Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Denver’s Most Noteworthy Buildings

Malo Mansion, Denver, ColoradoWhile attending a meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians in downtown Denver, Colorado, I had ample opportunity to duck out before, between, and after sessions to explore — what else? — the architecture of Denver. While the mountains and fantastic natural surroundings come to mind first when thinking about the Mile High City, its built environment is pretty noteworthy, too. Read more about the top five buildings in Denver >


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Kansas City’s Union Station Is More Than Just a Mecca for Train Lovers

Union Station, Kansas City, MissouriTrain stations have always appealed to me, partly because they harken back to a more romantic, glamorous age of travel, partly because they are the gateways to going somewhere else (and who’s not excited by that?), partly because they’re often fantastic structures. Yesterday’s grand old stations that survived the wrecking ball have been repurposed, now that rail travel has been so severely decimated, becoming destinations in and of themselves. Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, is one such success story of restored glory. Read more about it >


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Appreciating Alabama’s Architectural Heritage

Steiner-Lobman and Teague Hardware BuildingsIn between outdriving projected tornado paths through central Alabama and enduring a fierce electrical storm that knocked out power in my hotel in Montgomery, I had ample time to explore many of the state’s highlights, from a massive battleship to a lazy cruise on the Alabama River to key civil rights sites. Through it all, I kept admiring some remarkable structures, many of historical and architectural significance that have become national landmarks over the years. Read more about the top five buildings in Alabama >


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Big Buildings in Little Rock, Arkansas

Villa Marre, Little Rock, ArkansasMy day trip from Hot Springs, Arkansas, to Little Rock centered around a visit to the state capitol, a stroll through a couple of the half dozen historic districts, and the duck march at what was then the Peabody Hotel. This sleepy capital city (indeed, the downtown felt rather abandoned, and within walking distance of it you’ll feel like you’re in the suburbs, with spacious homes along tree-lined streets) is ideal for strolling, whether it’s along the banks of the Arkansas River, through the Market Hall for some international snacks, or around the historic districts that boast some beguiling edifices, many of which rank among the city’s best. Read more about the top five buildings in Little Rock >


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Beauty and History in Montgomery’s Best Buildings

State Capitol, Montgomery, AlabamaNamed for Richard Montgomery, an Irish-born soldier who became a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, Alabama’s second-largest city has earned numerous national accolades, including being cited as an All-America City by the National Civic League and the Best Historic City by USA Today in 2014. It was the first U.S. city to install city-wide electric streetcars, the setting for parts of the Academy Award–nominated movie Selma, and the birthplace of Nat King Cole, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Hank Williams, Sr. Walking around this historically rich city, I could feel its legacy oozing from its built environment, whether it was the Baptist church where Martin Luther King Jr. served as pastor, or the executive residence of Jefferson Davis at the start of the Civil War. These are my top five buildings in Montgomery. Read more >


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Five Train Stations That Will Make You Rethink Flying

Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, New ZealandNot that long ago, when travel by train was the preferred and quickest way to embark on a vacation or business trip, railroad companies made sure their passengers were impressed by and made comfortable in their stations, whether it was a charming small-town depot or a massive big-city terminal. Many of these stations are still in use today, offering a far more pleasant experience than generic, isolated airports with countless hassles, endless lines, and crushing rules and regulations. Although some have been repurposed to function as everything but what they were originally intended for, they remain architectural jewels in our urban landscape. These are my five favorite train stations in the world. Read more >