Author Archive

Russell Cabins at The Ridge

April 2, 2012 By Leave a Comment

Hey, “They’re selling Russell Cabins!”

 

In last month’s Explorer, we published an article related toRussell Cabins. The article was mostly about the history of and the lifestyle afforded by Russell Cabins. Many readers were interested in the article, especially the part where we had decided to sell some Russell Cabins. As you might guess, we are often asked, “Can I buy my Russell Cabin?” Until recently, the answer has always been a polite “no.”
There are many reasons that we want to keep our cabins. One is that they are a very important part of Lake Martin history. Another reason is the rental cabins provide a sensible financial alternative for a lake residence. But the primary reason we don’t sell them is there is a great demand for this sensible getaway place on Lake Martin. With a constant waiting list, we really can’t afford to take a rental cabin out of inventory.

 

Selling verses Renting
The break from history and tradition in the recent sale of four newer cabins on beautiful lots caused us to consider a new cabin product mix. Obviously, there is a strong desire to offer for sale a cabin that provides a simpler lifestyle and can be owned rather than rented. Ownership of a cabin implies an investment. Therefore, purchased Russell Cabins need an upgrade. So, there are two fundamental questions – what gets upgraded and what remains the same?

 

What will not change is the land. Our tenants fall in love with their private lake setting (Russell Cabin lots are legendary). So, all we need to upgrade is the cabin. Many tenants either outgrow their cabin or fall out of love with its rustic amenities (like window unit air conditioners). From a design standpoint the plan is simple, keep the large private cabin lots and create a humble cabin with modern amenities.

 

The 21st Century Russell Cabin
While there are house plan books in the grocery store, websites full of house designs and even magazines dedicated to cabin life, no one has a design which fits the image of the Russell Cabin. Designs are either contrived to look old or they are meant for rustic forest settings instead of the world’s most beautiful lake. We just couldn’t just rush out and buy a design.

 

We had to design a cabin that fit the following criteria. First, it must look like it belongs on Lake Martin. Second, it must avoid appearing to be a starter castle, while still being large enough to gather extended family and friends. Third, it must have a rustic-modern décor. Fourth, the cabins would be built on large waterfront lots with great water and expansive views.

 

In order to accomplish this task, we needed the right team of designers. After a thorough search, we settled on a team whose designs have become symbolic of Lake Martin. The team selected to work within the above design criteria is Bill Ingram, Taylor Dawson and Bill Farshee. Bill Ingram’s designs are well known to those familiar with Trillium or The Ridge. Taylor’s designs are found all around the lake, with his family’s lake home adjacent to Dixie Sailing Club being featured in Southern Living and The Barefoot Home. Bill Farshee has designed homes in Trillium and the Ridge, but most notably, he helped bring life to Bobby McAlpine’s Russell Cabin design so popular in Nichols Cove. What evolved are several new designs which are great examples of the 21st Century Russell Cabin.

 

With the architectural team in place, all that was needed was the right piece of land. What better place to build new, purchase-ready Russell Cabins than an old sector of Russell Cabins. After looking at the various Russell Cabin sectors, Robinson Drive was selected due to the combination of its location on gorgeous Ware Slough, beautiful land and its proximity to Ridge amenities and utilities.

 

Staying Informed
The blending of large lots, modest cabins (the typical cabin has only 2,200 square feet of conditioned space) and pristine waters is generating a lot of interest – especially for those who are looking for the lake cabin lifestyle. Excitement is building in advance of the planned mid-April release to lake lovers.

 

If you can’t wait and desire more information sooner, please call or email me

 

Check out the following Videos
Taylor Dawson Tree Top
Taylor Dawson Windward
Farshee Waters Edge
Farshee Verandas
Ingram 2 Plus 2
Ingram Bird’s Eye

The Tube

July 11, 2012 By

If you haven’t been in a marine pro shop lately, let me tell you: there is an insane amount of water toys to choose from. I think back to my youth, walking in a marina and seeing pairs of skis, slaloms, zip sleds and – as time went on – hydroslides (that was kneeboarding back then). Today, the water gods have blessed us all with wakeboards, wakeskates, wakesurf boards, kneeboards and tons of tubes. So I’m going to write about something I, and most likely you, never thought would be mentioned here in “Behind the Boat” – the tube. Also, I’m going to put some hot sauce on my Times New Roman and eat my words; there is an exception to a comment I’ve made previously in “Behind the Boat.” Be forewarned of the occasional tangent in this article. First of all, when I came up spending my summers on the lake, there were no tubes like there are today. Believe it or not, tubes were inner tubes from tractor tires and had this nice valve stem that would remind you it was not made to be drug at supersonic speed behind a mid 80s inboard. Your face would look like you were in a G-Force test module, and thank God we didn’t wear sunscreen back then because it would have made that rubber inner tube way too slippery. You didn’t have handles to hold on to – just a death grip on that inner tube. If and when you were separated from it, you’d skip across the water like a flat stone riffled by a pro. If by some odd chance you didn’t, the driver would make sure you did the next time. I’ve seen people in jump helmets launched off a tube in a wide-open sling from an old star and stripes Mastercraft, and I know friends who had blood in their urine from the beatings the water gave them. Then you have a pontoon boat towing a straight line … well, what’s not why I have such a negative attitude toward them or their drivers. That too is another story, but here’s my take on the tube. They have their place in the wide world of fun toys to be towed behind a boat. Kids enjoy being pulled, slung and whipped around on them and that is great. He/she who has the most fun wins in my book, but tubing is an interim thing. You don’t have to start a kid on a tube and I don’t think it’s even a good thing to do, because they don’t have to do anything but lie there and ride. That is an activity to do when all your skiing/boarding/surfing is done (or the water is so blown out, you can’t do anything else.) Kids who have the privilege to be out behind a boat and get to learn how to ski or wakeboard typically have a sense of accomplishment. It’s not easy – it is physical – and it is something to be proud of being able to do, especially if you’re learning to do it well. It shows in their self-confidence and their attitudes that they can do something everyone else can’t. Maybe they aren’t on the team at school, but maybe those team sport kids can’t all wakeboard. The sports behind the boat can really be an achievement for kids, and tubing doesn’t seem to offer that. I repeat: tubing has its place, and fun it may be, but encourage them to get someone who knows how to ski/wakeboard well and teach them. The physical nature, skill, balance and the pure thrill of riding across the water is something great. It is an accomplishment that can be built upon throughout their lives. So back to the word eating: I previously stated “pontoons have the slowest turning radius and can’t get back to kids in a safe amount of time in traffic.” As I’m putting the napkin around my neck let me say that this applies to one boat that I know of and that I still don’t think it’s a good idea to pull kids on busy days in main channel open water and, if you do, keep a close eye on them. (You really want to throw your prize possession out in traffic and hope they don’t get run over?) Add a little hot sauce to my words and here goes: there is a pontoon boat now that does have what it takes to safely turn on a dime. The Harris with XTR (extreme turning radius) package allows the center pontoon to be lowered and gives the deep V hull effect, which gives it the ability to carve the water like a sport boat. Num num num num num. Oh and by the way, most wakeboard towers are not built to withstand the stress of tubing. Hook it at low pulling point. See you on the water, Sawyer

Lake Martin and Russell Lands – A brief history

July 28, 2014 By sawyer Leave a Comment

 

In 1846 the Russell family began ownership of the land in the central part of Alabama. The textile mill “Russell Mills” was stationed in Alexander City. The lake was established as the Martin Dam was completed in 1926. Lake Martin was at that time the largest man made body of water in the world. Russell Lands, Inc. began building some of the cabins in about 1948, not until 1960′s did Willow Point Golf and Country Club come out of the ground. Willow Point is a +/- 170 acre facility with 18 holes of pristine golf, tennis courts, cabana with pool and fitness center. The Willow Point residential development began in the early 70′s (My parents, Mike & India Davis moved in Willow Point phase 1 in 1974) which would be the first of many lake front neighborhoods planned by Russell Lands. Willow Point has grown to 14 phases, with a neighborhood within called Glynmere. Not Far from Willow Point, Windermere, Winderemere West and Windover were started, and then decade or so later came The Ridge.

* A few of the Islands on Lake Martin

July 28, 2014 By Leave a Comment

In 1846 the Russell family began ownership of the land in the central part of Alabama. The textile mill “Russell Mills” was stationed in Alexander City. The lake was established as the Martin Dam was completed in 1926. Lake Martin was at that time the largest man made body of water in the world. Russell Lands, Inc. began building some of the cabins in about 1948, not until 1960′s did Willow Point Golf and Country Club come out of the ground. Willow Point is a +/- 170 acre facility with 18 holes of pristine golf, tennis courts, cabana with pool and fitness center. The Willow Point residential development began in the early 70′s (My parents, Mike & India Davis moved in Willow Point phase 1 in 1974) which would be the first of many lake front neighborhoods planned by Russell Lands. Willow Point has grown to 14 phases, with a neighborhood within called Glynmere. Not Far from Willow Point, Windermere, Winderemere West and Windover were started, and then decade or so later came The Ridge.

 

* A few of the Islands on Lake Martin

  • Chimney Rock Island – Chimney Rock Island has long been a famous landmark on Lake Martin. Its name came from a tall rock resembling a chimney that protrudes from the top of the island.
  • Acapulco Rock Island – Acapulco Rock Island is adjacent to Chimney Rock Island at the Tallapoosa River Gorge. It is often mistaken for Chimney Rock.
  • Doctor’s Island – So named because a group of doctors used the island as a base camp to fish. Their camp remains but was destroyed by fire a few years ago.
  • Goat Island – Goat Island is north of Martin Dam. It has become the residence for a family of goats.
  • Graveyard Island – A small county graveyard from before the construction of Martin Dam is located on what is now a tiny island in Lake Martin. About 30 by 30 yards (27 m) around, it is in the Bay Pine area.
  • Real Island – Not an island or distinct community, residents named it for “Real Island Road,” which runs through it, and a nearby marina. Real Island is a region of Eclectic, Alabama.
  • Sand Island – Sand Island is a small island located between Willow Point and Kowaliga Marina. Over the years erosion has taken its toll on the island, but rocks have recently been placed around the island to prevent it from being completed washed away. Boats frequently park on its sandy shallow beach. It is likely the smallest island on the lake.
  • Young’s Island – The Young residence (of Young’s ferry) was here and was destroyed by fire in the early 1990s. The foundation remains and there are historic markers for the graves of the family’s children.
  • Weed Hill Island – Weed Hill is a small island almost directly across from the Pleasure Point Marina boat ramp. Although at one time it was much larger, erosion has reduced the landmass.
  • Wood’s Island – Wood’s Island is a larger island, connected to the mainland by a land bridge during low water times. It has several trails for hiking. It can be found at the end of Young’s Ferry Rd on the West side of the lake.

Lake Martin Market Summery for May 2014

June 17, 2014 By Leave a Comment
Lake Martin Real Estate Summary Statistics
May-14 May-13 % Chg 2014 YTD 2013 YTD % Chg
Absorption Rate 16.18 18.45 -12.30 14.84 17.58 -15.59
Average List Price $368,429 $370,670 -0.60 $358,289 $360,203 -0.53
Median List Price $279,000 $279,000 0.00 $268,700 $268,600 0.04
Average Sale Price $272,909 $320,486 -14.85 $290,183 $285,374 1.69
Median Sale Price $200,000 $242,000 -17.36 $194,500 $179,100 8.60
Average DOM 207 157 31.85 205 202 1.49
Median DOM 112 94 19.15 137 117 17.09
Lake Martin Sold Listings
This Month Year to Date
2014 2013 % Chg 2014 2013 % Chg
0-29,999 3 1 200.0 11 9 22.2
30,000-39,999 0 2 -100.0 3 5 -40.0
40,000-49,999 0 0 0.0 6 1 500.0
50,000-59,999 0 0 0.0 7 7 0.0
60,000-69,999 2 0 N/A 4 5 -20.0
70,000-79,999 1 3 -66.7 7 10 -30.0
80,000-89,999 0 0 0.0 3 3 0.0
90,000-99,999 3 0 N/A 5 3 66.7
100,000-119,999 1 1 0.0 6 5 20.0
120,000-139,999 0 1 -100.0 11 14 -21.4
140,000-159,999 1 1 0.0 8 8 0.0
160,000-179,999 2 4 -50.0 10 14 -28.6
180,000-199,999 7 1 600.0 12 7 71.4
200,000-249,999 3 3 0.0 20 11 81.8
250,000-299,999 4 4 0.0 10 12 -16.7
300,000-399,999 9 3 200.0 24 12 100.0
400,000-499,999 3 3 0.0 7 11 -36.4
500,000+ 4 6 -33.3 28 26 7.7
Totals 43 33 30.3 182 163 11.7
Lake Martin Pending Listings
This Month Year to Date
2014 2013 % Chg 2014 2013 % Chg
0-29,999 0 1 -100.0 5 8 -37.5
30,000-39,999 0 3 -100.0 3 6 -50.0
40,000-49,999 1 1 0.0 7 2 250.0
50,000-59,999 2 0 N/A 11 4 175.0
60,000-69,999 2 2 0.0 8 7 14.3
70,000-79,999 1 1 0.0 5 8 -37.5
80,000-89,999 1 0 N/A 3 5 -40.0
90,000-99,999 1 0 N/A 7 2 250.0
100,000-119,999 1 3 -66.7 6 8 -25.0
120,000-139,999 1 2 -50.0 11 10 10.0
140,000-159,999 0 1 -100.0 6 8 -25.0
160,000-179,999 1 1 0.0 11 9 22.2
180,000-199,999 0 5 -100.0 10 16 -37.5
200,000-249,999 1 5 -80.0 25 18 38.9
250,000-299,999 5 3 66.7 13 13 0.0
300,000-399,999 7 4 75.0 33 18 83.3
400,000-499,999 5 6 -16.7 13 16 -18.7
500,000+ 6 7 -14.3 40 37 8.1
Totals 35 45 -22.2 217 195 11.3
Lake Martin Active Listings
This Month Year to Date
2014 2013 % Chg 2014 2013 % Chg
0-29,999 16 17 -5.9 23 28 -17.9
30,000-39,999 18 13 38.5 25 19 31.6
40,000-49,999 15 17 -11.8 24 24 0.0
50,000-59,999 25 15 66.7 37 22 68.2
60,000-69,999 18 13 38.5 26 20 30.0
70,000-79,999 18 16 12.5 26 29 -10.3
80,000-89,999 30 17 76.5 42 29 44.8
90,000-99,999 18 15 20.0 33 19 73.7
100,000-119,999 19 22 -13.6 29 33 -12.1
120,000-139,999 20 14 42.9 38 33 15.2
140,000-159,999 14 20 -30.0 27 36 -25.0
160,000-179,999 22 29 -24.1 37 42 -11.9
180,000-199,999 19 42 -54.8 40 70 -42.9
200,000-249,999 44 56 -21.4 82 96 -14.6
250,000-299,999 65 60 8.3 97 91 6.6
300,000-399,999 87 108 -19.4 133 157 -15.3
400,000-499,999 43 43 0.0 68 79 -13.9
500,000+ 152 144 5.6 226 215 5.1
Totals 643 661 -2.7 1013 1042 -2.8
Lake Martin New Listings
This Month Year to Date
2014 2013 % Chg 2014 2013 % Chg
0-29,999 0 4 -100.0 10 12 -16.7
30,000-39,999 1 2 -50.0 9 11 -18.2
40,000-49,999 0 5 -100.0 10 13 -23.1
50,000-59,999 2 2 0.0 18 10 80.0
60,000-69,999 1 1 0.0 14 7 100.0
70,000-79,999 2 3 -33.3 11 13 -15.4
80,000-89,999 6 5 20.0 25 10 150.0
90,000-99,999 5 2 150.0 18 11 63.6
100,000-119,999 1 0 N/A 11 14 -21.4
120,000-139,999 5 4 25.0 19 11 72.7
140,000-159,999 4 4 0.0 12 18 -33.3
160,000-179,999 0 5 -100.0 18 22 -18.2
180,000-199,999 2 8 -75.0 17 36 -52.8
200,000-249,999 7 6 16.7 43 35 22.9
250,000-299,999 13 11 18.2 49 53 -7.5
300,000-399,999 17 12 41.7 72 78 -7.7
400,000-499,999 2 7 -71.4 41 41 0.0
500,000+ 22 16 37.5 138 105 31.4
Totals 90 97 -7.2 535 500 7.0

Some Lake Martin Do’s and Don’ts

June 10, 2014 By Leave a Comment

The past few months in Lake Magazine’s “Behind the Boat” column I talked about the growth of wakesurfing and the boating industry’s response to the sport. The amount of products available in the manufacturers surfboard lines, the general differences in them. The boats out for 2014 with the all new surf systems, each a little different but all working to achieve the same thing. The biggest and best surf wave, which can be changed accordingly to fit the likes of the rider. I jumped right in the boats and boards this year.. I want to back up a little and hit a few refresher high points on safety.

I mentioned previously debris in the lake from the water hitting the full pool mark and quite a bit of rain already this year. Its still out there floating, watch for it. Docks were repaired over the winter,(or the dock is in a state which needs repair and coming apart) beaches and lots were cleaned; of which some of the bits didn’t get removed on the shore, or the dock rose up and old age took it’s toll.. there are boards, limbs and “things” floating about still. A positive note, there’s less of it, but still enough not to forget about, so keep your eyes open if you are driving OR riding.

Riding safety; most of us know this, but for people that are new to Lake Martin or boating in general a brief crash course. (hopefully no pun intended) Learn the hand signals between rider and driver, that means both the rider and driver know and understand. There are a few more signals than thumb up, thumb down, & slash at the throat. They are available online and some of us used different ones for the same things.. so drivers be clear with all your passengers. Make sure new people, friends, friends of friends are on the same page with you.. Oddly enough the one thing I see most with kids is (I know this sounds crazy) they won’t let go of the rope when they are ready to quit. Some of the beginners don’t want to let go with one hand to signal, so for the really newcomer, pay close attention, closer than you think you need to.

Etiquette… Etiquette’s definition – a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group. I know people that have lived on this or other bodies of water most of their lived that have to learn some of the “rules”. I have written about these before, I’m going to hit a few of the worst of these. If you are towing a rider, OR coming into an area with the hopes of riding and someone is already there with someone behind the boat. Pull the throttle back to idle, not almost idle.. IDLE, stay clear of them, as long as the person being towed is up and makes a few passes, they have the right of way. If he or she falls, then they get to ride a few passes while you wait. The etiquette on their part, should be to finish up and then let you ride the slough and if they have others wanting a pull, then you both alternate riding/waiting. If you both try and ride.. you both will be miserable.. the water is terrible, the rider and driver are both stressed, and unhappy. Be nice, take turns.. simple. Next up on the complete lack of etiquette is the dreaded POWER TURN. Don’t do it.. EVER unless your rider is hurt. If your rider takes a fall pull back to idle and go get them, don’t turn around at speed. If someone takes a slam and doesn’t give a signal, go get them.. and get them fast. With that being said, you riders, throw up the hand and let the driver know your ok asap. The power turn sends waves everywhere, for all the other boats,your rider and peoples docks/boats which are being pummeled by your boat wake and your lack of etiquette. Don’t screw up the water for everyone.

Last thing I want to mention and it’s the first time in Behind the Boat… Sunscreen. Use it. I like a lot of you are out in the sun in and out boat in the summer. Skin cancer is no joke. There are plenty of good sunscreens out there, you should definitely use them. Some of my personal favorites: Beyond Coastal- Awesome line, it takes a little more time to rub in but worth it. Great sticks for quick application for kids and adults, & lip balm with spf is awesome too. Blue Lizard- great stuff, seems to last a long time in and out of water. Bull Frog works really well, comes in sprays now.. on a personal note, I don’t really like the spray sunscreens, haven’t had a ton of luck w/ them lasting like ones that have to be applied old school style. (plus they get all over the boats interior) My day in day out always have around sunscreen I keep in bulk is NO AD. I have big bottles of spf 30,45, and 60. Works great, easy to find and it lasts even though I’m in and out of water all the time. It is also very reasonably priced compared to lots of the others out there.

Be careful, be nice, wear sun protection and have fun…

See you on the water

Sawyer

535 McCain Road, Eclectic, AL 36024 – Castaway Area on Lake Martin

May 1, 2014 By Leave a Comment

These homes were moved from a farm in Troy, AL to this +/-2 ac property in ’97 and has extensive landscaping on the entire property. Entering though code access gated entrance, the driveway meanders, splitting to the enter at the two houses which are joined by patios and stone walkways. Inside both you find the high ceilings and architecture reminiscent of the Old South in days past. The inside of these magnificent homes is a must see to appreciate. Old colonial style homes updated just enough to keep the charm completely intact. Gorgeous hardwood floors and partial wood walls with high ceilings. Massive floor to ceiling stone fireplace in the main house. Big covered porches on both houses looking out to to Lake Martin. The lakeside of the property boasts amazing views of Kowaliga Bay & shares a huge backyard, complete with sand volleyball court, stone fire pit/patio that walk Lake Martin.

 

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Waterfront is surrounded by a beautiful stone seawall. The covered boat house has sitting area and uncovered floating dock, PWC lift.

The house is being sold furnished, with pontoon boat and 2 sea doo gtx pwc’s.

 

Lake Martin -51 Honeysuckle Crt

March 25, 2014 By Leave a Comment

$330,000 – LOTS OF BANG FOR THE BUCK! 4 bed 3.5 bath, super cute lake place. Loads of amenities and all to enjoy in maintenance free community. Wonderful pool and lots of green space for throwing the football or frisbee. House has granite countertops, stainless appliances and mix hardwood, tile and carpet. Great location and ready for summer! Must see! The home also has a dry boat storage area.

 

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Lake Martin Wakesurfing

 

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The Factor, the Agent and the Foamie; in every color, shape and size to get your season of wakesurfing under way this season. The wakesurfers are for sale at Blue Creek Marina and range in price from $275-$450. Unmatched quality from the oldest skimboard manufacturer in the world. If wakesurfing on Lake Martin is even a consideration for your summer.. do yourself a favor and get yourself a real piece of equipment and DO IT!

 

Lake Martin Real Estate – Willow Glynn home plans

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Willow Glynn is a development that started in 2008 as a community related to Willow Point. It has a trail system that runs from phase 1 winding through the forrest to the entry gate at Willow Point. Next month Russell Lands will release the 3rd major collection of home sites in Willow Glynn. This release will consist of 14 waterfront lots and 13 water access lots on some of the most pristine property on Lake Martin. These lots will be available with an additional opportunity to take advantage of new homes designed by Mitch Ginn, and built by Classic Homes (a Russell Lands company). The plans Mitch as designed will have a very attractive total package pricing for waterfront lake homes. There are lots that are more ideally suited for a custom home design by any of the approved architect/builders. There are several other Lake Martin home plans I will be posting over the next few months.

 

This is a wonderful Lake Martin home plan designed by Mitch Ginn for Willow Glynn phase 3 at Willow Point. The plan has a great layout for 4 bedrooms and 4 baths and all the look and feel you expect in a new lake home.

New Listing in Willow Point, 56 Willow Wood – Lake Martin Real Estate

 

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New Lake Martin Real Estate listing. $1,400,000 in Willow Point. 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths – Amazing lake home, with great amenities and super functionality. The home is great for full time use or summer use for family and friends. Great for entertaining and enjoying the sun. Must see to appreciate all of the extras. Willow Point is a few minutes away from Russell Crossroads for dining and general market needs. If you decide to leave home by water you can be overlooking Lake Martin enjoying a meal and a cocktail at Kowaliga Restaurant .