Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Big or Small, Amsterdam’s Museums Are Among the World’s Finest

Tulip Museum, Amsterdam, the NetherlandsWhen I found myself finally able to turn away from Amsterdam’s irresistible canals and canal houses, gorgeous churches, inviting parks, and romantic bridges, or when I was simply faced with a rainy Dutch day, I turned my attention to the city’s museums. About 75 museums scattered around the capital of the Netherlands appeal to a very broad audience, no matter what your interest. From major art and history museums to those with a very specialized focus (say, for instance, diamonds, Heineken, or hash, marijuana, and hemp), these cultural institutions should play a major role in your visit here, but with so many choices, you’ll have to select carefully. Read about the top five museums in Amsterdam >

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Big Flavors at Big Water Grille

My family was celebrating both the pending nuptials of my brother, and my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary. So seven of us converged on Big Water Grille, a fantastic restaurant that has been tucked into the mountains in Incline Village, Nevada, for more than 20 years. Overlooking Lake Tahoe from the northeast, the views vie with the menu, and you’ll love both equally as you celebrate a special occasion, or no particular occasion at all. Read about Big Water Grille >


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Vicksburg National Military Park: The Civil War and a Lesson in Division

Arkansas Monument, Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, MississippiThe threat of yet another idiotic government shutdown in Washington, D.C., was endangering my plan for the next day while I was traveling around Mississippi. If the shutdown proceeded, national parks would close, and I had already planned to spend multiple hours at Vicksburg National Military Park. Fortunately, saner heads prevailed, the shutdown was averted, and I found the gate to the park opened when I arrived — the entrance into one of the top Civil War historic sites in the United States. Read more about it >


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Hidden Jewels Far From Croatia’s Coast in the City of Varaždin

Keglevic Palace, Varazdin, CroatiaWhether you’re traveling by car, bus, foot, or sailboat, the spectacular coast of Croatia, with its beaches, islands, and coastal cities and towns will etch its way into your memory as one of the most beautiful spots in Europe. But I also wanted to see the interior of the country, where the vibe is decidedly un-Mediterranean and you know you’re in Central Europe. That meant time in Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes National Park, and a day trip to the lovely city of Varaždin. A two-hour train ride from the capital affords views of the countryside and the occasional pheasant wandering by. Once I arrived here, however, it was all about the flowers and parks as well as a wonderful collection of baroque and rococo architecture. Read more about the top five buildings in Varaždin >


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Meals That Match the Mood in Glacier National Park

Ptarmigan Dining Room, Glacier National ParkI was tucked about six miles inside Montana’s spectacular Glacier National Park, not far from the Canadian border, staying in a rustic room in Many Glacier Hotel, the largest hotel in the park. Sprawling along the shore of Swiftcurrent Lake, the hotel has been seducing travelers here since 1915, lured by its Alpine style, staggering views of some of the most pristine nature in the United States, nearness to wildlife, and myriad outdoor activities. If all that weren’t enough to entice you here, the hotel boasts an outstanding restaurant that perfectly caps your day spent in the wilderness. Read about the Ptarmigan Dining Room >


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An Easy — and Wonderful — Introduction to Namibia at Windhoek’s Villa Vista Guesthouse

Villa Vista Guesthouse, Windhoek, NamibiaAfter spending nearly a full day traveling in economy class on airplanes, flying from New York to Windhoek, Namibia, via Johannesburg, the first thing I wanted to see after hopping in my rental car and driving a half hour into the city was a restful bed. Fortunately, I had made reservations at Villa Vista Guesthouse, where everything from large, comfortable rooms to delightful breakfasts with a view assured me of a hassle-free and amiable entry into the first African country I ever visited. Read more about this terrific accommodation >


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The Five Most Beautiful Churches in London, England

St. Lawrence Jewry, London, EnglandMy first trip to London was back in 1997, when I was covering a conference about corporate image. Wisely, I added a few days onto that business trip for myself. Of course, that wasn’t enough time to explore one of the world’s greatest cities, even if I was trying to limit myself to, say, museums or markets or the theater. Although the tube is a terrifically convenient mode of transportation to reach so many sights, London was made for walking, the best way to experience England’s biggest and best city. Even on my more recent trip to the British capital, I never knew what I’d stumble upon, from rows of bookstores to a museum of clocks. History seems to abound on every street, kept visible by the city’s fantastic architecture, in particular its churches. Read about the top five churches in London >