Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


Leave a comment

Saturday in the Park

Unisphere, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, QueensThe lyrics from the Chicago song kept infiltrating my thoughts as I strolled around Flushing Meadows–Corona Park on a Saturday morning. It wasn’t the park they were singing about (Manhattan’s Central Park) back in the early 1970s, it wasn’t the fourth of July, and I didn’t hear anyone singing Italian songs. Yet, I did spy a man selling ice cream, and there were people laughing, so there was a bit of an overlap. Even without it, Flushing Meadows–Corona Park is a fantastic place to spend the day. The fourth-largest park in New York City occupies about 900 acres of land in northern Queens County. Far beyond just trees and grassy fields (of which it has an abundance), the park also is home to myriad cultural, historical, and sports facilities and attractions to keep you entertained for more than just a Saturday. Read about it >


Leave a comment

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 >


1 Comment

Living Under a Foreign Occupier

Phone Booth, Museum of Occupations, Tallinn, EstoniaIn light of Russia’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, I’ve been thinking about my visit to the Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom in Tallinn, Estonia. Note the plural. This fascinating museum tells the story of how little Estonia was forcibly occupied three times in the 1900s—once by the Nazis and twice by the Soviets—and how it emerged as sovereign nation in 1991. It’s a timely lesson in heartless brutality and inspiring resistance, and a good reminder of how one insane madman can change world history—and what must be done to stop him. Read about the museum >


Leave a comment

The Highest-Quality Art in Norway

"The Scream"One of the world’s most renowned paintings is also one of its most disturbing and mysterious. Almost as famous for its history of thefts as for its quality and impact on the art world, The Scream anchors a tremendous collection of excellent art at Oslo’s National Gallery, Norway’s biggest and best art museum. This one piece alone makes a visit here necessary, but I found so many others that made a wonderfully lasting impression. Read about it >


Leave a comment

Busted: The World’s Best Heads

Bust of Queen VictoriaAn artist’s ability to carve a human head and have the result bear an uncanny likeness to the model never fails to impress me. Such busts may very well cause you to do a double-take, as you question yourself whether that is the real flesh-and-blood person, or their image re-created in marble, copper, stone, or whatever other material the sculptor has chosen to employ. Some, of course, rise head and shoulders above the rest. Read about the world’s top five busts >


Leave a comment

St. Stephen Rocks

St. Joseph Cathedral, Buffalo, New YorkAt last count, there are at least nine St. Stephens, including a Byzantine monk, an English abbot, and a Russian painter and missionary. I’m familiar with only two: Stephen I, the man who united Hungary into one nation a millennium ago and served as its first king for nearly 40 years, and my namesake, the Biblical Stephen who was stoned to death for his faith, thus becoming Christianity’s first martyr. With the latter’s feast day coming up, on December 26, it seems like an appropriate time to take a look at how this Stephen is presented in art—very often, but not always, holding the rocks that were used to kill him. Read about the top five depictions of St. Stephen >


Leave a comment

The Best Museums in the U.S. Capital

National Postal Museum, Washington, D.C.Most national capitals are their nation’s largest city. The American capital is a bit of an anomaly: Washington, D.C., doesn’t even crack the top 15. Yet, despite its comparatively smaller size, it has an embarrassment of riches, including more than 70 museums. Covering a wide array of topics, they can entertain and inform you on everything from art to postage stamps to espionage. Read more about the top five museums in Washington, D.C. >


Leave a comment

An Outdoor Museum Experience in Residential Oslo

Norwegian Folk Museum, OsloIn the most fashionable residential area of Norway, with the country’s most expensive properties, you can spend a couple of days visiting five terrific museums, a royal castle, and wonderful views of the city and its fjord and harbor. One of those attractions is the open-air Norwegian Folk Museum, a collection of more than 150 buildings relocated from around the country and stocked with exhibits and demonstrations that reveal Norway’s history and culture starting in the 16th century. Read about it >


Leave a comment

A Literal World of Treasures in the Heart of Wichita

Museum of World Treasures, Wichita, KansasEgyptologist? Archaeologist? Paleontologist? Historian? Numismatist? Photographer? Mineralogist? No matter what (or how old) you are, it seems the Museum of World Treasures in Wichita, Kansas, has something for everyone. Since its founding in 2001, the museum has assembled a tremendous number of riches from around the world, from prehistoric fossils to Frank Sinatra’s tunes. Read about it >


Leave a comment

Marking Mark’s Feast Day

St. Augustine Catholic Church, Montpelier, VermontApril 25 marks the Feast Day of St. Mark, one of the Four Evangelists who wrote one of the gospels and spread the Word of God. His life mission took him around the eastern Mediterranean, to Cyprus and northern Africa, and his death, in 68 AD, is the stuff of legend. Over the centuries, he has been portrayed as both a young and an old man in just about every form of art imaginable. Read more about the top five depictions of St. Mark >