Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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The Depthless Southern Charm of Natchez, Mississippi

Temple B'nai Israel, Natchez, MississippiWith a population that has been almost halved since its peak of only about 24,000 in 1960, Natchez, Mississippi, could easily become a forgotten, dying backwater along the Mississippi River. But its rich history, grand setting, elegance, and hospitality help maintain its relevance as one of the South’s most charming cities, particularly for those interested in heritage tourism. At the city’s zenith, more than 500 millionaires called it home — more than any other U.S. city except New York. They left behind a treasure trove of outstanding architecture that still lures a steady stream of visitors, including me, who come to gape at more than 600 antebellum structures — the largest collection in the United States. Read more about the top five buildings in Natchez >


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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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Vicksburg’s Baer House Inn: Refinement and Comfort — and an Irresistible History

Baer House Inn, Vicksburg, MississippiMy interest in the past is always piqued whenever I travel in the Deep South, where everything seems to drip with history like Spanish moss off a Southern live oak tree. So when I chose to stay at the Baer House Inn in Vicksburg, Mississippi, I knew I would be lodged in refined and comfortable accommodations in the heart of a city brimming with all kinds of references to yore, from its rough-and-tumble era with rampant gambling and prostitution that would ultimately give birth to the term “kangaroo court” to its pivotal role in the Civil War. What I didn’t expect, however, was the utterly engrossing story of the Baer House itself and how one very spirited daughter of Jewish immigrants got her ultimate revenge on her wealthy, controlling mother. Read more >