Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Houses Give Horses a Run for the Money in Saratoga Springs, New York

Kilmer House, Saratoga Springs, New YorkYou may go to Saratoga Springs for the horses, but don’t forget about the houses. In this utterly charming small city of about 30,000, the racing season brings crowds of summer visitors. During the rest of the year, you’ve got two national museums (one for dance, one for horse racing), plenty of hiking opportunities, spas, a renowned artists’ community, and a massive inventory of gorgeous architecture in numerous historic districts. Read about the top five buildings in Saratoga Springs, New York >


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Fourteen Stops Around a Christian Church

Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, Buenos Aires, ArgentinaOne of the religious highlights of the Lenten season is walking the Stations of the Cross. Christians can follow Jesus’ last hours on earth via 14 stations, from His condemnation to death through His march to Calvary and ultimately His body being placed in the tomb. In Christian churches around the world, these images line the walls, often with seven on one side of the church and seven on the other. Regardless of their simplicity or complexity, they are all works of art. Read about the world’s best Stations of the Cross >


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Busted: The World’s Best Heads

Bust of Queen VictoriaAn artist’s ability to carve a human head and have the result bear an uncanny likeness to the model never fails to impress me. Such busts may very well cause you to do a double-take, as you question yourself whether that is the real flesh-and-blood person, or their image re-created in marble, copper, stone, or whatever other material the sculptor has chosen to employ. Some, of course, rise head and shoulders above the rest. Read about the world’s top five busts >


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St. Stephen Rocks

St. Joseph Cathedral, Buffalo, New YorkAt last count, there are at least nine St. Stephens, including a Byzantine monk, an English abbot, and a Russian painter and missionary. I’m familiar with only two: Stephen I, the man who united Hungary into one nation a millennium ago and served as its first king for nearly 40 years, and my namesake, the Biblical Stephen who was stoned to death for his faith, thus becoming Christianity’s first martyr. With the latter’s feast day coming up, on December 26, it seems like an appropriate time to take a look at how this Stephen is presented in art—very often, but not always, holding the rocks that were used to kill him. Read about the top five depictions of St. Stephen >


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Mediterranean Meals in New York’s NoHo

Originally opened in 1994 as an antique store in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood, Il Buco has since morphed into a wonderfully satisfying restaurant. Creatively blending Italian and Spanish cuisine into a flavorful Mediterranean fusion, Il Buco will effortlessly transport you and your taste buds to Southern Europe. 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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Mangia in One of Little Italy’s Best Restaurants

Tables at Da Nico Ristorante, New York CityNew York’s Little Italy needs help. Slammed by COVID-19 travel restrictions that clobbered its all-critical tourist trade, as well as by neighboring Chinatown’s typhonic expansionism, Little Italy has been shrinking for decades. Now concentrated along Mulberry, Mott, and Grand streets, Little Italy gets littler by the year. But you can still find the oldest cheese shop in the United States (opened in 1892 and now co-owned by actor Tony Danza), the oldest souvenir and gift store in the neighborhood (since 1910), gelato shops and bakeries, a ravioli and pasta store that’s been around since 1920, and a good number of restaurants. I decided to show some love, and financial support, to Da Nico Ristorante, a family business that owns and operates a kitchen where your nonna would be completely comfortable. Read more about it >


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How Great Thou Arch

Queenstown War Memorial, New ZealandThey seem simple: vertical curved structures that span an open space and may, or may not, support weight above it. Of course, arches are much more complicated than that, a complex balance of compression, stress, thrust, bracings, and transference. The Mesopotamians got the jump on them four thousand years ago, but it was the Romans who used them systematically in a wide range of structures, leading eventually to a worldwide adaptation of this most beautiful form. Read about the top five arches >


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Ties to Thais

Thai Farm Kitchen, New York CityNew York’s South Street Seaport used to teem with the arrival of imports from faraway nations and of immigrants ready to start a new life in the New World. Hammered by the collapse of New York’s shipping industry starting in the 1950s, the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and the economic devastation wreaked by COVID-19 in 2020–21, the Seaport has seen its fortunes rise and fall. This resilient district is now rising again, and it still attracts international crowds, especially in its food scene, ranging from Irish pubs to Japanese sushi restaurants. One such standout is Thai Farm Kitchen, which sources its flavorful ingredients not only from new organic farmers in the United States, but from its old partners in Thailand. Read about it >


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Pedal Your Way to New Experiences

Stanley Park, VancouverWhen riding public transportation became a dodgy activity during the pandemic, carless people began switching to bicycles in droves, causing a severe shortage in supply. And now, with spring in full bloom, hopping on two wheels becomes an even more attractive way to get around. Beyond just a mode of transportation to help you accomplish your daily errands, a bike ride for the casual cyclist is also a terrific way to explore a new destination. Read about the world’s top five bike rides >