Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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A Singular Serving of Asian Cuisine in the Heart of New York State

The hemp and granola feel of Ithaca, New York, famous for its colleges, farmers market, outdoorsy predilections, and annual musical Porchfest, was in full swing, with plenty of plaid and skateboarders as well as a handlebar mustache or two. So I was more than a little surprised to stumble upon Mia Tapas Bar & Restaurant, an unexpectedly sophisticated pan-Asian restaurant in the heart of the city and one of Ithaca’s finest — and most creative — establishments. Read more >

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Authenticity Without Pretensions: Creole Serves Up Fantastic Food in St. Kitts

On another perfect Caribbean day in St. Kitts, I hopped in my rental car and headed out from my lodging, the wonderful Ottley’s Plantation Inn, and began the drive on the road that loops around the island, with Cockleshell Beach slated as my final destination. By the time I reached Frigate Bay, the first thought of lunch popped into my head. Two minutes later, I spotted the sign advertising authentic Caribbean and local cuisine at an unpretentious restaurant called Creole. It would turn out to be one of the best meals I had over the course of a week on this verdant island. Read more >


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Life of Signs

Washington, D.C.

#2: Pizza for mathematicians in Washington, D.C.

Many of us often look for some sort of spiritual or mystical sign to guide us. If only I could have a sign that…she’s the right woman to marry, or some probative indication that my deceased friend is resting in peace, or a signal that giving up everything I know to live in Lisbon for a job opportunity is the right thing to do. Sometimes, the signs we’re seeking are more mundane: the exit on an interstate, an advertisement, or the section of a stadium that matches the one printed on our concert ticket. Then there are those that just pop up as you’re going about your day and elicit an appreciative response from you because they’re smart, funny, profound, or clever — and these are the ones that you’ll remember for a long time. Read more about the top five signs >


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Dine Like a Knight at Palazzo Preca in Valletta, Malta

Palazzo Preca, Valletta, MaltaWhen the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, more easily referred to as the Knights of St. John, arrived in Malta in 1530, they began a prolific 250-year rule, during which time they famously defended their new homeland against a three-month siege by the Turks in 1565, dealt a fatal blow to the Ottoman navy three months later, and built the city of Valletta, filling it with elaborate churches, grid-pattern streets, and sumptuous palaces as their homes. One of those 16th-century palaces has been converted into the Palazzo Preca Restaurant, where the exceptional food, wine, service, and atmosphere combine to form a truly memorable dining experience. Read more >


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Bird Hunting Inside Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Hotel Monaco, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaHaving already stayed at the Baltimore property of Hotel Monaco, I knew what to expect when I checked into the Pittsburgh location: a spotless, comfortable, exceptionally quiet room; great service; perfect location. What I wasn’t anticipating, however, was the whimsical bird motif throughout — subtle little popup appearances in unexpected places, making my weeklong stay in this superior hotel an enjoyable guessing game as I hunted for new feathered friends every day. Read more >


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Linger Over Casual Caribbean Fare at Ferdinand’s in Grand Cayman

I had already relished a fantastic dinner at Beach House, the more upscale of the two restaurants at the Westin hotel adjacent to Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. The next night, happily fatigued from a day of cycling and swimming, I decided to return to the more casual Ferdinand’s Caribbean Café, where an informal atmosphere negates the need to dress up and unhurried service accommodates your need to unwind and enjoy the view. Read more >


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Dream Bigger: White Is Not Only for Christmas

Church of St. Charles at the Four Fountains, Rome, ItalyAs winter wonderlands start to pop up around the globe, white takes center stage in the form of unique flakes, shiny skating rinks, and Santa’s beard. But snow, ice, and St. Nick’s facial hair don’t hold a monopoly on the pure, unspoiled beauty of white. In fact, some of the world’s best occurrences of white have nothing to do with gelid winters and aren’t seasonal at all. Read more about the world’s top five whites >