Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Come Sail Away on the World’s Best Boat Rides

Maligne Lake, Alberta, CanadaWhen the summer heat becomes too oppressive and you’re tired of sitting in enclosed air-conditioned rooms, one of the best ways to cool off is to hop on a boat, whether it’s your own private tricked-out yacht or a workaday municipal water ferry. A refreshing breeze kicks in as the speed increases, cooling your overheated skin and providing a pleasant reprieve. The ride gets more interesting, of course, when you’re traveling and you find yourself on a luzzu in Malta, a paddleboat on the Alabama River, a pletna in Slovenia, or a high-speed catamaran in Saint Martin. Read more about the world’s top five boat rides >

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A-List Churches in Albany, New York

St. Joseph's Church, Albany, New YorkFor a smaller capital city, Albany, New York, teems with iconic structures: the unique state capitol, The Egg performing arts venue, and the sprawling old headquarters of the Delaware and Hudson Railway, now the administration building for the State University of New York. Chief among them are the city’s churches, eight of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Their congregations include Baptists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Presbyterians, and United Methodists. They span a wide variety of architectural styles, and they all enjoy voluminous histories, making a visit to these venerable institutions a very rewarding experience. Read more about the top five churches in Albany >


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Beyond the Gorges: The Five Best Buildings in Ithaca, New York

Stowell House, Ithaca, New YorkIthaca, New York, is famous for its gorgeous gorges, which weave their way around and through the city, providing ample opportunity for its residents, visitors, and thousands of students at Ithaca College and Cornell University to enjoy some of nature’s finest work. When you emerge from these craggy corridors, you can also enjoy some of man’s finest work in the city’s architectural heritage. Read more about the top five buildings in Ithaca >


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Savor the Flavors of the Best Restaurant in Niagara Falls, New York

After a day wandering around both the American and Canadian sides of the Niagara River, crossing the Rainbow Bridge between the two countries by foot and soaking in one perfect view of Niagara Falls after another, I had generated quite an appetite. Back on the New York side, just a couple of blocks from Niagara Falls State Park and all the activity surrounding one of the world’s top five waterfalls, I fortuitously happened upon Savor, the fine-dining restaurant of the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. Read more about the best meal possible in Niagara Falls >


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The Best Artistic Depictions of Palm Sunday

Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New YorkThis coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, a key date in the Christian calendar when millions of Christians around the world commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem — a fateful day that launches Holy Week. Depicted in art for centuries, Palm Sunday is an unmistakable scene, whether it’s been rendered on a canvas or, as in most of the ones that really impressed me, stained glass. Read more about the top five Palm Sundays >


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The Sweetest Restaurant in Buffalo, New York

After a two-mile late-afternoon walk down historic Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, New York, lined with tremendous mansions and noteworthy churches from the city’s heyday, the weather suddenly turned dark, blustery, and chilly. Almost before I began searching for a warm place for dinner, I saw the signage for The Chocolate Bar, the sweetest restaurant in the city. Who could resist that? Read more >


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The Best Depictions of the Real Meaning of Christmas

The Adoration of the MagiDecember 25 is rapidly approaching, and for 2.2 billion Christians around the world, the Christmas season is in full swing. Although the secular aspects of this important holiday increasingly garner all the attention and overshadow the real meaning of Christmas — the birth of Jesus Christ — all you have to do is look at a Nativity scene (or listen to Linus’ beautiful soliloquy in A Charlie Brown Christmas) to be reminded of what it’s all about. For centuries, artists have been depicting that day that changed the world in Nativities in every type of media imaginable. Some of these painters, sculptors, glaziers, woodworkers, and other talented experts broke the traditional mold of just showing the Holy Family in a stable with some hay, farm animals, a couple of shepherds, and the Three Wise Men. I found these works in particular to be the most imaginative, and most memorable. Read more about my top five Nativities in the world >