Archived Story

The best of Lake Martin

Published 7:15pm Monday, October 3, 2011

Every year, Tallapoosa Publishers presents the Reader’s Choice Awards – a collection of the best businesses, people and more that the Lake Martin area has to offer based on votes of our readers.

While flipping through this publication earlier today, I started making my own list – a “Natalie’s Choice Awards,” if you will, of my favorite events to cover and places to visit around the Lake Martin area.

So without further ado, I present you with a list of a few of my favorites:

Camp ASCCA and Children’s Harbor:

Where do I begin with these two camps? Camp ASCCA, which stands for Alabama’s Special Camp for Children and Adults, provides therapeutic recreation for children and adults with physical and mental disabilities. Every event I have covered at the camp has made me smile: whether it’s the annual prom or just a regular day at camp. Children’s Harbor offers a similar camping experience for children with long-term illnesses and their families. John Stephenson, Matt and Dana Rickman and Allison Wetherbee of Camp ASCCA, as well as Jim Ray and Tammy Jackson of Children’s Harbor are always a pleasure to work with, too.

The Shoppes of Queen’s Attic and Coffee and Cakes Café:

Not long after I started working here nearly two years ago, I was tasked with writing a profile piece on Queen’s Attic. As soon as I walked in the doors of the downtown indoor shopping center, I was in love. The building’s unique New Orleans flare makes it stand out from others in the area, and the addition of the delicious Coffee and Cakes Café earlier this year only adds to its appeal.

Jazz Fest and the Russell Lands Summer Concert Series:

I’ve had the opportunity to cover some great concerts on Lake Martin through Jazz Fest and the Russell Lands Concert Series. From Corey Smith at the 2010 Labor Day Concert to Sawyer Brown and Rhett Akins at this year’s Aquapalooza, they’ve all been great. It’s wonderful seeing downtown Alex City so packed with people during Jazz Fest, and The Amp is a cool venue, too.

Emporium Wine:

Let me start by saying this: I love wine. If you do too, Emporium Wine, owned by Lake magazine’s wine guru Henry Foy, is a great shop to find delicious wines. Even if you don’t know what you’re looking for, Henry’s usually around to help you out. Cheers!

Creekside Lodge and Uncle Nick’s Smokehouse:

If you have friends coming into town and not enough room to house them, book a room for them at Creekside Lodge. I did a story for Lake last month with innkeepers Richard and Mary Davis, and they are just wonderful. If you’re hungry, Richard’s brother, Nick, owns Uncle Nick’s Smokehouse next door and it’s delicious.

I wish I could keep going, but unfortunately I’m approaching my word limit. There are many more wonderful people, places and events, and I wish I could list them all. Here’s saying a big thanks to everyone in Lake Martin who helps make it so special.

Nettles is a staff writer for The Outlook.

  • techlife

    Blah, Blah, Blah……

    Natalie, you are too young and naïve. As as a staff writer with TPI, please reconsider your public assessments of Lake Martin’s favorite businesses, people and more. As a former (to remain) freelance writer and avid reader of your newspaper, this type of article has been reheated more times than I can care to taste. Sure, everything you said is correct and “spot on”, but consider the overall impact of your article on the general public. While we all recognize there are a limited number of sites and sounds to enjoy in this area; there are, in fact, more popular spots that are rarely, if ever, mentioned.

    Take, for example, the Dairy Creem. Located on Cherokee Rd., just outside of Alexander City, the establishment has been in this area since the “dawn of creation”. This place is a time-honored institution. Where else can you stand patiently in line, perusing a hand-printed list of their favorite specialties; all the while, staring at the time-forgotten, green color-hued pictures of hamburgers and French fried potatoes. Look out Coffee and Cakes Café!

    And, what about the Home Depot? Heck, everybody goes there! It has turned into a gathering spot for the DIY’ers. On any given Saturday, just drop by to find the parking lot littered with pick-up trucks and cars alike. With the economy being what it is, more and more families have to rely on their own basic skills for home repairs; consequently, businesses, like Home Depot, have become very popular. What sets them apart from the others has been their customer service skills – they simply make you feel at home.

    Do we dare forget Wal*mart? If you want to have some real fun, stare in disbelief at the cross-section of the American population and save a few bucks: all at the same time, this should be the number one spot on your “hit parade”. Where else can you go to shop and be greeted by a friendly face as you enter the store. There are people in this area who are ignored and despised because of their appearance, lifestyle, etc. They, however, do their dead level best to survive. When they go to this store, at least they feel they are in a peaceful environment that accepts them with open arms (and wallets). This is the place “where America (and Lake Martin area residents)” spend much of their time.

    Need I go on? I could but, like you, there is a constraint on the number of words I can use. Please take a look at our society and delve into the melting pot that is forming our life around us. The trademark sites that you sanction have received enough recognition. As a writer, it should be your job to report the news and reflect your opinions. As a reader of Outlook, I think I have right to read about life around here from a different perspective and, in a more light-hearted manner. Let’s have some fun with the news.

    Of course, this is only my opinion……

  • dmeprah

    First of all, techlife, let me say I’ve seen a lot of stupid comments on this site (I’m talking to you sunnylevel), but this one takes the cake.

    Where do I even start? You say “there are, in fact, more popular spots that are rarely, if ever mentioned.” Clearly, you’re already missing the point, as the writer states this article is “Natalie’s Choice Awards.” That means it’s her opinion, so the fact that other spots may be more popular is completely irrelevant.

    You call the writer “too young and naive” and later say “the trademark sites that you sanction have received enough recognition.” Then you say Walmart should be number one on the list and add Home Depot as another one of your top spots.

    Couple things on those gems you brought up, techlife: 1. If Walmart is number one on your list of favorite places to be in the city, then you need to re-evaluate your life because it’s in sad shape. 2. Maybe the writer isn’t as old and wise as you are, but are you trying to tell me that Queen’s Attic or Coffee and Cakes Cafe or Creekside Lodge get more publicity than Walmart or Home Depot? Get a clue. I think both will survive if the local paper doesn’t mention them in a column. You’re so far off base with that comment that you’re probably too ignorant to even understand what I’m

    On a side note, I find it hilarious that you wrote “former (to remain) freelance writer.” I’m going to go out on a limb and guess no media outlet is going to try to lure you out of retirement.

    While I would love to keep ripping into you, I will wrap it up now. If you’re going to add comments to articles, at least try to give us something useful. What you said is little more than nonsense and appears to be a jab at the writer for no reason. Grow up and stop pretending like you’re providing insightful commentary. You’re not fooling anyone.