Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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San Chez Bistro: Stellar Spanish Tapas in Grand Rapids, Michigan

After the terrifically bizarre blatherskite stumbled out of Divani, the pleasant bar where I was enjoying a glass of Bowen’s Harbor semi-dry Riesling, produced in Michigan, I shared a good laugh over her antics with the bartender and the woman whose ear she had been chewing for a while. During the conversation that ensued, I broached the topic of restaurant recommendations here in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. They offered several suggestions, but the one that kept popping up was San Chez Bistro, only a couple of blocks away. Heeding their advice, I popped into San Chez the following night for dinner. And I’ve been recalling it fondly ever since. Read more >

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Travel Through Time at Detroit’s Inn on Ferry Street

Inn on Ferry Street, Detroit, MichiganDetroit has seen better days — we all know that. But that doesn’t mean it’s a hopeless case. In fact, it’s one of the most interesting American cities I’ve ever visited. And when I was searching for a place to stay in this Michigan city — one of the best in the United States for architecture, and by far one of the most anthropologically riveting — I decided to opt for something from its grander days rather than a shiny new glass-and-steel hotel. So I took a step back in time and, for four days, I led a semi-Victorian life at the unique Inn on Ferry Street. Read more >


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Get Your Motor Runnin’ at the Gilmore Car Museum

Gilmore Car Museum, Hickory Corners, MichiganEven if you could not possibly care less about cars and the automotive industry, you can’t leave Michigan without having developed, at the very least, a passing fascination with them. To cultivate that seed of interest, or to fuel a passion that you already have, cruise over to the expansive Gilmore Car Museum in tiny Hickory Corners — one of the largest car museums in North America. Read more >


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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 >


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Five Post Offices That Truly Deliver

Post Office, Ljubljana, SloveniaIn the present era of instantaneous communication and e-everything, post offices around the world are in serious decline. But it wasn’t all that long ago when post offices were the lifeline of nations, delivering long-anticipated letters, critical documents, history-making news, and packages of all shapes and sizes. Their vital importance was reflected in the grandeur of the buildings that housed them . Although some of them no longer serve their original purpose, these are my five favorite post offices in the world. Read more >


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Detroit’s Endangered Art: Now You See It…

The Jewish CemeteryMotown’s current problems are epic, and it seems unlikely that Detroit will be able to pay off its $18 billion in debt any time soon. One disturbing solution that has been suggested is to sell off the city’s artwork housed in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Pillaging one of the nation’s top art museums is a short-sighted and ignorant answer to a complex problem, yet it has now entered the realm of possibility. So before anyone can act on it and commit this enormous error, make sure you schedule a visit to the DIA to appreciate some of the most exceptional art in the United States. Read more >


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Steep Your Dreams in History

One of the largest urban historic districts in the United States, Heritage Hill in Grand Rapids, Michigan, exudes a friendly charm. Streets lined with grand homes from the 19th and early 20th century encourage you to spend hours exploring all of the district’s 3,500 acres. And once you’ve been seduced by the neighborhood’s elegance, you can call it a night right in the midst of it all at the Brayton House. Read more >