Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Sampling a Fantastic Cross-section of Latin American Cuisine

When I was on weeklong vacation in San Diego for the first time and ended up having dinner at the same restaurant a second time because the first time was so spectacular, I knew somebody was doing something right. Case in point: Berta Utreras, chef and owner of her eponymous restaurant who has been achieving unforgettable results for 26 years. Ever since then, I’ve been insisting that anyone visiting San Diego must frequent this pan–Latin American establishment that will leave them hankering for more. Read more >


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When Nature Has Fun: The Best Natural Curiosities

Hoodoos, Alberta BadlandsMalta’s Azure Window. Aruba’s Natural Bridge. New Hampshire’s Old Man of the Mountain. Four of Australia’s Twelve Apostles. All were beautiful, quirky sites carved by the forces of nature, and all were destroyed by the very same forces. If you are fortunate enough to have seen them before their demise, you undoubtedly have a fond memory; if not, you’re out of luck—they’re gone for good. But fear not: Plenty of other one-off oddities still exist around the world. You just have to make sure you get to them before storms and erosion make them things of the past. Read more about the world’s top five natural curiosities >


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A City Break Within a City: San Diego’s Balboa Park

Balboa Park, San DiegoOne of the many jewels in the crown of San Diego, right up there with impeccable weather and fantastic restaurants, Balboa Park presents an urban oasis of 1,200 acres filled with green belts, walking paths, a variety of cultural institutions, and, of course, the San Diego Zoo. If you want to escape the city without actually leaving the city, this is the place to go. Read more >


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When Orange Is More Than Your Morning Juice

Puente del Inca, ArgentinaFor those of us who live in certain climates, autumn brings a joyful change of season, when comfortably brisk days replace oppressive summer heat, and green foliage gives way to all-too-brief displays of flashy colors — especially a vibrant orange. If you don’t reside in a locale that’s blessed with this annual switch, you can get your fix of orange with an intricately carved jack-o-lantern or a Cincinnati Bengals game. And if you’re not privy to any of this, there are still plenty of oranges around the world that will capture your attention. Read more about my top five oranges >


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A Scandinavian Mansion on the Shore of Lake Tahoe, California

Vikingsholm, Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, CaliforniaMy loop around Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border included everything I expected — beautiful beaches, fiery sunsets, a couple of historic sites, a little gambling, and views of this gorgeous body of water. What I didn’t expect was Vikingsholm, one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the Western Hemisphere, conceived of by a senior citizen widow and created by a Swedish architect. Read more >


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A “Sea of Sin” in the Very Wild West

Bodie State Historic Park, CaliforniaOne of my favorite cities in the United States is located smack in the middle of nowhere near the California-Nevada border. It’s not on a main — or even a secondary — road, and its permanent population is zero. You can’t get there by train or bus, direct or connecting flight. No art galleries are open for browsing, no parks for an afternoon stroll will greet you, and you won’t be able to refill your tank because there are no gas stations. You can’t book a room for the night, and forget about grabbing something to eat — restaurants don’t exist.

Why on earth is this seemingly godforsaken place one of my favorites? Because it’s Bodie — the largest, best preserved, and most fascinating ghost town in the country. And exploring  an abandoned city that used to have a population of about 10,000 more than satisfies my fascination with ruins: What was this place? How did it come into existence? What happened here? Who lived here? And why did it end? Read more >

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