Lake Martin Voice Realty
It’s hot now and summer at Lake Martin is on. But back in the spring I took these pictures, so I’m winding back the clock for a minute to share them with you. Before my gig as a Lake Martin realtor, I rarely got in the boat before the middle of May. Since I’m blessed to get to see it year round, now, I thought I’d share a little bit of April on the water with you.
I was passing by Chimney Rock to do some filming near Shady Bay on the eastern side of the lake. I wish these pictures had turned out better, but I had never noticed what I think are wild azaleas blooming on the cliffs south of Acapulco and Chimney Rocks. They’re gone before Memorial Day, and I had always missed them. It’s humbling to be surprised by the beauty of nature:
Lake Martin is definitely evolving from a summer-only to a year round vacation destination. Businesses, restaurants, and other service providers are stepping up to meet the demand of a market that is moving from a 4 month season to a 12 month season. I predict that many homeowners (or future homeowners) will begin to take in these off season sights with me in the future.
If you’re looking for a waterfront home, townhouse, condo, or lot at Lake Martin, give me a call at (334) 221-5862, or click here to email me. I sell Lake Martin all day, year round, and I’d love to be your realtor.
Last week we at Lake Martin Voice Realty announced the release of 14 new waterfront lots for sale in Shady Bay.
Below are some pictures I took as I walked up and down these lots:
If you’re interested in Shady Bay, we invite you to walk the lots, too, but bring your bug spray and perhaps a walking stick. These are not 100′ x 100′ feet city lots; they’re thickly wooded with all kinds of hardwoods and pines and they slope from Amber Drive down to the water. They are raw and untouched and ready for buyers to envision their perfect lake home. Buyers may bring their own builder and house plans, and covered boat docks are allowed.
If you’d like more info on Shady Bay, give me a call at (334) 221-5862, email me at [email protected], or click here to fill out a contact form. I can help you with Shady Bay and all properties on the Lake Martin MLS, regardless of the listing company.
Here’s a quick video tour of Shady Bay:
If you’re not on the water at Lake Martin, hiking is another activity that’s a lot of fun. I’ve posted several times on the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association’s (CRATA) hiking trails that branch off of the Scenic Overlook on the south side of the lake. CRATA is responsible for the explosion is quality hiking trails at the lake – these are not the wide red-clay and gravel hiking trails (that are more like roads) that you find on the western side of the lake. These are amazing alpine trails that instantly transport you to real mountain hiking vistas, combined with large swaths of waterfront footage.
My family hiked the Chimney Rock Loop over spring break, and as we were leaving, we ran into CRATA guru, Jimmy Lanier. Mr. Lanier told us about a new trail they were currently constructing on Smith Mountain (eastern side of Lake Martin). There is already a Smith Mountain Alpine Trail that begins at the base of Smith Mountains and ascends to the Smith Mountain Fire Tower. If you haven’t climbed the restored Smith Mountain fire tower, put it on you 2013 Lake Martin To-Do List. The views are incredible.
Mr. Lanier said that CRATA is creating another new trail there – The Little Smith Mountain Trail – and volunteers were needed to, literally, pave the way. Two weeks later I spent the morning with a group of volunteers digging out a portion of this new trail. The trail’s route was already marked, so we used the yellow tools you see in a picture below to dig up the ground and make the trail flat and hike-able. It’s not a technical job, but there is a little artistry involved. The other volunteers knew what they were doing and helped me refine my craft – although I was a good bit slower than the rest of the crowd.
I’m not sure if this new trail is open to the public yet, but when it does open, I’m there. For more info on hiking at Lake Martin, go to CRATA’s website. They have some beautiful pictures they’ve taken along their trails, histories of these trails, and info for hikers wanting to check them out in person.
Our crew heading out to dig:
These are the tools we used to dig the trails:
Lake Martin Voice Realty is excited to team up with Alabama Power and offer 14 new deeded waterfront lots for sale in Shady Bay.
Shady Bay is a waterfront neighborhood on the northeastern shores of Lake Martin. These are big, wooded lots with views looking south toward Young’s Island. They’re part of an already established neighborhood (entrance sign, paved roads, utilities, HOA), and they’re close to all the in-town conveniences of Alexander City and Highway 280.
Lake Martin Voice Realty is proud to be the Listing Agency!
The first phase of Shady Bay began in the early 1990′s. 32 of 33 waterfront lots were sold at that time, and now 14 more are available. There’s a lot of choice for buyers here: lots range in size from almost an acre to to 2.3 acres, and waterfront footage ranges from 130 feet to over 350 feet of shoreline per lot.
Another big perk for many buyers: covered boat docks are allowed in Shady Bay. That’s a big deal on Lake Martin.
Lot owners may bring their own builder and house plans in Shady Bay, and there is an 1,800 square foot minimum requirement for all homes.
For more information on these deeded lots, CLICK HERE, or give us a call at (334) 221-5862. We have plat maps, tax maps, photos, a video tour – everything you need to learn the lay of the land.
Shady Bay is on the northeast side of Lake Martin, so it is convenient to Alexander City, Atlanta, Auburn, I-85, and Highway 280. By car, drive east over the Highway 280 River Bridge. Then turn right onto County Road 40 at Lakewinds Golf Course. At the stop sign turn left, then take your first right on Shady Bay Drive. Then right into the Shady Bay Subdivision. Phase II lots are on Amber drive – the first right once you enter the neighborhood.
For a quick video introduction to Shady Bay, click below:
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.
The reason you hire a dock company at Lake Martin is because things are just different here. If you had your buddy built your last deck or you made a rabbit cage for your five year old, that’s fine. But your buddy doesn’t have the tools required for big dock jobs or the knowledge of how structure interacts with the lake. Let the professionals handle this.
Here is a Lake Martin Dock Company project I saw underway in the Blue Creek area as I was on my way to check out some lots at Emerald Shores. They are one of several dock companies at Lake Martin, and I actually worked for them one summer when I was in college. I still think building stuff with big machines is very cool.
If you’d like more info on dock building, call Sharon at Lake Martin Dock Company, NOT ME – I’m just a realtor. Their phone number is (334) 857-2443, and click here for their website. And remember, you must have a pre-approval and a permit from Alabama Power’s Shoreline Management before you modify your existing dock or build a new dock. The dock companies around the lake can give you more info about permitting, too.
If you’re interested in Lake Martin waterfront real estate, then definitely call ME at (334) 221-5862 or click here to email me.
Kowaliga Restaurant – Lake Martin’s oldest and certainly most famous waterfront restaurant – is back in a big way. As you may have read elsewhere, developer Russell Lands took back management of Kowaliga, reworked the menu, restyled the inside, and even commissioned a custom carved indian statue.
I stopped by last week and had a great experience. Here are the top three reasons I’m looking forward to going back to Kowaliga Restaurant:
1) The View – Where else can you eat in the state of Alabama and enjoy a view like this? Seriously? This is not a rhetorical question. I would really like to know of more a picturesque dining setting. Comment below if you think of one because I’d like to try it out.
2) Fish Tacos – John Christenberry said they were awesome, and he is a culinary guru. I had the Conecuh sausage appetizer and the cheeseburger. Both were good, although it sounds rather overly carniverous to pair them together. I didn’t really care, I was going locavore: Conecuh sausage is from Alabama, and the burger is topped with Lake Martin’s own Wickles Pickles.
3) New layout – They’ve removed the bar from that first dining room on the left, and now it’s in the other dining room that looks toward Kowaliga Bridge. Moving the bar has really opened up the view in both rooms. Great idea! I hope that the smokers stick to the bar side. I really shouldn’t say that without asking what their official smoking policy is. But I will also say it will be nice not to have bar patrons leering at the diners from their dominant perch on bar stools. Having them in their own separate room is a natural fit. Great for everyone.
Disclaimer: I’m just a real estate agent at Lake Martin. If you want more info on Kowaliga Restaurant, call them, not me. Their number is (256) 215-7035, and their website is kowaligarestaurant.com . I am sure that this disclaimer will not matter to a select few of you who will call me anyway. No matter. If, when you call me, I tell you that everything is 1/2 off and all drinks are free, know that it is a lie. Ha ha. Have fun. It’s the lake.
All the employees were friendly, and I noticed the manager, Stacey, making the rounds of all the tables to check on everyone’s experience. That’s a good sign; she is very experienced and knows how to run a nice restaurant.
By the way, they have this hilarious Hank Williams album framed in the bathroom. Local Hank Williams expert and fellow realtor David Mitchell contributed some of his personal Hank artifacts to the restaurant. I don’t know if this is one of his or not, but it made me wonder: Did they put it there because it is funny, or just because it’s memorabilia? I don’t know, but I could not waste this educational opportunity. . .
If you can’t make out the title, it says “Hank Williams sings Kaw-Liga and other humorous songs.” Clearly, this cover was created by some New York yankee promoter. If you’ve actually listened to the lyrics of Kaw-Liga, you know it’s a really sad song. And the Indian on this cover, while wooden, is grinning like a goofball. Did this cover artist read ANY of the words to this song? If you’ve never paid attention before, here are unhumorous lyrics:
Kaw-liga by Hank Williams
Kaw-liga was a wooden Indian standing by the door.
He fell in love with an Indian maiden over in the antique store.
Kaw-liga just stood there and never let it show,
So she could never answer “yes” or “no.”
Poor ol’ Kaw-liga, he never got a kiss.
Poor ol’ Kaw-liga, he don’t know what he missed.
Is it any wonder that his face is red?
Kaw-liga, that poor ol’ wooden head.
He always wore his Sunday feathers and held a tomahawk.
The maiden wore her beads and braids and hoped some day he’d talk.
Kaw-liga, too stubborn to ever show a sign,
Because his heart was made of knotty pine.
Kaw-liga was a lonely Indian, never went nowhere.
His heart was set on the Indian maid with the coal black hair.
Kaw-liga just stood there and never let it show,
So she could never answer “yes” or “no.”
And then one day a wealthy customer bought the Indian maid,
And took her, oh, so far away, but ol’ Kaw-liga stayed.
Kaw-liga just stands there as lonely as can be,
And wishes he was still an old pine tree.
Here’s the VIDEO TOUR I shot of the new improved Kowaliga restaurant while we were there:
If you’d like to know more about Lake Martin waterfront real estate, give me a call at (334) 221-5862 or click here to email me. I can help you with any property in the Lake Martin MLS, regardless of who has it listed.
Wildlife diversity, for sure!
Every time I head to StillWaters to show a home or condo for sale, my “web staff” knows I’m coming back with new wildlife photos. To date, I’ve captured lots of deer, ducks, and herons. In fact, I have a wildlife photo file on my computer just for StillWaters.
I was in StillWaters twice last week, and both times I saw turkeys on the golf course. The first time, it was this crowd below: two jakes (immature males), and one mature long beard.
This guy was definitely the boss. He was standing by the road, and let his minions above walk ahead of him to clear the way and make sure there were no dangerous golfers around. For those of you unfamiliar with turkeys, I will let you know, the length of his beard (that straw looking hair poking out of his chest) is pretty impressive. I tried to get a little closer, but this was the best I could do from 100 yards with a 300 mm lens:
A week later I was leaving a listing appointment in StillWaters. I got to almost the same bend in the road and noticed another turkey was standing with one foot in the road, gobbling his head off. A car passed him, he took three steps back, then stepped back out and double gobbled. As an avid turkey hunter, I was amazed. This was a week into May, and turkey season was over on April 30. It just goes to show you that, even in the wilds of StillWaters, the primal procreative drive of nature does not hew to man’s law. I eased my car up to him, and he walked back into the woods. This was the best shot I got of him, below. Maybe he was the same boss I saw a week earlier:
So many people come to Lake Martin because of its natural setting; wildlife sightings are just a normal part of the day. It’s different than some other popular getaways in the South – it’s a place to slow down and enjoy people, the water, wildlife, and the peace and quiet. You can bring your kids and they may actually hang out with you!
That reminds me of a favorite Lake Martin testimonial I shot while at a school function a few years ago that sort of goes along with this theme. See if you don’t agree . . .
If this is the kind of vacation spot you’ve been looking for, check us out at Lake Martin! I’d love for you to use this website to explore the neighborhoods, the people, the events, and the waterfront properties. Check out my Lake Martin Voice Realty YouTube Channel where I have over 300 Lake Martin videos divided into five playlists (Community Info, Neighborhoods, How to Use the MLS, Home Tours, and Client Testimonials).
And if you’d like to talk Lake Martin real estate, give me a call at (334) 221-5862 or click here to email me. I’d love to be your realtor!
Is a waterfront construction project on Lake Martin any different than one in the city? I wasn’t sure, so I asked Doug Fuhrman, owner of Southern Traditions Construction, and lead man on this Real Island renovation project we’ve been following. I was hoping there would be some exciting insider scoop I could offer my readers, but Doug’s response was, “Not really.”
OK. So since construction is construction, no matter where you are, let me offer some real estate tips based on my experience selling homes on Lake Martin. While these things may seem painfully obvious, you’d be surprised by what some folks do to their waterfront homes:
1) Windows and doors:
You are at Lake Martin to enjoy the water, even if you never dip your toes in it. You need to see it. And even better if you can see it from lots of places inside a home. Why stick a tiny window in a great room when you can use a big one? Seems pretty obvious to me, but you’d be surprised. No buyer ever says, “I liked the house, but there was just too much view of the lake from the home.”
It’s hard to tell from the angle of this picture below, but across the front of the great room (back wall of the new covered porch) is a wall of glass. New sliding doors have replaced a set of smaller windows, and the new bedroom addition on the right has wall to wall windows (minus space on the left for a closet, and the far right for the new master bath). This is not fancy architecture; it’s just putting more of the lake in front of your eyes.
2) Covered outdoor living space
It gets warm here. It also gets sunny. And every now and then it rains. The picture above is a great example of an outdoor space that is OK, but how much more use would it get if it had a roof? The new owners of this home agree, and are creating a covered space that will be comfortable all day long – rain or shine. Again, no buyer has ever said, “The inside of the house was great, but I don’t want that huge screened porch.”
3) Access to the water
Make it easy to get from the house to the water. A few years ago I sold a $500k waterfront home that literally had no way to get to the water (other than climbing over a wall and scrambling down a very long hill). This was one of the first issues the new owners corrected, and imagine how much easier it is to enjoy Lake Martin! Make it a priority to have the fewest steps possible to get from the inside of the home to the dock, and if the only way to the water does not cut through the master bedroom, even better.
In the process of rethinking this Real Island home, Lee and Amelia decided to add sliding glass doors to the front of the home where there was no lake access before, plus keep the side entry for folks coming in from the street. Simple and efficient, and with a eye toward the lake.
If you’re looking for a home in the Real Island / Little Kowaliga area, check out my Little Kowaliga Neighborhood page. You’ll find all kinds of info on this part of Lake Martin, and most importantly, you’ll find a live feed from the MLS with all homes that are currently for sale in this area.
If you have ANY questions about Lake Martin real estate, give me a call at (334) 221-5862 or click here to email me. My job is help people buy and sell homes, and I serve the Lake Martin area 100% of the time.
If you have construction questions, however, I am not your guy. Give Doug Fuhrman from Southern Traditions Construction a call at (334) 531-3914 or email him at [email protected], and he’ll be happy to share his years of construction wisdom with you.
A big part of wildlife identification is simply knowing where you are on this earth. If you are wondering if that bird is a small raven or a big crow, the first step is to ask yourself where you are standing. Do you know the native range of a raven?
Similarly, I get asked all the time about where on Lake Martin I sell real estate. In fact, I was asked this question twice this week, both by prospective sellers. So what’s my natural range? I answer, “All over the lake. Why?”
The Smallest Big Lake You Know
Lake Martin, geographically, is a big lake. It extends over three counties, about 770 miles of shoreline. It takes a couple of hours to drive around it in a car, and probably at least one and a half times that riding from one extreme nook to the other in a fast boat.
But waterfront home sales-wise, it’s small. Consider that in all of 2012, roughly 246 homes were sold on all of Lake Martin (per the MLS – not all sales are recorded on the MLS, but most are). We have (at this writing) about 100 agents in the Lake Martin Association. Not even counting that agents from outside the area occasionally sell here, that’s about 2.4 home sales per agent, per year. Once you decide to limit yourself to one particular area, you can expect to decrease that.
Obviously, as a full time agent, you hope to sell way more than that to build and sustain a business and support your family. The Lord has certainly blessed us to do just that. We have clients from all over the place, and we sell homes on all sides of the lake. That’s one of the reasons our Neighborhood Pages are popular – they help buyers get acquainted with the many neighborhoods/geographic areas of Lake Martin (maps, videos, histories), plus each page has a live MLS feed of homes currently for sale in that neighborhood.
So to be scientific about it, my realtor range is the entire lake. I can help you with any property in the Lake Martin MLS, regardless of who has it listed.
Give me a call at (334) 221-5862. I’d love to start the tour.