Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Three Days in the World’s First National Park

West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National ParkI had wisely chosen early autumn as the time of year to visit Yellowstone National Park. Post–Labor Day, the school year had begun a few weeks before, the summer crowds had dissipated, and the weather had cooled substantially — perfect conditions for spending three full days in the oldest and most diverse national park in the United States. Read more >


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Dining at an Old Favorite in Wichita’s Old Town

Within a couple of blocks from the wonderful Hotel at Old Town in Wichita, Kansas, I found a terrific place for breakfast (Egg Cetera) to start my day, and an equally terrific place for dinner — Larkspur Bistro & Bar — to finish off the day of exploring this historic district with a dinner distinguished by a remarkable fusion of flavors and textures in a warm and friendly setting. Read more >


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50 Candidates, 5 Winners: The Most Beautiful State Capitols in the United States

Missouri State CapitolAs Washington, D.C., continues to fail to deliver meaningful, beneficial change to the vast majority of Americans, state governments step up to fill in this appalling lack of action. From minimum wage increases to environmental legislation, governors and state senators and representatives enact changes on a local level. And many of them around the country get to do that in what is very often the most beautiful building in the capital city of their respective state. From domed cruciforms to tower skyscrapers, from a circular structure to a building that looks like a French palace, U.S. state capitols are brimming with history and run a gamut of architectural styles (some more successfully than others). Read about the top five capitols in the United States >


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Taking a Break on the World’s Best Benches

Bench in Idaho Falls, IdahoThey’re the perfect spot for people watching, or dog watching, if you prefer. They’re shady respites on hot afternoons. They’re ideal for your lunchtime escape from your office. Benches invite us to relax for a bit, whether it’s to catch up on some reading, admire a renowned piece of art, enjoy a beguiling view, or spend some outdoor time with your significant other. When the benches themselves become the attraction, however, they transcend a simple place to sit. Read more about the world’s top five benches >


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The Churches of Pittsburgh: Very Diverse, All Beautiful

From the top of Mount Washington, I took in the fantastic view of the skyline of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of the best urban views in the United States. Connected to the land across the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers by its iconic yellow bridges, this pie-shaped section of the city rises heavenward with its shiny skyscrapers, which (unfortunately) effectively hide one of the city’s lower-rise assets: its gorgeous houses of worship. Read about the top five churches in Pittsburgh >


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A True Fish Tale at Ivar’s Acres of Clams in Seattle

After exploring the Seattle Aquarium and looking out at Elliott Bay in Seattle, Washington, I was immediately starting to crave fish for dinner. I strolled down Alaskan Highway, a strip of shops, restaurants, and attractions along downtown’s edge that abuts the bay and the multiple piers that jut into it, to Ivar’s Acres of Clams, not only for some wonderful seafood but also for a wonderfully odd, colorful, and fascinating history. Read more about it >


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Big Flavors at Big Water Grille

My family was celebrating both the pending nuptials of my brother, and my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary. So seven of us converged on Big Water Grille, a fantastic restaurant that has been tucked into the mountains in Incline Village, Nevada, for more than 20 years. Overlooking Lake Tahoe from the northeast, the views vie with the menu, and you’ll love both equally as you celebrate a special occasion, or no particular occasion at all. Read about Big Water Grille >