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Travel+Leisure- One of 50 Reasons to love the United States

July 2008

The latest Las Vegas spectacle. Homemade ice cream in a small Southern town. The start of rodeo season … It’s July, and what better time to explore the country-whether rediscovering a classic spot or encountering something fabulous and brand-new? On the following pages you’ll find our highly opinionated state-by-state guide, with tips and ideas to inspire your next trip. From Alaska to Maine, summer in America has never been more fun. Here are 50 reasons to pack your bags and go.

#33 North Carolina

Because Greensboro is going green. The 147-room Proximity Hotel (704 Green Valley Rd.,· 800/379-8200,· proximityhotel.com; doubles from $249) is one of the first hotels to aim for LEED Platinum status, the highest rating in sustainable design and construction from the U.S. Green Building Council. The structure, which uses about 45 percent less energy and 33 percent less water than comparable properties, has solar panels, heat-deflecting plants on the roof, and a regenerative-drive elevator.

#34 Georgia

Because rap and roti make a very Hotlanta. “Honestly, I didn’t plan on doing it” says rap musician Chris “Ludacris” Bridges of his decision to create Straits (793 Juniper St.: 404/877-1283; dinner for two $80) with chef Chris Yeo, in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood. “But I was blown away by Chris use of spices plus, what better way to be hands-on in your hometown than bringing something It’s never seen before.” The menu IS a mix of Asian-Influenced small plates, with a nod to Singaporean dishes, such as roti prata wiht minced beef, and seafood In a coconut curry. Ludacris’s favorite dish? The “Kung Pao lollipops” in a red-jalapeno sauce.

#35 Louisiana

Because New Orleans is getting back on track. Take the historic St. Charles streetcar: it came to a standstill after Hurricane Karina, bu the trolley is once again winding over 13.2 miles, from the edge of the French Quarter, through the Garden District, and on to the Riverbend- as it has for more than 150 years. It is, a residencts say, the “Streetcar Named Inspire.”