Lexington and the surrounding horse country receive good marks in the November/December issue of National Geographic Traveler.
Of the 109 historic destinations around the world rated by the magazine, Lexington and its horse country came in at No. 46.
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"America's horse capital 'has gone far in taming sprawl through land preservation,'" the magazine said, quoting comments from a panel of 280 well-traveled experts. "Local folks seem bent on keeping Lexington's countryside 'pristine,' but the town itself could use more attention."
The survey, the magazine's fifth "places rated" evaluation, was conducted by the National Geographic Society's Center for Sustainable Destinations. The 280 experts were asked to evaluate destinations based on six criteria.
Those were environmental and ecological quality; social and cultural integrity; condition of historic buildings and archaeological sites; aesthetic appeal; quality of tourism management; and outlook for the future.
The survey "skipped living museums and stand-alone sites and chose only populated communities possessing a historic character, district, or dominant site," the magazine said.
The top-rated destination in the world was Wachau/Melk Abbey in Austria. Among the 38 U.S. destinations ranked were Columbus, Ind., for its world-class architecture; Charleston, S.C.; Asheville, N.C.; and Savannah, Ga.