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Archive for the 'Lake Martin Living' Category

It Ain’t Braggin if it’s the Truth

One of the subjects that stretches my empathy to a breaking point is when someone chooses to buy waterfront property on a lake other than Lake Martin.

Now, let me just put out the disclaimer that I understand intellectually that there are other nice lakes here in the United States. In theory, my brain accepts the academic concept that not all people would choose to be on Lake Martin; however, I must admit a high level of flabbergast when I am told by a buyer that they have decided to find a home on a lake besides Lake Martin.

Lake Martin is the BEST

When it comes down to it, especially if the person has visited our fair lake and seen all we have to offer, how could they possibly walk away?

I will say that it does not happen very often.

Maybe it’s because buyers that are really fired up about other lakes just don’t call Lake Martin real estate agents. But in my line of work, I do speak to a lot of people that are looking to buy waterfront property on a warm, Southern lake, and therefore considering many. I can tell you that nine times out of 10, those who buy, end up selecting Lake Martin. Again, I understand this is merely anecdotal.

Still, it bugs me that anyone would select anything besides the obvious choice. To gain a little more insight, I talked to a couple of other Lake Martin real estate agents.  India Davis at Lake Martin Realty’s Willow Point office agreed with me that the losses are few and far between.  “We have more amenities that these other lakes – more things to do, more restaurants, and that kind of thing. Plus, people really like the size of the lake, so you don’t feel crowded like some of the tiny, narrow lakes in other areas,” she said.

Fireworks Kowaliga Restaurant Nibblers Boat August 2013 - 03 Paddle Board Race 2014 SunFest 2014 Night Hike Smith Fire Tower - 13 The Green at Russell Crossroads

India felt that those who did choose other lakes did not make their decision based on anything other than price or convenience.  “Some buyers might feel that they can get what they want for a lower price. Or other buyers might choose a lake that is closer to their primary home. Those are about the only reasons I see people buying elsewhere.”

I agree with India. I find that for most buyers, the unspoiled beauty of Lake Martin and all of the things to do here trumps other lakes in this part of the nation.
If someone goes to another lake, price and proximity to their primary home seem to be a big factor; however, I also see so many people that come to Lake Martin who literally drive right by other lakes in order to come here.  This is a mindset that I can appreciate!

Furthermore, our overall lower cost of living is a real attraction to people nationwide. I recently had a call from a retiree that was in Oklahoma. He was researching the best lakes in the South with the lowest cost of living, and Lake Martin was tops on his list.

Southeastern United States

I also talked with Gordon Pickler at Designer Homes Realty Lake Martin, LLC. Gordon pointed out that the convenience of Lake Martin to population centers contributed to how it has been developed over the years.  “In the 1970s, the northwest side of the lake attracted Birmingham folks, and Montgomery families tended to the southern side. For the last 20 years, the east side of the lake has seen a huge influence from Georgia. People from Georgia, especially, are used to what I call ‘commuter lakes.’ Those are lakes where the homes treat the lake as an afterthought. At Lake Martin, the waterside of the home is the most important. When people see that and realize how relatively undeveloped we still are, they love it.” Gordon quipped.  Gordon makes a lot of sense to me.

Try as I might, I still can’t really understand someone not choosing Lake Martin. I mean no offense to any other lakes, but we are so blessed to have Lake Martin in our backyard.

To quote my dad who likes to paraphrase Dizzy Dean: “It ain’t braggin if it’s the truth.”

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12 More Weeks of Summer at Lake Martin

I’m sure you’ve already seen this on national news and the interwebs, but just in case, the breaking news around Lake Martin is that Kowaliga Kevin, the Poodle of Prognostication, has predicted twelve more weeks of summer here at Lake Martin. So even though the calendar says “Fall,” – Mr. Kevin says we will have more summer to enjoy.

Here’s the video of a local news department covering the event:

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So there’s no need to pack up and leave Lake Martin as the calendar ticks toward January first. You can have plenty to do and explore around Lake Martin in the cooler months, too. Now that Mr. Kevin has guaranteed the time, you can plan with confidence.

I have to say, after witnessing this event many years in a row, Kowaliga Kevin is always right. No offense to Punxsutawney Phil, but maybe dogs are better at this sort of thing.

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Stormy Monday Blues at Lake Martin

They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad.

It was raining yesterday at Lake Martin and I don’t care. We need the rain, and it was Monday after all, post Labor Day. Traffic will be light regardless of precipitation. Things change after Labor Day around here, regardless of weather.

Hot Dog Salesman at Lake Martin

Hence my pic. This guy has been selling hot dogs since around July Fourth. He’s set up in downtown Kowaliga, just across from my office at Nails conveneince store. I’ve never been tempted to buy a dog, despite some pretty good reviews I’ve heard. But when I see a guy selling hot dogs on the side of the road at 10:00 am on a rainy Monday in post Labor Day September, maybe I ought to buy one out of sheer principle.

About the time I took this picture, the clouds lifted and it turned into a beautiful almost-fall day.  In fact, the past two days have been so achingly perfect (clear, just warm enough, high water, no crowds) I have given serious consideration to pulling my kids out of school and living some sort of home school farm-to-fork existence at the lake.

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Lake Martin Striped Bass Report

Do you like to fish for stripers on Lake Martin? Then you definitely need to contact Captain David Hare of Alex City Guide Service. He sends out his Striper Reports every month or so and I think they are invaluable. David is a really nice guy, plus a great guide.

David Hare Striper Fishing Guide Lake Martin

I always slightly mourn the passing of summer, but one of the many fun things to do on Lake Martin in the fall is to try and catch a striped bass. I am already looking at some dates to try and book David or one of his other guides. As I have written in previous years, my big goal is to figure out how to catch these monsters on my fly rod.

While David is not a fly fisherman, he can put you on the striped bass here at Lake Martin.

If you would like to buy some Lake Martin property, call me, I would love to help you out.

If you want to catch striped bass or other fish, call David at the number below, and let him know John Coley said hi!!

Here’s a sample report from September 1o, 2014:

Lake Martin
September 10th,2014
488.76(490.00 full pool)
Surface Temp: 85-88
Water Clarity: Clear to very clear

October is really nice fishing weather for the most part and here on Lake Martin in Alabama is no exception. The fall temps should start cooling the water down some and in return should produce more bites overall !

This October I am predicting it to be one of the best yet for stripers on Lake Martin. One of the reasons I feel this way is because I’m already seeing some transition in the stripers both small and trophy size. I think you are going to have a little easier time finding them than in the past few Octobers and I think you are going to be pleased with the quality of the catch.

The days are getting shorter and will continue to do this for several more weeks which means you can stay until dark for that last minute bite and still make it home for supper with the family !

I will be checking all of the hot spots for October stripers but don’t be surprised if you see me in the abnormal locations too. I am leaving nothing uncovered this fall because this summer I scouted a lot of areas that I have been overlooking and found some areas that I think will produce in October !

Here at Alex City Guide Service we want to thank everyone that did night trips this summer with us and looking forward to seeing everybody this fall for the day trips !

Until next time get off the couch and wet a hook!
Captain David Hare
Alex City Guide Service
Lake Martin
256-401-3089
[email protected]

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A New Restaurant for Parker Creek!

My Saturday was spent with a fun couple from Georgia, showing them Lake Martin waterfront homes for sale in Parker Creek.  Around lunchtime, we had an hour break in between showings and I was starving.  But with only an hour to spare, our lunch options were limited: bottled water and peanut buter crackers at the Parker Creek Marina were the best we could do.  And I was thankful for those.

Fast forward a year to next summer, same situation, except I plan to have lunch with my clients at Parker Creek Marina’s new restaurant.  That’s right – Parker Creek Marina is opening a restaurant in 2015, and I think it’s a great addition for the west side of the Lake Martin.  Below is a picture I took of their plan.  It’s on a bulletin board inside the ship’s store, so it’s available for everyone to check out.

New Parker Creek Restaurant

The back story on this restaurant has to do with the elusive Parker Creek food boat I’ve been searching for.  There were plans for a food boat (like Nibblers Float Thru Grill near Blue Creek), but the marina was told it had to install new septic in order to run this boat and be up to code.  They decided if they had to have new septic, they might as well have a permanent restaurant on their premises.  Parker Creek is such a popular area of the lake, and there just aren’t many restaurants close by.  I hope they have wild success, and I will gladly swap in my bottled water and crackers for whatever fare they decide to serve.

If you’re looking for a waterfront home in Parker Creek, the addition of this restaurant makes this area even more attractive. Give me a call and let’s talk Lake Martin real estate. I’m a full time agent at Lake Martin, and 100% of my realtor time is devoted to helping clients buy and sell property here.  I can help you with any listing in the Lake Martin MLS, regardless of who has it listed.  I’d love to help you, too.

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Updated Tour of Parker Creek Marina

If you’re looking to buy waterfront real estate, that means you probably want a boat.  And if you have a boat, you probably need some gas.  When showing Lake Martin waterfront homes, I often get these questions, “Where is the nearest marina?” ” How do you get there by land?” and “How do you get there by water?” If you’re looking for waterfront homes for sale in the Parker Creek area, then take a look at what Parker Creek Marina has to offer:

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I’ve heard all about this food boat that is operating out of Lake Martin’s Parker Creek Marina.  I haven’t seen it yet, so I thought I’d drop by.  I went during the week, so the marina was closed and I didn’t learn anything about the food boat.  But it was a pretty day and it gave me a chance to video their new dock.

I don’t know exactly what Parker Creek has in store for next summer, but something’s going on.  If you have any updates, let me know.

If you’re looking to buy Lake Martin waterfront real estate in the Parker Creek area, check out my Parker Creek Neighborhood page.

Lake Martin Voice Neighborhood Pages

Lake Martin is huge, and it can feel overwhelming to search the entire lake for a home.   I created these Neighborhood pages to simplify the process.  If you know exactly where you want to be on the lake, quickly skim the live feed of current homes for sale in that area.  If you’re not sure where you’d like to buy, use these pages to learn about Lake Martin in manageable chunks.  Each Neighborhood page has a video tour, a history of the area, a map showing boundaries, and most importantly, a live MLS feed of homes and lots currently for sale.  These are not just my listings – these are all listings from all agents and brokerages.

And if you see something you like, or you want help sifting through the info, give me a call and let’s talk Lake Martin real estate.  334 221  5862.  I’d love to work with you!

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Destination Peanut Point

One of the things that I love about Lake Martin is that I am constantly learning about new spots - rope swings, skiing sloughs, hiking trails, fishing haunts.  Despite the fact that I’m a full time real estate agent here, and despite the fact that I grew up in Alex City, rarely does a week go by where I do not learn of a new road or a new slough on Lake Martin.

For example, I read a recent issue of LAKE Magazine, and I learned about Peanut Point (“A Visit to Peanut Point” July 2014).  I know, I know, many of you readers are rolling your eyes right now.  How could I not know about Peanut Point??  But after I read about it, I had to seek it out.  I realized I had driven by there once before, last May, and wondered, “What in the world is going on here?”

We have some good friends who have a lake house on what they call the “Non-Palooza” side of Lake Martin, and they are Peanut Point regulars.  They offered to bring us by, and it was a lot of fun! There’s something exciting about driving up by boat and getting boiled peanuts.  Lake Martin + boiled peanuts = Fun.

Peanut Point

Granted, I am a huge fan of boiled peanuts.  A couple of football seasons ago I boiled a bushel of my own one Saturday for a marathon session of watching SEC football.  I ate so many that the next morning I awoke convinced I had a stomach virus.  My wife gently reminded me that my sodium intake the previous day was gargantuan.  Never-the-less, she let me lay out of church that morning.

To find Peanut Point:  There’s a very small cut thru on the west side of Woods Island.  It separates Woods Island from the mainland where the Alex City version of Young’s Ferry Road peters out into a dirt track.  If you don’t know where that is, go to Bay Pines Marina and ask them.  They will tell you to travel south/southwest, or about seven o’clock on the clock face.

Map to Peanut Point Lake Martin, AL

A gentle reminder to my readers that I am a Lake Martin realtor, and I do not sell boiled peanuts.  If you call me to ask if Peanut Point is open, I will tell you “Yes!” 100% of the timeI’d love to help you research Lake Martin real estate, but I’m leaving the boiled peanuts to the experts.

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Lots to Do at Russell Crossroads at Lake Martin

Lately, when selling Lake Martin waterfront real estate, I’m talking a lot more about the growing number of off-the-water Lake Martin activities – things to do that add to the fun we have year round and simply make life here more convenient.  Our exceptional on-the-water activities are the obvious sell, so it’s fun to get to brag on our fall, winter and spring attractions, too.  We are becoming a well-rounded second home market.

Take Russell Crossroads, for example.  There’s been so much going on there this summer: Yoga on the Green, Friday night concerts, wine tastings.  But did you know that a lot of what Russell Crossroads offers is not summer specific – the restaurants, the grocery and deli shopping, the stables, the trails.  You can enjoy these all year long.

I realized I had not shot a video from Russell Crossroads in a couple of years, so here’s quick, updated tour.  For buyers out there who are wondering what Lake Martin offers in the non-summer months, check it out:

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I’m a full time Lake Martin real estate agent, and I can help you with any property in the Lake Martin Area MLS.  Give me a call (334 221 5862) and lets talk about making Lake Martin your year round vacation destination.

Related blog posts and videos:

Grab Your Bike and Meet Me at the Market

Russell Forest Trail Hike Video

How to Get to Catherine’s Market by Boat

When at Springhouse, Follow Sam’s Advice

Warning: Catherine’s Market Has Ice Cream

 

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When at Springhouse, Follow Sam’s Advice

That would be Sam Fonte, the Restaurant Manager and Certified Sommelier at Lake Martin’s Springhouse restaurant.  In early July, my wife and I left our kids at the cabin with their grandparents and had a date night dinner at Springhouse.  The whole evening was outstanding, and Sam was a big part of the experience.

That Springhouse can exist at Lake Martin is pretty incredible.  The food is so good, the staff so competent, and the atmosphere so elegant, it is easy to forget you are in rural, central Alabama.  Even our Atlanta foodie friends are impressed – one couple compared the quality of food and service at Springhouse to upscale Atlanta restaurants that charge a whole lot more.  Hats off to all involved who make this restaurant work so well.

Cheese Plate Springhouse Lake Martin

Cheese Plate with local honey, blueberry jam, walnuts, angel biscuit.

I’m smart enough to realize that liking good food and wine, and knowing about good food and wine are two different things, so when I eat somewhere nice I ask a lot of questions.  My wife usually cringes when I start peppering the staff with queries, but even she gave in once the food and drinks began to arrive at our table.  The highlight of the meal was dessert: Sam recommended a Sherry to pair with the Samoa Ice Cream sandwich and Wow!  I must rethink my Lake Martin + Food associations.  I love a blackened catfish sandwich with hush puppies, but I also like the 1985 Don PX Gran Reserva with vanilla ice cream.

Dessert at Springhouse Lake Martin

Samoa Ice Cream Sandwich with Sherry

And now we can all have both!

If you haven’t tried Springhouse, I highly recommend you go.  They serve dinner Wednesday-Saturday from 5:30pm – 10pm, and brunch on Sunday from 10am – 2pm.  Call a few days ahead for reservations  (256.215.7080) during the summer.  Please do not call me, however, for I am a Lake Martin real estate agent, and I cannot make a reservation for your party of four.  Ask Sam if you have any questions and enjoy fine dining at Lake Martin!

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Warning: Catherine’s Market Has Ice Cream Cart

Attention all parents and all people who like ice creamCatherine’s Market has a new temptation for you.  If you’re a fan of Russell Crossroads and Catherine’s Market, like I am, then please be advised of this devious plot they have unleashed upon us.  They have an ice cream cart sitting outside on the corner, w/in eyesight of the outdoor dining area.

Catherine's Market Lake Martin Ice Cream Cart IMG_7765 IMG_7767I would like to be able to say that I have the self discipline to avoid buying ice cream, but sadly, I am at the 100% purchase rate.  The first couple of times I told myself it was for market research.  Next I had to tell myself that I was being nice to my kids.  The result is I’ve bought ice cream every time I’ve been there lately.

If you want to resist this temptation, try and sneak in and out of the kitchen’s back door. They probably won’t allow you to do this for health code reasons.  Realistically, you’re going to have to put on some blinders, don’t look to the left, and quickly enter the front door.

If you fall victim, well then, enjoy!

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