Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Georgian Gentility at the Forsyth Park Inn

Forsyth Park Inn, Savannah, GeorgiaIt was built in 1893 as a private residence. At some point, it became a boarding house, followed by an apartment house. In the 1980s, this wonderful Queen Anne Victorian was repurposed as the Forsyth Park Inn. And it was my home for a couple of days in the Savannah Historic District, one of the most beautiful historic districts in the United States. Read about it >


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O!

Joel N. Cornish House, Omaha, NebraskaThe marketing logo for Omaha’s tourism industry—a giant O with an exclamation point that you’ll see all around the largest city in Nebraska—captures the surprise that visitors experience in this city. More than a few times, I found myself saying, “O! Look at that,” whether it was the city’s outdoor sculptures, revitalized warehouse district, friendly giraffes at the zoo, or some especially impressive architecture. Read about the top five buildings in Omaha >


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Here’s the Beef

Despite the abundance of large hotels and office buildings in downtown Atlanta, outdoor dining proved a little tricky to find. But, with determined perseverance, I managed to locate a few. Best of them all was Cuts Steakhouse, a higher-end Southern-style steakhouse that serves popular dishes with an upscale twist. Read about it >


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Deco Delights in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Fire Alarm Building, Tulsa, OklahomaI’ve been to some of the best places in the United States to see examples of one of my favorite architectural styles—art deco: Miami Beach, Chicago, and, of course, my hometown, New York City. Much to my surprise, when I was running around the Midwest, I would find that Tulsa, Oklahoma, ranks right up there with the best of them, thanks to a fortuitous mingling of new oil money, the Jazz Age, and the architectural style that originated in France. Read about it >


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The Surreality of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Simply put, New Zealand is gorgeous. The mountains, the lakes, the coastlines, the fjords, the beaches: Few countries can boast such a bountiful variety of nature’s best. Some of it is simply surreal—other-worldly colors, mud pools, boiling lakes, geysers, bubbling ponds, fumaroles. Director Peter Jackson clearly made the right choice when he opted to cast the country as his setting for Middle Earth in his Lord of the Rings trilogy. And one place that extends even beyond the surreal is Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Read more about it >


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Remember More Than the Alamo in San Antonio

Japanese Tea Garden, San Antonio, TexasThe crowds swamping the little Alamo in downtown San Antonio, Texas, seemed torn between visiting the historic mission and the cheesy attractions directly across the street from it. I opted for the former, but not for long. The city boasts so many other fascinating things to see that you’ll soon be bolting away from the tourist mob and investigating its lesser-visited but no-less-interesting sights. Read about the top five things to see and do in San Antonio >


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Houses Give Horses a Run for the Money in Saratoga Springs, New York

Kilmer House, Saratoga Springs, New YorkYou may go to Saratoga Springs for the horses, but don’t forget about the houses. In this utterly charming small city of about 30,000, the racing season brings crowds of summer visitors. During the rest of the year, you’ve got two national museums (one for dance, one for horse racing), plenty of hiking opportunities, spas, a renowned artists’ community, and a massive inventory of gorgeous architecture in numerous historic districts. Read about the top five buildings in Saratoga Springs, New York >


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The Best Churches in Kansas

St. Peter's Cathedral, Kansas City, KansasTraveling around the eastern half of Kansas, I found that there always seemed to be a church steeple on the horizon somewhere, whether popping up over a small town or making up a key element of an urban skyline. Like tempting beacons, I was lured to them and was never disappointed by their beauty, and by the surprises they contained. Read about the top five churches in Kansas >


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A Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose, But Some Places Grow Them Better

Kilkenny Castle, IrelandGarden cultivation of roses began several millennia ago, starting way back in Babylon, ancient China, and the Roman Empire. Long admired for their color, their fragrance, and their beauty (some royalty used them as legal tender in the 17th century), the world’s most popular flower has achieved fame not only in horticultural circles, but also in song (“Yellow Rose of Texas”; “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”), war (The War of the Roses), adages (“bed of roses”; “I never promised you a rose garden”), and cinema (The Rose; The Rose Tattoo). This international symbol of love is tended to in dedicated gardens around the world, some of which have truly perfected the art. Read about the world’s top five rose gardens >


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Walking in Memphis

Calvary Episcopal Church, Memphis, TennesseeOne-hit wonder Marc Cohn’s earworm stayed with me as I explored Tennessee’s second-largest city. At least it’s a song I like, and it provided a tuneful background in my head. Although I didn’t follow the ghost of Elvis up to the gates of Graceland, I did trace the footsteps of countless musicians who trod Beale Street, capped by a satisfying lunch of fried green tomatoes and a catfish po’ boy at B.B. King’s Blues Club. In addition to its musical heritage, Memphis has an impressive array of architecture, from one of the world’s largest pyramids to a hotel that features a daily duck walk. Read about the top five buildings in Memphis, Tennessee >