Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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In a City of Skyscrapers, Churches Still Grace Manhattan

Church of the Incarnation, New York, New YorkMore than 100 churches of most denominations pop up all over the island of Manhattan in New York City. Over the course of my life, I had been to only about five of them. That just seemed wrong, especially because some have been permanently closed, and it’s probably only a matter of time before these remarkable structures with their architectural marvels are razed. The time seemed ripe to become a traveler in my hometown, so I made it a mission to see as many as possible before they disappear. My quest proved to be an incredibly rewarding journey. Read about the top five churches in Manhattan >


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Kansas City’s Union Station Is More Than Just a Mecca for Train Lovers

Union Station, Kansas City, MissouriTrain stations have always appealed to me, partly because they harken back to a more romantic, glamorous age of travel, partly because they are the gateways to going somewhere else (and who’s not excited by that?), partly because they’re often fantastic structures. Yesterday’s grand old stations that survived the wrecking ball have been repurposed, now that rail travel has been so severely decimated, becoming destinations in and of themselves. Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, is one such success story of restored glory. Read more about it >


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The Executive Hotel: Not Just for CEOs

Executive Hotel, Mendoza, ArgentinaWith its abundance of tree-lined streets, inviting parks and plazas, and very close proximity to nearly two dozen wineries — and with Mt. Aconcagua just three hours away through stunning scenery — the city of Mendoza is an ideal base to explore this region of Argentina. And when you’re staying in this laid-back locale, the Amérian Executive Mendoza Hotel rises to the top of the list of choices for your accommodations, and with very good reasons. Read more >


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Go Farther in the Dells

If you can get past the garish attractions and crass commercialism littering the small city of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin — the mini golf courses, the cheap motels, the haunted houses, the axe throwing, the world’s highest concentration of water parks — you’ll receive a handsome reward. Declared a State Natural Area in 1994, the Dells of the Wisconsin River is one of the most scenic and unspoiled spots in the entire state, and, ironically, the place that begat all that tourist tat to begin with. Read more >


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Croatia’s Best Museums

Croatian Architecture MuseumFor one of Europe’s smaller countries (26th in size; 30th in population), Croatia boasts an impressive abundance of museums. Zagreb alone has 30. They cover the usual suspects — art, archaeological, ethnographic, historical, natural science, and so on — but you’ll also be able to pop into a railway museum, or one dedicated to arts and crafts. Their collective total of more than five million objects reflects the depth of things to see, learn about, and shape your understanding of this complex country — that is, when you can tear yourself away from Croatia’s gorgeous beaches and outstanding national parks. Read more >


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A Good Laugh Is a Mighty Good Thing

Seals in a Bathtub, Portland, OregonHerman Melville said it best in Moby-Dick: “A good laugh is a mighty good thing, and rather too scarce a good thing.” Published in 1851, Melville’s statement could not be more pertinent today. Let’s face it: In light of a disturbing pandemic, food and hand sanitizer shortages, insufficient health care procedures, quarantines, and a constant barrage of bad news and “Breaking News” from CNN that instantly makes you think, “What fresh hell is this?!”, we need a good laugh to relieve the tension, if only for a moment or two. Without further ado, from my travels around the world, here are the top five sights that will make you laugh >


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Staying at a Great B&B in KC, MO

Jefferson House Bed and Breakfast, Kansas City, MissouriMissouri always seems to be unbearably humid. When I went to St. Louis and St. Charles in April a few years ago, residents said it felt like August, not spring. This time, in October in Kansas City, it felt like August again. So, after roaming around all day in the unseasonably uncomfortable weather, it was time to check in to Jefferson House Bed and Breakfast for some much-deserved respite. Read more >


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Roaming the Halls of America’s 80th Largest House

E.W. Marland Estate, Ponca City, OklahomaCruising through the quiet streets of Ponca City, Oklahoma, I passed by the Poncan Theatre (opened in 1927 to a crowd of 1,200 people), City Hall (built in 1916 as an auditorium), and the Ponca City Library, in a Spanish-influenced design to complement City Hall, across the street. Just a few minutes away, I reached my destination, the fantastic E.W. Marland Estate, a 55-room palace on 30 acres built like an Italian villa for lawyer, oilman, Congressman, and governor E.W. Marland and his wife in 1928 — a mansion that they lived in for fewer than three years. Read more about one of the best house museums in the United States >


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The World’s Best Depictions of Adam and Eve

Original Sin, by Marco BenefialIn the Bible, the Book of Genesis describes how God created man on the sixth day. To keep him company in the Garden of Eden with all those plants and animals that he got to name, God granted him Eve, fashioning her from one of his ribs. They were free to frolic around Paradise without a care, as long as they didn’t eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Alas, the sly serpent proved too persuasive to Eve, who then dragged Adam down with her when she tempted him to partake as well. Things quickly went south: For disobeying God’s one command, an angel drove them out of Eden, stripped them of their athanasia, and forced Adam to work for a living and Eve to bear children in a spectacularly painful way. It’s quite a story, one of the most popular in the Bible, and it has been depicted in art for centuries. Read about the best of those renditions >


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Delicacies and History at Píwníca Rajców in Gdansk, Poland

Píwníca Rajców, Gdansk, PolandNight was already falling when I arrived in Gdansk, Poland, so further exploration of the city would have to wait until the next day. For now, I settled at an outdoor table at Píwníca Rajców, the first of many excellent restaurants throughout Poland (although Gdansk remained the best). Eating al fresco became the norm, a wonderful opportunity to enjoy outstanding meals while watching the daily life of local Poles unfold before me. And I enjoyed it all while listening to the sputtering water of the Neptune Fountain and the sounds of some very talented street musicians. Read more>