Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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British Columbia’s Best Buildings

Sun Tower, Vancouver, British ColumbiaFrom its rugged Pacific coastline to its dramatic Rocky Mountain spine, British Columbia is one heck of a beautiful Canadian province, ideal for athletes and nature lovers. But urbanites shouldn’t feel excluded in this vast, wild region. They’ll feel right at home in the two largest cities, Vancouver and Victoria, that teem with cultural events as well as some impressive architecture. Read about the top five buildings in British Columbia >


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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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Food With a Mood

Chaophraya, Glasgow, ScotlandThroughout my travels, I’ve eaten in a vast variety of settings. Some of them would hardly classify as formal, although the quality of what they served was shockingly good: the stand in Bergen, Norway, that peddled a delicious Jagtwurst, the street cart in Uppsala, Sweden, with the sweetest raspberries imaginable, the barbecue joint in Brooklyn with brown-paper placemats that served astoundingly tender pulled pork. But sometimes I crave something unique—a restaurant with atmosphere and an unmistakable sense of place and history that supplements the dining experience to such a degree that I’m still able to recall it fondly decades after I went here. Read about the top five atmospheric restaurants >


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Finland’s Fantastic Churches

German Church, Helsinki, FinlandIn 1900, nearly the entire population of Finland belonged to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Today, only about two-thirds identify with that faith. That’s not the only thing that has changed: Just under one-third have no religious affiliation at all. One thing that has not changed, however, is the beauty of the churches where Finns (although not as many) go to attend to their spiritual needs. Read about the top five churches in Finland >


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Post’s Present

Old New York Times BuildingGeorge Browne Post should be a household name, but for most people, he is not. And that’s a shame. Post (1837–1913) was one of the United States’ most prolific, most creative, and most respected architects. We can curse the evil wrecking ball for shunting Post to the forgotten architects bin. If you were to scan a list of all his brilliant works, far too many would bear an asterisk with the note “demolished”: the Erie County Savings Bank in Buffalo, New York; the Cotton Exchange, Western Union Building, World Building, and Collis P. Huntington Mansion in New York City; the old Borough Hall in the Bronx, New York; the Bonner-Marquand Gymnasium at Princeton University; the Prudential Building in Newark, New Jersey; the Bank of Pittsburgh—all gone. Those that remain, however, are reminders of Post’s enviable talents that attracted such clients as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Joseph Pulitzer, and The New York Times. Read about the top five works by George Browne Post that still remain >


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R&R at the Best B&Bs

Barn Anew, Scottsbluff, NebraskaI tend to spend a good amount of time poring over websites when choosing accommodations for a trip. It’s a tricky (but tremendously fun) endeavor, with many factors coming into play: type, location, amenities, cost, convenience, reliable cheers and jeers, and, of course, gut instinct. One group that, as a whole, is guaranteed to offer a level of coziness, slow-paced relaxation, and personal touches you probably won’t find elsewhere is bed and breakfasts. You’ll meet more people, have finer morning meals, and remember the names of the owners long after you’ve returned home. Read about the top five bed and breakfasts >


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Allelujah and Amen, Atlanta!

Central Presbyterian Church, AtlantaMore than one thousand churches are scattered around Atlanta, Georgia. The destruction of the Civil War did away with the oldest ones, so all of those that I was admiring were erected after 1865. It’s not uncommon to see clusters of them in, say, a two-block radius—churches built for different denominations and faiths—which makes it exceptionally convenient to cast a not-so-wide net and still visit an abundance of these beautiful buildings. Read about the top five churches in Atlanta >


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Standout Buildings of Sioux Falls, South Dakota

First Congregational Church, Sioux Falls, South DakotaChartered in 1856, Sioux Falls didn’t take very long to swell into the largest city in South Dakota. With a population growth over 10% every decade since 1910, the city started erecting fantastic buildings almost from its earliest days. Many of them, from municipal masterpieces to residential gems, still survive as some of the city’s defining structures. Read about the top five buildings in Sioux Falls, South Dakota >


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Back to School

Lawyers' Club, University of Michigan, Ann ArborClasses are about to start again (cheers from parents, groans from their children). For travelers, it’s the perfect time to visit college campuses as they return to life. These academic oases can draw you in with special events, performances, and exhibitions that are open to the public, whether it’s at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta or at the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. But even if nothing is going on, I’ve found that their inviting grounds and attractive buildings remain appealing all year long. Read about the top five college campuses >


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Seeing Red

Japanese maple treeRed is an extreme color. For many, it’s all about love and passion. What would Valentine’s Day be without red roses or red heart-shaped boxes of candy, presented by the revered red-blooded American, perhaps, in some cases, to his red-hot mama? Those emotions, however, can lead to danger, another of the color’s associations—The Scarlet Letter, for instance, or stop signs and stoplights and code reds. You’ll see red if you’re angry and overheated, and if you’re a politician on the rise, you’ll need to don the requisite red power tie. But not everything red is so intense. Plenty of red things around the world have nothing to do with its common links, and they’ll make an equally strong impression on you. Read about the top five reds >