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Yakima’s pretty cool.

That’s the word from April’s Travel + Leisure magazine, which included Yakima and 13 other communities on its America’s Coolest Desert Towns list. Yakima shares the distinction with tourist draws such as Taos, N.M.; Bend, Ore.; and Grand Junction, Colo.

The piece referred to Yakima has the hub of a “thriving wine country” that is home to more than 100 “unique” wineries. They like our “ingenious irrigation” system that tamed the sagebrush so grapes and hops could grow.

It follows the dubious distinction of Yakima being ranked one of the fattest cities in the country, as announced earlier in the week by a health survey measuring obesity in U.S. communities.

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Also getting a nod in the Travel & Leisure article was Birchfield Manor Country Inn, saying the century-old Yakima Valley landmark “is every bit as pastoral as the image invokes.”

Yakima Valley Tourism works with a public relations firm to pitch stories to regional and national publications, but president and CEO John Cooper said he wasn’t sure what prompted Yakima’s inclusion on the magazine list.

In any case, it’s great to be chosen. “I think being recognized like this in a national publication, whether it’s online or print, helps raise the profile of our community as a destination,” Cooper said.

The Travel + Leisure mention comes days after Yakima Valley Tourism announced the area would be featured in “The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel,” a new National Geographic guide on dog travel.

Cooper said the latest “good news” will go a long way.

“It’s been a great week of exposure for the Yakima Valley,” Cooper said.

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