Archive for the 'Entertainment' Category

Kowaliga Restaurant Renovation Update

Kowaliga Restaurant Renovation March 2013

Most of you know that Kowaliga Restaurant is back.   Like I said in a recent  LAKE magazine article, I love this.

Russell Lands did not renew the lease of the restaurant’s most recent operators, the group that runs Sinclair’s Restaurant in Montgomery.  Russell Lands’ Vice President Roger Holliday said that under their management, they “plan to offer a … dining experience reminiscent of the original Kowaliga Restaurant,” since it “sits at the heart of Russell Lands on Lake Martin.”

Update 4-11-13: Roger let me know that Kowaliga will open on Wednesday, April 24. Their hours of operation will be Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday 11 am to 10 pm. Friday and Saturday 11 am to 11 pm. Here’s their website. For reservations at Kowaliga, don’t call me, I’m just a real estate agent. Call 256-215-7035 for reservations and info at Kowaliga.

I think this is a brilliant move, and one they couldn’t have pulled off 20 years ago. It is further proof, I think, that Russell Lands Corporation is shaping itself as being in the Lake Martin experience business, instead of merely selling lots or boats or lumber or golf. This move shows that they understand how important it is to give people a rich taste of life on the lake, including good dining, good shopping and fun things to do. All of these things create the milieu that drives their biggest engine – waterfront real estate sales. Now is the perfect time to take over Kowaliga. It’s great for me, because I never got used to calling it Sinclair’s anyway. But it is great for Russell Lands, because they have had three years of experience in the restaurant business with Catherine’s Market and SpringHouse.

Like I said, I could be wrong. I am an outside observer; however, I think Russell Lands is extremely confident in the short and long term future of Lake Martin real estate.

Kowaliga Restaurant Renovation March 2013Kowaliga Restaurant DocksKowaliga Restaurant RenoIf you’re interested in waterfront homes for sale in the Kowaliga area, check out my Kowaliga Bay and Little Kowaliga Neighborhood pages.  Here you’ll find histories of these areas, maps, video tours, and most importantly, a live MLS feed of all the homes and lots for sale.  Check it out, and give me a call at (334) 221-5862 and let’s talk.  I’d love to be your Lake Martin realtor.

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The Tunnel to Somewhere

Unlike some crazy civil engineering projects I’ve seen, this tunnel under Highway 63 has major significance for the Lake Martin area.  Most of you know that there’s been road construction near Russell Crossroads for about 3 years now now.  Part of this construction project is a nifty tunnel.

Highway 63 Tunnel, Lake Martin, AL

This tunnel is a really big deal for Russell Lands and therefore, Lake Martin real estate.  It’s a huge part of Russell Lands’ plan to link together their 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 will be Russell Crossroads.

Right now the idea is to open the tunnel road to hikers, runners, bikers, golf cart and horse riders. I love the it.

I think this will be especially transformational for Windermere, Windover, and Windermere West which do not have neighborhood amenities.  After the trails and roadways are complete and christened for use, homeowners in Windermere, Windover, and Windermere West will  figure out that Saturday morning coffee at Catherine’s Market is a five minute golf cart ride away. Big things will happen.

I can envision a lot of other things happening along this trail system.  The fact that you don’t have to cross Highway 63 opens up a realm of possibilities.  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 will be a great thing.

This really reminds me of Sandestin in the late 1970s.  If you are old enough, like me, to remember the original Sandestin, it used to only be a residential development on the bay side, and an unconnected beach on the gulf side.  You had to get in your car to cross Highway 98, and the whole thing was disjointed.  Then they put a tunnel under the highway, developed out some commercial space, and suddenly everything in between flourished.

I’m not saying the Russell Lands is about to have a mega development like Sandestin, but I am saying that all of these neighborhoods are going to truly be able to use Russell Crossroads.  I think it will increase property values in all of these developments.  Russell Lands has pumped millions into this project, but homeowners will reap the benefits over the next 5-10 years.

Path to Highway 63 Tunnel IMG_3071 Tunnel at Russell Crossroads

If you’d like to know more about homes in the above mentioned neighborhoods, check out my Neighborhoods page, give me a call at (334) 221-5862, or CLICK HERE to contact me via email. I can help you with any property for sale in the Lake Martin MLS, regardless of who has it listed.  

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Engaged at Lake Martin

I was glancing through the February issue of LAKE Magazine – looking for my monthly column –  and I had to grin when I saw this article.  Allison Trumbull got engaged at Children’s Harbor.  I helped her parents find a lake home a few years ago, and clearly Lake Martin has become a big a part of their lives.  And now their daughter has added a Lake Martin engagement as a part of their family’s “story. ” Very cool.

 The fact that LAKE Magazine now has a “Wedding Edition” in February is proof that there are more couples getting engaged and married here. Maybe Lake Martin is becoming a destination to rival Cabo?  Glancing through LAKE’s Wedding Edition, I can see that the Lake Martin community is responding with more venues, caterers, photographers, etc.  That’s a great sign for the Lake Martin area economy.

Have you been to a wedding at Lake Martin?  Do you have any pics or advice to share? Use the comment box below and let us know about your experience.  And if any of your wedding guests decide they, too, need a Lake Martin home, I’m your man.  Give me a call at (334) 221-5862 or CLICK HERE to contact me.

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Church In The Pines: Popular Lake Martin Wedding Venue

The other day I got a phone call from a lady in Pike Road, AL, asking about the above picture I took of Church in the Pines a few years ago.  Her friend plans to have a wedding there this summer, and wanted to send out a Save-the-Date postcard. They ran across this picture on my Lake Martin Voice Flickr account and wanted to use it on their card.  Of course I said yes!  What an honor.

For people who love Lake Martin, Church in the Pines is a popular place to get married.  It’s a beautiful, open air, non-denominational worship facility that sits at the foot of Kowaliga Bridge on the western side of Lake Martin.  There’s seating under the roof for up to 850 people, and areas on the lawn for more guests, if needed. It’s part of the Children’s Harbor’s Lake Martin Campus, so FOR CHURCH IN THE PINES INFO AND SCHEDULING, CALL WANDA COKER AT (334) 857-2040, OR EMAIL HER AT [email protected] You can also visit their website by CLICKING HERE.

Here’s a video I shot of a Sunday morning worship service a few summers ago.  The building has been renovated since then – they switched out the benches, and poured concrete walkways to help people get in and out more easily.

I have heard from several people that Church in the Pines books up quickly, so be sure to call as early as you can.  Children’s Harbor also has the Children’s Chapel available for weddings.  It’s that pretty white church next to the lighthouse (on the opposite side of Kowaliga bridge from Church in the Pines).

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2013 Russell Forest Run 5K and 10K

The 4th Annual Russell Forest Trail Run is Saturday, February 23rd.  I’ve enjoyed running it the past three years, and I plan on being there again this year.  Proceeds from the race benefit the Alexander City Schools Education Foundation (ACSEF), and there’s always a super good reception after the  race with food from SpringHouse Restaurant. 

The trails are sand, clay and gravel roads, so it’s a good change of pace for those of us who regularly run on asphalt.  The elevation is more than I am used to, but it’s doable and fun because of the scenery.  People always ask me how hilly it is, so I’ve got the elevation and the route documented on RunKeeperCLICK HERE if you want to check it out.

You can CLICK HERE to register at

Race Information:
Saturday, February 23rd

10K at 7:45 am CST ($40)
5K at 8:45 am CST  ($20)

Race packets can be picked up on Friday, Feb. 22 from 4:00 – 6:00 pm and Saturday morning from 6:00 – 7:30 am (until 8:00 for 5K participants) at the Discovery Center at Russell Crossroads.

Here is a screen shot of the race route that I tracked on RunKeeper. RunKeeper tracks the elevation, too, so CLICK HERE to go to the live version and get the scoop:

Here are pics from the starting and finish lines of a past race:

Hope to see you there!

Related Posts:

Russell Forest Trail Run 2011

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The Smartest Man on Lake Martin

This is who I want to be when I grow up.  I took this picture a while back. It was a Thursday morning in early April, like 9:00 AM. I was driving through Stillwaters, going to show a house that’s down by Harbor Pointe Marina. I thought I had a pretty good gig until I saw him, and realized he was going fishing.  This guy has got his system down and I can appreciate that. I have no idea who he is, but I am a fan.

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Lake Martin Gear Review: Telescoping Boat Hook

A few years ago, I hit a rare home run in the Father’s Day gift department.  My dad loves Lake Martin, but his family has had a cabin since the 1950’s, so there’s not a lot of lake gear left to surprise him.  But this one is so simple.  How could it have eluded our family for so long?  It’s embarrassing.

Yep – it’s the $15 telescoping boat hook.   We pester our passengers with it.  We also use it to stretch out to someone on the dock to help pull us in, as it is a lot easier than throwing them that rope from the boat that never seems to make it.  We also use it to grab the ski rope when turning around to a downed skier.  To us, the funnest application is being able to grab a bumper, life jacket, or even koozie that is floating in Kowaliga Bay without an owner.  We don’t even have to slow down much.  Scoring flotsam is a big deal in my family, so for this use it is a thing of beauty.   If you’re heading into the gas docks too quickly, though, and need to fend off your bow, it will probably break.

A few years later, I bought one for myself at Anchor Bay Marina for about $15.  Or maybe $12?  Even if it breaks, it’s worth buying one per summer at that price.  You can get them everywhere – Academy Sports, other marinas, online stores.  The one I bought my dad was about $40 and a lot more heavy duty.  I have two kids and figured that my best option would be a more disposable one.

Do you have a favorite boat tool?  I’d love to hear about it.  Leave a comment in the box below.

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All Trails App Maps the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trails on Lake Martin

Around Lake Martin, if I can’t be in a boat, put me on a hiking trail.

The cooler months at Lake Martin are perfect for hiking.  We’ve got lots of elevation here, and I never miss an opportunity to remind my kids that Lake Martin is at the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains.  These trails include great views from high points, and woodsy paths that take you right down to the water.

If you want more info on hiking the Cherokee Ridge system of trails at Lake Martin, go to  This is the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association’s website, and they’re the folks who maintain these trails.  Please don’t call me – I am but a realtor who likes to hike.

I also wanted to review and plug a cool smartphone app that I downloaded from  AllTrails is a database for thousands of trails across the U.S., plus it allows you to map and save your own trails, and view and rate trails that other hikers have entered. FYI –  I hiked the Chimney Rock Loop trail and here’s what the app recorded:

Pretty cool!  I hope to enter more trails and share them with fellow Lake Martin hikers.  If you get out there, try the AllTrails app and let us know where you’ve been!  A comprehensive record of Lake Martin trail hikes would be a useful tool for hikers, plus it would be a great marketing tool for businesses looking to attract new visitors to the area.

If you see a great Lake Martin property for sale while on your hike, give me a call at (334) 221-5862 or click here to contact me and put me to work.  I’d love to be your realtor, and I’d love to help you find your Lake Martin home.

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Elvis Would Live at Lake Martin

Yesterday, a good friend of mine (and fellow Elvis fan) called to remind me about Elvis’s birthday.  This causes a quick pause while I remember the King of Rock and Roll and repost these pictures, which are definitely the best reader-submitted pics this blog has ever seen.

Robert M. took these pictures of an Elvis “impersonator” at the annual patriotic concert at Jim’s Bait Shop.  I am convinced that, were he alive today, Elvis would live at Lake Martin.  Who knows? Maybe he is alive and living here already.

Related Posts:

Robert M Wins Reader of the Month Award for Elvis Photos

Elvis Will Be at Jim’s Bait Shop Tonight at 6:30

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In Search of Striped Bass on Lake Martin, Part 3

In continuing my quest to catch a Lake Martin striped bass on my fly rod – on purpose – I offer this following video.  In it, guide David Hare of Alex City Guide Service gives advice to people like me who are crazy enough to try it.

I say crazy enough to try it, not because fly fishing for stripers around here is death-defying.  I say it because after I’ve seen David catch them on live bait, I’m probably a fool to try this.

David is admittedly not a fly fisherman, but he is an expert on striped bass at Lake Martin.  That’s why I figured it would be profitable for me to ask him these questions.  Hopefully they are helpful to you, too, and if you have any tips for me on fishing for striped bass in Lake Martin, or any other fresh water lake in the South for that matter, please comment below.  I would appreciate it.

Like I’ve said before, if you have any questions, please do not call me.  You will get a lot of dumb answers.  Please contact David directly at (256) 401-3089  or via their Facebook page.

If you didn’t catch Parts 1 and 2 of David’s interview, here are their links:

In Search of Striped Bass , Part 1

In Search of Striped Bass, Part 2

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