Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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A Century of Fine Dining at Jack’s Oyster House in Albany, New York

Just a short walk downhill from the gorgeous New York State Capitol and near many of Albany’s top churches, along the city’s main downtown thoroughfare, Jack’s Oyster House has been in business for more than 100 years. Still operated by the same family, this stalwart establishment has remained open for business every day of the year since World War I—with one exception: the day of the founder’s funeral in 1987. That sort of dedication earned Jack’s a certification from the Distinguished Restaurants of North America for achieving the highest distinction in the distinguished dining and hospitality communities. But Jack’s doesn’t rest on its laurels; the head chef, named Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation, merges its history with forward-looking creations. Read more >

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Italian Immigrants Keep It Real at Sorge’s in Corning, New York

I devoted most of my only day in Corning, New York, to the outstanding Corning Museum of Glass, where I admired thousands of fantastic glass objects and took a flameworking class and created my own glass pumpkin pendant. By the time I emerged, the sun had shifted to the opposite end of the sky, and I was ready for a large meal. Just a couple doors down from my lodgings, the wonderful Inn at the Gaffer Grille, I found Sorge’s. This was hardly a discovery — everyone in town seemed to be there already — but it was certainly a stroke of good decision-making when I chose it for dinner. Read more >


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Exploring the Urban Landscape of Vicksburg, Mississippi

City Hall, Vicksburg, MississippiAround this time of year 155 years ago, the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, was under siege in a pivotal Civil War moment. A Union victory here, the last major Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, spelled the beginning of the end for the South. The city survived, however, growing into a major trading center that relied on steamboat traffic and erecting impressive structures that reflected its boom and that still survive today. Read more about the top five buildings in Vicksburg, Mississippi >


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A Century of Style and Grace: New York’s Woolworth Building

Woolworth Building, New York, New YorkOnce the tallest building on the planet — a title it retained for 17 years in the early 1900s — it now ranks at #63 in the United States and doesn’t crack the world’s top 100. Despite surrendering its lofty crown, the Woolworth Building retains its elegance and style that have been hallmarks of the New York City skyline since 1913. Although it’s getting increasingly harder to see as taller, less interesting neighbors sprout up around it, the Woolworth Building still puts other skyscrapers to shame, and once you take your first glance at it, you’ll understand why my favorite building in New York earned the moniker the “Cathedral of Commerce” only three days after it opened. Read more >


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The French Food Connection in Washington, D.C.

Not far from my hotel in Washington, D.C., and conveniently located just a block from the Metro station I was using on a regular basis, Café Soleil was the restaurant I kept passing by on my way elsewhere. Finally, after a week of exploring the American capital, including some of the city’s best churches and the fantastic interior of the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, I skirted around the restaurant’s flowerboxes and wrought-iron fence under the red awning and entered a heavenly petite slice of France. Read more >


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Five Reasons to Be Bowled Over by Boulder, Colorado

Celestial Seasonings, Boulder, ColoradoSometimes you need a couple of days to adjust to the vibe of a new locale, such as deciphering the byzantine mazes of Venice or ramping up your pace in midtown Manhattan. Other times, you instantly feel comfortable, as if you’re a native returning home to a place where you’ve always felt at ease. For me, Boulder, Colorado, was one of those rarities when I was instantly lovestruck. Rich in outdoor recreational opportunities, a thriving arts and culture scene, and a diverse array of restaurants, from Tajik to Brazilian to Italian, Boulder boasts everything a small city could possibly offer — and drops it all amid astounding scenery. Read more about the top five things to see and do in Boulder >


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All Things Irish in Washington, D.C.’s The Dubliner Restaurant

The Dubliner, Washington, D.C.On St. Patrick’s Day, when Irish folk celebrate this revered saint and everyone else is invited to wear something green and be Irish for the day, you could head to the Emerald Isle to explore Dublin’s top attractions, hike around Killarney National Park, or visit the country’s most beautiful churches. If your plans preclude that, you can still partake in the revelry by attending a parade or popping into an authentic Irish pub or restaurant in your hometown. And one of the places that does it best — right down to the music and the accents — is The Dubliner Restaurant and Pub in Washington, D.C. Read more about it >