Life on the creative side

Posts tagged “travel

Life on the Creative Side: A South American Travel Adventure

Nate's US bike trip 2009

Living life on the creative side takes as many different paths as there are creative people traveling them. At Blue Antler Studio creativity is celebrated  in everything from food and gardening to art, crafting and sewing; from woodworking to up-cycling old things: and  from gatherings to  travel  – and now I am excited to share a great new  travel blog – from a seat with a view – a South American travel adventure.

Meet Nate, my baby boy…

nate rock climbing

OK he’s really an independent twenty-two year old man, but to me he will always be my sweet baby bean (born several weeks premature and under 4 lbs, he was no bigger than a bean).

Although still a young man, Nate and his buddy Caleb have inspired me to expand my perspective of  life on the creative side and now you can be inspired by them as well.

nate and caleb in california

After graduating from high school these two childhood friends decided to shake things up, to challenge themselves to live outside the common place, to seek out and live more creative, rewarding lives. Travel would be the vehicle; but  with limited finances they had to get creative: the solution – a journey across the country, unsupported, on their bicycles. Along the way they made new friends,  great memories and the promise to live their best lives.

Nate's US bike trip 2009, prelude to south american travel adventure 2012

Sleeping under the stars, an occasional bridge, in hammocks, tents and now and then the home of someone willing to take them in, they spent three months exploring the US and its diverse and generous people; they were hooked. So after graduating from Auburn University, Nate headed off to Alaska where he worked as a naturalist and guide,

nate in alaska 2012 earning money for south american travel

while Caleb took a job as a bike courier and parks employee to earn money for the next adventure – biking through South America! Their adventure, and my anxiety (I can’t help it, I’m a mom), begins November 8, 2012 when they fly to Quito Ecuador. Click over to their blog from a seat with a view where you can see some great pics of their first trip and follow them  as they embark on their great South American travel adventure.

Wonderful, Lemony Limoncello to Make and Share

making limoncello, peeling the lemons

During my first trip to Italy I spent a short time on the stunning Amalfi Coast where I was introduced to a wonderful, lemony concoction – limoncello, an Italian digestivo.

me on the amalfi coast

In every village I visited along that breathtaking coast, I came across the lemony after dinner liquor. I was fortunate and had a contact in the area who arranged  a tour of a small limoncello producer.  The tour concluded with a tasting; as it turned out, nearly everyone  in the region brews their own version of the elixir so, fortunately for me,  my first tasting was not my last.

amalfi coast

All these years later,  I still enjoy an occasional after dinner sip of the Italian liquor; but now I also enjoy making my own version  and sharing it with family and friends.

The process for making limoncello is very simple…

Making limoncello with everclear

12-15 large lemons (you want the lemons to have bright yellow skins)
2 – 750ml bottles of Everclear (I have also used 100-proof vodka)
3-4  cups sugar
5 cups water



making limoncello, zesting the lemon peel

Carefully wash and gently grade, into long strips or strings, the peels of the lemons (You can use a veggie peeler, being careful to avoid the white pithy rind as it will make for a bitter batch) .





making limoncello, peels in everclearPut the peels and the alcohol  in a lidded glass jar (plastic wrap can be used instead of a lid) – place in a dark place for at least 7 days (I steep mine  for up to 3 months).

The alcohol will gradually take on a lovely yellow color




making limoncello, boiling simple syrupAfter steeping for the desired time –

Mix together sugar and water – bring to a gentle boil and boil for 5-7 minutes – making a simple syrup

Completely cool the simple syrup

Once cooled pour the simple syrup  into the lemon/alcohol mixture  – continue to steep for another 5-7 days


home made limoncello

Finally strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth or coffee filters (dampen coffee filter first)

Store in tightly lidded glass bottles in the freezer

Finally, invite over friends and share the sweetness of your limoncello and some dolce vita – sweet life.


Up North Maine

mount kineo moosehead lake maine

mount kineo moosehead lake maine

If you ever thought about visiting Up North Maine I have a special place to tell you about.  A scenic two and a half hour drive north of Bangor, on a small but dramatic island on Moosehead Lake, there is an old Arts and Craft style lodge sitting in the shadow of the impressive rock face of  Mount Kineo. The historic Oak Lodge is owned and operated by some good friends of ours whose welcoming and laid-back style has cultivated a loyal clientele.  Many of their seasonal bookings are returning guests who come to enjoy the company of the proprietors as much as the golf course,  hiking and nature viewing. Having known the Musser family for many years we can certainly understand why.

moose on a maine road


dock at the oak lodge

flowers of the oak lodge

Our last visit happened to be over the 4th of July, so we got to participate in the annual golf cart parade and island lobster boil and picnic.

kineo Island golf cart 4th of july parade

4th of July parade pup participant

4th of july picnic


We had a great time visiting, hiking, rock climbing, canoeing and fishing.

hiking in maine

high hike in maine

repelling mount kineo

canoeing moosehead lake

So if you ever have the opportunity, take a trip up north to Maine, Moosehead Lake and the historic Oak Lodge. fishing in maine

the oak lodge maine

The Oak Lodge, Kineo Island, Moosehead Lake, Maine

historic marker oak lodge

Beautiful Belize!

patojo's dive shop belize

maya temple, belize

For the past five days we’ve dined on fry jacks in cafes with sand floors, climbed ancient temples, swam through coral kathy sail and snorkel belize 2011canyons and huddled, with six of our dearest friends, under a patojo's dive shop belizebright red tarp in a boat speeding through the rain and tight, twisting, mangrove channels, lined with monkeys, exotic plants and birds.


We just returned from a wonderful, albeit wet, weekend on Ambergris Cay; a small island in the Caribbean off the coast of Belize. It claims the second longest barrier reef in the world, which also gives it boasting rights for  world-class diving. Off the beach there are beautiful rivers, Maya ruins and quaint villages filled with skilled craftsmen to explore.

My hubby and I were traveling with a group of friends on our annual couple’s trip. The group has been traveling together every year for ten years. The trips are about being together with good friends and loving partners.  To remind us that we are more than mothers and fathers, more than engineers, accountants, veterinarians, admins, teachers or artists; we ladies put on our sexiest clothes and attitudes (sorry kids) and our men fuss over how lovely we are and we spend a long weekend being couples.

    ↓    justine   mark   ↓ wild river ride in belize 2011justine mary and kathy belize 2011

 jewlery artisan belize 2011

belize 2011

belize carving

Belize carving


belize jewlery


carved bowl and spoons from belize

Carved bowl fork and spoon from Belize