Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Ljubljana’s Very Special Circular Square

Triple Bridge, LjubljanaIt may not be able to boast the size of Red Square in Moscow or Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the unending urban pulse of Times Square in New York, or the fame of London’s Trafalgar Square, but for pure charm and visual appeal, Prešeren Square in the heart of Ljubljana, Slovenia, ranks among the best. There’s something here for everyone, no matter what your interests — history, food, nature, romance, architecture, shopping, religion. It’s the de facto meeting point for the city’s residents and visitors alike, whether they’re here to attend a festival or a political rally, meet friends or a date, or just stop and rest for a bit in an utterly engaging space. Read more about why you should spend some time here >


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Old World Ambience at Helena’s Sanders Bed & Breakfast

Sanders B&B, Helena, MontanaWhen I parked my rental car in front of The Sanders Bed & Breakfast in Helena, Montana, I knew I wouldn’t be returning to it for a few days. I had arrived in a handsome, leafy, residential district in the state’s capital — an area that demands to be explored by foot, inviting you on long walks past impressive homes, historic sites, and some noteworthy restaurants. And when you’re ready to call it a day, The Sanders, more than 100 years old, welcomes you back with snacks, pleasant conversation, and marvelous accommodations from a bygone era. Read more >


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The Best Architecture in Des Moines, Iowa

Terrace Hill, Des Moines, IowaPretty much smack in the center of Iowa, Des Moines boasts some enviable national rankings, making the top 10 on such diverse lists as hippest midsize cities, best cities in which to live and work, most pro-business cities, best cities for retirement, best cities for young professionals, best farmers’ market, and so on. You’d think that with all that going for it, it would be a lively, dynamic place, even more so as the state’s capital and largest city. But when I visited on a regular Tuesday, downtown was virtually devoid of people despite the new office buildings, and I walked for a dozen blocks without passing a single place where I could pick up a cup of coffee or a newspaper. Perhaps I just missed the buzzing part of town, but it seemed unlikely. Nevertheless, this was a welcome break from the overcrowded streets of my hometown of New York, and the extra breathing room gave me plenty of space to enjoy some impressive architecture. Read more about my top five buildings in Des Moines >


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Great Food and Unexpected Entertainment in a Downtown DC Restaurant

Without a reservation, I struck out twice in a row in my search for somewhere to have dinner in downtown Washington, D.C., which seemed to be lacking in options for anyone who’s near the National Mall after 5 p.m. or on the weekend, so the ones that do exist are packed. Eventually, I wandered into the only McCormick & Schmick’s location in the District of Columbia. This national chain of seafood and steak restaurants stretches from California to Massachusetts, but the one in D.C. seems like it would be unique among 60 locations, based solely on its location in the epicenter of American politics. Neither the food nor my fellow diners disappointed, as I enjoyed one of my most tasty and entertaining dinners in the national capital. Read more >


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The Best of Zagreb, Croatia

Mirogoj Cemetery, Zagreb, CroatiaWith good reason, visitors to Croatia flock to and concentrate on its gorgeous Adriatic coast and such unmistakable cities as Split and Dubrovnik. But there’s more to this country than its enviable coastline, verdant islands, and pristine beaches. A simple detour east brings you to Zagreb, one of the most underrated capitals in Europe and one of its most surprising. Read more about the top five things to see and do in Zagreb >


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Fish in a Sea of Steakhouses at Plank Seafood Provisions

A fine seafood restaurant dead center in America’s heartland, nowhere near the Great Lakes, seemed, perhaps, not the best choice for dinner. But the recommendations I had been receiving from everyone around town — the staff at my hotel, the saleslady at the art gallery, the masseuse at the day spa — were uniform in their zeal. So, putting aside the ribs and steak knives for a night, I enjoyed a fantastic meal at Plank Seafood Provisions, one of the top seafood restaurants in Omaha, Nebraska. Read more >


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Art Deco Delights in Napier, New Zealand

Dalgety's Building, Napier, New ZealandSnuggled along the coast of Hawke’s Bay on New Zealand’s North Island, the small city of Napier owes its current fame to an earthquake that destroyed it. On February 3, 1931, a massive 7.8 earthquake leveled most of the city, killing 258 people in the temblor and the ensuing fires. With its citizens eager to rebuild their city as quickly as possible, construction projects sprouted up all over town in the next few years. Art Deco happened to be the architectural style of choice at that time, and, as there were so many simultaneous projects, the city achieved a uniformity rarely seen in urban environments. Today, after Miami, it’s the best city in the world to appreciate Art Deco architecture and style. Read more about Napier’s best buildings >

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