JUMP IN THE LAKE
Tallapoosa and Chambers counties are known for their lakes — all offering an array of boating, swimming and other water sports. Lake Martin covers 44,000 acres with nearly 900 miles of shoreline. It is Alabama’s first and only lake to receive state designation as a “treasured” lake — ideal for swimming, boating, fishing, skiing and wake boarding. Lake Harding covers 5,850 acres and has a shoreline of 156 miles, spreading along a 13-mile section of the Chattahoochee River. The lake stands behind Bartlett’s Ferry Dam, which has been producing electricity since 1926. West Point Lake extends 35 miles along the Chattahoochee, with 525 miles of shoreline, surrounded by deep forests and rolling fields. Check out the area around West Point Dam for songbirds, raptors, winter gulls and terns.
TAKE A HIKE
Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trails offers 26 miles of hiking trails around Lake Martin. Alligator Creek Nature Trail in Lanett offers a choice between the one-mile Alligator Creek Trail and the half mile Beaver Creek Interpretative Trail. Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail runs through Tallapoosa, Chambers and seven other counties with a plethora of birds to see. The old Chattahoochee Valley Railway line in Valley is now a rails-to-trails project.
RIDE YOUR BIKE
West Point Scenic Bike Trail travels about eight miles near West Point Lake. You can hike here, too.
The Harold Banks Canoe Trail stretches 25 miles along the Tallapoosa River, a delight for naturalists, historians and other adventurers.
PLAY A GAME
Charles E. Bailey Sr. Sportsplex in Alexander City provides fields for soccer, softball, baseball, disc golf, archery and horseback riding, plus a splash pad, dog park and walking trails.
GO TO THE PARK
Wind Creek State Park, south of Alexander City, offers public access to Lake Martin, with more than 500 campsites. Beyond water sports, it offers archery, horseback riding, mini golf and ziplines.
AUTO SEE THIS
The Wellborn Musclecar Museum in Alexander City celebrates the glorious era of great American muscle cars. Located in the original lot of a circa 1944 car dealership, it features an impressive collection of 1968-1971 muscle cars.
StillWaters Lake & Golf Community is on Lake Martin in Dadeville, with tennis courts, community pool, walking track and playground, plus boat storage, and a public golf course, Highlands Golf Course and Harbor Pointe Marina. Lake Winds Golf Course in Alexander City offers rounded greens that require accurate short iron approach shots. Point University Golf Club in Lanett caters to golfers of any skill level.
Russell Crossroads is the heart of Russell Land’s Lake Martin community, with shops, restaurants, an equestrian center, water sports needs, a naturalist cabin and loads of events year-round.
Main Street Alexander City offers dining and shopping in a historic downtown. Don’t miss Carlisle’s, a long-standing soda fountain.
VISIT SOME HISTORY
Horseshoe Bend Military Park, established in 1959, dates to the Creek Indian wars. Fort Tyler is the site of the last known fort battle of the Civil War, seven days after the end of the war. Fort Cusseta in Cusseta, is a rare surviving example of a log fort built to defend a frontier settlement.
Chambers County Museum, in a former Central of Georgia railway depot in LaFayette, offers lots of local history, including a display on boxer Joe Louis. There’s also a statue of this famous local man downtown. The West Point Depot and Museum showcases local history, including a scale model of the Chattahoochee Valley Railway and the mill villages along its route. The Cannery at Langdale Mill reflects the life and times of a Southern textile mill village in the days when textiles were a major industry. The Cobb Memorial Archives have even more to tell about Chambers County history, including a genealogy bank, newspapers, paper projects from 1832-1915, the Chattahoochee Historical Society publications, LaFayette Sun abstracts, Chambers County church minutes and more.
TOSS A LINE
Crank for Bank, which runs from April 1 to July 4, is a contest to catch one of 200 tagged fish in Lake Martin and win big prizes.
HONOR THE AGRICULTURE
The Chambers County Agricultural Arena in LaFayette offers great space for rodeos and other agri-tourism events. Stables for livestock and concessions are available during events.
GO TO A SHOW
The Langdale Theater in Valley opened in 1937, then reopened in 1986 — offering concerts, plays and more.
FESTIVITIES and EVENTS
Russell Forest Run — Russell Forest | February An annual run to benefit the Alexander City Schools Education Foundation.
RXR Fest — Russell Crossroads | Memorial Day A mix of well-known plus up-and-coming regional musicians entertain at the Green Stage. It’s free.
Art on the Lake — Russell Crossroads | Memorial Day Dozens of artists display fine arts and hand crafts.
Jazz Fest — Alexander City | June The city’s signature event celebrates its 33rd anniversary in 2023 with live music Friday in Strand Park and Saturday at The Amp on Lake Martin.
Sun Festival — Alexander City | June This nine-day community event includes scavenger hunts, trivia nights, live music, dog parade and more.
Fireworks — Valley | 4th of July Valley celebrates Independence Day.
Boat Parade — Russell Marine | 4th of July Scores of boats parade from Kowaliga Marina to Children’s Harbor with prizes for Tallest Flag, Largest Flag, Most Creative Theme and Most Patriotic Crew.
Concert & Fireworks — Russell Crossroads | 4th of July Find your spot on the Grassy Lawn at the AMP for the celebratory fireworks display.
Music Fest — Russell Crossroads | Labor Day A two-day, four-band event with local, regional and national groups.
Fall Family Festival — Russell Crossroads | October Blacksmith, pumpkin patch, petting zoo, pony rides, canning and baking contests are part of the fun.
Christmas at Crossroads — Russell Crossroads | November Annual treat featuring arts and crafts for the kids, local artisans at a holiday bazaar and the Jolly Elf himself.
RockingFest on the Square — LaFayette | November The World’s Largest Rocking Horse, plus ice skating, arts and crafts and more.
Christmas Merry-Go-Round — Valley | December The Christmas Merry-Go-Round was given to Valley area children as a holiday gift from the West Point Pepperell Mill Co. in 1956.
Christmas Parade — Valley | December Holiday fun begins when the annual parade kicks off in West Point, Georgia, then heads west, traveling through Lanett and winding up in Valley.
This article appeared in the December 2022 issue of Business Alabama.