Nominations in our competition to find the Prettiest Painted Places in America are coming in from all corners of the country and, as expected, there’s tremendous variety in the participating communities. It helps explain why we name 60 finalists, pick winners on a regional basis, and offer separate awards for small and large towns – so that every community has a fair chance to win. (And to make a nearly impossible job easier for our judges!)
Durango, Colorado is a prime example of the colorful climes that we often discover through Prettiest Painted Places. Nestled against the backdrop of the breathtaking San Juan Mountains, Durango is a quintessential Colorado mountain town with an historic western downtown district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The town offers everything from award-winning microbreweries to a thriving arts community. . .and, of course, lots of beautifully painted buildings.
At the other end of the country is Chautauqua, New York. Founded in 1874, Chautauqua is a unique Victorian community designated as a National Historic Landmark and a National Historic District. For nine weeks each summer, Chautauqua Lake swells with more than 170,000 visitors who participate in diverse activities involving the arts, education, recreation, and religion.
In between are many colorful places like Orange City, Iowa, an arts-oriented community with a proud Dutch heritage. The town’s charming, European “village” atmosphere – including quaint shopping and dining establishments — serves as the backdrop for an annual three-day Tulip Festival that draws 100,000+ visitors each May.
These three nominees are wonderful examples of what we most enjoy about our competition: the thrill of discovering not just beautifully painted places, but gaining insight into the personality of so many of the nation’s terrific towns and communities, and making contact with so many wonderful people who call them home.
If your favorite place hasn’t yet been nominated in our competition, there’s still plenty of time. We’ll be accepting entries until August 31, 2012. To get in on the fun and help people learn about your community, click here to start the nomination process.