Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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The Eeriest Places on Earth

Nevada City, MontanaIf you’re planning to visit a fabricated haunted house for Halloween, or to attend a party in a costume that’s anything but frightening, I have an alternative: Go to an authentic ghost town. These abandoned places teem with vacated, decaying buildings and with the spirits of a long-vanished population. You’re unlikely to run into a vampire or a sexy French maid; a rolling tumbleweed is more probable, or the hint of an odd susurration carried on the wind that blows through the silence of these eerie, deserted places. You can find them all over the globe, from Chile to Italy to Japan, and they will give you a thrill, and a chill, like no other locations in the world. Read about the top five ghost towns >

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Sunday Driving, Any Day of the Week

Wildlife Loop Road, Custer State Park, South DakotaRemember when you would get in your car with your family or a friend or two and go for a leisurely drive, with no particular agenda or destination? If so, it’s probably a memory from a long time ago, when driving wasn’t a hassle, when roads weren’t littered with potholes and road ragers, when traffic was light, and when gasoline and tolls were affordable. But anyone eager to hit the road just for the heck of it shouldn’t be discouraged. There are still plenty of places where a casual drive — punctuated by mesmerizing scenery — is delightfully possible. Read more about the top five drives in the world >


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Old World Ambience at Helena’s Sanders Bed & Breakfast

Sanders B&B, Helena, MontanaWhen I parked my rental car in front of The Sanders Bed & Breakfast in Helena, Montana, I knew I wouldn’t be returning to it for a few days. I had arrived in a handsome, leafy, residential district in the state’s capital — an area that demands to be explored by foot, inviting you on long walks past impressive homes, historic sites, and some noteworthy restaurants. And when you’re ready to call it a day, The Sanders, more than 100 years old, welcomes you back with snacks, pleasant conversation, and marvelous accommodations from a bygone era. 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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A Taste of the World at The Silk Road in Missoula

When I arrived in Montana, I was fully prepared to start consuming higher-than-normal quantities of beef. After all, this is a state where cattle outnumber people (2.6 million versus 1 million) and livestock makes up about two-thirds of the agriculture industry. No wonder that I had conjured up plentiful images of steaks and burgers. So I was a little suspicious and more than a little curious when the owners of the Gibson Mansion Bed & Breakfast where I was staying recommended a restaurant that had an international menu with dishes from countries as far-ranging as Japan, Ethiopia, and Austria. But their suggestion was spot-on, and dinner at The Silk Road proved to be a surprisingly cosmopolitan — and scrumptious — affair. Read more >


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Man Meets Montana Moose

Female mooseWhen you’re hiking in the woods, you never really know what to expect when you hear something rustling in the trees beside you, especially in Glacier National Park, which teems with wildlife. Is it a cougar, a gray wolf, a grizzly bear? Perhaps it’s just a chipmunk or a pygmy shrew. Maybe it’s only the wind. But when it turns out to be a female moose, and you’re only 20 feet away from it, your little stroll in the forest transcends a mere hike. And when her mate shows up, sporting a full rack of antlers, you become positively giddy — until two crotchety senior citizens show up and ruin the mood. Read more >