Books | December 21, 2020 10:50 am

How Frommer’s Created the Perfect “Best Destinations” List for 2020

Great writers on the destinations most important to them

Fort Gibson
Oklahoma's Fort Gibson, written about in the new Frommer's guide.
Valis55/Creative Commons

How do you assemble a list of notable travel destinations during a time when travel is neither practical nor possible for most of your readers? That’s the dilemma faced by Frommer’s, the long-running travel book publisher, this year. An article by Andrea Sachs at The Washington Post explores the dilemma the company faced — and how they turned it into something both appropriate to 2020 and in keeping with what’s come before.

As Sachs writes, Frommer’s has an annual tradition of ending the year with a list of recommended travel destinations for the coming year. For obvious reasons, this approach doesn’t quite click as we stand on the precipice of 2021. Instead, Frommer’s sought out writers to share places that are important to them, and to the country.

The introduction to the list notes how it differs from what’s come before: “this year’s Best Places list is not a shopping list for immediate dream vacations. It’s a collection of essential destinations for creating a more perfect union.”

The resulting essays make for a fascinating read. Susan Choi revisits Manzanar National Historic Site, writing about how “it stands for this idea that we have to do better.” Margaret Verble makes the case for the historical importance of Fort Gibson in Oklahoma. And Daniel Okrent looks back on the history of Ellis Island and its legacy.

Those are just three of the many essays that comprise the project. It’s a thoughtful look back at history and at what’s to come — and a good way to bring a turbulent year to a close.

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