Some readers just sent in lists, enumerating their picks one to 10, sometimes with "honorable mentions" attached. Others wrote long descriptive paragraphs about each recommendation, explaining what made it special. One respondent deconstructed the whole idea. "A critical distinction … is nature versus man-made," opined Gordon Heap of Seattle, Washington. He then provided two Top 10 lists, one of natural wonders (Iguazú Falls topped it) and another of man-made treasures (Machu Picchu ranked highest).

The responses took a variety of tones. There were reminiscences - "The first time my son and I went down in the Grand Canyon …" began Bob Thomas of Leland, North Carolina. There were disclaimers - "Here's my list, but it is only based on the places I've been, which do not include the Grand Canyon," wrote Carla Haase of Trumbull, Connecticut. There were even apologies, of a sort - "Hardly comparable to the Grand Canyon, Graceland is compelling and memorable. It tops my list," said an anonymous respondent.

(Hmmmm, a lot of Grand Canyon mentions, I just noticed.)

The replies also ranged emotionally, from the sentimental - "You have to be an iron man to not shed a tear when you stand on the USS Arizona Memorial," wrote one person who didn't give a name - to the wacky - "Castroville, CA, the Artichoke Capital of the World. There's a 15-foot-tall artichoke that all family photo albums should have," wrote Lou Cantolupo of Chevy Chase, Maryland.