Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Opa! It Will Be All Greek to You at Poros in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Poros, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaGiven the diversity of dining options in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Polish, Thai, German, Peruvian, Italian, and so on — deciding on where to have dinner becomes a perplexing, but pleasant, problem. And strolling around the weekly farmers market in landmark Market Square, when more than 30 vendors purvey a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, fresh-pressed juices, milk, cheese, honey, and breads, will certainly put you in a gastronomic frame of mind. You can act immediately on that particular mental state without leaving the square by settling in for dinner at Poros, a stylish Greek estiatorio that’s a fine credit to its culture. Read more >

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Comfort Food in Council Bluffs, Iowa

After a stroll through Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and a visit at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, I started to search for a spot for lunch, but none were forthcoming in this pleasant residential neighborhood. So, after a tour of the Historic General Dodge House, I asked the staff for a recommendation. Both ladies offered the same suggestion: Dixie Quick’s. Nothing fancy, they said, but high-quality food makes it a popular destination. They turned out to be quite right. Read more >


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Savannah’s Best Buildings in America’s Best Historic District

Savannah Cotton Exchange, Savannah, GeorgiaWith hundreds of buildings in Savannah’s five historic districts, it’s virtually impossible to select some favorites, particularly in the Savannah Historic District, one of the largest such districts in the United States. Within its confines, I came across the birthplace of the founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, one of the South’s first public museums, the oldest African American Baptist congregation in the United States, the house that launched the city’s preservation movement, and the third-oldest synagogue and the oldest standing pre–Civil War rail facility in America. Impressive as they are, even these beauties didn’t emerge as my favorites. Read more about the top five buildings in Savannah, Georgia >


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A Singular Serving of Asian Cuisine in the Heart of New York State

The hemp and granola feel of Ithaca, New York, famous for its colleges, farmers market, outdoorsy predilections, and annual musical Porchfest, was in full swing, with plenty of plaid and skateboarders as well as a handlebar mustache or two. So I was more than a little surprised to stumble upon Mia Tapas Bar & Restaurant, an unexpectedly sophisticated pan-Asian restaurant in the heart of the city and one of Ithaca’s finest — and most creative — establishments. Read more >


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Bird Hunting Inside Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Hotel Monaco, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaHaving already stayed at the Baltimore property of Hotel Monaco, I knew what to expect when I checked into the Pittsburgh location: a spotless, comfortable, exceptionally quiet room; great service; perfect location. What I wasn’t anticipating, however, was the whimsical bird motif throughout — subtle little popup appearances in unexpected places, making my weeklong stay in this superior hotel an enjoyable guessing game as I hunted for new feathered friends every day. Read more >


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Fantastic French Cuisine at Pittsburgh’s Le Lyonnais

When Zagat crowned Pittsburgh the number-one food city in the United States in 2015, they knew what they were talking about. During a week in this western Pennsylvania city, I sampled a wide variety of excellent cuisines, from Greek to Thai to Italian to Peruvian to Polish. The best of them all? A superior French restaurant called Le Lyonnais in the heart of downtown. Read more about it >


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Leunig’s Bistro & Café: “The Panache of Paris and the Value of Vermont”

Conceived of by an architecture student, Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, Vermont, brought a touch of Europe to New England. This brick-paved pedestrian-only strip in the heart of the city draws about three million visitors annually to its shops and restaurants, fairs and festivals. At the center of it stands Leunig’s Bistro & Café, a Parisian-style eatery that opened in 1980 with an espresso machine and strains of Edith Piaf, and that has evolved into one of the city’s finest restaurants. Read more >