Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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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 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 >


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Scotland’s Spectacular Churches

St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, ScotlandSome are so ancient, you can almost hear the ghosts of worshippers from nearly a millennium ago. The churches of Scotland, like much of the nation’s architectural inventory, are astoundingly sturdy-looking, as if nothing could ever destroy them. They’re also exquisitely beautiful, with the most delicate details that often belie their bulk. They continually impressed me as I made my two-week loop around this irresistible land. Read about the top five churches in Scotland >


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A Lakeside Dinner in Dover, Delaware

Root beer, McGlynns, Dover, DelawareFrom State Street Inn, my exceptional bed and breakfast in Dover, Delaware, I strolled through the Victorian Dover Historic District. Past Lakeside Cemetery, with an unsettling Hitchcockian number of black birds of prey perched on bare tree branches, I crossed over the adjacent placid Silver Lake. My destination was McGlynns Pub, my choice for this night’s dinner. A cool, slightly breezy evening drove everyone else inside, but I chose an outdoor table for its views of the lake and handsome waterfront houses, and the company of a forlorn injured Canada goose. Read about it >


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Canada’s Choicest Churches

Cathedral Church of St. James, TorontoBy 2029, an estimated 9,000 religious spaces in Canada will be lost—victims of harsh weather, evaporating congregations, abandonment, deterioration, and deliberate razing. That’s nearly one-third of all the ecclesiastical buildings in the entire country, so you better hurry if you want to see some irreplaceable structures before they’re gone forever. Fortunately, my favorites (except one) seem pretty secure…for now. Read about the top five churches in Canada >


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Bourbon on Saturday, Church on Sunday

Georgetown Baptist Church, KentuckyKentucky produces approximately 95 percent of the world’s bourbon. That’s a lot of booze. And perhaps if Kentuckians imbibe a bit in what they don’t export, it may explain why, at last count, there are 5,011 churches in the Bluegrass State. That’s a lot of worshipping. And people in Kentucky are doing it in all sorts of structures, from what is barely more than a cabin to what could pass for an old Holiday Inn to cathedrals that easily rival anything in Europe. Read about the top five churches in Kentucky >


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Flirting With Aconcagua

The tallest mountain in both the Western and Southern hemispheres is the jewel of a gorgeous provincial park. Rising above its fellow Andes to a height of nearly 23,000’, Mt. Aconcagua straddles the Argentina-Chile border. Although I had no intention of scaling to its summit, I was keen to experience the dramatic and strikingly beautiful approach toward its base. Read more about it >


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Beloved by All: 1822 –

Mausoleum, Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos AiresSome of the world’s best cemeteries—Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York; Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York; and Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri—are grand rural cemeteries, filled with curving roads, hills, trees, flowering shrubs, and ponds. But one of them, Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina, differs completely from the rest—an urban, densely packed burial ground founded in 1822 and crammed with mausoleums and monuments along a city-like grid pattern. It looks like a scale model of Buenos Aires itself, and it’s the final resting place of dozens of influential Argentinians, including one who doesn’t want us to cry for her. Read more about it >


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A Festive Day in Lindsborg, Kansas, Is “Lagom”

Dala horseFestivals are one of the best ways to spend your time outdoors when traveling. You’ll experience a locale at its most joyous, most authentic, and most relaxed, and you’ll have ample opportunities to mingle with the locals. Case in point: a two-day celebration of Swedish culture in the U.S. Midwest called Svensk Hyllningsfest. In Lindsborg, Kansas, you’ll get to meet the friendly residents while experiencing the richness of Sweden that has been the hallmark of this small city since the mid-1800s. At the end of the festival, you’ll say that it was lagom—not too little, not too much, but just the perfect amount. Read more about it >


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Pedal Your Way to New Experiences

Stanley Park, VancouverWhen riding public transportation became a dodgy activity during the pandemic, carless people began switching to bicycles in droves, causing a severe shortage in supply. And now, with spring in full bloom, hopping on two wheels becomes an even more attractive way to get around. Beyond just a mode of transportation to help you accomplish your daily errands, a bike ride for the casual cyclist is also a terrific way to explore a new destination. Read about the world’s top five bike rides >