The most beautiful train routes in the United States

The journey can be as beautiful as the destination!

When travelling we tend to view the journey to our destination as a necessary evil, not something to be savored. But when was the last time you took a train ride you truly enjoyed? One where you weren't constantly scrolling through your social media feeds or fast asleep with your headphones blasting your soundtrack du jour.

Forget road trips where you sit in endless traffic, squinting at Google Maps to find an alternate route while brushing Doritos crumbs off your thighs. Or when the god of travel sticks you next to a red-faced screeching tot on every single flight. Train travel can be about experiencing natural beauty in the comfort of wide cushioned seats and the hypnotic whirring of the wheels hurrying over the tracks—if you let it. Try one of the following trips and luxuriate in the serenity and ease.

Amtrak's California Zephyr

Those craving a West Coast road trip without the traffic should check out this train route. In just over two days, the California Zephyr takes you across almost 2,500 miles of unadulterated American ecological splendor. Starting in the heart of Chi-town (Chicago) and ending up at San Francisco Bay, you'll chug through old mining ghost towns, Denver's imposing Rocky Mountains, the Ruby Canyon and finally, the breathtaking Sierras. For the price (under $200 one way), this expansive journey is not to be missed.

Grand Canyon Railway

When this railway was built in 1901, the Grand Canyon was unknown to the majority of the world. Just 44,000 people visited in 1919 when it first opened. Today over 5 million tourists annually arrive from all over the globe to marvel and explore its craggy depths. The Grand Canyon Railway offers a more relaxed, scenic way to arrive at the park in style—without the stress of fighting the crowds. (Don't worry; you'll have plenty of opportunities to be surrounded by people once you start your hike.) You'll glide through silvery pine forests and unfettered expanses of vast desert, often catching a glimpse of local wildlife like condors, elk, and deer. Should the views start to bore you, take some time to listen to the tips your car host will divulge for visiting the canyon itself. You'll also get to experience a "train robbery" complete with bandits and a horse chase. It's the perfect combination of entertainment and passive enjoyment.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

This Colorado-based railroad was originally used to transport freshly mined silver; its hairpin curves and narrow width were crucial for hugging treacherous mountain bends. Its curves add a jolt of adrenaline to the pure joy you'll experience as you watch the thrashing Animas River and the sky-high cliffs of the San Juan National Forest rush by. At times during your ride you'll be close enough to spit on the canyon's rock walls (but don't), while at other points you'll feel like you're gunning across an invisible track with nothing but the bottomless chasms beneath the wheels.

Sunset Limited

Soak in stunning panoramic views during this ride, which kicks off in the town that invented overindulgence. Starting in New Orleans and going all the way to Los Angeles, you'll get to watch the bayous slowly transform into a scorching desert, where the only signs of life are the occasional scuttling insect. Park guides are happy to narrate your journey during peak season, and you have the option to hop off and explore Saguro or Big Bend National Parks to stretch your legs and get personally acquainted with the beauty of the American Southwest.

Alaska White Pass & Yukon Route

This high-flying narrow rail trail is not for the faint of heart. Reaching heights of almost 3,000 feet in just 20 miles, the train skates over sky-high trestles, glaciers, waterfalls and an aptly named "Dead Horse Gulch." (Once you see the gulch you'll understand.) You'll enjoy an ongoing narration during your three-hour ride in the comfort of a vintage passenger coach, during which time you can marvel at the incredible lengths the original gold-seekers went to seek their fortune. It's tough territory out there, but luckily all you have to do is relax.

Cass Scenic Railroad

In 1901, the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company founded the company town of Cass, West Virginia for the many loggers it employed. Over 100 years later you can ride on the same steam-powered cars that used to haul timber down from the mountain to the mill—only you'll be traveling in much more luxurious accommodations. You'll journey to the top of Bald Knob, West Virginia's third highest mountain in 4.5 hours, feasting your eyes on spectacular views and wildlife the entire way. The tracks follow a steep 11% grade slope, so be prepared to literally sit back and enjoy the show.

Amtrak Cascades

Even if you haven't seen the Twilight movies, which feature gratuitous shots of the lush Pacific Northwest forests, close your eyes and imagine the all-encompassing greenery you'll observe on this trek from Eugene to Vancouver. Once you reach Seattle, the green gives way to the magnificent Puget Sound, and on a clear day you might be able to catch a glimpse of the imposing Olympic Mountains glowering from afar. If you take the train to its ultimate destination in Vancouver, you'll get to admire the picture-perfect Salish Sea, at times riding so close to the edge you'll feel like you're skimming the water itself.

Nantahala Gorge Excursion

Try a 44-mile scenic journey that takes you past the Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers, over the brilliant Fontana Lake, and that finally deposits you at the legendary Nantahala Gorge. Choose from either the first class car, where you'll get to drink in the verdant backdrop through large picture windows over brunch or lunch, or the Premium Open Air Gondola, with half-height walls that allow for soft breezes to ruffle your hair as you travel.

Enjoyable train travel, once reserved for members of high society, is now available to all those traveling throughout the United States. Whether you're traveling on a sleek liner zipping along a river, or a restored vintage car trundling up a mountain, there's sure to be a trip that will turn you into a believer that the journey can, in fact, be the destination.

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Au début de l'année, je me suis donnée pour mission d'essayer tous les restaurants de mon quartier. Mon compagnon et moi avions réalisé qu'il y avait plein de supers endroits qu'on n'avait encore jamais testés. On avait hâte de commencer et on avait tout prévu : ce serait restau tous les vendredi soir ! Puis le confinement est arrivé et les restaurants ont commencé à fermer...

J'étais quand même déterminée à goûter de nouvelles cuisines et de nouveaux plats, par moi-même. Mais après avoir regardé quelques recettes, je me suis vite rendue compte que c'était beaucoup trop compliqué pour moi. J'étais prête à abandonner l'idée jusqu'à ce qu'un de mes amis me recommande HelloFresh, un service de box repas, qui livre chaque semaine tout un tas d'ingrédients frais à domicile.

Curieuse, je suis allée voir les recettes et elles avaient l'air délicieuses ! Mais est-ce que ce serait encore trop compliqué pour moi ? Est-ce ça vaut le coup ? Quand j'ai vu le prix, j'ai sérieusement commencé à considérer l'idée. En plus, le fait de recevoir les ingrédients pour mes recettes, directement chez moi, est super pratique. Comme ça, plus besoin de perdre du temps dans la file du supermarché.

Puisque tout est pré-proportionné, il n'y a pas trop de préparation et les plats sont prêts en 30 minutes environ. Ça facilite vraiment la vie ! On peut même mettre son abonnement en pause ou l'arrêter quand on en a envie. Du coup, j'ai décidé d'essayer.

Voici mes 5 recettes HelloFresh préférées :

1. Risotto au fenouil et saucisse de porc

J'adore la cuisine italienne, surtout les pâtes et les pizzas mais je n'avais encore jamais préparé de risotto. Le faire moi-même me semblait trop difficile. J'ai enfin réussi grâce à la fiche-recette HelloFresh très bien détaillée, qui expliquait tout étape par étape. Le résultat était excellent : du mascarpone crémeux, une saucisse épicée et le goût frais du fenouil… Je le ferai à nouveau, c'est sûr !

2. Burger de sanglier au fromage et chutney d'oignon

On a tous envie d'un bon burger parfois mais je me lasse souvent des associations classiques et traditionnelles. Quand j'ai vu cette version originale proposée par HelloFresh, j'ai tout de suite craqué ! C'était étonnamment savoureux : le chutney d'oignons apporte de la douceur et de la gourmandise à la viande de sanglier. Le tout, évidemment avec des frites maison. Une vraie recette de caractère qui m'a complètement séduite.

3. Rubans de courgette au four en sauce tomate crémeuse

Il y a quelque temps, j'ai pris la décision de manger moins de viande. Et quelle corvée de trouver des recettes ! Moi qui n'ai pas beaucoup d'inspiration normalement, j'en ai encore moins lorsqu'il s'agit de cuisiner végétarien. Heureusement, les recettes végétariennes proposées au menu ont toutes l'air appétissantes et celle-ci est même devenue l'une de mes préférées, toutes catégories confondues !

4. Pain de viande épicé et purée de pommes de terre

Dans ma famille, on a toujours mangé du pain de viande, c'est un plat dont on raffole ! Je n'avais jamais essayé d'en préparer moi-même, préférant déguster celui de ma grand-mère. J'ai donc pris mon courage à deux mains et j'ai suivi la recette HelloFresh… Le résultat ? Des assiettes vides et des estomacs bien remplis ! Un délice.

5. Farfalle crémeuses au poulet haché

Rivaliser avec les plats de pâtes des chefs italiens me semblait impossible, et puis, je préférais les déguster, tout simplement ! Mais depuis que je cuisine avec HelloFresh, je me suis découvert de nouveaux talents et me surprends à concocter des pasta dignes de la mamma. Cette recette crémeuse et gourmande est tellement bonne qu'il n'en restait plus une miette.

Si vous avez envie d'étendre vos horizons culinaires et de découvrir de nouvelles recettes, je vous conseille fortement HelloFresh. Leur menu est très varié (il y a plus de 20 recettes par semaine !), les plats sont délicieux, c'est super pratique et ça facilite vraiment la vie. En plus, ça commence à 4,74 € par portion.

Heureusement que j'ai sauté le pas ! Jetez-y un œil, vous ne serez pas déçu(e)s.

Mise à jour : offre spéciale HelloFresh pour nos lecteurs ! Rendez-vous ici pour profiter de 45 € offerts sur vos 3 premières commandes !

American's obsession with meat began a long time ago—so long ago that meat is an iconic food standard in our society.

It's even a central part of our traditions. What's Thanksgiving without a little turkey? Just like the sky is blue and the grass is green, in America, eating meet simply the way the world turns. Yet, as time goes on, more and more people are moving away from meat—particularly because they have some beef about eating beef.

While it's true that veganism and vegetarianism alike have grown exponentially as trends and lifestyles, there's also truth to the fact that the carnivores of the world are still alive and well. However, the ultimate truth is even carnivores can be environmentalists. If you're curious about how, here's a beginner's guide on how to become a more sustainable meat eater.

Know the Role Animals Play

Certainly, the fact of the matter can be agreed upon: humans are slowly but surely destroying the natural world that surrounds us and living in the direly unsustainable ways. It's hard not to feel those quiet but familiar pangs of grief as climate change steadily increases its impacts.

Nevertheless, it's unjust to put a direct kill-shot on meat consumption when so many other practices are let off the hook quite easily. And even if everyone stopped eating meat, that wouldn't make up for the fact that fossil fuel companies are spewing unbelievable amounts of carbon into the air.

Those who argue point-blank against meat consumption for sustainability purposes fail to see the complete picture. Animals and livestock in particular play an important role in agriculture that no other living being can fill. Still, for those looking to fight climate change with their eating habits, what's essential is not the erasure of meat consumption but a change in the way it's consumed.

Less Is More

Sustainable consumption isn't necessarily about completely cutting animal products out of one's diet. Rather, subtle changes need to be made.

In general, people simply need to be smarter about meat—meaning they need to make wise choices about how much they choose to chow down. Consuming less meat weekly will make a difference, even if you cut it out just once a week. For example, a meatless Monday dinner can significantly reduce the amount of meat you eat. This is one way we can decrease our so-called foodprint: with moderation.

Purchase Pasture-Raised Meat

If you're wondering what else you can do to become a more sustainable meat eater, pay close attention to the type of meat you purchase. Sustainability is about more than just the consumption of less meat. To be sustainable as a meat eater means to be knowledgeable about food production. Look into purchasing meat outside of supermarkets or butcher shops that sell industrial-raised meat.

Consider grass-fed beef or the ultra-popular gourmet beef known as wagyu. Buying meat that's raised with intention and all-natural tender loving care may come at a higher price, but it will change the way you value and appreciate your food. This is a pragmatic solution.that will help you increase your sustainability efforts as the years go on.

Hello, 2021! I'm here and ready to rumble! After the craziness that was 2020, I am more prepared than ever to face a new year and whatever challenges may come my way.

I've decided that while I can think on my feet better than last year, at my core I'm a planner which means I love a good checklist.

This year I've decided to ditch the new year's resolution and go straight for a checklist to make sure I'm ticking off the boxes to being my best self. There are so many angles to approach this lofty goal from, so I've narrowed it down to 2 key areas: health and wealth. My body and my wallet both got hit pretty hard with all the strain from 2020, and I'm ready to get back on track and prioritize them.

Here's what I'm doing to be my best 2021 self:

✔Signing up for Aaptiv

Fitness is at the forefront of my checklist. After months cooped up at home and countless hours of sitting on the couch, I'm ready to push myself back into shape.

However, I'm not great at getting myself through a workout - and getting to a gym right now is just not possible. I tried the at-home workouts … once, and I just hated searching YouTube for videos and then dealing with ads. A friend recommended I try Aaptiv.

Aaptiv is an exercise app with audio and video workouts taught by certified personal trainers with curated playlists. You can choose fitness classes based on the trainer, intensity, genre of music, and the type of workout. I'm sticking to a short 10-minute stretch every day and then want to work in some strength training. The best part is that there's no need to have any equipment!

Having someone "there" to guide me through and motivate me along the way is amazing. Aaptiv is a subscription and you can get it for either $49.99 (50% off for a limited time, normally $99.99!) a year or $14.99 a month. This is the best subscription I'll have in 2021 and I can always cancel at any time.

✔Getting a giant water bottle

I'm the person who always laughed at those huge, gallon water bottles that people lug around… and now I'm getting one. I've been slacking on hydration and my body is really starting to feel it: headaches, dry skin, and just general fatigue. Since I'll be working out more, it's important to drink more water as they go hand in hand.

Now that I'll have my gallon of water for the day by my side there's no excuse. I can even set drinking more water as a daily goal in Aaptiv- another reminder never hurts. Can't wait to see the positive effect this will have on my day-to-day mood.

✔Downloading a finance tracking app

A big part of my goals is wealth. I've got health covered so now I need to focus on finances. 2020 took its toll on my wallet from the unforeseen expenses to all the impulse, online shopping (anyone else had a package arriving every day?).

To recover and secure a strong financial future I'm tackling my weekly budgeting. Right now, I simply keep track of my budget … in my head. It's not the best per se but it had been working out, or so I thought.

Using an app allows me to set a weekly budget and then track purchases, bills, and income. Hopefully, with this app I'll be able to really save in 2021 and who knows, maybe even plan a vacation for 2022!

I'm nervous about the new year but with this list checked off I know I'm setting myself up for success. My Aaptiv workouts will help both my physical and mental which will only be strengthened by my newfound hydration and growing savings.

Get a fresh start in 2021 with these 3 easy, effective, and smart goals that you can check off right away. Good luck and hope you have a healthy and wealthy new year!

EXCLUSIVE: Aaptiv is giving our readers a limited time offer! Sign up now to get your first year 50% off!