Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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The Depthless Southern Charm of Natchez, Mississippi

Temple B'nai Israel, Natchez, MississippiWith a population that has been almost halved since its peak of only about 24,000 in 1960, Natchez, Mississippi, could easily become a forgotten, dying backwater along the Mississippi River. But its rich history, grand setting, elegance, and hospitality help maintain its relevance as one of the South’s most charming cities, particularly for those interested in heritage tourism. At the city’s zenith, more than 500 millionaires called it home — more than any other U.S. city except New York. They left behind a treasure trove of outstanding architecture that still lures a steady stream of visitors, including me, who come to gape at more than 600 antebellum structures — the largest collection in the United States. Read more about the top five buildings in Natchez >


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When Nature Has Fun: The Best Natural Curiosities

Hoodoos, Alberta BadlandsMalta’s Azure Window. Aruba’s Natural Bridge. New Hampshire’s Old Man of the Mountain. Four of Australia’s Twelve Apostles. All were beautiful, quirky sites carved by the forces of nature, and all were destroyed by the very same forces. If you are fortunate enough to have seen them before their demise, you undoubtedly have a fond memory; if not, you’re out of luck—they’re gone for good. But fear not: Plenty of other one-off oddities still exist around the world. You just have to make sure you get to them before storms and erosion make them things of the past. Read more about the world’s top five natural curiosities >


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A City Break Within a City: San Diego’s Balboa Park

Balboa Park, San DiegoOne of the many jewels in the crown of San Diego, right up there with impeccable weather and fantastic restaurants, Balboa Park presents an urban oasis of 1,200 acres filled with green belts, walking paths, a variety of cultural institutions, and, of course, the San Diego Zoo. If you want to escape the city without actually leaving the city, this is the place to go. Read more >


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Comfort Food at Its Best at Omaha’s Twisted Fork

I had already found, somewhat miraculously, a fantastic upscale seafood restaurant in the heart of cow country in Omaha, Nebraska. But now I was feeling a bit more carnivorous, with a yen for beef and something self-indulgent that would never be approved by a personal trainer or a nutritionist or a cardiologist. But treats like that are what vacations are for, and the Twisted Fork delivers in every way. Read more >


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Key West’s Key Buildings

San Carlos Institute, Key WestKey West, Florida, is quite literally the end of the road, the final stop along the Overseas Highway, one of the world’s top 10 drives. The richest city in Florida and one of the richest in the United States in 1889, despite its isolation, Key West’s glory days didn’t last very long: It declared bankruptcy in the 1930s. During that short time span, however, the city thrived on its tobacco factories and shipwreck salvage industry, creating handsome structures while wisely maintaining a low-rise profile better suited to survive the annual threat of hurricanes. Read about the top five buildings in Key West >


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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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A Must-see Library Even if You Are Not a Bookworm

Jefferson BuildingWith so many outstanding museums to visit in the capital of the United States, not to mention the White House and the U.S. Capitol to see how the government is supposed to function, it’s easy to overlook a library, and I had no intention of visiting one. But, uphill from the Capitol, the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress presented an alluring Beaux-Arts profile that I couldn’t resist. Once inside, I was wonderstruck by one of the most sumptuous interiors in all of Washington, D.C. Read more >