Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Food With a Mood

Chaophraya, Glasgow, ScotlandThroughout my travels, I’ve eaten in a vast variety of settings. Some of them would hardly classify as formal, although the quality of what they served was shockingly good: the stand in Bergen, Norway, that peddled a delicious Jagtwurst, the street cart in Uppsala, Sweden, with the sweetest raspberries imaginable, the barbecue joint in Brooklyn with brown-paper placemats that served astoundingly tender pulled pork. But sometimes I crave something unique—a restaurant with atmosphere and an unmistakable sense of place and history that supplements the dining experience to such a degree that I’m still able to recall it fondly decades after I went here. Read about the top five atmospheric restaurants >


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When the Theater Itself Is the Star of the Show

Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GeorgiaIn the golden age of movie theater construction in the United States between 1910 and the 1940s, moviegoers were treated not only to the featured film, but also a host of collateral offerings, from live music accompaniments to shorts to news reels. And they got to enjoy all of it in sumptuous surroundings that puts modern multiplexes to shame. It’s like comparing watching a movie in a palace to watching one in a boxcar. One theater that brought unimaginable opulence to the general public was Atlanta’s Fox Theatre—an intended Shriners auditorium turned movie palace that went bankrupt less than three years after opening in 1929 and ultimately faced the wrecking ball. Today, it’s one of Atlanta’s most beautiful attractions. Read about Fox Theatre >


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Allelujah and Amen, Atlanta!

Central Presbyterian Church, AtlantaMore than one thousand churches are scattered around Atlanta, Georgia. The destruction of the Civil War did away with the oldest ones, so all of those that I was admiring were erected after 1865. It’s not uncommon to see clusters of them in, say, a two-block radius—churches built for different denominations and faiths—which makes it exceptionally convenient to cast a not-so-wide net and still visit an abundance of these beautiful buildings. Read about the top five churches in Atlanta >


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Back to School

Lawyers' Club, University of Michigan, Ann ArborClasses are about to start again (cheers from parents, groans from their children). For travelers, it’s the perfect time to visit college campuses as they return to life. These academic oases can draw you in with special events, performances, and exhibitions that are open to the public, whether it’s at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta or at the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. But even if nothing is going on, I’ve found that their inviting grounds and attractive buildings remain appealing all year long. Read about the top five college campuses >


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First-Rate Riverside Dining in Savannah

River House Seafood, Savannah, GeorgiaThe oppressive early-summer sultriness of Savannah, Georgia, had been draining me—literally—all day. Fortunately, just as I began to hunt for a dinner spot, and just upon the verge of melting into a mound of putty-like flesh and liquified bones, I found myself along cobblestoned River Street, a strip of shops and restaurants facing the Savannah River. The excellent River House Seafood was my salvation. Read about it >


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Georgian Gentility at the Forsyth Park Inn

Forsyth Park Inn, Savannah, GeorgiaIt was built in 1893 as a private residence. At some point, it became a boarding house, followed by an apartment house. In the 1980s, this wonderful Queen Anne Victorian was repurposed as the Forsyth Park Inn. And it was my home for a couple of days in the Savannah Historic District, one of the most beautiful historic districts in the United States. Read about it >


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Here’s the Beef

Despite the abundance of large hotels and office buildings in downtown Atlanta, outdoor dining proved a little tricky to find. But, with determined perseverance, I managed to locate a few. Best of them all was Cuts Steakhouse, a higher-end Southern-style steakhouse that serves popular dishes with an upscale twist. Read about it >


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Gorgin’ on Georgian

Veal stew, Old Tbilisi Garden, New York, New YorkExactly one week after watching a television show about traveling to Georgia (the ancient land tucked into the Caucasus region, not the Peach State), I stumbled upon a Georgian restaurant in New York. With fresh mental images of this intriguing foreign land, I knew I had to take advantage of this fortuitous coincidence and stop here for lunch to sample the flavors of this faraway nation. Read about Old Tbilisi Garden >


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Savannah’s Best Buildings in America’s Best Historic District

Savannah Cotton Exchange, Savannah, GeorgiaWith hundreds of buildings in Savannah’s five historic districts, it’s virtually impossible to select some favorites, particularly in the Savannah Historic District, one of the largest such districts in the United States. Within its confines, I came across the birthplace of the founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, one of the South’s first public museums, the oldest African American Baptist congregation in the United States, the house that launched the city’s preservation movement, and the third-oldest synagogue and the oldest standing pre–Civil War rail facility in America. Impressive as they are, even these beauties didn’t emerge as my favorites. Read more about the top five buildings in Savannah, Georgia >


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Five U.S. Historic Districts That Make You Yearn for Yesteryear

Champion-McAplin House, Savannah, GeorgiaDesignated historic districts in cities throughout the United States provide a tangible glimpse into their past as well as the opportunity to experience a unique urban environment. Long before the era of modern, uninspired skyscrapers and insipid glass-and-steel boxes that increasingly make cities less distinguishable from one another, these places developed as areas not to be mistaken for any other. Thanks to historic preservation movements and landmark commissions, they survive today to entertain, educate and enchant us. These are my top five historic districts in the United States. Read more >