Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Through The Looking Glass (Inn) and Into a Resplendent Past

The Looking Glass Inn, Indianapolis, IndianaI could have stayed at a new hotel in the heart of Indianapolis, but I was repeatedly drawn to a stunning historic district a mile or two from various points downtown. I was confronting a tradeoff: Stay in the more convenient downtown to have easy access to many of the city’s key attractions and restaurants but lose out on character and charm, or stay in a genteel neighborhood evocative of the city’s golden age but spend more time traveling to and from the city’s main sights. One glance at The Looking Glass Inn made the decision to choose the latter simple. Read about it >


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B-Town’s Best Thai

Bloomington, Indiana, was jumping. Indiana University was hosting an outdoor science fair and recruitment drive that kept its gorgeous campus lively, spilling down popular Kirkwood Avenue. Eventually I made my way to the downtown square and grabbed an early outdoor dinner at Blooming Thai, a family-run business that brings its traditions and recipes from Thailand to hungry diners in Indiana. Read about it >


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An Indianapolis Standby for Food Lovers of All Ages

Harry & Izzy's, IndianapolisIn the heart of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, Harry & Izzy’s attracts an eclectic clientele, from businessmen in suits from the nearby office towers to ladies out for a retirees’ lunch to high school students from across the United States in town for a convention for future farmers. Like me, they were attracted to this upscale American grill that prides itself on a fine menu and refined service amid a sophisticated setting. Read about it >


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Elegance and Luxury in a Small Ohio Village

Fireplace, Granville Inn, Granville, OhioI couldn’t decide on an accommodation in Columbus, Ohio, for a two-night stay. Nothing clicked. Nothing called out to me, “This is the place to stay.” So, after an exhaustive search, I expanded my geographical limits. As soon as I came across Granville Inn, about a half hour east of Columbus, I immediately knew I had found what I was hunting for. And it didn’t disappoint. Read about it >


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Why Not Minot?

Scandinavian Heritage Park, Minot, North DakotaA one-way, 100-mile detour from Bismarck, North Dakota, north to Minot (closer to the Canadian border than to the state capitol) didn’t seem even remotely unreasonable once I discovered that the Scandinavian Heritage Park is located in this northern city. With nearly 40% of its population claiming Scandinavian ancestry, it’s the perfect place for the park—and for me to indulge my ongoing obsession with everything Nordic. Read about it >


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An Old Tavern That Keeps Itself New

The second-oldest bar in Indianapolis traces its roots back to 1887. Today, Tavern at the Point is a friendly, neighborhood watering hole where locals and visitors like me gather for a drink or two and some solid, contemporary gastropub food. Read more about it >


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When the Theater Itself Is the Star of the Show

Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GeorgiaIn the golden age of movie theater construction in the United States between 1910 and the 1940s, moviegoers were treated not only to the featured film, but also a host of collateral offerings, from live music accompaniments to shorts to news reels. And they got to enjoy all of it in sumptuous surroundings that puts modern multiplexes to shame. It’s like comparing watching a movie in a palace to watching one in a boxcar. One theater that brought unimaginable opulence to the general public was Atlanta’s Fox Theatre—an intended Shriners auditorium turned movie palace that went bankrupt less than three years after opening in 1929 and ultimately faced the wrecking ball. Today, it’s one of Atlanta’s most beautiful attractions. Read about Fox Theatre >


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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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A Cabin With a View

Signal Mountain Lodge, Moran, WyomingWhat better way to enjoy Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, one of the most beautiful parks in the United States, than by staying within its 310,000 acres at Signal Mountain Lodge? Located in the heart of the park on the shore of Jackson Lake, this lodge is an idyllic setting to enjoy spectacular scenery, friendly four-legged visitors, excellent meals, and dramatic weather that continually presents one of nature’s free shows. Read about it >


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Get Your Mojo Back at Mojo BBQ

Mojo BBQ, St. Augustine, FloridaAfter an exceptional Mexican dinner at the bustling Casa Reina, I found myself at the more subdued Mojo BBQ the following evening. Also located in the historic district of St. Augustine, Mojo BBQ can definitely satisfy any discerning carnivore, as evidenced by its expansion to eight locations across Florida. And, unless you’re here on a night with live music, it comes with some fairly quiet neighbors. Read about it >