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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 10, 2006

Waimea ranks in top 12 destinations

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Kaua'i Bureau

Waimea, Kaua'i, shown here in an undated photo, was named one of the Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2006 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Trust president Richard Moe said Waimea "is visually stunning and rich in history from ancient to modern times" and called it "a jewel in plain sight."

DAVID S. BOYNTON | National Trust for Historical Preservation via The Associated Press

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WAIMEA, Kaua'i The quaint riverside town of Waimea has been selected one of America's "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which annually cites unique and well-preserved communities across the nation.

"I think it's because we celebrate our history here in Waimea," said Aletha Kaohi, the town's former librarian and now manager of its community museum at the Waimea Technology Center.

The honor was given Tuesday.

The coastal site, at the base of Waimea Canyon, is known for a number of features. Chiefs wintered here among the rich taro fields. It has a cut stone irrigation channel, known as Pe'e Kaua'i, Menehune Ditch or Kikiaola one of the few examples of cut stonework in the Pacific. It is where Capt. James Cook first visited the Islands, where Russians established a foothold in early Hawai'i.

"There are a lot of first things that happened here," Kaohi said. Another among them: it is the place where Christmas was first celebrated in the Islands, in 1786 aboard the Queen Charlotte by Capts. George Dixon and Nathaniel Portlock.

"Waimea is visually stunning and rich in history from ancient to modern times. The town celebrates its culture and heritage not only on special occasions but in everyday life, making Waimea a jewel in plain sight," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a written statement. The trust is the nation's largest private nonprofit preservation organization.

For more on the Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2006, see www.nationaltrust.org.

Reach Jan TenBruggencate at jant@honoluluadvertiser.com.