Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Beyond the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower, San Antonio, TexasOne of the largest cities in the United States — seventh, by population, and 13th by land area — San Antonio is known for quite a few attractions, particularly the revitalized and reimagined River Walk, and, of course, the Alamo, both of which snare the majority of visitors to this Texas city. Given its vast geographical size (461 square miles), you’ll need a car to take in some of the other highlights, such as the McNay Art Museum, the San Antonio Botanic Garden, the Japanese Tea Garden, and the King William Historic District, one of the top 10 U.S. historic districts. But a fairly compact core easily offers up most of the city’s best — and most memorable — achievements in its built environment, and wise travelers will happily stray from its top two attractions to find them. Read more about the top five buildings in San Antonio, Texas >

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When Spring Springs in the World’s Best Botanic Gardens

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, New YorkEvery spring, as we bid winter goodbye, the time comes to terminate our hibernation and return to the outdoor world. One visually invigorating, and very gentle, way to re-acclimate ourselves is to visit a botanic garden. These oases of flora, very often in the heart of concrete urban clusters, can stir your soul, as the annual rebirth begins and plants, birds, animals, and insects get busy once again. Read more about the top five botanic gardens in the world >


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Traveling the Mission Trail in San Antonio, Texas

Mission San José, San Antonio, TexasFour missions along a 12-mile road in San Antonio provide an intimate, hands-on glimpse into the era of Spanish colonialism in Texas. These self-contained communities from the 1700s are historic, beautiful, and serene, and you can easily understand and appreciate their original purpose, made self-evident by their buildings and layout alone. And they’re all better than the Alamo. 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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Five Caves and Caverns of Subterranean Marvels

Natural Bridge Caverns, TexasEvery guide on every cave tour I’ve ever been on has asked the inevitable question: What is the difference between a stalactite and a stalagmite? Having been to more than a dozen caves now, the answer is easy: Stalactites hang tight from the ceiling; stalagmites grow up from the floor. One day, millions of years down the road, they may connect to form a column. They’re extraordinary to see, but these two formations are just a couple of the natural wonders that lie beneath the earth’s surface. Throw in flowstones, boxwork, ribbons, curtains, popcorn, soda straws, helicites, rivers, pools, and the odd creature or two, and these underground wonderlands become some of the most fascinating places on earth. These are my favorite caves and caverns in the world. Read more >


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Five Post Offices That Truly Deliver

Post Office, Ljubljana, SloveniaIn the present era of instantaneous communication and e-everything, post offices around the world are in serious decline. But it wasn’t all that long ago when post offices were the lifeline of nations, delivering long-anticipated letters, critical documents, history-making news, and packages of all shapes and sizes. Their vital importance was reflected in the grandeur of the buildings that housed them . Although some of them no longer serve their original purpose, these are my five favorite post offices in the world. Read more >