Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Why Not Minot?

Scandinavian Heritage Park, Minot, North DakotaA one-way, 100-mile detour from Bismarck, North Dakota, north to Minot (closer to the Canadian border than to the state capitol) didn’t seem even remotely unreasonable once I discovered that the Scandinavian Heritage Park is located in this northern city. With nearly 40% of its population claiming Scandinavian ancestry, it’s the perfect place for the park—and for me to indulge my ongoing obsession with everything Nordic. Read about it >


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An Old Tavern That Keeps Itself New

The second-oldest bar in Indianapolis traces its roots back to 1887. Today, Tavern at the Point is a friendly, neighborhood watering hole where locals and visitors like me gather for a drink or two and some solid, contemporary gastropub food. Read more about it >


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Food With a Mood

Chaophraya, Glasgow, ScotlandThroughout my travels, I’ve eaten in a vast variety of settings. Some of them would hardly classify as formal, although the quality of what they served was shockingly good: the stand in Bergen, Norway, that peddled a delicious Jagtwurst, the street cart in Uppsala, Sweden, with the sweetest raspberries imaginable, the barbecue joint in Brooklyn with brown-paper placemats that served astoundingly tender pulled pork. But sometimes I crave something unique—a restaurant with atmosphere and an unmistakable sense of place and history that supplements the dining experience to such a degree that I’m still able to recall it fondly decades after I went here. Read about the top five atmospheric restaurants >


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When the Theater Itself Is the Star of the Show

Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GeorgiaIn the golden age of movie theater construction in the United States between 1910 and the 1940s, moviegoers were treated not only to the featured film, but also a host of collateral offerings, from live music accompaniments to shorts to news reels. And they got to enjoy all of it in sumptuous surroundings that puts modern multiplexes to shame. It’s like comparing watching a movie in a palace to watching one in a boxcar. One theater that brought unimaginable opulence to the general public was Atlanta’s Fox Theatre—an intended Shriners auditorium turned movie palace that went bankrupt less than three years after opening in 1929 and ultimately faced the wrecking ball. Today, it’s one of Atlanta’s most beautiful attractions. Read about Fox Theatre >


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Finland’s Fantastic Churches

German Church, Helsinki, FinlandIn 1900, nearly the entire population of Finland belonged to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Today, only about two-thirds identify with that faith. That’s not the only thing that has changed: Just under one-third have no religious affiliation at all. One thing that has not changed, however, is the beauty of the churches where Finns (although not as many) go to attend to their spiritual needs. Read about the top five churches in Finland >


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Post’s Present

Old New York Times BuildingGeorge Browne Post should be a household name, but for most people, he is not. And that’s a shame. Post (1837–1913) was one of the United States’ most prolific, most creative, and most respected architects. We can curse the evil wrecking ball for shunting Post to the forgotten architects bin. If you were to scan a list of all his brilliant works, far too many would bear an asterisk with the note “demolished”: the Erie County Savings Bank in Buffalo, New York; the Cotton Exchange, Western Union Building, World Building, and Collis P. Huntington Mansion in New York City; the old Borough Hall in the Bronx, New York; the Bonner-Marquand Gymnasium at Princeton University; the Prudential Building in Newark, New Jersey; the Bank of Pittsburgh—all gone. Those that remain, however, are reminders of Post’s enviable talents that attracted such clients as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Joseph Pulitzer, and The New York Times. Read about the top five works by George Browne Post that still remain >


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A Cabin With a View

Signal Mountain Lodge, Moran, WyomingWhat better way to enjoy Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, one of the most beautiful parks in the United States, than by staying within its 310,000 acres at Signal Mountain Lodge? Located in the heart of the park on the shore of Jackson Lake, this lodge is an idyllic setting to enjoy spectacular scenery, friendly four-legged visitors, excellent meals, and dramatic weather that continually presents one of nature’s free shows. Read about it >


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R&R at the Best B&Bs

Barn Anew, Scottsbluff, NebraskaI tend to spend a good amount of time poring over websites when choosing accommodations for a trip. It’s a tricky (but tremendously fun) endeavor, with many factors coming into play: type, location, amenities, cost, convenience, reliable cheers and jeers, and, of course, gut instinct. One group that, as a whole, is guaranteed to offer a level of coziness, slow-paced relaxation, and personal touches you probably won’t find elsewhere is bed and breakfasts. You’ll meet more people, have finer morning meals, and remember the names of the owners long after you’ve returned home. Read about the top five bed and breakfasts >


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Get Your Mojo Back at Mojo BBQ

Mojo BBQ, St. Augustine, FloridaAfter an exceptional Mexican dinner at the bustling Casa Reina, I found myself at the more subdued Mojo BBQ the following evening. Also located in the historic district of St. Augustine, Mojo BBQ can definitely satisfy any discerning carnivore, as evidenced by its expansion to eight locations across Florida. And, unless you’re here on a night with live music, it comes with some fairly quiet neighbors. Read about it >


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Allelujah and Amen, Atlanta!

Central Presbyterian Church, AtlantaMore than one thousand churches are scattered around Atlanta, Georgia. The destruction of the Civil War did away with the oldest ones, so all of those that I was admiring were erected after 1865. It’s not uncommon to see clusters of them in, say, a two-block radius—churches built for different denominations and faiths—which makes it exceptionally convenient to cast a not-so-wide net and still visit an abundance of these beautiful buildings. Read about the top five churches in Atlanta >