Archived Story

Memorial Day signals beginning of summer on lake

Published 9:02pm Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer on Lake Martin. It does not matter how old you are, 6 or 66, the anticipation of all that is to come is palpable. You drive down 280, 63, 49, 34, or 50 with your windows down and your cheap shades on, because how many nice pairs have you lost in the past? You stop and buy some roadside watermelon and boiled peanuts. You take your first dive into the water. It is still almost too cold to swim, but you go in anyway and it’s crisp and refreshing. You emerge and take a big gulp of air, feeling alive. When your feet are planted in Alabama red clay, you realize there is no other place on earth like Lake Martin. You are very lucky indeed.

To my friends and I, Memorial Day is more than just a national holiday. It is a reunion where we convert back into big kids again. This is the part where all of our moms are reading and thinking … yeah, they just have not grown up yet! We have T-shirts and koozies made – it is a big deal, I tell you.

We do backflips off of diving boards and go double tubing. Double tubing is where you hook up two tubes and have to jump back and forth between them. We water ski – or at least the ones who are good at it do – spear each other off docks, ride zip lines, swing from rope swings like Tarzan, and take dares to do tricks off Chicken Rock.  Chimney Rock was conquered many years ago … and because we are still intact, we have hung that one up. To you graduating seniors, make the most of your summer, and try to find one day every year to get together.

If you are new around here or looking to entertain your guests on Lake Martin, here are some ideas for a perfect day or an entire summer on repeat: Catch the sunrise while fishing in the early hours. Eat a big breakfast upon return. Pick up a JR’s packable party tray in town and then stock up on supplies down at Nail’s.

Prepare a bloody mary and read a moment on the dock. Start your pontoon or rent one at Harbor Pointe. Beach your boat on an empty shoreline. Be sure Jimmy Buffett, Zac Brown Band, and Alan Jackson are on your playlist. Set up some horseshoes and toss a few while soaking up the sun. Next cruise by Sand Island, beach it if you can, but it will be packed.

Tie up at Chimney Rock and people watch. I promise you will be entertained. Jump off Chicken Rock if you dare. Pick up a pizza at Chuck’s. Play a round of golf at Willow Point or Midway. Once sunburned, shop at Lake Martin Mini Mall, Eclectic Pottery or get a massage with Noel Boone. Do happy hour (or late night) at Sinclair’s or Uncle Nick’s. Dine and take in the vast view at SpringHouse. Return to Chuck’s for karaoke. Experience live music at Colonel’s Toms. Buy a T-shirt at Niffer’s. Camp at Wind Creek.

Your children will never forget it, I know we haven’t. Take in Sunday service at Church in the Pines, it is good for the soul.

Tonight from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. is Friday on the Green at Russell Crossroads with live music by Ben Sutton and games.

Art on the Lake will be happening tomorrow at Children’s Harbor from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. near Children’s Chapel and will feature artists. There will also be children’s activities, a silent auction, and concessions.  Twenty percent of the proceeds will benefit Children’s Harbor.  Admission is free.

On Sunday afternoon, the Southern Music Festival will be held at The AMP. The gates open at 4:30 p.m. and the first act begins at 6 p.m. Blackberry Smoke is headlining, and Will Hoge and Moon Taxi will perform. Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the gate.

Everyone wear sunscreen and a seat belt. Have a designated driver. And remember, Alex City does not sell beer on Sundays.

Howell works as an advertising representative for Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc., in addition to writing this column. Contact Howell at to keep her In the Loop of events.