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Archive for the 'Lake Martin Living' Category

Where to Watch Lake Martin’s 4th of July Fireworks

Lake Martin’s 4th of July fireworks at The Amp is the real deal.  In the Alex City Outlook, it’s called “the Southeast’s largest fireworks show.”  Russell Lands puts on the event, and it runs a full thirty minutes, from 9:00 – 9:30 pm.  There are all kinds of ways to see this amazing show, but here is my two cents on my favorite way to watch.

Best Place to Watch Lake Martin fireworks 2I like to watch them, on land, at the amphitheater.

But there are other options . . .

From the water viewing.  A lot of people like to watch from their boat in Kowaliga Bay.  The boats gathered for the show are themselves a beautiful sight – a city of lights on the water, growing as the skies darken.  Some boats stake out their spot early in the evening.  From the boat, it’s a unique, amazing experience.

Fireworks at Lake MartinSome considerations when planning the boat/firework viewing are 1) the possibility of rain or thunderstorm, and 2) the boat traffic when the fireworks are over.  As far as storms go, it’s July.  It happens.  The weather radar on your phone should help you make this decision.

And traffic-wise, it’s dark when the show is over, and there are always those boat drivers who shouldn’t be operating any kind of vehicle in their celebratory (yet patriotic) condition.  If you’re coming from the east side of the lake, make sure you can navigate all the way home in the dark.  If you’ve never done it, it’s harder than you think.  I would also add some words of caution that are best summarized in this post on the Boat US Site:

Boaters: Don’t Let July 4th Be Your Undoing

Another alternative:  If you happen to have a lake home, or have a friend with a home close to the amphitheater and the Kowaliga Bay area, that’s a great option. A lot of people can see the show from their house and don’t have to worry about the drive home.  Call them now and promise to bring them food.

My vote for the best spot to watch the fireworks at Lake Martin is on land, at The AMP.

You can go as early as 4:30 for the concert that begins at 5:30 and features Nationwide Coverage with guests Sid Phelps and The Bank Walkers (click here for the $15 tickets).  You can go just to watch the fireworks and skip the concert – park for free in the amphitheater parking and watch from there.  (See the Outlook article for more info, or click here for The AMP’s website. Please don’t call me!)  You’ll feel the booming down in your guts – there is so much exploding and blowing up in such close proximity.  And it really does last about 30 minutes.

Remember that you have to drive by car to the amphitheater – there is no water access for boaters.

No matter how you view the fireworks this year, please do it safely and responsibly, and have fun!

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What to Do at Lake Martin on the Fourth of July

Are you spending the Independence Day holiday at Lake Martin?  July 4th is kind of a big deal around here.  In addition to all the regular Lake Martin water activities, here are a few other Lake Martin traditions to be a part of this year:

Best Place to Watch Lake Martin Fireworks

4th of July Fireworks Blast Concert and Fireworks

A huge Lake Martin tradition that takes place at The AMP (amphitheater).  Gates open on Friday at 5:30pm, the show starts at 6:30 pm, and the fireworks are at 9:00 pm.  This is a sho-nuff fireworks extravaganza – come prepared to be impressed.  Parking is free and watching the fireworks is free, but the concert is $15.  You can get tickets here.

I made a video of the setup several years ago, and I still think the whole process is really cool:

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4th of July Boat Parade

10:00 am on the 4th.  It begins at Kowaliga Marina, crosses under Kowaliga Bridge, turns at Children’s Harbor, and heads back to the marina.  To watch the parade, hop in your boat and check out the contestants.  They’re being judged on all kinds of flag and patriotic-related categories: biggest flag, most flags, tallest flag, most patriotic, etc.  Sometimes they throw candy.  And by all means, enter the parade if that’s your thing.  Registration is free at the Russell Lands marinas. Stop in by July 3rd or call (334) 857-2111.

Elvis at Jim’s Bait Shop

Alas – this is a tradition that has sadly ended.  We used to go to Jim’s on July 3rd and hear The King in the parking lot.  If anyone know where the Elvis impersonator is playing, please let me know.

Elvis at Lake Martin

Floating Food

There’s a new food boat out of Parker Creek marina.  I don’t know much about it, but it’s worth checking out.  If you find it and try it out, let us know!  The Nibbler’s boat (totally separate boat) has some really good food and they’re usually based out of The Ridge marina near the Chimney Rock area.

Crossroads Pancake Breakfast

Thursday, July 3rd.  8-10:30 am at the Arts Cabin at Russell Crossroads.  Last year my dad took us and tried to pay my kids $5 to kiss one of the horses on the mouth while he took a picture.  They declined, but another 10 year old boy at the next table said he’d do it.  And he did. 

Arti Gras

July 5th – Food, crafts and art vendors on the Town Green at Russell Crossroads.  Call (256) 212-1416 for more info.  I guess it’s all day.

4th of July Parade at Blue Creek

The parade begins at 11:00am at the north end of Ponder Camp Road and ends at Niffers on Highway 49.  If you’d like to participate, bring your golf carts, bikes, motorcycles, trucks, etc.  Decorating begins at 10:00am at the top of the hill on Olona Drive.  Any questions contact Mickey Forbus at (334) 329-0905.

Alex City Main Street Farmer’s Market

July 5th. If you’re into farmer’s market items like fresh produce, local honey, etc., the Farmer’s Market in downtown Alexander City is every Saturday morning thru the end of October.  I paid them a visit a couple of summers ago:

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Have a fun and safe 4th everyone!  If you’re interested in real estate this week, feel free to give me at call at 334 221 5862.

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24th Annual Alex City Jazz Fest This Weekend!

That’s right, the 2014 Alex City Jazz Fest is June 13th and 14th, and as always, it’s a free weekend of great live music.

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If you haven’t been to Jazz Fest before, I know this sounds cliche, but it really is fun for all ages.

Friday night the concert is held outdoors in downtown Alex City.  Bring your lawn chairs and your food and drinks, and enjoy a laid back night of really good music.  Young families enjoy the bands while their kids run around the picnic blanket, groups of friends or coworkers set up amazing food and contest winning table decor, and the hip, young crowd stays late to close it down.

Saturday night is at The Amp overlooking beautiful Lake Martin.  Again, bring your lawn chairs, your coolers, and your blankets, and watch out if my dad tries to dance with you.  A designated driver is a good idea, both nights, and FYI, everyone has to get to The Amp by car.  There is no boat parking at this venue.

And it is FREE, thanks to the many local sponsors who make this happen, year after year.  We’re proud to be a sponsor again this year.

Here’s the schedule for the weekend.  Enjoy!

2014 Alex City Jazz Fest Schedule

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Grab Your Bike and Meet Me at the Market!

Bike rides and Lake Martin have not always gone together. Hey – we’re not Peachtree City, GA, so you can’t expect large sidewalks and easy peddling.  But lately, biking has gotten a lot better thanks to the cool new trails in Russell Forest.

I’ve got a beautiful waterfront Lake Martin listing in Windermere44 Fairwinds Circle.  It’s a six bedroom home that’s full of upgrades and amazing spaces for entertaining.  In addition to its coveted Windermere location, this home also has access to Russell Forest’s trail system, and that opens up all kinds of off-the-water opportunities unique to Russell Lands neighborhoods.

With 44 Fairwinds Circle plus these trails on my mind, I employed the services of a non professional bike rider to video the adventure of riding bikes from Windermere to Catherine’s Market at Russell Crossroads.  He accepted payment in the form of gelato.  Here it is:

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While its not a trail I would recommend for kids riding Big Wheels and tricycles, it is a pretty easy ride.  The only time my biker had to hop off and push his bike was that last hill from the tunnel up to Russell Crossroads.  But then, he had also just competed in a paddle board race an hour before.  At any rate, it’s a fun ride.

These trails link together the waterfront neighborhoods of Windermere, Windover, Windermere West and The Ridge to west side of Highway 63′s Willow Point.  The central hub of all of this is Russell Crossroads.  Right now the tunnel road is open to hikers, runners, bikers, golf cart and horse riders. I love the it.

I think these trails are especially transformational for Windermere, Windover, and Windermere West which do not have neighborhood amenities (pool, clubhouse, tennis courts, workout center, etc.).  The fact that you don’t have to cross Highway 63 allows new things to happen.  Willow Point people can ride to The Ridge Marina on their golf carts.  People in The Ridge can mountain bike through the tunnel and explore Russell Forest trails.  Homeowners in Windermere and Windover neighborhoods can do all this, plus go to SpringHouse restaurant or Willow Point Country Club.  The ease and sense of community is a big bonus for the already great waterfront homes in these areas.

Here’s the video tour of 44 Fairwinds Circle.  This home is exciting because homes in Windermere, in this price range, typically involve a lot of updating.  THIS HOME is move-in ready with that beautiful balance of rustic and modern design.  It made my job of videoing and photographing easy.

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If you’re interested in this home, or any waterfront property in the Lake Martin MLS, give me a call at 334  221 5862, email me at john @ lakemartinvoice (dot) com, or click here to contact me

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HGTV’s House Hunters Visits Lake Martin!

HGTV fans everywhere discovered Lake Martin last night!

House Hunters featured Lake Martin on it’s Memorial Day 2014 show.  As a Lake Martin realtor, I’ve talked to people from all over the world about Lake Martin’s waterfront real estate – Africa, Turkey, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, and Red Hill, Alabama.   Lake Martin truly has a global reach, and this House Hunters episode is proof of that.

HGTV House HuntersI’m assuming that everyone with a TV knows the premise of House Hunters.  I admit, I’ve had daydreams of bringing America to Lake Martin via this show.  I’m all about real estate videoI currently have 356 videos about Lake Martin real estate on my LakeMartinVoice Realty YouTube Channel!  But I was not the realtor on this House Hunters episode. Erin Johnson of RealtySouth’s Auburn / Lake Martin office really did a fantastic job representing our area, so congratulations, Erin!  (The episode will air again on June 29 at 7:00pm eastern if you didn’t catch it last night.)

A quick synopsis:

A couple from Helena, Alabama, scour the lake for a low maintenance home for their family of five.  Hubby Paul wants a “fish camp style” home, (which is what I call a cabin) with a big yard, and Neely wants a “cottage style” home with granite counter tops.  Will they ever agree?

After the show’s introduction of characters, it gets interesting.  Their price range is the ever popular $350-400k range, and as the couple makes their way through the three homes on their list, I think, “I have two homes for sale right now that are almost identical to two of the homes this family has selected!” Uncanny.

So for all of you who enjoyed last night’s show, and to all of you who are currently house hunting at Lake Martin, I’m going to do a quick  Lake Martin Voice Realty version of House Hunters right here!  To follow the sequence of the Lake Martin episode . . .

First – The cottage style house with all the upgrades.

Paul and Neely walked through a home in The Village.  That home happens to be a door or two away from my listing, 52 Cottage Loop, the good news is it’s the lowest priced home in The Village right now, has a great view, and it’s a toothbrusher (no updates needed, just bring your toothbrush):

52 Cottage Loop on Lake MartinAnd guess what?  I make my own video tours of all of my listings, so tour away, just like on House Hunters!  Here’s the VIDEO TOUR for 52 Cottage Loop.  Isn’t this fun?

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For all of the listing information on this home, please see its page on my blog: 52 Cottage Loop in The Village on Lake Martin.

Next up, the affordable, family friendly, low maintenance home with the big yard.

Paul and Neely saw (and bought) a home with the exact floor plan as a home I have listed, 108 Leisure Lane.  It is virtually the same house on a different lot, and my listing has more shoreline (for a slightly higher price).  For those of you who saw the show last night, the similarities are going to be almost eerie.  Paul and Neely, don’t you agree?

108 Leisure Lane on Lake MartinAnd again, because it is a Lake Martin Voice Realty listing, it already has its own VIDEO TOUR!  I even have my own in-house Suzanne Whang style host to narrate each tour.  No need to wait for the next House Hunters episode:

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For all the listing info on this home:  108 Leisure Lane on Lake Martin.

And Third:  The architect-designed camp style lake home with amazing finishes and charming detail.

Paul and Neely saw a Bobby McAlpine Group designed Camp Home across from Blue Creek Marina and the Highway 49 Bridge.  This home is not currently listed on the Lake Martin MLS.

Similarly, for my Lake Martin Voice Realty house hunting tour, I chose an architect designed home that is not currently on the MLS.  I have a private video tour of a Bill Ingram water access house in The Ridge.  I don’t mean to exclude anyone, but I can’t post my video tour here because it’s not my listing.  But yes, I do make videos of other agent’s homes for my clients and give them a private email link to view the home on YouTube.  So I need to be your real estate agent to give that kind of access.  It is exclusive. 

Private Video TourSo how did I do?  Did you enjoy the tour?  Which home are YOU going to pick?

I end this post with two calls to action today, instead of my usual one:

1) If you are interested in Lake Martin real estate, buying or selling, give me a call.  I help buyers and sellers at Lake Martin, 100% of the time.  It’s my area of expertise.  Give me a call at 334  221 5862, or email me at john (at) lakemartinvoice (dot) com, or click here to contact me.

2)  If you are from HGTV, here’s my shameless self promo:  You’ve seen how picturesque and fun Lake Martin is, and hey – we’re only 2 hours from Atlanta. I know you have studios there!  Knoxville is not far, either! I am not afraid to be on camera, and I will not charge extra for my slow southern drawl.  And I have all kinds of interesting clients with great stories to tell.  HGTV – you may also call please me at 334  221 5862, or email me at john (at) lakemartinvoice (dot) com, or click here to contact me.  Let’s make this happen!

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Music for Memorial Day Weekend 2014

You may have heard – this Memorial Day weekend, there will not be a concert at Lake Martin’s AMP.

However, music will abound at three other popular Lake Martin locations: Russell Crossroads, Chuck’s Marina, and Harbor Docks Restaurant. Here’s the basic info; click on the links provided or call the locations if you need more detail.

RXR Fest 2014 at the Crossroads

RXR Fest 2014

This is the first annual, three day musical event that will take place on the Town Green at Russell Crossroads.  The fun starts Friday afternoon from 6:30-9pm, then Saturday from 2:30-9pm, and Sunday from 2-5:30pm.  For more details and their lineup of musicians, click here or call Russell Lands at 256.329.0835.

You can get to Russell Crossroads by car or by boat, and if you haven’t tried the boat route, it’s an adventure in itself.  I’d go by boat, go early, because boat docking is limited at the pick up spot.

Chuck’s Marina Summer Kickoff

Chuck's Marina on Lake Martin, AL

Grab some of Lake Martin’s best pizza at Chuck’s Marina, and celebrate the arrival of summer on Friday night- May 23rd.  Friday night favorites Bryan Jackson & Jake Corey are playing some of the best summer party music from 8-11pm.  You can like Chuck’s on their Facebook page and keep up with events like this all year long.

For more information about Chuck’s Marina, call (256) 825-6871.

Live Music at Harbor Docks

Harbor Docks Restaurant Lake Martin, AL

Harbor Docks Restaurant (next to Anchor Bay Marina) will have live music on their deck beginning at 7pm on Friday and Saturday nights.  On Friday night you’ll find Kenny Herd, and on Saturday night, Alex Craig (formerly of Trotline). For more information about Harbor Docks, call 334-857-3635.

Happy Memorial Day, and enjoy your weekend, everyone!

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Paddle for a Purpose 2014 Race Recap

Paddle boarding is really taking off at Lake Martin, and this past Saturday’s event is proof.   Here’s a quick video from Paddle for a Purpose ‘s one mile race – I put a couple of GoPro cameras on a board because I thought it would be a cool perspective.

It was a well organized event with eighty or so racers, three races (1 mile, 3 mile, 6 mile), and fantastic weather.  Racers came from Florida, Mississippi, and even Kentucky. Hats off to Sharon at Lake Martin Dock Company for another great lake event!  Proceeds from the race went to worthy local cause – Children’s Harbor.

Just a lot of fun on Lake Martin!

FYI – Lake Martin has its own paddle board groupPaddle Lake Martin – that meets a couple times a month to paddle together.  Check them out here on Facebook.

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If you need a Lake Martin waterfront home, lot, or condo to go with your paddle board, give me a call at 334  221 5862, and let’s talk real estate.  I’d love to work for you!

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SUP the South Race 3 This Saturday at Lake Martin!

SUP the SouthThe 3rd and final leg of SUP the South’s paddle board triple crown takes places THIS SATURDAY at Children’s Harbor!

 The states of Florida, Mississippi and Alabama will be represented by paddle boarders from Paddle Destin, Mississippi Gulf Coast Paddle and Paddle Lake Martin.  Each race will consist of a 1 mile beginner race, 3 mile rec race and 6 mile elite race.  Around here the race is also known as Paddle for a Purpose, because all proceeds benefit Lake Martin’s Children’s Harbor.

Paddle for a Purpose Lake Martin

ANYONE can enter and there’s still time to register!  It’s a super laid back event – my 11 year old is entering the 1 mile race, and my wife is daring me to enter the 3 mile.   If you haven’t tried paddle boarding yet and you’re curious, bring your family and some chairs and enjoy the morning.  Looks like it’s going to be a “clear and pleasant” 80 degree Saturday at Lake Martin.

To catch you up to speed, here are the race dates & locations:

* March 22nd ~ Destin, Florida (Legendary Yacht Club)
* April 26th ~ Bay St. Louis, Mississippi (Bay-Waveland Yacht Club)
* May 17th ~ Eclectic, Alabama (Children’s Harbor at Lake Martin)

1 Mile Beginner Race ($35.00) ~ Surf Style (Male/Female)

3 Mile Rec ($45.00) ~ Surf Style (Male/Female)

6 Mile Elite ($45.00) ~ Surf Style (Male/Female)

T-Shirt and Lunch will also be provided for all racers.

*ALABAMA – http://www.active.com/eclectic-al/paddle-for-a-purpose-paddleboard-race-2014

Here’s a sneak peak of the shirts for this year’s race and the trophies . . . SUP the South TrophiesAnd I’m taking Lake Martin Voice Realty’s swag bag goodies (c/o Lake Martin Crazy.com) to Sharon at Lake Martin Dock today.  Lake Martin Dock Company puts together this event with Children’s Harbor, and they also sell BOTE Paddle boards.  Saturday will be a great day to demo some paddleboards:

 Paddle Board Race Swag Bag StickerHope to see you there!

If  you don’t have a paddle board, and would like to rent one for the weekend, try calling Anchor Bay Marina at 334-857-2654. Ask for Linda Sharman. They rent paddle boards on Lake Martin, but I am not sure if they are rented out or not. But it’s worth a shot! Let her know John Coley said to call!

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Striper Envy

I have been trying to “crack the code” on fly fishing for striped bass on Lake Martin for a while.  I don’t know that I will ever crack the code, so I have adjusted my goal to catch a striped bass, on my fly rod, from my BOTE paddle board. I caught a small striper last summer from my dad’s john boat, so maybe I am inching closer.

Imagine my angling envy in early April:

Striper Fishing on Lake MartinRoger Holliday forwarded me this picture of Kenneth Boone and a striper he caught while they were fishing with David Hare. It seems that they are way ahead of me in the art of fly fishing for striped bass on Lake Martin.

The cause of fly anglers at Lake Martin was also helped in the May / June 2014 issue of Eastern Fly Fishing Magazine.  In page 24, Pete Elkins wrote up a really nice mention of Lake Martin.  He called it “Alabama’s sleeper lake for fly anglers looking for big stripers.”  Mr. Elkins wrote a book about catching striped bass on the fly.  He also wrote a big article in the March / April 2014 of the same magazine about fishing the Tallapoosa River above Lake Martin.  Elkins gave some great tips on the annual movements of striped bass, noting that the best time to catch them on the fly rod is February through early summer.

He also mentioned hooking up with local guides.  As I have noted here before, David Hare is an excellent guide.  His number is (256) 401-3089, and while he primarily is a live bait angler, if you want to fly fish for striped bass, I know he can put you on them. Here are some video interviews I shot with David: Lake Martin Striped Bass.

If you have success, please let me know!

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8th Annual Tallapoosa Basin Conference

Tallapoosa Basin Conference 2014Hey Lake Martin Residents!  SAVE THE DATE!

The 8th Annual Tallapoosa Basin Conference

When: Friday, May 30th, 2014
Where: Auburn University Water Resources Center
559 Devall Drive
Auburn University, AL

After a two-year hiatus they have a LOT to talk about!  Check out the lineup of topics:

  an update on FERC relicensing in the Tallapoosa Basin,

  an overview of water quality, biodiversity and university-based research in the Tallapoosa River Basin,

  a presentation on the award-winning environmental education program at Radney Elementary School in Alexander City,

  updates on watershed stewardship activities in the Upper, Middle and Lower Tallapoosa sub-basins, and,

  how-to for basin residents who want to do their part to minimize polluting our streams, rivers and lakes.

Organizers and sponsors for this year’s conference include the Auburn University Water Resources Center, Alabama Water Watch, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and the AU College of Agriculture.  For more information, call 1-888-844-4785.

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