Lake Martin Voice Realty
Archive for the 'Shopping' Category
One of the best times I’ve had with my kids at Lake Martin was the Slingshot Wakeboard Demo at Blue Creek Marina back in 2011. If you’re on the east side of Lake Martin, Blue Creek Marina is a great resource for boats, service, storage, a ship’s store, plus cool boating and wakeboard gear.
Last summer we made a special trip over there to buy the kids a wakeboard, new rope, and yes, helmets (my nickname is “Safety John” around the house). My teenage nephew was mortified by the helmet, and ok, at our skill level we can do without them. But I do love to be prepared. Plus, I convinced them to wear the helmet by convincing them it was the best way to put a GoPro camera on while you wakeboard.
They have fun demos every summer, so check out their events calendar for the latest updates. If you are trying to reach Blue Creek Marina, call 256-825-8888. Ask for Justin or Kevin in boat sales, they will treat you right.
Here’s a quick Blue Creek Marina tour:
and here’s the wakeboard demo video we made back in 2011:
If you’re interested in waterfront real estate on the eastern side of Lake Martin – or any side of Lake Martin – give me a call at (334) 221-5862 or click here to contact me via email.
I can be mistaken for no one’s fashion plate, and certainly being trendy is low on my list of priorities. I will say, however, that I get more compliments about these shoes from the preteen kids in my neighborhood than any other thing I’ve ever bought. So if you’re looking for something a little more presentable than a flip flop that you can wear around the boat, get wet, and still look good, I highly recommend the Columbia Drainmaker.
I originally got these shoes about a year and a half ago to wear to showings and around customers; I wanted shoes that would be flip-flop comfortable and water proof, yet would cover up my toes. What I found is, I wear them a lot more than just when I’m going to be in the boat (they are non-scuffing). They’ve become my go-to warm weather shoes around Lake Martin, and by “warm weather” I mean April thru October.
Because Columbia made them, I knew that they would do well for their stated purpose: in and around the water. They dry quickly, are light, and are very comfortable. Because I wear them around a lot, I found they also did well with non-water things like hiking on trails and walking lots (walking through the woods, off trail when I’m viewing waterfront lots).
What I didn’t expect is how supportive they are. Really, there is nothing more to them than a light sole and an insert. But never once did my feet hurt at the end of a busy day, in fact this minimalist design caused me to rethink my running shoes, and I bought a similar pair for my morning jogs.
Here’s what they look like after about a year and a half of hard wear. To me, that’s the test of a good product:
I get a surprising amount of questions from people about the gear I use around Lake Martin. Also, another fun part of my job is touring lots of homes and seeing the tricks and tips that other people use to enjoy lake life. Do you have any? I would love to hear them! Reply in the comment box below.
Lake Martin Crazy.com: Lake Martin, AL shirts, hats, visors, gifts – locally designed and made.
For the past few years I’ve been asking, “Where can we get cool Lake Martin gear?” Why is it nearly impossible to find online? Why must we settle for those see-through t-shirts, cheesy hats, and gas station designs that are 1) not cool, or 2) almost cool, but not cool enough to actually buy? Why must true lake people wear beach stuff (at the lake) in order to maintain their dignity?
We couldn’t find it, so we decided to make it ourselves.
Everything we offer at Lake Martin Crazy.com is bona fide. We think it’s wise to start small, but our plan (Lord willing) is to offer more and more local products, and for these items to grow more and more hyper local. You want a visor with “The Narrows” on it? We’ll soon have it. Art from local artists? We’re working on that, too. You can peek at our initial offerings in the slide show below, or CLICK HERE to go straight to the website.
When we sat down to design our logo for Lake Martin Crazy.com, we asked ourselves, “Is there a quintessential Lake Martin image?” Landmarks abound at the lake – but what speaks to everyone? It can’t be too beachy or too mountainy – Lake Martin isn’t really either of these. And Lake Martin, per se, is a weird, complicated shape, wrought by nature and Alabama Power – not exactly the coolest graphic for clothing.
So we chose this image of the boat. It’s fun. It’s simple. That’s the essence of lake life, and the spirit we hope we’ve captured. We hope we have done OK, because, hey – we are from here. We have tried to outrun rainstorms in the boat. We have run out of gas and had to be towed. We have been lost on Bay Pine Road. So it matters to us that we get it right, because, let’s face it, anyone from China to Chernobyl can print a t shirt these days. Big whoop. But if you are crazy about Lake Martin, and want stuff from folks who are, too, well…
Oh – did we mention these items are only available online? You won’t find them at the local fruit stand. We like the term “exclusive.”
Take advantage of our free shipping and order away! Buy something for yourself, and then surprise a friend who still thinks Lake Martin merchandise is still the stuff of gas stations and bait shops.
And, yes, I still sell real estate on Lake Martin and would love to help you with that, too. Don’t worry, we are not quitting our day jobs. In fact, I (John) am sure that this whole online retail thing will burn me out before long when I figure out that maybe there was a reason that no one was providing hyper local Lake Martin products online, that maybe it’s not worth the trouble. But until then, there is no reason why you can’t cash in on my hubris. Cool Lake Martin gear, shipped to you free. You win.
Lake Martin homes – I’m your guy. Lake home decorating – Not really. Ok, not at all. I’ll be sure to notice your outdoor shower or your custom mill work, but probably not your sofa or pillows. However, my wife’s current obsession with rugs has made me way too aware of what people put on their floors, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
I was showing a really cool home a few weeks ago in the Kowaliga Bay area, and the owners had covered their entire screened porch with an outdoor rug – it looked great. The fact that I noticed speaks volumes. They also had one with another pattern covering the staircase inside – I’m told that’s a runner?? Whatever. It looked really nice. And now I’m seeing these type of rugs everywhere.
My buddy, Craig Vinson of Granville Home Furnishings in Montgomery told me they sell a lot of these for Lake Martin customers. He said they can be used almost anywhere – indoors, outdoors, on decks. You can tack them down to your dock or stairs and clean them with a hose. I’m sure Craig’s people would be more helpful with things like patterns and colors; my wife has been carefully studying his Dash & Albert catalog and assures me there are plenty to choose from.
If you’re already using one at your lake house, send me a picture and I’ll post it. If you get one from Craig and tack it to your pier – now that I want to see. Call him at 334-279-3101 or drop by at 3490 Wetumpka Highway and ask for the Coley special. For those of you west-side lake goers from Montgomery, it’s right on your way.
Lake Martin vacationers: MainStreet Alexander City hosts a farmer’s market every Saturday morning from 7-11am. This is a quintessential summer activity; if you’re into fresh produce, local honey, goat cheese, BBQ sauce, soap, herbs, and baked goods, head downtown.
On any given Saturday morning you’re sure to run into the Jones family, Lake Martin homeowners from Atlanta, who are hip to things culinary, and fans of local produce. Despite having a world of foodie options in the city, they frequent the Alex City farmer’s market (and then the Piggly Wiggly meat counter right up the street) and create fantastic dishes to serve lakeside. If you’re lucky enough to be invited to dine with them, leave your cooler of Natural Light and pimento cheese at home. Allow Mr. Jones to set the menu.
We took our own family trip to the farmer’s market, and filmed this quick video so you can check it out too:
The Lake Martin community extends well past the shoreline into the small towns and countryside around it. The more you know about the area, the more you will feel at home here. If you need help finding that perfect lake home, or just want some ideas of things to do while you’re here, give me a call at 334 221 5862.
Singleton Marine on Lake Martin hosted the Slingshot Wakeboard, Victoria Wakesurf Demo and Rail Jam on Saturday, June 25th at their eastlake location - Blue Creek Marina. I am sorry to post this update so late, but I figure better late than never. It was a really great time.
I took my kids and nephews because I thought it would be fun to watch the pros show off their skilz. But they did much more than that . . .
They had 4 boats taking folks out for lessons, and we spent at least an hour on the water with these guys. They were great with the kids, generous with their time, and pretty good behind the boat, too. I caught it all on tape, so check in out:
My nephews are going back for lessons later this summer. They already knew how to get up on a wakeboard, and the pros helped them fine tune some tricks and tactics. One of my sons tried it also, he had never ridden a wakeboard before, and they got him up on his 3rd try. After he got up once, he went three or four more times and we all had a blast.
To top it all off, we came back and watched the pros go over a rail that they had floating in the water by the gas docks, and they gave us free pizza!
If you hear about one of these events going on at the lake, I encourage you to go. They happen all the time at the marinas – boat demos, wave runner demos, etc. The next event at Blue Creek Marina is on July 22, 2011.
Thanks to Singleton Marine Group & Blue Creek Marina for this one.
It was a class A event and really opened our eyes to a whole new realm of water sports.
The Lake Martin area has a lot of great farms and farmers’ markets. Many times these hidden gems don’t even have websites, much less a marketing machine to let the average visitor know they are there.
It’s a shame, too, because so many of these places epitomize the recent trend back to healthy, locally sourced, “farm to fork” food in restaurants and on the table. Before the last couple of years, there was no way for the casual fan to help educate everyone else and share local hot spots with friends.
For those who haven’t heard about it, Yelp is a location based review service. If you have a smart phone, you can access Yelp through an app as you are driving around. If you are home or otherwise on a computer, access it via its website, Yelp.com.
Yelp lets you search for all kinds of local businesses – restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, retailers, even real estate brokerages like mine – they’re all there. You can get details of the business’s location, hours, phone number, etc. But all of these are second to its most powerful feature – customer reviews.
You can also “check in” to places while you’re there, which leads to friendly competition among your fellow consumers and maybe even freebies from the business.
Yelp also lets users create lists, and this is what I am using to pinpoint local farms, food sources, and farmers’ markets around Lake Martin.
Click Here for my Local Farms / Farmers Market List on Yelp
As I drive around the lake, I will add these farms to my list, or take pictures and enter these farms if they’re not already on Yelp. See – that’s another cool thing. If their business is not already on Yelp, you can take pictures, add tips, add them to Yelp, and draft a review, all on the fly.
So the next time you are hankering for some U Pick Blueberries, or organic eggs, or looking for wheat to grind, whip out your smart phone and check Yelp. Check FourSquare, too. You don’t have a smart phone? Don’t worry. Odds are, someone in your car does.
Have you found a farm or local produce grower in the Lake Martin area that’s not on my list?
Let me know! I would love to add them!
Kowaliga Marina is one of Lake Martin’s oldest and largest marinas. It’s located on the south central part of Lake Martin, off of Highway 63 and next door to Sinclair’s restaurant . It was home to Aquapalooza 2009, featured on Country Music Television (CMT).
Kowaliga Marina has a huge boat showroom, boating and skiing gear, gas docks, plus wet and dry boat storage. Check out their facilities in the video below. Enjoy the tour!
Lake Martin’s newest deli and grocery – Catherine’s Market at Russell Crossroads – officially opened on Tuesday, December 16, 2008. I went by there today for lunch to check out the inside of the store and deli. It was really nice, a first class operation.
As advertised, the market section had lots of cool, higher end grocery items. The wine shop was well stocked. I even found my favorite Rioja. I didn’t scrutinize the meat counter very closely, but I am sure that it is nice.
The deli was rippin and roarin. It was covered up with Russell Lands sales agents and employees. I also saw 2 or 3 tables worth of people that drove down from Alex City, including Mr. Ben himself, one of my fourth grade teachers, and a lady we’ve gone to church with for decades. That’s one thing I like about Lake Martin, I always bump into friends wherever I am eating lunch.
I played it pretty safe and selected the stacked ham sandwich on wheat with pasta salad. It was good. A friend got the 1/2 and 1/2 – the soup of the day was some sort of seafood bisque, which he really liked. You order at the deli counter and then go and sit down, they bring you the food. It took about 15 minutes for them to serve it, which I guess wasn’t bad for their first week. With a sweet tea, I was in and out of there for about $11.00, which is comparable to another one of my Lake Martin favorites, Green Valley Market & Cafe.
My only criticism is that I detected some sort of flavor to the sweet tea, like a peach or fruit or some sort of whang. It definitely has some sort of fancy angle to it, to which I am morally opposed. Just give me some straight up tea, please. If you want to get fruity on me, please put it in a separate dispenser and let me know ahead of time. Admittedly, I am a purist, a stickler for good sweet tea, so maybe I am on the fringes of opinion here. But this is a relatively tiny complaint when put against the entire experience. It really was nice, clean, well run, and tasted good. I expected all kinds of problems as this is their third day in biz. None such. Very professional.
Fresh veggie aisle:
I wish them the best. I think they are a great addition to the Lake Martin area, I am sure to be back in the future.
Click here for the Catherine’s Market menu
And here for the back of Catherine’s Market menu
Between my cashed in kitchen passes and Thanksgiving break, it has been a while since my last post. I tried to keep the Lake Martin Voice “A” students informed with my Twitter updates, which are visible at the bottom right margin. I am enjoying using my Twitter account as a micro blog, a way to quickly update the world or link in to interesting articles or info from other bloggers.
Over Thanksgiving I mostly stayed away from the computer. I caught up on reading the WSJ. I helped my kids swing on a vine in the woods. I read a bunch of good books about Alabama and the greater Lake Martin area. It was glorious. As a side note, I have created a Lake Martin Voice Library page. Here I will post links to various books that I think the average fan of Lake Martin would like. I promise to keep it on point, refusing to indulge myself with too many books on too many topics. I will try to limit it to a.) Lake Martin history, and b.) real estate in general. If any of you have any suggestions, please leave a comment on the Library page and help us all out.
You out of towners should consider a visit to your Lake Martin home in between now and Christmas. If you have never been here when the leaves are gone, you’re missing a treat. Everything looks different (in a good way). Almost no one is here, so it is incredibly peaceful. Plus there are some things going on like opening of Catherine’s Market at Russell Crossroad, and shopping in downtown Alex City.
|Cloud Nine - Downtown Alex City Shopping, Lake Martin|
I realize that every small town in America is pimping their downtown revitalization, but I submit that Main Street Alex City is on the right track. Just about every building (with some notable exceptions) has been redone inside and out. Carlisle’s Drugstore – the iconic spot where you can get a scrip filled and eat an egg salad sandwich or a chili dog – did a great job. Henry Foy has a great little wine store, and is expanding into his own renovation.
Another huge surprise is the renovation of the old Queen’s Attic Antiques building by Dr. Larry Tuggle. he gutted the entire place and transformed it in to a Bourbon Street – esque town experience, complete with cobblestones and clocks. He created little micro stores inside, which play home to many little local vendors. It is really cool.
|From Downtown Alex City Shopping, Lake Martin|
Note all the wrought ironwork:
each mini store is unique:
|From Downtown Alex City Shopping, Lake Martin|