & Suites Fresno Clovis, where a maintenance associate went above and beyond by being “very friendly,” “informative” and “service-minded.” And just 30 minutes south of Fresno, sharks recommends the Visalia Marriott at the Convention Center as a “top-notch facility” with “great” staff and a “very good” restaurant.
Big Easy Does It
New Orleans is no stranger to the spotlight, from hosting Super Bowl XLVII to setting the scene for HBO’s Treme. Laissez Les Bon Temp Roulez* in The Big Easy aimed her lens at the city to showcase its food and festive atmosphere. For more about New Orleans, including where to stay and eat, check out Bourbon Street to Beignets - Insider's New Orleans favorites.
England’s Quieter Side
London might get most of the glory, but the English countryside is where locals go to get away from it all—and for good reason. England captured the beautiful scenery, historic buildings and peace and quiet of destinations including Cornwall, Cotswold, Oxford, the Lake District, Somerset, Bath and Essex, some of which made a list of favorite London daytrips in London Calling: Visiting Britain’s Biggest Star.Re: London Calling: Visiting Britain’s Biggest Star
Special thanks to members pluto77 painedplatinum sandyweb33 nacho sharks razorbackfan and fschumpert.To see one of your posts featured, we encourage you to contribute helpful tips, thoughts, experiences and insights throughout the community.