Archive for the 'Entertainment' Category

Construction Photos of Russell Crossroads

Russell Lands is building Russell Crossroads – that will be, as they put it,  “a ‘town center’ in the heart of the Russell Lands family of developments on  44,000 acre Lake Martin.”

It is being built on Highway 63, just north of Windermere Road.  The town center will serve as resource for the neighborhoods of The Ridge, Windermere, Windover, Trillium, Willow Point, and for that matter, anywhere else on Lake Martin.  Judging from their plans, and the players that they have committed, my candid take is that this will be very good for the Lake Martin community.  There will be a high end grocery called Catherine’s Market, which will also have a deli.  The first phase will also include The Springhouse Restaurant – “fine dining in a casual atmosphere.”  Future plans call for a Hot and Hot Restaurant.

If I understand their overall plan correctly, in the future all of their area developments mentioned above (except Trillium) will be connected by a trail system so that one could jog, bike, or ride a golf cart to Russell Crossroads, and also go back and forth in between each neighborhood.

I snapped some photos a couple of weeks ago.  They are already out of date.  I drove by a couple of days ago and saw that they had the roofs on Catherine’s Market and the Springhouse Restaurant.  But I will post these here anyway.

The Real Estate Sales office and Discovery Center:

Sales Office

Here is the future Catherine’s Market:

Catherine’s Market

And here is one of the future Springhouse Restaurant:

Springhouse Restaurant

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Take The Road Less Traveled

Recently around Lake Martin (online and offline) I have heard a lot of talk about eating at the lake. Some were bemoaning a lack of restaurants, others were extolling the virtues of cooking at home.

Still others admitted wanting someone else to do the cooking, but when they get down to their Lake Martin home on Friday night, they’re too tired to go out.

One solution is eating some of the great cooking from a local – The Dirt Road Gourmet. They pre-make casseroles and such, freeze them, and sell them through local retailers. Click here for their website and product list. Also you can click here for their list of retailers.

I pick ours up from Nail’s because it’s close to my real estate office and family’s cabin. They are really good, and really easy. Before you leave for the weekend, buy one, keep it in the freezer. The next Friday, when you get back down to the lake home, pop it in the oven while you’re unloading, it’ll be ready to eat when you are.

I highly recommend the Dirt Road Gourmet as a balance between fixing it yourself and going out. Plus, you can feel good about supporting a local business.

The Dirt Road Gourmet

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Interested In Building A RV Park On Lake Martin?

lake martin wind creek parkLots of people enjoy Lake Martin by taking their RV to or camping in Wind Creek State Park. It has lots of sites on the waterfront, and is really a pretty park. As you can imagine, it can get crowded on the summer weekends with camping spots in high demand.

Recently this was a topic of discussion on the Lakes Online forum that is dedicated to Lake Martin. You can read the posts’ thread here. The general consensus was one of wishing for more options to RV or camp on the water, and why there aren’t more places like that around Lake Martin.

I chimed in on the thread, saying:

“this is a generalization, but usually land on the water is so expensive it is hard to make the numbers work for an RV park. Plus it is hard to find land on the water that doesn’t have a deed or neighborhood restriction against commercial use like an RV park.That said, there is plenty of land that is close to the lake that you could do it on. Maybe you could have the park, then boaters could go put in at a public ramp.

There are also some parcels here and there that are on or near the water that you might could do homes to rent and also park and RV. Just depends what you want to do. Email me if you would like specifics.”

Then someone emailed me anonymously (through the Lakes Online) and asked me the following questions:

“So do you have property on the water for sale? Everyone I talk to says sewer is the issue. You can pump sewer up hill to make it work. Thanks. ”

My response was:

“someone emailed me thru lakes online as an anonymous visitor, and asked the below question, I really don’t know how to email them back, so I will answer them here. Their questions:‘So do you have property on the water for sale? Everyone I talk to says sewer is the issue. You can pump sewer up hill to make it work. Thanks. ‘

Sewer / septic might be the issue in that you might have a hard time getting a system approved, but that is only on a lot by lot basis. It’s hard to make a call on the septic because it’s only approved by the county when you turn in a plan for that specific lot.That to me is the lowest of three hurdles for a project like this. the highest would be cost. If you were to buy a lot for $300,000, and it was only an acre, how many RV spots could you fit in there, 7, 8? If you can charge $50 a night, even if you rented it every possible night, would that be enough to float the debt on the $300,000, plus operating costs? Maybe you supplement by other income, I don’t know.

Second hurdle is zoning. The lot / land you buy would have to be approved for this use. Not saying it can’t happen, but it is a consideration.

Third hurdle is septic. Do you have enough land for a proper area for field lines, based on the amount of waste that will be discharging? Just a matter of math and money.

Again, I am not saying it can’t happen. There are a few spots around the lake that maybe, possibly, could work. You don’t know until you get into the details.

As to me sending you info on possibilities, please email me from your real account so that I can reply, or just call me.

I thought it might help to post the same to Lake Martin Voice, maybe other readers have the same question.

One final thought regarding Wind Creek: I have never tried this, so I disclaim all potential legal and ethical liability, but it seems that, in general, in theory, hypothetically, sometimes when you have a scarce product (like RV lots) that are lake martin land for salemonitored by salaried personnel (like Wind Creek employees) it seems that it helps to TIP the folks? Ha! Only kidding, of course.

Related Post:

5 Questions and Answers: Alabama Power Leased Lots on Lake Martin

Alex City Jazz Fest 2008 At The Lake Martin Amphitheater

The Alex City Jazz Fest, held in downtown Alexander City and at the Lake Martin Amphitheater, announces its dates and the performing acts for 2008. As usual, it is loaded with talent:

Friday, June 13, downtown Alex City:

Coolbone6:00 PMCoolbone Brass Band “ they are a true marching New Orleans style œBrass Band. Dont confuse them with your Uncle Leo in his ban-lon playing a snappy ditty on the oboe. These guys march, play, dance, get among the crowd and entertain the whole time. Dont be late, I hear they are going to do something different on their opening song.

7:30 PMAmanda Shaw “ she is a 17 year old fiddle phenom from Louisiana. This is a great example of how the Jazz Fest seeks to bring you a wide variety of different music. I think they tried to book her last year and are glad to snag her now.

9:30 PM Ivan Nevilles Dumpstaphunk “ they are fresh off a date at the other Jazz Fest (New Orleans). If you have never heard of the Neville Brothers and therefore Ivan, then you deserve to miss this rare treat. Most people have to pay $50 a head to hear any Neville; you can hear them for free. If you dont have the good sense to show up, nothing I say or link to here will change that.

Saturday, June 14, 2008 “ Lake Martin Amphitheater

6:30 PM Randall Bramblett “ he has toured and played with folks like Greg Allman, Widespread Panic, Traffic, and a little band called the Grateful Dead. Bill Berry of R.E.M. says hes œthe most talented and prolific song writer I have the privilege of knowing.

8:00 PM Zac Brown Band “ I dont know much about him but he seems to be a fun œsouthern style act that gets the crowd rolling. Check out his web site.

10:00 PMJoe Bonamassa “ I am really excited about this one. He opened for B.B. King Joe Bonamassawhen he was 12 years old. I hear him and his music played all the time on Sirius Satellite Radios Blues Channel 74. He is all over various magazine covers, and is a pretty big deal in blues & guitar circles. They have been trying to book this guy for a couple of years now. He is good. He is to 2008 as Derek Trucks was to 2006 “ that is, the guy that your friend will see on the t-shirt a year from now and will say œBonamassa played for free on Lake Martin? Please tell me you went.

More About the Alex City Jazz Fest

The Jazz Fest is a FREE BYOB event made possible by its sponsors. If you choose to drink, please drink responsibly. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets to each location and enjoy the atmosphere. This event is always a good time and one of the Lake Martin areas biggest parties. In fact, it is one of the few remaining music festivals of its size in the southeast that is still FREE. Sure, you have to pay a parking fee Saturday at the LMAT, but its still pretty cheap at $10 a car. A lot of the money goes to the Kowaliga Area Volunteer Fire Department, so you can feel good about that.

The Alex City Jazz Fest always needs more sponsors, so please click here if you are interested in becoming a fan favorite. $300 is the minimum sponsorship level, but if you want to be a œFriend you can contribute whatever you can.

Hey Lake Martin Fishermen – Live Bait For Sale!

Kowaliga live bait and tackle - croppedLake Martin live bait fishermen have a new spot to buy bait.  Kowaliga Live Bait And Tackle is open for business.  The new store on Kowaliga Road (aka Highway 63) is south of Kowaliga Bridge.  In fact, it’s just south of my office, a tad north of the intersection with Highway 229.

The other day while driving to my office, I saw their sign, and I was so surprised that I chuckled.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I can’t remember the last time a new bait shop opened on Lake Martin.

Then, I was surprised that I was surprised.  Why not a new live bait shop?  Lake Martin has 700 miles of shoreline spread over 40,000 acres, and great fishing.  So why isn’t the live bait industry thriving right now?

When I was growing up on Lake Martin, if you wanted to fish, most of Lake Martin fishing real estatethe time you used bait.  You could stop by any old fillin station and at the very least they would sell crickets and worms.  It was commonplace.  In these days of clean, sparkly, mega-marts that sell hamburgers, haircuts, sub sandwiches, and also gas, the live bait selection has suffered.  You really have to hunt around to find it.  And even then, it’s hard to find the OSHA-defying oily tubs packed with minnows, and the stench, activity, and din of a room full of crickets.  To me, surviving a trip to the bait shop was half the fun of fishing.

Lake Martin is changing.  Is it just me, or are there really fewer live bait fishermen out there today?  The fish are still there.  Are they only being pursued by the plastic worm wielders and buzz bait boys?  Or are the fishermen being replaced by boaters?  I don’t fish as much as I used to; work is my excuse.  I’m looking forward to fishing a lot more this summer with my sons.

Lake Martin real estate cricketIncidentally, isn’t it also a sign of the times that the live bait guy has protected his business by forming an LLC?  Really – an actual legal entity was formed for the purposes, I assume, of “sellin crickets, worms, & minners.”  I applaud Kowaliga Live Bait And Tackle, and wish them the best of luck.  The next time my boys are at the cabin, our first trip will be to this new live bait guy.

If you have a tip on where else to find good bait – leave a comment / reply to this post and let us all know where to go…

Jazz Fest 2007 Lineup Finalized

The Lake Martin area is in for another musical treat – the Jazz Fest has finalized its lineup for 2007 (all times Central PM):

Friday,  June 8, 2007 at the Strand Park in downtown Alex City

6:00 – 7:00  – The Robin Hill Band – local Alex City band

7:30 – 9:00 –  Kelley Hunt – Roots R&B / Americana singer / songwriter / piano player

9:30 – 11:00  – Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen –
                             “Jon Cleary is the ninth wonder in the world.” – Bonnie Raitt

Saturday, June 9, 2007 at the Lake Martin Amphitheater

6:00 – 7:00 – Wes Jeans – a powerful young guitar slinger; a player that drops the unsuspecting jaw of Blues lovers everywhere; a player some have said “is destined to be a Texas legend – a truly genuine Texas Blues Player”..

7:30 – 9:00 – The Lee Boys – Sacred steel is a type of music described as an inspired, unique form of Gospel music with a hard-driving, blues-based beat. The musical genre is rooted in Gospel, but infused with rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, country and ideas from other nations.

9:30 – 11:00 – Edwin McCain – Blending equal parts folk, soul and rock, platinum-selling singer/songwriter Edwin McCain has signed with Vanguard Records.

Both events are free and open to the public.  There is a $10 parking fee for Saturday night.  For more details, read my previous Jazz Fest post.

See you there!


Ricky Bobby And NASCAR Coming To Lake Martin?

No vacancy Lake MartinIs it true that one of the events that affects Lake Martin area hotels is a NASCAR race?  Absolutely.  A recent article in the Alexander City Outlook points out that area hotels are jam packed with race fans whenever the track at Talladega is running.  The spring and fall races are so big that they top even Auburn football games in terms of economic impact.

How can this be?  The Talladega Superspeedway is only about 45 minutes from Alexander City.  When a NASCAR race is at Talladega hotels and restaurants in a 150 mile radius are affected.  Talladega has a capacity of about 143,000 official seats and allows hordes to crowd the infield.  People also camp outside the track for days.  It is crazy.

Ricky Bobby Lake martinNeedless to say, that craziness means dollars to cities nearby, and the Lake Martin area is no exception.  So, if you are reserving rooms around the Lake, you may want to avoid the weekends of  April 29 and October 7, 2007.  If you plan to cruise around the hotels looking for NASCAR celebrities, don’t bother.  Ricky Bobby and all of the other big hairy American winning machines fly home after the race.

Jazz Fest 2007 at the Lake Martin Amphitheater

Lake Martin Jazz fest band The Jazz Fest– the Lake Martin area annual music festival that is free to the public – has been scheduled for Friday June 8th and Saturday June 9th, 2007.  Mark your calendars and plan to be in the area, because, as always, some great bands will be on hand to entertain you.

The music on Friday night will be held under the stars in downtown Alex CitySaturday night it will be at the Lake Martin Amphitheater just south of the Kowaliga Bridge on AL Highway 63.  I’m giving you plenty of notice so that you Lake Martin Jazz Fest Drumswon’t miss the biggest area concert event of the year.  It’s a BYOB event, so you won’t get stuck buying a 12 ounce cup of beer for $12, but it is also BYO common sense, so please drink responsibly.Lake Martin trumpet

Just because the admission is free doesn’t mean that the music stinks. In fact the Jazz Fest has a reputation for booking folks just before they make it big.  I am on the Jazz Fest Committee this year and you can be assured that this year will be no exception.  I will post the lineup here as soon as they have it booked.  Last year they had bands like Tinsley Ellis, the Subdudes, Marc Broussard, and the Deadstring Brothers in the lineup.

In prior years such names as Los Lonely Boys, The Derek Trucks Band, bluesman Taj Mahal, Bela Fleck and the FlecktonesDickey Betts, the Radiators, and Dr. John have made the event a must do for anyone in the Lake Martin area.

If you would like to help the event remain free (read … donate and become a sponsor) you can either go through the contacts on the Jazz Fest web site or you can contact me.  If you just want to enjoy the music, great, I will see you there!

BONUS TIPThe Derek Trucks Band– is scheduled to play again at the Lake Martin Derek trucks at Lake MartinAmphitheater on Memorial Day weekend, Sunday May 27, 2007.  Gates open at 4:30 PM, but you’ll have to pay to see this show.  I’ll post ticket details as soon as they come available.

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