Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Let There Be Sight

Most Precious Blood Church, New YorkOn the Feast of St. Lucy, celebrated on December 13, followers of the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox faiths venerate the Christian martyr who died a virgin at age 21 in 304. Patron saint of the blind and visually impaired, Lucy’s fame spread around the world, from celebratory processionals in Scandinavia to Dante’s Divine Comedy to the naming of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. I had the good fortune to view the saint’s body, enshrined in a glass-front coffin, in the Church of Sts. Jeremiah and Lucy in Venice, Italy, in 2008, but before and after that, I’ve always been intrigued by how she’s treated in art. Read about the top five artistic depictions of St. Lucy >


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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 >