Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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The World’s Best Urban Parks

Watching a group of Asian senior citizens practicing the slow movements of a choreographed dance. Making friends with a red squirrel. Hearing someone rail against the evils of plutocracy. Standing under a 165’ Douglas fir. You never know what you’ll find in a city park, and that’s one of their many attractions. And the best parks that make all that possible smack in the middle of a city do it in unforgettable style. Read about the top five urban parks >


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The Firehouses That Burn the Brightest

Jasper Fire Hall, Jasper, AlbertaThe word “hero” is employed far too often to describe someone who simply does his or her job, or someone you might have a shred of admiration for. In fact, the word is quite in danger of verbicide. The shortstop who makes a great catch is not a hero; your favorite reality star is certainly not a hero. In a world that is seriously lacking in true heroes, it’s heartening to know that there is one group that deservedly earns the accolade every day: firefighters. And societies have acknowledged their selfless bravery and critical role by constructing some highly impressive buildings for them from which they perform their duties. Read about the world’s top five firehouses >


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More Than the Goddess of Wisdom: Minervas in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Since it opened nearly 40 years ago, Minervas has expanded to 10 locations in the upper Midwest. But its original venue in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is still the most elegant. I came upon it by accident, while I was roaming around the downtown area and admiring the artwork of the annual SculptureWalk dotting the sidewalks. The unassuming brick building featured an outdoor seating area of about a dozen tables protected from the street by globular planters overflowing with pink and yellow flowers and occupied by happy diners enjoying both their meals and the view of the historic 90-year-old State Theatre across the street. That — and the tantalizing menu under glass — was more than enough for me to step inside for dinner. Read more >