An exhilarating rail bike tour, fresh ideas for kitchen storage, a new book about Midwest wildflowers, tortilla wrap lunches and more, chosen by our editors and writers.


bass point creek high bridge
Credit: Courtesy of Rail Explorers USA

Ride the Rails

Our candy-apple red rail bike flies through farmland and forest, effortlessly gliding along the track, a motion that feels in contrast to the loud clickity-clack it's producing. We're pedaling furiously—though with little effort thanks to a boost from the motor—when we reach the point we've been waiting for: the 156-foot-high Bass Point Creek High Bridge. As we cross, we slow down and look to the left, the sinking sun casting a tangerine glow over the valley and river below. This is Rail Explorers, a 12-mile round-trip ride along central Iowa's Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad. When trains aren't running, riders hop aboard two- or four-person rail bikes for the two-hour tour. Located less than an hour north of Des Moines, Rail Explorers' Iowa operation is one of only four in the U.S. 

Related: Take a Magical Tour of the Boone and Scenic Railroad Via Motor-Powered Rail Bikes

st louis hot dog
Credit: Carmen Troesser

Kick It Up

This isn't your average hot dog—St. Louis' new soccer stadium, CityPark, scores big points with food fanatics. Home to City SC (the only Major League Soccer expansion team debuting this year), it sits between downtown and Forest Park. The team tapped
James Beard Award-winning chef Gerard Craft to curate 20-plus vendors. Fans can nosh on Balkan-inspired kebabs, pork belly bao, empanadas, dressed-up dogs and, in typical St. Louis fashion, toasted ravioli. City SC's first season runs March through

Related: St. Louis is Home to a National Park, Imaginative Museums and Incredible Restaurants

omaha river front
Credit: Courtesy of the Riverfront

River Revival

As an Omahan, I'm super pumped about The RiverFront, a project that connects and revamps three existing parks—Gene Leahy Mall, Heartland of America Park, and Lewis and Clark Landing. Phase one debuted last July, and there's more to come this year, like a year-round skating ribbon!—Katy Spratte Joyce, MWL Writer

Related: Top Things to Do in Omaha

Home + Garden

kitchen storage doorless pantry
Credit: Kim Cornelison

Plenty to See Here

Kitchen storage is typically tucked away, but this doorless pantry in a Minnesota lake house had no place to hide. "Since the room was going to be open to the kitchen, it needed to be beautiful," designer Laura Tays says. She set the tone and palette with tiles by Tabarka Studio, then pulled the cabinetry color (Grays Harbor SW 6236 by Sherwin-Williams) directly from the hand-painted design. The black finish on the sconce, chunky white oak shelves and bronzed hardware are all repeat elements from the adjacent kitchen, where neutrals contrast the pattern party in here.

Related: This Storage-Packed Kitchen Remodel is a Baker's Dream

speckled stoneware look-alike plates
Credit: Kelsey Hansen

Serve an Ace

Nostalgia requires that we never disrespect wicker paper-plate holders, but these textured, speckled stoneware look-alikes are a reusable level-up—and handcrafted in Tom Hunt's home studio in Webster Groves, a St. Louis suburb. Available through TomCatClay on Etsy; $240 for eight 10-inch plates. 

little black rake
Credit: Courtesy of Little Black Rake

Little Rake, Big Appeal

Most rakes are just not built for small or older people! This lightweight one is and makes lawn care a dance.—Helen Karakoudas, Fact-Checker

The Little Black Rake is made in Gladwin, Michigan. $33. 

Related: March Garden Calendar


smiling people planting trees
Credit: Courtesy of Harbor Country News

Give Back: Good to Grow

With Arbor Day nigh, let's hear it for trees: They shelter wildlife, purify the air, help with storm runoff, improve mental health, increase property values and even reduce the effects of climate change. But some states are losing canopy more rapidly than others due to urban development, storms, age and invasive insects, says Melinda Jones, executive director of Releaf Michigan. Founded by arborists and foresters, the statewide nonprofit thoughtfully pairs every tree to an ideal location and only plants large specimens with developed root systems to improve the chances of thriving. Since 1988, volunteers have planted more than 32,500 trees in 650 communities. Releaf Michigan also hosts workshops for families and municipalities. "Together they learn the proper way to plant a tree," Jones says. "They can drive by year after year and say, 'Look how our tree is growing. We helped make that happen.'" 

As part of our Good Neighbors program, highlighting unique Midwest nonprofits and individuals making our communities stronger, Midwest Living has donated $500 to Releaf Michigan.

endangered species stamps
Credit: Courtesy of USPS

Snail Mail

Since 2006, Nebraska photographer Joel Sartore has captured more than 13,000 species (including, yes, snails) for his National Geographic Society-funded Photo Ark project. This year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Postal Service is featuring his work on 20 first-class stamps.

wildflowers of the midwest book
Credit: Kelsey Hansen

Flower Power

I plan to snap photos along my hikes this year, then go home and look up flowers in this book.—Allison Vancura, Digital Editor

Divided by color, Wildflowers of the Midwest features some 1,000 species (Timber Press, $30).


three assorted tacos
Credit: Brie Goldman

That's a Wrap

If I have learned one thing from the brave new world of WFH, it's that my refrigerator's crisper drawer is, in fact, a noontime taqueria. Yours can be too. Half an onion? A chunk of cauliflower? Three kale leaves? Perfect. Set a skillet over medium-high, gloss it with oil—or bacon fat you've been resourcefully collecting in a jar—and fry away, erring on the side of well-browned for flavor. Season your salvaged veggies with salt and pepper, maybe cumin or chili powder. While they sizzle, warm tortillas and rummage for toppings: A scraping of sour cream, a lonely radish, fading cilantro. Time and again, I'm amazed to find that in 15 minutes, a seemingly bare fridge has yielded a colorful, healthful, mostly meatless meal. One small step for the fight against food waste. One giant leap for lunch.—Hannah Agran, Executive Editor

3 Wrap Ideas: 

Fry cauliflower and bell pepper, maybe onion too. Top with salsa, feta or queso fresco, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

Fry onion and garlic; add kale to wilt. Turn off heat and top with grated cheddar or Jack cheese; cover with lid to melt. Top with tomatoes, onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

Fry sweet potato (diced small, for fast cooking), adding onion and chickpeas. Season with chili powder. Top with avocado, sour cream and hot sauce.

Related: 17 Delicious Wrap Sandwiches for Super-Easy Meals

new life recycled glassware cups
Credit: Courtesy of Lake Superior Art Glass

True Blue

When you melt together the waste scraps from glassblowing, all colors fade but one—blue. That's the stuff used in the New Life Recycled Glassware collection from Lake Superior Art Glass in Duluth, Minnesota.
Four shapes are available; each piece is unique. From $38.

on the curry trail book
Credit: Courtesy of Workman Publishing

On the Curry Trail

As an Indian living in the Twin Cities, award-winning cookbook author Raghavan Iyer has spent his life at cultural intersections. So it's fitting, perhaps, that his latest project explores how curry transcends borders. Following aromatic breadcrumbs left by centuries of human history, Iyer's On The Curry Trail takes readers on an engrossing world tour, with 50 recipes serving as signposts along the way (Workman, $30).