After a long sun-drenched day on the lake, you and your loved ones gather in a circle of chairs at the water’s edge to breathe in the crisp early fall air. You listen to the crackle of the bonfire and share lazy laughter as a pink sunset settles on the lapping water, giving way to evening’s starry sky. As you breathe in the cool, pine-laden air, you take in the fullness of your day spent with loved ones. The feeling of the wind against your face in the boat, splashing around at the dock, grabbing boiled peanuts from the local waterside peanut haunt, jumping off Chimney Rock, playing board games in the screened-in porch after lunch, taking a nap in the hammock — simply appreciating the beauty of nature and one another’s company for a near-perfect day.

This is Lake Martin.

Lake Martin boating

Children, eager to take in the wind and the waves, crowd together at the front of the boat.

Chimney Rock- Lake Martin

Adventurous souls climb Chimney Rock and jump off into the waters below.

Children's Harbor- Lake Martin, AL

A soft pink-and-orange sunset behind the iconic lighthouse at Children’s Harbor in Lake Martin, AL | Image: Children’s Harbor

“When people come here, it is all about their family,” says Steve Arnberg, Vice President of Real Estate Sales of Russell Lands. “Typically, lake homes have a great big family space and small bedroom spaces, because the only time you are in your bedroom is to sleep. You spend most of your time out on the lake, so all of those big open rooms are for eating and playing and being together. All those old jigsaw puzzles and games that gather dust at home — the place you play with them is at the lake.”

“Lake Martin is the most beautiful lake in the South,” says David Nelson, President of Canvasback Management. “In my opinion, there is nothing better than being in the boat with family and friends on the lake.”

Families have been enjoying the lake since the construction of Lake Martin Dam in the 1920s. With 44,000 acres of lake and 800 miles of wooded shoreline, Lake Martin offers bounteous natural beauty, iconic landmarks, beloved eateries, endless recreation and, of course, beautiful homes.

“Russell Lands and Alabama Power have done a good job of making sure the lake has not been over-developed,” says David. “Rules were put in place several years ago to limit the size and power of boats to help control speed and noise on the lake.”

Lake Martin

Lake Martin is one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States. Image: Russell Lands

 Kowaliga Restaurant

Diners enjoy an al fresco meal as the sun sets at the popular Kowaliga Restaurant.

RELATED: Your Ultimate Guide to Lake Martin, Alabama

Lake Martin Amphitheater

Concert-goers are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets to the outdoor events at the Lake Martin Amphitheater. Image: Russell Lands

A minimum requirement for home designs on Russell Lands is that the design concept is respectful of the land, and designed to fit within each lot’s unique natural landscape. “We hope that the designer shapes the house to protect the trees, which protect the house and give the homeowners privacy,” says Steve of Russell Lands. “So the land dictates design rather than the other way around. Our lake has this untouched hardwood and pine forest that we want to protect — that’s real value, not to mention shade.”

And from cottage-style cabins to Mountain-style homes to stunning modern estates, Lake Martin homes reach every style and price point. Let’s take a look at three of Lake Martin’s most recent home developments.

White Oak Landing

Price Range: $495 to $750K (includes the lot, the home, basic pier and seawall)

“Finding a home on Lake Martin has gotten difficult,” says David of Canvasback Management and Developer of the brand-new development White Oak Landing. “There are small cabins built in the early 1970s before building codes, new lake house ‘McMansions’ wedged onto narrow lots and matchbox condominiums with neighbors above, below and on either side. White Oak is wonderful because it isn’t like any of those. We wanted to give customers a community that blends in with the lake with new homes on large lots at a reasonable price point.”

White Oak Landing- Lake Martin, AL

White Oak Landing is one mile away from Highway 280,” says David of the development’s desirable location. “Not many places on the lake can say that.” Image: Justin Clayton

White Landing house quartet- Lake Martin home

“We have a mix of gentle sloping lots and steeper basement lots, which allow for a second living space on the terrace level,” says David. “Also, White Oak is located within the city limits of Alexander City, which has shopping and new restaurants popping up every day, not to mention the safety of having city-directed police, fire and medical services.”

Set among beautiful mature hardwood and pine trees, White Oak Landing lots have a minimum of 100 feet of shoreline, giving residents a little privacy and allowing them to own a full-size dock according to the Alabama Power Company regulations. Architects Michael O’Kelley of O’Kelley Architecture, Mitch Ginn of L. Mitchell Ginn & Associates and Larry Furlong created cottage-style cabins in five designs with three- to four-bedroom options with gathering spaces, outdoor living spaces, master bedrooms with lake views and modern amenities like granite countertops, custom cabinets, walk-in closets and more. “Lake life is best enjoyed with extended family and friends, so designs are created to give space for gathering, as well as places for peaceful dreams,” says David.

Parts of the lake have seen an increase in development over the last 10 to 20 years, resulting in a rise of boat traffic that can make the waters choppy on busy weekends. But not at White Oak Landing. “It’s in an area that is has retained its tranquility because it has not been over-developed. You can quickly meet your friends at Chuck’s or Chimney Rock for a visit but then return to the more peaceful waters around White Oak Landing.”

White Oak Landing community in Lake Martin

White Oak Landing is a master-planned community with appropriate protective covenants and design guidelines that protect owners and enhance value. Image: Justin Clayton

Cedar Point

Price Range: $700K to $1.1 million (includes the lot, the home, basic pier and seawall; 4 lots left)

Cedar Point’s aptly titled tagline is “cottage living on the lake,” which perfectly captures this handsome lakeside community. “We wanted to take the style from the Russell Cabins where many Lake Martin families grew up and add modern conveniences and a little bit of a cottage style to them,” says David. The signature of the Cedar Point style is an elegant minimalism that allows the natural surroundings to play a key role. Sleek charcoal-colored cabins and neutral cottages seem to almost blend into nature, gracefully complementing the trees.

Cedar Point Lot- Lake Martin home

The houses have been designed and adjusted to take advantage of the topography of the chosen lot. Image: Therese Bowen

Cedar Point home- Lake Martin, AL

Cedar Point is convenient to both Birmingham and Montgomery. Its location on the water is close to Kowaliga and Willow Point, and it’s a quick drive in the car to The Landing at Parker Creek. Image: Therese Bowen

Cedar Point boasts a gentler slope to its shoreline, allowing for natural beaches, while a few lots sit up a little higher with beautiful stone seawalls and stunning lake views. Each home includes granite countertops, custom cabinets, GE profile appliances and pine floors and can be customized to meet each homeowner’s style and functional needs.

“We have added outdoor kitchens, carriage houses for extended family to visit and larger screened-in porches for residents to enjoy,” says David. “Perhaps the best part of Cedar Point is the friendships that have been made by the owners living there. I’ve heard of many neighborhood parties and get-togethers that have sprung up between these new friends.”

The Shell Cracker Cottage

The Shell Cracker Cottage, designed by L. Mitchell Ginn & Associates, is a four-bedroom, four-bathroom lake home with great room, recreation room, lakeside porch and more.

Lake Martin- Cedar Point home interior

The open-concept floor plan — combining kitchen, living room, dining area, and views and access to the lakeside porch and outdoor terrace — is perfect for family weekends.

RELATED: This Unbelievable Lake Martin Garden Tells a Story Like No Other

Covered porch - Cedar Point Lake Martin

We could spend all day on this gorgeous covered porch!

Russell Lands on Lake Martin

Price Range: $800K up to $12M (lots range from $300K to $1.5M, depending on neighborhood, size of lot and views; home prices vary by design)

Russell Lands home developments consist of 12 neighborhoods, each with a unique identity and architectural style, on 25,000 acres scattered along 300 miles of shoreline. “It’s a huge piece of property in the center of Lake Martin,” says Steve Arnberg, Vice President of Real Estate Sales of Russell Lands, explaining that having this sprawling property allows them to protect the value of each neighborhood. And what’s more, the developers allotted 1,000 acres of the property to the Russell Forest, which already has 100 miles of hiking, biking and horse trails throughout the community.

Russell Lands custom homes are designed by architects like Jeffrey Dungan Architects, Bill Ingram Architect and McAlpine. From mountain-style retreats and Craftsmen homes to upscale cabins and cozy cottages, there is a style for every taste. “A minimum requirement for any Russell Lands home design is that the architects have to design ‘lake homes’ to fit within the land,” says Steve of the eco-conscious designs.

Home- Russel Lands on Lake Martin

This handsome home designed by Larry Furlong is located in The Ridge in South Ridge Harbor. Image: Justin Clayton

Kitchen interior- Russel Lands on Lake Martin

We simply love this open, white, bright kitchen! Image: Justin Clayton

Russell Lands on Lake Martin- open space family room

Large open family spaces are a hallmark of Russell Lands’ homes. “You hardly ever see a formal dining room,” says Steve. “It’s almost a ‘no-no’!” Image: Justin Clayton

Russel Lands on Lake Martin- porch

Imagine yourself standing on this stunning open-air, second-story porch with access to that gorgeous sunset every evening — swoon! Image: Justin Clayton

Ridgeview Point- Lake Martin Home

This sprawling estate on Ridgeview Point, designed by Bill Farshee, is most certainly a head-turner! Image: Sherry Watkins

“To us, the lakeside is the front door, and where you drive up in your car is the back door. The pier is the ‘driveway,’” says Steve. Every home has a large open-concept kitchen, dining and living space; kitchens and master suites to rival the ones that the owners have at home; covered or screened lakeside outdoor living space, and boat and “lake toy” storage. The homes have a minimum of four bedrooms. They are usually designed for multi-generational families to enjoy, often with two master suites on the same level, so the homeowners’ can host their grown-up friends for the weekend.

Steve’s favorite thing about Lake Martin is the relaxed feel. He says, “Most of our property owners are what I like to call ‘doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs.’ In other words, they are captains of industry; they work very hard. So, when they come to the lake, they kick off their three-piece suit and put on their jeans, and then it’s all about their family and being together.”

So, find the lake place that fits your style, and head to Lake Martin for a fabulous vacation with your friends and family!

To learn more about White Oak Landing, visit whiteoaklandinglm.com.

To learn more about Cedar Point, visit cedarpointlakemartin.com.

To learn more about Russell Lands on Lake Martin, visit russelllandsonlakemartin.com.

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