Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Standout Buildings of Sioux Falls, South Dakota

First Congregational Church, Sioux Falls, South DakotaChartered in 1856, Sioux Falls didn’t take very long to swell into the largest city in South Dakota. With a population growth over 10% every decade since 1910, the city started erecting fantastic buildings almost from its earliest days. Many of them, from municipal masterpieces to residential gems, still survive as some of the city’s defining structures. Read about the top five buildings in Sioux Falls, South Dakota >


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Big Treasures in a Tiny Capital

Brock House, Montpelier, VermontThe compact downtown area of Montpelier, Vermont, tucks a lot into it: farm-to-table dining establishments, independently owned shops, history, natural beauty, cultural attractions. Strolling among them is delightful, especially if you appreciate architecture. The city has a surprising number of noteworthy buildings, belying its diminutive size. Read about the top five buildings in Montpelier, Vermont >


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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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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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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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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 >


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The Coolness of Hot Springs, Arkansas

Visitors Chapel A.M.E. Church, Hot Springs, ArkansasHiking in Hot Springs National Park, especially rewarding in autumn, is one of the two main lures of Hot Springs, Arkansas. The other is indulging in spa treatments in one of the bathhouses along historic Bathhouse Row. After I had partaken in both, I had plenty of time to roam around the center of the city, a wonderfully walkable core that boasts magnolia trees, the Gangster Museum of America, and an admirable inventory of fine architecture. Read about the top five buildings in Hot Springs >


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The Legacy of Carl Ludvig Engel

Pulpit, Turku Cathedral, FinlandI had no idea who Carl Ludvig Engel was. But as I made my way around Finland, his name kept popping up. I would be awed by a fantastic cathedral and later on find out Engel was the architect. I would admire a stately municipal building and then discover that Engel was the architect for that, too. And his name kept reappearing, in houses and theaters and parks. I was soon on the hunt for more of Engel’s works, and they were pretty easy to find. Read about Engel’s top five works >


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The Best of Annapolis Architecture

Anne Arundel County Circuit Courthouse, Annapolis, MarylandA day trip from my wonderful accommodations in Dover, Delaware, brought me across state lines to Maryland. I was immediately enamored by Annapolis, now one of my favorite small U.S. cities, thanks in no small part to some outstanding structures, from utterly charming homes along brick sidewalks to impressive churches to the spectacular campus of the United States Naval Academy. Read about the top five buildings in Annapolis >


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Amsterdam’s Architectural Treasures

Concert Hall, AmsterdamIt’s easy to fall into one of the 165 canals that course their way around Amsterdam, especially when you’re gawking at everything surrounding you. On average, 100 people do so every year (as well as about 35 cars and thousands of bicycles). I was careful to keep an eye on the often unprotected drop into the drink as I strode around the largest city in the Netherlands, admiring both those wonderfully characteristic slender canal houses with gabled roofs and the much grander megastructures that make this city so memorable. Read about the top five buildings in Amsterdam >