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Scott Brown

Katie Van Slyke

The Williamson Cabin

A local artist captures favorite Smith Lake landmarks and more in beautiful paintings including traditional watercolors as well as line and wash

A lovely young southern social media sensation, making waves in the hunting industry and far beyond

A hidden treasure of a home – lovingly being restored for a growing young family – while becoming a perfect backdrop to showcase home décor styled by Emma Doss for Seibels Cottage

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Wh at ’ s I n s ide W I N T E R


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PAGE 52 The Stricklands

FEATURE HOME BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT PAGE 20 & 24 Mae Mae’s Paws & Pat’s Archery



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PAGE 38 The Williamson Cabin

Something About Smith�������������������������������������06 howilake��������������������������������������������������������������������������10 Tallulah����������������������������������������������������������������������������� 12 Katie Van Slyke���������������������������������������������������������� 28 Spots on Smith��������������������������������������������������������� 62 Smith Lake Kids��������������������������������������������������������68 From the Heart of Lewis����������������������������������� 72 Southern Wake Series Round-Up������������������ 74 Smith Lake Pets��������������������������������������������������������86 Advertiser Index������������������������������������������������������� 92 RECIPES ON SMITH C hristmas L asagna ���������������������������88 D rinks ��������������������������������������������������� 90

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Pyramid Rock


PARTNER/EDITOR IN CHIEF: Syndi Sumner Hanna MANAGING EDITOR/ CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Sandra Slate PARTNER/MANAGING EDITOR/ SALES DIRECTOR: Scott Hanna CREATIVE ADVISOR: Emma Doss LEAD PHOTOGRAPHER: Scott Eric Day Photography and Videography CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Jennifer Beckman (JWB Photography) Rob Beckman Carol Berry (Community with Carol) Scott Brown Taylor Parker Cain C.A.S.T. for Kids Smith Lake Park Emily Gamble Chamblee Shane Cook (Wakefactory) Scott Eric Day Photography and Videography Chris Grillis Photography & Fine Portraiture Peggy Hill Suzie Hurt Land Leader LLC Darlynda May MasterPro Audio Kathy McLeroy (3G Marketing) Montgomery Lee Photography John and Jill Strickland Tallulah Brewery Terry Turner Katie Van Slyke Dave Warren (Cullman Aerial & Real Estate Photography) Christine Williamson The Lewis Smith Lake Community The Lakeside Life Team CONTRIBUTING EDITORIALS: Carol Berry (Community with Carol) Emily Gamble Chamblee Megan Cook (Konagraphs) Shane Cook (WakeFactory/SWS) Peggy Hill Stephanie G. Lepore Haley May John David Palmer Ellen Roberts Meg Williamson The Lakeside Life Team CONTRIBUTING GRAPHIC DESIGN: Sparta Creative PRINTED BY: Freeport Press Inc. PUBLISHED BY: The Lakeside Life – FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS CALL: 256-708-7679 – or complete the subscription form @ FOR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES CALL: 205-470-8250 – or complete the advertising form @ INTERESTED IN SUBMITTING CONTENT? Please e-mail to obtain a content submission form and agreement.


@THELAKESIDELIFE | The Lakeside Life

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Smith Making Memories on


Photographer Terry Turner

Carol submitted this photo of her daddy in the 70s, in his work clothes from

Monsanto, “…those men would get off

work and go straight to the lake to fish.”


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Photo by 3G Marketing

a life time resident of Cullman County, Lewis Smith Lake is part of my earliest memories. Thinking about the memories this lake has given me over the years brings me to tears—tears of joy, tears of laughter and tears of sorrow over those who are no longer here to share in new memories.   My first memories of the lake were just after it had “become a lake.” Back in the early 1970s my grandfather actually worked on a house that would be used for the office in the “new” Smith Lake Park which would be opened a year or so later. My parents had a dear friend with a houseboat in the 70’s.  This boat was docked at “Big Bridge” which is now Trident Marina.  My aunt and uncle, with their children and many others, would gather each weekend to enjoy the lake.  So on that boat anchored in Smith Lake, I learned to swim, love ‘70s rock and roll” music (which my cousins and I fondly renamed boat music) and the importance of family. I remember the old orange life vests and white ski belts the adult women would tie together and use as a floating “train,” while the children made a day of swimming and jumping from the top portion of the houseboat.  I can still hear the music (like “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Spirit in the Sky,” and Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee”) playing in the background.  I can still smell the burgers and hotdogs cooking on the grill.   As a teenager my memories are of fireworks and The Battle of the Bands at the park.  Riding real “inter tubes” from tractor tires, complete with a long metal stem.  Shorts were required as there was no bottom to these tubes, only water that could remove bikini bottoms quickly.  Learning to ski, lying in the sun and camping out in a tent—these type of memories are easily triggered by the smell of Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion and the

sound of a song by the Eagles. As a young wife and mother my memories are on the Winston County side of the lake.  My dad and stepmom purchased their first lake home when my boys were 2 and 4.  So these are the most precious memories I have—watching them learn to swim, fish, ski (both could slalom by the age of 6 years old) and drive the boat with my Dad. I am so very thankful for the memories I made with them on the lake. The sight of a little boy with sun bleached hair and missing teeth, the smell of roasting marshmallows, and the sound of Travis Tritt or Alan Jackson flood me with tears and memories of times passed by.    In 2001 I purchased a little cabin on Pea Ridge Road in Crane Hill, which allowed my young family to spend more time on the water.  This little cabin has been a place of refuge during a divorce and a place of fresh starts.  The lake was a huge part of my healing and maturing into the woman I am today.  I married my best friend on one of the decks of that little cabin in 2007.  Johnny and I have a combined family of 4 children and 3 grandchildren. They all love the lake.  Our grandchildren spend a whole month or more in the summer with us.  I asked them (ages 7-10) “what are you thankful for at the lake,” and they said ”swimming, tubing, riding the boat, feeding the fish at Rock Creek Marina, playing games as a family and MeMee’s homemade ice cream!” It is a Christmas tradition that I create books with pictures taken from our summers together.  I know right now they are just having fun.  However, one day they will understand they were making memories.  So either looking at the pictures in their books, hearing the sound of an ice cream maker, or playing a game of rummy…they will smile and think of PawPaw, MeMee and their time spent with us on “The Lake”.  ▼




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taking on

WAKE TRENDS Back in our Spring 2018-QTR2 issue, we released an article “The Answer— Smith Lake’s Famous Romance, Kurt & Cathy Bowden,” so you already know the Bowdens as Big Bridge’s “Kurt-n-Cathy.” We told you that they were an adventurous couple. Well this past summer we were able to hang out with the Bowdens on the lake, and their pup Todulz too, getting to know them better, and we had a blast! We’re old-school skiers who pride ourselves on still being able to do it all well into our 50s. So, it is always a joy to run up on another couple near our age, still hanging in there, able to do most of the old stuff, but who are also eagerly the first ones out there to quickly conquer any new watersports rage. Finding out that Kurt was an extremely good waterskier was an instant bonding tool. Kurt and Cathy both are decidedly not strangers to watersports. The Bowdens own a 2014 Malibu, so they had already been trying out some wakesurfing and getting quite good at it. Kurt did a little wakesurfing behind our 2014 Mastercraft, he enjoyed the wake, and he “showed out” a little bit carving aggressively, and pulling off an easy 360. But alas, we old-school skiers get bored doing the same ole thing all day, so we usually either invent something crazy to do before the day is over, or we whip out the latest device on the market and give it a go. We introduced Kurt to our Slingshot Wake Foil and boy was that a hit! Not only did he get up the first try, riding it successfully, almost dropping the rope a few times, but mainly he truly got the fever for it. A few weeks later, we sold him one from our store, Lakeside Sports & Recreation, and he had a great summer mastering it. Watersports truly are for everyone, no matter your age

or skill level. There’s nothing better than just grabbing a rope, jumping in and conquering a new watersports activity, with a boat full of friends and family cheering you on all the way. And it’s even more fun exercising some healthy competition and pushing each other to keep “going for it” by trying new things. As you think about some interesting gifts for the season for your family members, or even something to buy yourself after you add up your own stack of holiday gift cards, think about getting ahead of the ski season and picking out a new water toy to challenge your boat full of folks this coming spring. The industry is always ahead of the curve with new items, but even something as simple as upgrading your gear every 2-3 years can change your ride and help you progress faster into some new tricks. t Contact your local watersports pro shops and get “in the know” about what’s new for 2019. Try local shops like Russell Marine in Dodge City @ 256-841-6365, Nelems Marine in Jasper @ 205-221-3072, and Lakeside Sports & Recreation in Cullman @ 205-470-8250. They are all available on social media too. Discuss deals they may offer to help afford new product, and consider some affordable coaching options too. Then squeeze in some time during the off-season to watch product videos featuring your favorite pro riders to gain tips and tricks so you can be fired up for spring 2019 to hit the wake with a shiny new toy in tow. | The Lakeside Life

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When the Main Street Program hit Jasper, seven family members of the Gilbert & Bagwell Families of Cordova came together to make a dream a reality, and the birth of Tallulah Brewing Company came to our beloved town of Jasper on October 13, 2017. “The Main Street Program is used specifically to revitalize and bring  life back to your downtown area and it does not fail,” said Drew Gilbert, brewery owner and second term mayor of Cordova. “You will see results.” It’s a national program that has been adopted in Alabama and  designates one community per year to be the recipient.  Jasper was the blessed recipient a few years back. | The Lakeside Life

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“Josh and I were at a conference together at Camp McDowell the day that Governor Bentley signed the home-brew bill into law. Josh left that  conference, went to Birmingham and bought brewing supplies and started  brewing in his basement. He got really good, really fast and we knew we had to share this delicious beer with the world,” Drew said. Josh Bagwell is Drew’s brother-in-law, the official brewmaster and in  charge of all production at Tallulah Brewing Company. He went to Curry High School and the University of Alabama prior to finding his passion in the beer industry. Drew Gilbert manages the day-to-day operations of  the business and other owners include Devin Gilbert, Wilson Bagwell, Danny Bagwell, and two aunts, Denise and Lisa Gilbert. It truly is a family affair and dedication to a revitalization of the town of Jasper. “While it made more economic sense


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to locate in downtown Jasper, we are all proud Cordovians and hope to one day expand into our  hometown,” Drew said.  Tallulah Brewing Company planted their roots in Jasper, but has visions of expanding way beyond. In fact, Tallulah is  outrunning their benchmarks and in 2019 they are planning to add a  canning line that will tremendously increase their brewing capacity. They do currently sell off premises in a couple of ways.  “The most direct way is to come in and purchase a growler of beer,” Josh said.  If you want a keg you have to go through their distribution partner,  Birmingham Budweiser. In addition, their beer can be found at several establishments that are constantly growing and changing including Jim-NNicks in Cullman and 412 Public House. “Jasper is on such a good path right now. The approach from the city,  non-profits, citizens and private money are all working in the same  direction,” Drew explains.  “There was a time not too many years ago,  when one could drive through downtown in the evenings and not see a  single person. Now we have six or seven restaurants open at night, two breweries, a cigar lounge, and we have even seen a local church expand  their youth center to provide a place for teenagers.”  The growth has been extraordinary, and it does not seem to be slowing down a bit. The Tallulah Brewing Company was originally the Bellsouth Building in the ‘50s and ‘60s and had been on the desolate strip of downtown Jasper,  under utilized and overlooked, before finding its new owners. It had a new roof, and four sturdy walls, but everything else inside came from  sweat and dedication. Tallulah is a labor of love. “We didn’t hire a  contractor,” Drew said. The families pulled together and did the  majority of the work themselves. The attention to detail and passion put  into the Brewery is apparent in the atmosphere and in the vibe of the place. As for their future vision? “World Domination.” Josh

“Jasper is on such a good path right now. The approach from the city, non-profits, citizens and private money are all working in the same direction,” Drew explains.  “There was a time not too many years ago, when one could drive through downtown in the evenings and not see a single person. | The Lakeside Life

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confidently jokes.  However, “We want to grow organically at our own rate.  So far so good. Obviously we would love to package beer cans, and we are currently working in that direction. We want to focus on the state of Alabama  first.  We are constantly adding new equipment and hope to be able to keep that trend.” Tallulah’s beers are quickly reaching beyond their four walls in Jasper, but their beginnings will forever be from our towns. There are many ties to our beloved lake. “We grew up fishing the lake quite a bit as kids and my grandmother, Joyce Lawson, worked security  at the dam when I was younger.” Drew said. “We know so many people that live on the lake and have come to spend time with us in our taproom. Given our proximity and with the improved restaurant scene, this has become a great place to come spend a little time while at the lake.” Tallulah Brewing Company prides itself on creating a family atmosphere.  You are encouraged to bring your kids and your pets…”as long as your  furry friend is friendly and on a leash.” They also have coloring  sheets, shelves of board games, unlimited popcorn, and bottled soda for those not wanting a beer. As to why Tallulah does not serve food, in  Alabama there are two types of brewery licenses. A brewpub can serve  food, but only serve beer on their premises. However, a manufacturing brewery may distribute their beer, but not serve food. “We prefer the latter for our business,” Drew said. However, there are future dreams of a


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brewpub in Cordova. Flowing with the laid back community vibe, Tallulah encourages patrons to bring in their own food. In fact, most of the downtown restaurants,  including Johnny Bruscos and Warehouse 319, are happy to deliver to the taproom. In addition, on Thursday nights they often have The Anatomy of Pi food truck for extra convenience. Thursday nights are huge at Tallulah Brewery often bringing together  over a hundred people for Trivia night with The Ostrich, Matt Mitchell*.  Mitchell is best known locally for his Daily Mountain Eagle parody account, but has since spread his wings way beyond. This event is one that is bringing all ages and communities together for a night full of fun and laughter. “We allow people to team up to answer general trivia questions delivered by The Ostrich,” Drew said. “We change up the topics from week to week and Matt really does a great job of mixing in relevant music to the questions and keeping really good energy.” (*See our article on Matt Mitchell “The Ostrich” in our Spring 2018-QTR2 issue of The Lakeside Life magazine). In addition, on Tuesday nights they often have ladies’ night festivities including Cake Decorating with Victoria’s Bakery and Crafts with Sarah O’ Mary Designs. Fridays you can get a pint of a new release and Saturdays you can experience live music from bands such as Smashley,  Thomas Trussell and Andy Branton. Their 20’s vibe and local atmosphere, also provide some

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pretty cool merchandise ranging from hats and shirts to specialty ornaments made  from local downtown Jasper business Sarah O’Mary Designs and Cane Creek Soap made from Tallulah beer and the water of the Warrior River, which comes from Smith Lake. They keep their information updated on social media and everyone is encouraged  to visit their pages to stay in the know. Be sure to check them out as Tallulah is also becoming a hot spot for private events. You can step out of the state-of-the-art, trendy taproom through the glass garage doors to find an amazing patio with cool lighting, patio  heaters, horseshoes, corn hole and a large stage offering hours of laid-back entertainment. They keep sixteen beers on tap at a time and rotate seasonal and small  batch beers in addition to their Friday New Releases. Beers range from $5 to $7 with their Chief ’s Apricot Blonde as the best seller, named  after Denise Gilbert, a retired Chief Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force.

They keep sixteen beers on tap at a time and rotate seasonal and small batch beers in addition to their Friday New Releases. Most all the beer names are derived from song titles or lyrics including  Sergeant Jasper’s Lonely Hearts Club Ale and Curtain Call Kolsch.  So,  pull up a stool, take a pull, and have fun figuring them out.  If you  are in a rush, no worries. they fill 4-Packs of their delicious brews on demand so you can enjoy them wherever you desire. In addition, downtown Jasper is an entertainment district which allows you to take your beer and stroll the streets enjoying the other restaurants and shops in the area while sipping on your craft. If beer is not your thing, or you have a gluten allergy, you’ll be happy to know that Tallulah also serves six to ten wines, and one hard apple cider.  Drop by for holiday music in the taproom featuring Elle Ann Claytor the Friday before Christmas, or come raise a toast to the New  Year as the celebration will continue until 1:00 am. Cheers! t Be sure to visit Tallulah Brewing Company in the heart of

Brewer Terms

With all the breweries popping up around our lake and in our towns, we thought it would only be fitting (with the help of the Brewmaster Josh) to explain some of the lingo associated with the scene: Lagers & Ales = Beer LAGER: Generally a light colored beer.  Lager also is a verb that describes a colder fermentation as well as extended aging that really helps to clarify the beer to the point of being crystal clear. ALE: Most craft beer you drink will be an ale. Ales are fermented with  yeast that can handle warmer temps.  Ales span a wide range from blonde & cream ales to pale ales and IPA’s to brown ales, stouts, porters (the darker side) and sours (the funkier side). IPA: India Pale Ale. hoppy beer. Originally brewed by English brewers  to survive the long trip to India. Hops are a natural preservative that can kill bacteria. PALE ALE: Ale that is pale in color, because it’s a beer based on pale malts. American pale ales are generally more hoppy, or bitter, than the usual American lager. SOURS: Beer (usually ale) that is soured by a production process that  introduces certain types of bacteria to produce a sour, or tart flavor.  Sour beer and Greek yogurt basically use the same ingredient for the  sour effect. Some folks in the proper fields suggest that sour beers can act as a probiotic. STOUTS AND PORTERS: Dark Beer, as most people put it. Beer that uses dark roasted malts for color and flavor. Generally can be associated with coffee or chocolate flavors. LIGHT (LITE) BEER: Lagers, typically American lagers. Tallulah has one  currently, Socialite Lager. American lagers generally make heavy use of  adjuncts. An adjunct is a supplemental ingredient but not necessary,  think CORN and RICE. Socialite Lager uses Pilsner, Vienna, and White Wheat malts. HOPS: Hops are flowers of the hop plant. They grow on a vine like Kudzu. Tallulah has some growing on the side of their building. Hops are a natural preservative that provide bitterness and aroma to beer. There are many different types of hops that range from spicy and earthy to tropical and citrus. YEAST: Living organisms that convert sugar into alcohol. No yeast = No alcohol. Yeast can be found everywhere, even on your skin, but only certain yeasts make “GOOD” beer. 

historic downtown Jasper at 1804 Fourth Avenue South, Jasper

WATER: 90% (give or take) of beer is water.

Website: | Facebook: @TallulahBrewing

Common misconception - The Hot Liquor Tank does not hold “Liquor” or alcohol. It is really just a glorified hot water heater.

AL 35501 – Phone: 205-530-8555. Also check them out online: Instagram: @tallulahbrewing


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Ideas Born and Action Taken

Darlynda May had been working the same job for 18 years, counting down to retirement—where she envisioned herself moving to the beach—when she suddenly realized just how unhappy she had become. She had always loved her job, but recent changes left her feeling stressed, burnt out and miserable. Meeting Darlynda and experiencing her bubbly personality, it’s hard to picture her in a time of unhappiness. “Every day I started hating my job more and more,” said Darlynda. What made matters even worse, Darlynda’s husband, Jimmy, had also found himself punching the time clock at a job he was unhappy with. The couple was under a tremendous amount of stress and it began to seriously affect their family and health. “One day I was driving down the road and I just screamed out ‘God please help me, I can’t live like this and I don’t know what to do anymore. You have to show me what to do.’” Not long after that she devised a plan that would allow them to live off of one income. On May 5th, Darlynda left work early to check on her sister who had been admitted to the hospital. She decided then that


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this was her time to quit. She felt an overwhelming presence of peace as she called her boss and told her that she would not be returning to the job that she had held for 18 years. That chapter of her life was over, but nothing could have prepared her for what came next. Darlynda had been unemployed for less than 10 days when a very unexpected journey began. She had always wanted Jimmy to start his own automotive shop. “He is so good at what he does. He is great with people and he knows the business very well,” she explained. But, Jimmy never saw himself as a business owner. He had worked in automotive shops most of his adult life and knew a lot about the business. On May 15, which just so happened to be Jimmy’s birthday, the Mays found themselves with a business plan sitting in their lap. They were going to open an automotive shop. By mid-June, Darlynda and Jimmy opened J&D Auto/Tire in Dodge City. The couple began to learn a lot about business as the shop grew. “I’m not going to lie, when we first started the business I just knew we were about to make tons of money. But, I

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WHERE DID THE NAME “MAEMAE” COME FROM? MaeMae is what my grandkids call me. So when deciding on a name for my business, I knew I wanted to include that.

quickly found that so much went into running a business, and looking in from the outside, you don’t realize.” said Darlynda. “Watching Jimmy live out his dream truly inspired me and I started looking into starting a business of my own.” While Darlynda enjoyed working at the tire store, she wondered what it would be like to have her own business. She always thought about the future and how they could better themselves and she felt that opening a business of her own would help them be able to feel secure in their future. So she started doing what she does best, researching. Around the same time, Darlynda got a new dog, Maggie, a standard poodle. Maggie started coming to the shop daily and that sparked the business idea of starting a kennel.

Initially, she was going to board dogs from her home and breed Goldendoodles. She created a website and Facebook and started posting about it to see if there was any interest. Immediately, she had 68 responses. She was shocked. She was even more shocked when the messages kept coming. “People were calling me about boarding way before I was even really open. I also kept getting calls about grooming.” said Darlynda. She took the response as a sign that there was a great need for that type of business in the Dodge City/Smith Lake area. So her little hobby “side business” quickly started looking like it was going to be much more. She created a business plan and by November they were breaking ground on what would later be the 72-pen MaeMae’s Paws. | The Lakeside Life

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LET THE BUILDING BEGIN In November the construction loan was approved and it was like déjà vu for the Mays as they officially started on their second business. Darlynda wanted to get going right away and the building couldn’t happen fast enough. “With a construction loan, you start making a payment as soon as you draw. I wanted money coming in right away, so I had to get creative.” Luckily, creativity is a strong point for Darlynda, she began selling high quality dog food on Facebook and from the automotive shop. She then hired a part-time groomer and started grooming small dogs. Next, they had a bathtub installed in the break room at J&D where they started bathing and grooming dogs of all sizes. “The worst part about the entire process was waiting on the building. I was so excited to get started that nothing could happen fast enough.”

A BUMP IN THE ROAD Grooming was in high demand in the area. Darlynda searched for a groomer that could handle the workload, but it was far more difficult than expected. Darlynda has always been extremely gifted with the ability to quickly learn something new, especially with her hands. She compares it to someone being able to play music by ear, she is able to create

things from watching someone else do it. She had cut human hair since she was 16, so she started yet another journey. Several YouTube videos later… she was mastering all types of cuts. She quickly discovered that she had a hidden talent, she is able to look at a photo and create the cut. She then became the main groomer at MaeMae’s Paws.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS In June of 2018, MaeMae’s Paws was officially open for business. The interior offers a rustic modern feel with stained concrete flooring, rough cut wood covered walls and galvanized tin. The pups stay in the back in custom built kennels with automatic water. Some kennels are also equipped with wifi cameras so the owners can check on their pups while they are away. A separate grooming area offers several grooming stations with a waiting area. On each side of the building, there is a fenced-in area, each with its own splash pad. This is where the dogs have their play time. t MaeMae’s Paws is conveniently located on the way to Smith Lake through Dodge City, Exit 299. With 72 pens, MaeMae’s always has availability to love on your fur babies while you hang out at the lake. You can find them online – Website: | Facebook: @MaeMaes Paws

MAEMAE’S PAW: 256-887-1602 | 1399 AL HWY 69 S – Hanceville, AL 35077 SERVICES OFFERED: Grooming | Bathing | Boarding | Doggie Daycare HOURS: MON-FRI: 8:00-6:00 | SAT: 8:00-12:30



The first thing you will notice about Darlynda is her smile and outgoing personality. We are not sure that she has ever met a stranger. Darlynda is a creative at heart. She has experimented with a little bit of everything; crafting, sewing, building, boating, riding motorcycles and raising a variety of animals such as livestock, turkeys and dogs. Darlynda and her husband Jimmy have two sons, JC and Justin, two daughter-in-laws Macy and Haley, and six grandchildren Hailey, Caiden, Emma, Connor, Cash and Camber.


Favorite Breed of Dogs: I love them all but I have always wanted a sheep dog. (She is getting one very soon). How many dogs do you own: 15 - all different breeds Favorite part about your job: All the love the dogs give unconditionally


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Least Favorite Part: The Poop! I really don’t mind it, but I mean it’s never fun cleaning up poop. Being a business owner also requires a lot of time so I don’t get as much time with my grandkids as I would like.


Darlynda has truly found what she wants to be when she grows up. And from here, the sky is the limit. She has big plans to continue to grow her business with a state-of-the-art puppy gym coming soon. Darlynda is also the owner of 15 dogs which she plans to breed. Her goal is to be known as a breeder who truly loves all of her puppies. She intends to be very careful as she selects families for each puppy. 10 years ago, Darlynda would have laughed if told she would be a business owner. It is amazing what faith and hard work can birth in such a short amount of time.

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With outdoor lovers and over 180,000 acres of Bankhead National Forest surrounding our beautiful lake, it is no wonder Pat’s Archery & Outdoors has become a staple to our community and a household name to so many. In 1981 Pat Patton opened a small archery store in Jasper. For longtime locals, you may remember it at English Plaza, then off Old Russellville Road, behind the Jasper Lumber, before finally finding its current location at what was formerly The Sportsman Center, now known as Pat’s Archery & Outdoors on Highway 78 in Jasper. What started as an archery store has since grown to a full retail space,  selling everything  from firearms, hunting and fishing gear, to your everyday  outdoor and lake life needs. Headed by Reed Jackson, President of Pat’s Archery  and Outdoors, the business is growing and thriving. However, the small town feel and family atmosphere are as present as ever. Generations  have trusted Pat’s and continue to bring their business and support to our local retailer. Jackson is a true outdoorsman himself. After attending Ole Miss for a few years, he moved to Alaska and was a fly fishing guide for two years before later graduating from UAB with a Business Management degree, then finally returning to Jasper to take over Pat’s Archery and Outdoors. When not working, Jackson can often be  found deer or turkey hunting in areas around Smith Lake. During the summer, he’s usually out on the water with his wife Jana and his three girls Julia, Scarlett and


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Lillian where they all enjoy inner-tubing, visiting “Sammy” to feed the fish at Rock Creek Marina, or fishing from their dock on the main channel of Smith near Duncan Bridge. He’s growing and building a business in a town he loves. Patton and Jackson both believed this area needed a nice store for people to shop, so through the years Pat’s has become just that. What makes Pat’s  stand out is their personal service, attention to detail and sincere desire to help each customer find exactly what they need. In addition to all the private hunting land and clubs surrounding our lake, Mulberry Fork and Bankhead National Forest also provide public  hunting. People are coming from all over to hunt and experience  Alabama’s amazing nature located right in our back yards, in a wide area surrounding Smith Lake. A good example is internet sensation, Katie Van Slyke, featured in this issue of The Lakeside Life. Even though she now has access to retailers  around the world, she and the Van Slyke family continue to choose Pat’s for their outdoor needs. In fact, Katie recently purchased the Doublebull Surround  View 180 Blind, Huk gear and a bow from Pat’s. “The customer service is second to none.  It’s why we return

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season after season,” Katie said. With large retailers as competition, many small businesses struggle. What makes Pat’s successful is the expertise of the employees and the loyal  customers who continue to return. Each employee is like family and each  customer a friend. People come to Pat’s not only for the products, but for the service. “The customers are why we are in business,” Jackson said. “It’s our job to service the customer.” Pat’s also has a large online store allowing customers to shop at their convenience. You can buy direct and it will ship to Pat’s for free. The online store offers many items not in stock, allowing for more options  while still providing the expertise, knowledge and service from your local store. If you choose to shop online, Pat’s will be happy to walk you through your options and assist you with your purchase helping you find the exact product you need. This helps local businesses like Pat’s compete with the larger retailers while still giving the customers

the one-on-one, personal service they deserve. When you walk into Pat’s, you are going to find many familiar faces. Jake  Williams has been with Pat’s for over 14 years and knows a little of  everything from bows, to guns, to fishing. Christy Robbins has been  there 12 years and handles their shipping and receiving. It’s more than just an outdoor shop, it’s an experience. “The relationships carry  outside of these doors,” Robbins explains. “We love the customers,  interacting with the people, and the overall work atmosphere in here.” To the left from the entrance of the store, beneath the hanging bows, you will  almost always find Paul Lay, the bowsmith, working diligently with  pride and passion on his art. He’s not only a local hunting celebrity, but a favorite at the store, and friend to so many he’s encountered over the years. Lay has been with Pat’s since 1986 and continues to draw in patrons from all over the south who know he is truly one of the best | The Lakeside Life

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bowsmiths you will ever find. If you want to know about bows or hunting, come watch him in action and share a story or two with a true expert in the field. There are prized fish and deer mounts adorning the walls of the shop, but none stand out as much as the State Record Long Spurred (2-Inch) Turkey killed  by Mitch Nicholson from Jasper. Take a look around the store, you’re bound to find some other mounts that will fascinate and inspire you. If you want to know something about a product, clothing, or tips on  anything outdoors, they will either know the answer or they will find you one. When asked about fishing our lake we quickly, and enthusiastically, got an answer. “This time of year is tricky fishing on Smith Lake since it runs so deep  and gets so cold, but winter time is good for stripe bass,” Jackson explains. “Cold water makes a shortage of the bait fish so they run up  creeks chasing them. That’s why top water bait is the way to go in these cooler months for stripe, spots, and large mouth. When targeting spotted and largemouth bass other times of year, we recommend things like the Sexy Dawg  Jr. and quarter ounce Shaky Head with plastic worms and Whopper Plopper,” Jackson explains.  It’s interesting to know that the highly popular Spanker Jigs that everyone must have in their tackle box are hand-poured by Cullman’s very own, Jeff Shelton. When there is a fishing tournament in town, you can drive by Pat’s and the parking lot will be running over with fishermen stocking up on gear, and Shelton’s jigs are definitely part of the draw. Pat’s is decidedly a key stop for most of the fishermen in our area as well as the pros.

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT A PRODUCT, CLOTHING, OR TIPS ON ANYTHING OUTDOORS, THEY WILL EITHER KNOW THE ANSWER OR THEY WILL FIND YOU ONE. Pat’s will be having a Holiday Countdown featuring a gift idea everyday for the 12 days of Christmas as well as Friday Specials each week. Check back on their social media feed to see ideas for what you can pick up last minute for the outdoor enthusiast in your family, or buy something for yourself with gift cards or money you receive for Christmas. Reel it in… come shop local and make a friend along the way. t


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Runway Ready,

Blazing a Trail




Breaking through

boundaries and paving her way in a predominately male sport, one of Smith Lake’s very own, Katie Van Slyke, has gone viral. She’s runway ready, blazing a trail through the great outdoors in practical, yet fashionable style. Katie has two distinct passions... make-up and the outdoors. “I don’t want to have to choose between my


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passions,” Katie said. So, she doesn’t. Rapidly growing her fan base from a few thousand to close to 300K in less than a year and a half Katie is reaching far beyond the south, yet her roots and loyalties continue to run deep to Smith Lake and the Jasper area. She grew up spending her weekends on the banks of Sleepy

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Photo provided by Land Leader LLC | The Lakeside Life

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My parents taught me to see God in every piece of Earth.

Hollow, near Duncan Bridge, at the home of her grandfather, Dennis Van Slyke. “Every weekend my entire family would pack into the 3 bedroom house and anywhere someone could sleep, they’d sleep. It’s one of my favorite memories,” Katie recalls with a sense of joy in her voice. A single child to Terri and Matt Van Slyke, Katie grew up outdoors since she left the womb. When not on Smith Lake, she was exploring her family’s 303 acre horse farm in Nolensville, Tennessee called Running Springs Quarter Horse & Cattle Company. “It’s where I rode my first horse, where I killed my first deer, and where I found Jesus,” Katie said. Katie has many profound and contradictory loves that she continues to mesh together without compromising or conforming into something, or someone, she is not. She is a tom-girl—a gorgeous, girlie, outspoken, sporty force to be reckoned with. She is taking on the social media world by storm while still keeping her boots to the ground and


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focusing on her faith. The Van Slykes raised Katie with a true love and respect for the outdoors. “My parents taught me to see God in every piece of Earth,” Katie said. She loves horses, make-up, music, God, and hunting. And before you can question her on how she can kill, she’ll shut you down with one of her favorite verses. Genesis 27:3 “Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me.” “Whether you are sitting in a deer stand, or at the base of an old oak tree, there’s no denying the presence of God as the woods come alive in the morning. We don’t always have to be in a pew to go to church.” Katie explains in her recent blog. She has taken her religion and values with her along life’s journey. Katie grew up spending time with her mother caring for their show horses. In fact, at the age of two, Katie began showing and was named The American Quarter Horse Youth World Finalist. She continues traveling cross-country

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Katie grew up spending time with her mother caring for their show horses. In fact, at the age of two, Katie began showing and was named The American Quarter Horse Youth World Finalist.


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and has shown 12 horses over the past 20 years and won All American Quarter Horse Congress Top 3, multiple Top 5 and Top 10 places, NSBA World Show Top 5 and took home a Reserve National Champion Award. When not with her mother, Katie spent time outdoors with her father farming and hunting. “I mainly hunt deer and dove, because that is what is in season when we’re not traveling to horse shows,” Katie said. At the age of 10, she went with her dad on Juvenile Hunting weekend and she killed a doe in the morning, an 8-pointer that night and a doe the next morning.

From that moment on, Katie was hooked. Off the farm, she went on to college where she discovered a new passion for hair and make-up. She was often the one styling and making over all her friends. She became so passionate about it that she planned to go to cosmetology school after college. Although she now adorns fake lashes, make-up and curls, her love of the outdoors never wavered. Born an outdoorswoman, always an outdoorswoman. When home from college, she would get all made-up and then still hunt, farm and tend to her horses. She knows no different, it | The Lakeside Life

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is just who she is. Katie, like most millennials, had social media accounts she would post on. “I started posting on Instagram and I had a couple thousand followers in April 2017, then a picture of me on my farm went viral,” says Katie. For her, it was just another day being exactly who she is, but people were captivated by such a true beauty trekking around in the outdoors. They began sharing, liking and re-posting her pictures. Her Instagram exploded and Katie Van Slyke went viral almost overnight. “I didn’t plan on it,” Katie said. “It just happened.” Opportunities started arising and doors began to fly open for Katie. Since this time Katie has gotten sponsorships with Kryptek, ORCA™ Coolers, Blue Otter Polarized Sunglasses, Hunter’s Kloak®, Freedom Holsters, Get Outdoor Crew, Dodolashes and Southern Fried Chics to name a few. If you check out her Instagram you are likely to see her promoting sales and products for one of her many product lines. In addition, Katie and friend Allie Butler (Instagram’s @ alliembutler), another outdoorswoman & social media public figure, were the 1st females to grace the cover of Sporting Classics Magazine this past October 2018. The beautiful cover photograph by Levi Monday and article by Emily George sparked some major controversy and debate, but opened the door and blazed a trail, for women in the industry. She is also the new host for LandLeaderTV, a land conservation real estate company that hosts weekly shows capturing “…the landowners’ commitment to conservation, history of the land and story of the life of the landowner.” Katie’s episodes feature some of the most sought after real


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estate in North America including, ranches, farms, hunting land, water properties and more. Katie has never claimed to be an expert that knows everything about hunting and the outdoors, but she has had hands-on experience in these fields for as long as she can remember and she continues to inspire girls to be themselves and do what they love. “I am a good hunter, but this is about way more than hunting,” Katie explains. “I love bringing people into the outdoors that normally wouldn’t be.” You don’t have to look a certain way to enjoy a certain sport. Why not look good, feel good, and do what you love? “There is no such thing as too sparkly,” Katie proclaims as her motto. She blogs about hunting, God, make-up and equestrians. “I have some haters that tell me I’m fake,” Katie said. “But, I’m not. It is genuinely me. People tell me I’m too feminine to hunt. I’ve had some mini-meltdowns from the criticism, but I’m learning to laugh about it. I say, ‘Let me be me and you be you.’ The way I look is not going to affect my shot.” For those that don’t think there is a need for women’s gear in the outdoors, check the retailers. The market is huge and Katie has found a niche. Kryptek Outdoor, one of Katie’s favorite sponsors, is on the leading edge of the latest trends. “You no longer have to go out and feel like a marshmallow,” Katie said. “Their clothes are feminine and functional.” Although Katie now has privileged access to almost every outdoor store and retailer, she still stays true to her roots and whenever possible gives her business to Smith Lake’s very own Pat’s Archery located in Jasper (see our article on Pat’s in this same issue). Growing up she would visit Pat’s with her dad. Yes, it is a smaller store compared to some large outdoor retailers, but “bigger stores can’t give that quality of service,” Katie said. “If you don’t find what you are looking for, they will help you.” They even recently sent Katie’s

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bow personally addressed to her as “The Big Buck Slayer.” Their customer service and attention to detail is untouchable, Katie explains. This is such a compliment and says a lot about our town and the local people and businesses in our area. “If I am going to give my business to anyone, it’s going to be them,” Katie said, “because they are great people.” Katie will continue to blaze her trail through the woods and through the web with fake eyelashes and a gun in tote documenting her journey along the way. “Don’t be intimidated, be confident in who you are, and don’t be afraid of getting after it.” She said. “It’s okay to ask questions.” Nobody knows everything. We’re all here learning and exploring the gift of nature in our own way. In fact, when Katie was at Smith Lake with The Lakeside Life this past summer, she stepped out of the woods and onto the water and tried wakeboarding for the first time. She went out with locals Trew Woodley (a Smith Lake wakeboarding coach), and the Hannas of Lakeside Sports & Recreation*, where she, her boyfriend Jonathan Mabry and very best friend Dani Olafson each grabbed a handle and learned to shred the wakes in record time, all in the same day! It was a really fun afternoon for all! Dani happens to be a very popular Canadian Triathlete on Instagram (@daniolafs) – and she was able to complete a really long wakeboard run at the end of the day with ease. Our lake, our land, and our respect for the great outdoors can pull us together humbly in gratitude and appreciation for


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each other and for the love of Mother Nature. As far as where Katie is heading next: “I don’t know what’s going to happen and I am okay with that,” Katie said. “I’m going to give it to God and let it go where it wants to.” t

Follow Katie on her journey by joining her Facebook and Instagram accounts @katievanslyke and @katievanslykemusic —yes MUSIC, there is so much more to Katie Van Slyke than meets the eye, discover all her hidden talents. We think she is a wonderful role model for all outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen of all ages. We encourage you to check out her accounts and let’s all enjoy watching her career rise as one of our own #smithlakepeople #smithlakelocals —we wish you all the very best Katie, and look forward to more from you in the future.

(*Taking folks out to learn watersports is actually a service offered by Lakeside Sports & Recreation for anyone who wants to learn many disciplines of watersports as a beginner/intermediate, and they have access to trainers they can refer as a student progresses quickly. Costs are balanced through big discounts on product ordered through the store.)

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Daydreaming about an escape from the scorching Alabama summer, Meg Williamson began researching lake properties, mostly as a reprieve from the temperatures—if only in her imagination.

“We were living in Hoover,” she recalls, “and it was midsummer and so hot! I stumbled across this property during my research and, kind of as a joke, showed it to Andrew and said, ‘Hey, here’s your cabin on the lake!’” The cabin’s rich history was enough to pull the couple up to Smith Lake for a “curiosity visit.” As it turns out, their response was anything but a joke: “We fell in love immediately,” says Meg. “The potential, the history, all of it.” Meg and Andrew went back and forth during the summer of 2017, buoying the “go for it or don’t” question. A second visit to the cabin at the end of the summer sealed the deal: “We decided to do it,” says Meg. Arkansas transplants by way of Fairhope, Meg and Andrew had no specific ties keeping them in the Birmingham area, which helped them make another big decision—moving to Smith Lake full time. They both agreed that having space and freedom to eventually put their stamp on the property was important, and doing so necessitated living on the land. “Sure, there’s the sacrifice of living 30 minutes outside of town,” Meg says, “but it takes 30 minutes to get anywhere in Birmingham anyway. And this way, we get to live right on the lake!” The location actually conveniently puts them between extended family in Birmingham and parents in Arkansas. (Added bonus: This past summer, Meg and Andrew bought a pontoon and spent the hot months playing on the water, tubing with their boys, and enjoying the newness of lake living.) With two young boys (Ian, age 4, and Finn, age 5) plus Meg and Andrew making a home in the one-bedroom, | The Lakeside Life

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650-square-foot cabin, it’s definitely close quarters. “People live in smaller spaces, we just had to make it functional for our family,” says Meg. The “functional” included lots of upgrades by handy Andrew, whom Meg says can “build or fix just about anything.” First up, a really good cleaning, followed by the bigger issues of adding heat, air, electricity, and water. After that, Andrew got to work making the most of the space they did have, building shelving in the bath and kitchen, open shelving “closets” in the bedroom (shared by Ian and Finn), and a hanging rod system that serves as a closet in the loft, which the couple uses as their bedroom. After washer and dryer hookups were added—”a must!,” notes Meg—Andrew added a bar-height table over the machines that extends out to provide a spot to eat. Andrew, who travels and works from home as a sales rep for Bush

Hog, has a desk in the loft; Meg, a nurse who writes clinical appeals, works from the kitchen “table.” Reflecting on the size of the space and all the family squeezes into the tiny cabin, Meg says: “When we bought the house, we thought we’d renovate immediately, but ultimately we decided to take our time because it’s so historical. Just making changes within the walls we have to create a more comfortable space that maximizes storage has created a livable home that works for our family.” The Williamsons made some improvements outside too. Though they admit to being novice gardeners with much to learn, they did harvest tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, berries, and melons last summer and greens in the fall. Their favorite crops are the cool-weather ones, like lettuces, kale, Brussels sprouts, and they hope to expand their garden in the | The Lakeside Life

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coming years, along with adding chickens and goats (to help maintain the steep, grassy hills surrounding their property). “It’ll be a process,” says Meg. “But it’s amazing to me what people can grow here. I can’t wait to get to that point. We really want to teach the boys to appreciate what it takes to produce food to put on your table.” Future plans—for now—are to build a separate structure on the property, and then live there while they restore the cabin top to bottom (replacing logs, repairing chinking) so that it will last at least another 200 years. The couple admits, though, that their plans have changed a few times—and probably will again, Meg acknowledges. For 2019, a kitchen renovation is on tap, to include more handiwork from Andrew like building custom cabinets and pouring concrete countertops. Meg is looking forward to new appliances. Andrew also plans to build custom bunk beds for the boys that will accommodate the funky ceiling


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angle, as well as knocking out the staircase and replacing it with floating stairs. “Even though the cabin is tiny and rustic, when we moved here it felt more like our home than any house we have ever lived in,” Meg says. “We want to transform the whole property over the years, doing most of the work ourselves and enjoying the process along the way.” And despite having to remind herself some days that it will all be worth it, the end result is what keeps them both going: “We want to preserve the history of the cabin and the property, but bring it back to life for our family.” Stay tuned to see more transformations of the cabin in the future. We hope to have more visits to the home as renovations are complete. Andrew and Meg shared many great ideas they already have and are planning to implement soon, so we are excited to see what they do. They were actually in the midst of working on their front porch when

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All the Seibels Cottage products you see on the pages of this article are currently available in several ways.  Navigate to our pages on Facebook and Instagram or you may go to our blog on for some behind the scenes photos with live links to all the Seibels products styled and featured by Designer Emma Doss.  When this issue hits digital, live links will be included.  You may also visit Seibels directly online at where you can shop for many of the fine gift and home décor products currently available in their line.  But truly, a trip to the store in Homewood, AL is a must for hidden treasures you might miss any other way.  You’ll find everything you need and want for your lake home décor with customer service second to none.  Happy shopping!

we were there for the photo shoot, so it will definitely look much different on our next visit for some drone shots and video in spring 2019. Stay tuned to the magazine blog for photos not seen in the magazine, and for the spring video. We thank the Williamsons for graciously opening their one-of-a-kind precious home to us, we can’t wait to see how this one transforms over time. This is truly a magical little place on a gorgeous lot on Smith Lake – what a hidden treasure!

Meet Designer Emma Doss The backdrop of Meg and Andrew’s cabin was the perfect place to showcase some of the cozy lake furnishings from Seibels in Birmingham, and the Williamsons were gracious enough to oblige. Cullman native, Samford graduate, and Seibels Designer Emma Doss was charged with cozying up the cabin, a job she readily accepted.


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“When I first heard about this “quaint little cabin in the woods,” I didn’t know what I would find, but I knew I just needed to sprinkle in a little bit of Seibels throughout to make the tiny space come to life. I wanted to bring in staple pieces that made it look put together, but also very lived in,” says Emma. “The Williamsons are precious people, and I couldn’t wait to bring out their personalities even more.” One thing that stood out to Emma was the warmth the family exuded, so she aimed to translate the welcome she felt into the home’s interiors. “I didn’t want to take away from what they had,” she says, “but I did want to change up the space a little. I also learned quickly that Meg has a love for wine, so I chose to highlight that with a wine barrel lazy Susan.” Little touches like this one, as well as relaxed linens, fluffy pillows, and other soft elements, helped create the homey look that Emma envisioned.

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That “vision” is well-known amongst her former interior design classmates: “They used to call me ‘Green Wall Doss’ because I was always trying to bring the outdoors indoors with plants and organic materials,” she says. But, sharing why she loves designing at the lake, Emma explains, “Here, I didn’t even have to try. The door was always open to the land and surrounding lake, and the porches showcased picture-perfect views. Being at the Williamsons’ cabin kind of took me home for a bit, and I couldn’t stop smiling while I was there. My favorite part of the cabin is its true rustic feel.” With small boys and two work-from-home parents living here, Emma knew the cabin didn’t need anything extreme but rather a few details that could fit right into everyday life. One way to accomplish this was by using her favorite simple statement pieces: pillows. “Sometimes you don’t want to spend the money on a nice sofa that wet kids and dogs are going to be all over, especially if it were a second home,” she says. “Instead, I’ll add beautiful, comfy pillows to a less expensive sofa.”


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Also important to Emma: the entryway. “Make it feel inviting,” she says. “Create a spot for dirty shoes, dog leashes, towels. Add some hooks and a bench or baskets. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it will help maintain the mess and give a lived-in feel without being chaotic.”

This is truly a magical little place on a gorgeous lot on Smith Lake – what a hidden treasure! And though she’s worked on everything from polished, fancy projects to more relaxed second homes, her approach to design remains true to this motto: “Whatever it is that brings your family together, make sure you incorporate it into your home or vacation home,” Emma says. “The best memories are made at the lake!” t

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There’s a rich history behind the Williamsons’ cabin, and the lore of it all piqued Andrew’s curiosity enough to research further.

Though he was told by the Tuscaloosa attorney from whom he bought the cabin that it may have been moved here in the mid-1800s from the Carolinas, that piece of information hasn’t been confirmed. “It [the cabin] is constructed from poplar, which we also have here in Alabama,” notes Andrew. “And there’s another cabin about a mile away that is extremely similar to ours. I’ve seen it from the road. Located on Bob Calvert Mountain—the highest point in Cullman—the cabin property is also home to a family cemetery set on a hilltop, where the Calvert family is buried. “There are lots of headstones for Calverts and Moons,” says Andrew. “The deed to the cabin says it was built in 1850, and all the dates [from the headstones] line up.” “I was told they were stonemasons,” he says. “There would’ve been German settlers in the mid-1800s, so that makes sense.” Andrew assumes the Calvert family settled in that general area. “The main structure of the cabin is solid, with the original logs,” he says, while noting that the floors and bathroom were obviously


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added later (in 1850, there would’ve been an outhouse and a dirt floor). Of the hand-hewn milled lumber, Andrew notes that the logs are smaller, about 6 feet each, making them easier to transport during the building process. “These were clearly hardy, industrious people. It would not have been easy to get to this cabin back then. There’s a local man who owns a nursery, and he’s lived here his entire life. This cabin has been here for 170 years and he never knew it existed.” Andrew even had a builder friend come out to inspect the place. “He spent four hours really looking at the construction, and he finally said, ‘The most shocking thing I found is there’s nothing shocking.’” Though both men expected to find wood rot and bugs, there wasn’t evidence of either—the bones are solid, says Andrew. The age and history of the property, especially of the cabin, is not lost on Andrew when considering renovations and additional building. “I feel somewhat responsible for it, because it’s almost 200 years old,” he says. “We want the result to be functional and nice without taking away the history. The goal is to preserve the cabin so that it’s around for another 200 years.” As he says, there’s plenty of space on the property to build another house without destroying the history of the cabin.

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When John and Jill Strickland met each other in South Carolina some 28 years ago, they bonded over a shared passion for crafting and woodworking. Nowadays, the married couple resides in Hanceville, Alabama where they spend their available weekends and off-days making custom furnishings, much of which are specially designed for lake homes. 52

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John, an Army engineer at Red Stone Arsenal, and Jill, a Success Coach at Wallace State Community College, say they easily spend anywhere between six to eight hours each weekend working on various projects, both commissioned and personal. Operating out of a small wood shop in their back yard, they craft items such as tables, porch swings, bed swings, and Adirondack chairs. Jill also works inside making custom outdoor pillows and barn quilts. “We look forward to weekends when we don’t have anything going on so we can work on projects,” Jill said. Most of the Strickland’s furniture pieces are made with treated and stained wood, unless a customer specifically requests otherwise in order to lower the price, or if they wish to do their own finishing. “If we do

staining or finishing, we use exterior grade finish to make it last as long as possible,” John said. “I think a lot of what we make is very conducive to the decks, porches and lawns of lakeside homes. That outdoor setting is what we’re drawn to.” The couple also takes pride in the fact that their furnishings are affordable.”We do it for the enjoyment, not to make money,” Jill said. “We want our pieces to be affordable.” While the Stricklands still consider crafting and woodworking a fun hobby, they readily acknowledge that it has helped them cope with life as “empty-nesters.” Their son, Connor died in an automobile accident two years ago, while their daughter, Audrey, recently graduated from Auburn University and currently lives on her own. “It’s part of our therapy,” John said. | The Lakeside Life

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All of their furnishings are trademarked with the hash tag “#ahugandiloveyou,” in memory of Connor, who according to Jill, was known for greeting people with a hug and a warm smile. “He never left you without hugging you, and letting you know he loved you,” she said. Also, a portion of all of their furniture and craft sales goes to the John Connor Strickland Memorial Scholarship Fund, an endowed scholarship fund at Wallace State set up in his honor. “It helps students who fall between the cracks, those who don’t qualify for full Pell Grants but can’t afford college without some assistance,” Jill said. When they retire, the couple plans to devote even more of their time to making furniture. “It’s all we can do right now,” John said. “I’ve got a few more years of work. When I do retire, I want to do this full time.” He also mentioned that he would like to try his hand at blacksmithing decorative pieces sometime in the near future. t

Much of the couple’s work can be viewed on their Instagram account, @johnwjill. If interested in having a piece commissioned, contact them through their Instagram account or send an email to Donations to the John Connor Strickland scholarship fund can be made by calling 256-352-8144 or by visiting


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SMITH LAKE IN WATERCOLOR REVERIE A mini gallery of talent by local Artist Scott Brown WRITER JOHN DAVID PALMER

Scott & Sharon Brown with Roxie, Lewis Smith Lake, AL.

Artists such as Smith Lake resident Scott Brown know that inspiration can come at any time or place, even in somewhat undesirable situations. In early May, Scott launched his pontoon boat to top off on fuel at Duskin Point Marina, located near his home. But halfway to his destination, he noticed he was out of fuel, leaving him stranded for several minutes. He suspects his remaining fuel had been stolen from the vessel over the winter months. But rather than grumble over the situation, he sat back and admired the beautiful scenery surrounding him while waiting for someone to give him a tow to the filling station. He took several pictures of the nearby marina and went home that evening to paint the scene in vibrant watercolors.


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Scott, the owner of Ryan Creek Technology and selfproclaimed hobbyist, first began dabbling in art sometime between 2004 and 2005 and took monthly lessons for two or three years. “It’s just something I picked up,” he said. “I just decided I needed a hobby other than computers.” After piles of failed paintings, Scott eventually hit his stride in painting with watercolors, which unbeknownst to him, is a medium widely regarded as one of the oldest, diverse and most difficult to master.

“We’re down here virtually every weekend,” he said. “It takes a wedding or some other kind of life event to keep us from coming down here.” After much encouragement from family and friends, he finally decided to start selling his work earlier this year. His paintings quickly caught on, and before he knew it, people were asking him for commissions, and as a testament to his skill with watercolors, Scott won second place in the Alabama Springtime juried exhibition at High Cotton Arts, in Athens; his first ever competition. Scott also recently had one of his paintings juried into the Watercolor Society of Alabama member showcase in Talladega, and is an exhibiting member of the Huntsville Art League. Scott spends most weekdays in Madison where his technology business is located. But as soon as Friday comes around, he and his wife, Sharon, make a break for their peaceful lake home near Crane Hill. “We’re down here virtually every weekend,” he said. “It takes a wedding or some other kind of life event to keep us from coming down here.” Scott and Sharon have been married nearly 29 years (as of March of 2019). Scott’s sons visit as often as they can. Andrew is a 2016 graduate of The University of Alabama, now living in Brooklyn, NY and pursuing his dreams. Near the time of the publication of this magazine, Adam will be a 2018 graduate of Auburn University. Accompanied by his wife, and their beagle, Roxie, Scott traversed the lake nearly every weekend on his pontoon boat


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this past summer, taking photographs of all the scenes he wished to paint. Scott said he particularly enjoyed painting boats and marinas. “It was really just a way for us to get out and see the lake,” he said. “It took us places on the lake we otherwise wouldn’t have gone.” Recently, Scott self-published a coffee table book containing a collection of these Smith Lake inspired paintings. “It contains all the artwork I produced this summer,” he said. Copies are in limited supply and can be purchased at Lakeside Pharmacy in Dodge City and Emmy’s Nails in Curry, as well as through his website. While he does take commissions, Scott said there is currently a waiting list, so it might take some time for a piece to be completed. Furthermore, he says he is somewhat selective about the subjects of his paintings and that inspiration must come to him naturally. “I don’t say ‘OK time to be artistic;’ my mind has to be there,” he said. t Scott also recently partnered up with The Lakeside Life to raise money for local causes with Kurt and Cathy Bowden of Big Bridge’s “Kurt –n- Cathy.” His thoughtful and intricate interpretation of Big Bridge was featured on a set of limited edition shirts that have been selling from mid-September through present. Proceeds from shirt sales are to be split between The Humane Society and Meek School in Arley. The school will use the proceeds to purchase art supplies. You can see more about this fundraiser on page 70.

To view more of Scott Brown’s work, follow @scottercolors on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter or visit his website at To see some select pieces up close, visit the All Four Real Estate office at Duncan Bridge, or Brother’s on Smith Lake at Smith Lake Marina—currently there are pieces on display and available for viewing and purchasing at both locations. Those interested in purchasing other paintings or prints can contact Scott directly through the aforementioned sites.


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k e e r C Rock


Sp ts ~

Rock Creek cuts through the center our grand Smith Lake.

Most of the property on its west side shoreline has an address of Arley, AL, which is known as “The Heart of Smith Lake”. We find it interesting that if you look at a Google map, at the area of the lake where Arley sits at the top as nestled between Sipsey & Rock Creek, the land mass that Arley sits in almost takes the shape of an upside down heart with Dismal Creek at the indentation. We love that our hometown, Arley, is considered “The Heart.” Back in the 90s, die hard waterskiers always knew that water was the glassiest in many areas of Rock Creek, indeed that’s why we frequented the area. The scenery has always been undeniable. Most shorelines of Rock Creek are known to be “rocky” and have high rock bluff formations that are truly breathtaking. Besides the obvious beauty of the rock shorelines, there are a few spots on Rock Creek that particularly stand out as spots everyone knows and loves. Obviously there are the bridges, Swayback and Bailey’s, which we featured in a former issue, but we’re listing some more spots here that should definitely be on your Rock Creek tour list. These are just a few, as there are many other spots we’ll tell you about in the future. Take time to meander into Rock Creek, and whether you choose to sightsee up Rock Creek to the left at the north fork near Bailey’s Bridge, or turn to go right to enter Crooked Creek & White Oak Creek, either way you’re going to enjoy everything you encounter. NOTE: Our directions assume that you’d leave Sipsey’s main channel area heading in an overall northerly direction winding up Rock Creek. We’ll have our map loaded up soon on our website – look for it there along with lots of other Smith Lake information. Let us know where your favorite spots on Smith Lake are, and send us a picture to be featured in the magazine in the future, marked on our map, and/or posted on our social media – our email is Also, if you have a different name for the #spotsonsmith let us know, it’s always fun to hear of all the names that other folks have called their favorite spots and why.


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Key Hole Cave (Above) After passing The Spiral Staircase keep looking to the left, and as you come into the next turn, you’ll see Illusion Rock on the left. Key Hole Cave is just to the right of Illusion Rock in a corner of the cove. It features a natural land bridge forming a peek hole to the land and sky above. And it is almost in the shape of a heart from the right angle.

The Spiral Staircase (Left) Just around the 1st major turn in Rock Creek, take in the beauty of the very high shear rock walls in the Wilson Bend area of the lake. Imagine the view from those homes. Wow. And, how many of us have sat in the area below those high shear bluffs and been curious about the blue spiral staircase? It’s an engineering marvel if nothing else. | The Lakeside Life

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Rock Creek Marina (Left) Located just about the middle of the main channel of Rock Creek on the right, just before you take the 4th big turn, can’t miss it. Say hello to owner Sammy, his family and friendly pups. Be sure to feed the fish with the littles and enjoy some ice cream. There is also a landing here that is available for use most all year. You’ll know the marina is open when you see the flag out.

Boulder Rock & Boulder Rock Cove (Right) Just around the corner from Rock Creek Marina (opposite shore of Rock Island) is a favorite cove for those who frequent Rock Creek. Boulder Rock Cove is easily identifiable by the giant boulder jutting out from the lush side of this shear bluff. This is a great spot for a boat picnic and a swim, as well as a favorite sunset location. After rains, there is a little stream in the corner of the cove that flows down the high rocky bank above. This is a frequent spot for plumps of duck and geese to hang out due to the fresh water flowing in and the calm quiet reprieve from busy water in the bay area beside it.

Rock Island (Bottom Left) Just northward of Rock Creek Marina, on the left side of the large body of water. There is a hazard marker on this island. A great spot for hanging out, and grabbing a fun photo. There is a tradition for many to get a photo with a flag on the marker for July 4th. | The Lakeside Life

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Triple Creek Marina (Top Left) Rock Creek is lucky to have 2 marinas. As you get to the northernmost area of Rock Creek, take a left at the fork (opposite of the Bailey’s Bridge direction) and you’ll find Triple Creek Marina just to the right in a quiet cove. Owner Ty, his family and pups will greet you with friendly smiles and great conversation while you gas up, and grab ice and snacks.

DoubleTree Ledge ( Top Right) Meander northward on Rock Creek past Triple Creek Marina, taking 2 turns, and you’ll come to a wide body of water and Doubletree Ledge is to your right. This is a favorite jumping spot for everyone who lives on Rock Creek. Lots of boats gather here to enjoy hanging out, having a snack, listening to music, and jumping off the ledge.

Heart Rock (Middle Left) This large one piece rock is a fun one to look for as the water begins to recede a little bit in mid-late summer or early fall, because the bottom of it is covered up when the water is high, so it can be easily missed. After passing by Doubletree Ledge on the right, keep heading northward and look for it on the right bank before the turn to Swayback Bridge, it is nestled in the corner area of this stretch, and if you come upon it at the right angle, it looks just like a big heart laying there on shore. The kids love to get out and explore all the rocks on this bank, and we’ve often seen fox and deer here.

Patriot’s Bluff (Bottom Left) After passing Rock Creek Marina, and just past Hidden Cove Resort on the left, keep looking to the left, high up on a bluff, and you’ll see a canon and a flag side-by-side. We call this Patriot’s Bluff.


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Smith Lake Park


first 2019 C.A.S.T for Kids event at Smith Lake Park is preparing well ahead of schedule. The new 1st annual event for the Cullman area at Smith Lake Park is scheduled for September 21st 2019, so they are trying to spread the word early. Organizers realize this day cannot be a success without help from our community. To host the event through C.A.S.T for Kids the organizers must raise $3,500.00, and they have already been working hard towards collecting funds to satisfy that goal. But, they need your help. Not only do they need financial support (every dollar counts), but they also need sponsors, 40 boat captains, land volunteers, and very importantly—40 eligible children ages 6-18. C.A.S.T for Kids is an event designed to provide children with special needs the opportunity to spend the day on Lewis Smith Lake enjoying a quality outdoor recreational experience through the sport of fishing. Volunteer fishermen assist and teach any skill level. When the participants arrive they’ll enjoy a group breakfast, have their picture taken with boat


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captains, then head out for fun on the volunteer fishing boats. They’ll take a break for lunch provided by event sponsors, then wrap up the day by attending an awards ceremony and participating in games/activities and more. It’s a day that offers as much reward to the volunteers and sponsors as it does to the participants. Everyone walks away smiling with lifetime memories, and an eagerness to be involved for the next event! Take to the water with C.A.S.T. for Kids for a truly

unforgettable morning of fishing and fellowship! You will find more information on social media about this group, see below. If you want to make a donation sooner than later, checks can be submitted as directed below and simply mailed to the address shown. Also, look for an upcoming video from Community with Carol which we’ll post on our blog by early 2019. Take time to check out this event and get involved. We all look forward to seeing you lakeside. t

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT EVENT ORGANIZERS Event Organizer: Taylor Parker Cain P: 256-347-2663 E:

Event Planner: Emily Gamble Chamblee P: 256-507-1406 E: Event Planner: Kristen Tanner P: 334-750-6419 E:

Boat Captain: Rob Brown P: 205-908-9415 E:

EVENT INFORMATION Tax ID: 501c3 TAX ID #91-1582848 | Payment: Checks made payable to C.A.S.T. for Kids c/o “Smith Lake Park Cullman Event” Address: C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation | 297 41st Street, Renton WA 98057

Facebook: @CAST For Kids Smith Lake | Instagram: @cast_for_kids_smith_lake_park Website:


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From the Heart of Lewis


The Lakeside Life celebrates the ultimate Smith Lake love story friends & neighbors who we now share a very special bond with, as of Big Bridge mural fame—Kurt -n- Cathy Bowden—with a limited we identify with so many of their life experiences in a profound way, edition T-shirt featuring a custom print of a painting, a watercolor and with deep empathy and caring. with line and wash, of Big Bridge designed by local artist Scott Brown Proceeds from the “Kurt-n-Cathy” Big Bridge, Smith Lake T-shirt, (see the article in this issue on the artist ) & printed by Nogginhed of in honor of the Bowdens, will be donated 50/50 to the following Huntsville, AL. entities chosen by them: If you read our article titled “The Answer 1) Winston County’s Meek Schools in - Smith Lake’s Famous Romance, Kurt & Arley, AL “The Heart of Smith Lake” (for Cathy Bowden” in the Spring 2018-QTR2 art supplies) in memory of the Bowdens’ issue of our magazine, then you know a beautiful daughter Dianna Bowden. little about our good friends for whom 2) The Humane Society in memory of the this project came about. We have had the Bowdens’ Yorkipoo, “Todulz.” pleasure of getting to know the Bowdens Shirts will be available to pre-order much better since doing the article, and through the end of the year, possibly slightly have had the joy of spending lake time with beyond. Don’t miss out on the opportunity Artist Scott Brown them. They are no strangers to watersports. to own or gift one of these buttery soft, thin We introduced Kurt to a Slingshot Wake Foil on a fun lake day, and and comfy Bella + Canvas t-shirts made for us by Nogginhed Tshirt actually sold him one from our store Lakeside Sports & Recreation, Co. of Huntsville, AL - also a Smith Lake business owned by Smith and he’s had an enjoyable summer mastering it. We’re finding he’s a Lake residents Allison and Darren Sackett. Join us in celebrating very good waterskier all around. Kurt and Cathy are not only great Smith Lake’s infamous couple, Kurt & Cathy Bowden, while doing lake folks to hang out with, but such fine examples of the best in lake something wonderful for our lake community. t people - fun, outgoing, welcoming, kind, open and sharing. They To order these limited edition T-shirts, go to the SHOP tab remind us how we all feel as though we meet no stranger on the on our website and click the external link for the shirts, OR lake—where our boat docks are like backdoors in this neighborhood click the link in the BIO on our Instagram & Facebook, OR that shares one common backyard we love and cherish, and it binds just navigate to Nogginhed’s special page for this item: http:// us together—Lewis Smith Lake. We feel lucky to have met these new


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This past year was one of the best years in the Alabama area grassroots wake competition arena. We feel like it was due to the forming of a group named “Southern Wake Series” by several wake enthusiasts in our area. We wanted to offer a wrap-up of that effort for 2018, provide some information about the group, and maybe a hint at what 2019 holds for wake competition in Alabama. We worked with Shane Cook of Wakefactory to get some answers to our questions, and to obtain information on the final series points gained by riders for the year. How did SWS form, and who was involved in that? • The Southern Wake Series “SWS” is different from other series in that it is made up of 5 individual tournaments each run by separate entities. Those entities are Wakefactory, Wake Upstream, Flipside Watersports, and Russell Marine. Although they are separate entities and run as individual tournaments—divisions, judging, and scoring were consistent across all tournaments with scores calculated for an overall championship. • A few years ago, based off several years of success for Wakefactory’s Spring2Summer in Guntersville, Alabama,


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Pictured: Colby Bernier

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Russell Marine became a main sponsor and helped Wakefactory develop Russell’s own tournament now known as Wakebattle here on Smith Lake. After a year or two of his daughters competing in both of those competitions, Brad Brewer, and wife Randa Brewer, decided they also wanted to host their own tournament. That tournament, Wake the Dock, was added in 2017 in Gulfport, Mississippi. With the success of that tournament in 2017, discussions started regarding developing a three-competition series in Alabama and Mississippi. Jeremy Talbot of Flipside Watersports, who had sponsored and helped the growth of both Spring2Summer and Wakebattle, decided he also wanted to incorporate a two-day cable and boat competition that would be a first for wakeboarding in the state of Alabama. Through further discussions, Mountain Wake Games developed and became a fourth addition to the series. A final meeting with all parties was held at the Birmingham Boat Show 2018, and a fifth and final competition was added when Brad Brewer decided he wanted to take on another stop, so Shred’n the Shores would be a final stop, and the deciding factor of the series championship, as well as the site for a banquet to honor all participants and award the winners in all divisions at the season’s end. What was the 2018 SWS Schedule? • May 19-20 Mountain Wake Games hosted by Flipside Watersports, Birmingham AL • Jun 9 Spring2Summer hosted by Wakefactory, Guntersville AL • Jul 14 Wakebattle hosted by Russell Marine on Smith Lake, Cullman AL • Aug 18 Wake the Dock hosted by Wake Upstream, Gulfport MS • Sep 15 Shred’n the Shores hosted by Wake Upstream at the Flora-Bama, Orange Beach AL How can aspiring competitors get involved now to be sure to be in the line-up for next year? Follow all social media for constant updates, and check your local area marinas and pro shops for more information on lessons or clinics going on nearest you, as well as connecting with a well-known coach in Alabama—Colby Bernier of Mitchell Militia. See next answer. List recommendations of where readers can get the best online training, obtain early spring on-water instruction, and best places to visit (or things to do) off-season to get prepared. If you have goals for 2019 in mind, the best way to achieve those is \to start picking the brain of someone experienced like Coach Colby | The Lakeside Life

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Pictured: Logan Popwell

Pictured: Alex Graydon


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Rider: Roger Miller

Pictured: Natalie Miller

PIctured: Shae Cooper

Pictured: Mary Morgan Howell | The Lakeside Life

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PIctured: River Mayo

Pictured: Sienna Brewer


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PIctured: Kane Ward

Pictured: Beau Wellborn

Bernier from Mitchell Militia. He is only a phone call away at 205-299-7060. He is available on social media, often giving instruction through videos in direct message format. From comfort to competition level, Colby and the crew have the advice and inspiration you are looking for. Due to a tight competition and travel schedule, it is best to book your instruction time as soon as possible. The Militia continues training during the colder months to help consistency and progression. “Diving into the cold water shows full commitment and gives you extra motivation to land your tricks.” Off-season training should involve a trampoline and a gym habit to ensure you hit the water ready for 70° weather. The most valuable concept you can get out of wakeboarding is the ability to achieve any goal you set your mind to. It is very important to instill this mindset in our youth, so they will continue to improve their life outside of wake and achieve goals and dreams we currently don’t even know are possible.  Specific accounts aspiring competitors & parents can follow on FB/IG to keep up with all things watersports Alabama?   Follow these accounts on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with what is going on with the Southern Wake Series and the upcoming year of events: Alex Graydon Alliance Wake Cody Hunnicutt Colby Bernier & Mitchell Militia

Experience Wake-Andrew Adkison Flipside Watersports Hyperlite Hyperlite Midsouth Kane Ward Konagraphs Kraken Boardsports MasterPro Audio Russell Marine-Smith Lake & Russell Marine-Lake Martin Shane Cook (Wakedork) Southern Wake Series The Lakeside Life Magazine Wakefactory WakeupStream Were there any Wakeboarding Pros who attended the events for 2018? Special thanks to all the Pros who came out and supported us: Alex Graydon | Andrew Adkison | Guenther Oka J.D. Webb | Shawn Watson What’s in store for 2019? Or about when will we know?   We are excited for what’s to come in 2019. We hope to build off of this year’s SWS to make it even bigger and better. Our main goal is to get more families and kids involved in the sport of wakeboarding. We welcome all participants and spectators. Be sure to follow all of the social media accounts above to keep up with what is going on. The schedule for next year should be out sometime after the Birmingham Boat Show in January 2019! t | The Lakeside Life

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List of names of 2018 participants, sponsors/contributors, and volunteers. Participants A-Z:

Whit Creswell Blake Daniel JJ Daniels Levi Dills Nate Dukes Eli Ehlers Hayden Fike Austin Ferguson Simon Flarity Ashby Frazier Alex Graydon Carla Gray Haden Hopkins Jon Houser Mary Morgan Howell Kody Humphrey Codi Hunnicutt Cooper Jones Leif Lacey Nick Lewelling Jason Long

Rider Mayo River Mayo Luke Meadows Clay McCoy Cooper McCoy Mac McCulley Dylan McKnight Natalie Miller Roger Miller Spencer Miller Zac Miller Wes Morrissette Brandon Nall Guenther Oka Logan Popwell David Posey Sammy Roberts Amber Rogers Jason Rogers Tyler Royal CJ Scott

John Scott Hagan Seal Micah Starnes Jeremy Talbot Brantley Townsend Brayden Townsend Kale Troha Ryan Wakenigg Cody Walker Justin Ward Kane Ward Gabe Washburn Shawn Watson Thomas Watts JD Webb Beau Wellborn Chase Wilson Scott Wilson Wesley Wilson Trew Woodley

Sponsors & Contributors A-Z:

Foam Coffee Frontline Ministries Geico local office Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission Hog Wild BBQ HydroHigh HydroHigh Clothing Hyperlite/Byerly I Love Bacon Konagraphs Kraken Boardsports Levi Dills

Mammoth Clothing Co. Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau Marshall Medical Centers MasterPro Audio Mitchell Militia Nautique Nogginhed On Site Boat Care Redbull Riverside Auto Sales Russell Marine STZ Life

The Dock Bar & Grill The Lakeside Life Magazine The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint Trading Outpost Wake Upstream World Wakeboard Association (WWA) Wut Sup Stand Up Paddle Boards & Rentals Wyndham Garden Inn of Guntersville

Volunteers A-Z:

Jason Long Jeremy Baker Justin Ward Leif Lacey

Logan Popwell Megan Cook Meridith Cook Randall Boykin

T.J. Allen Tyler Royal

2018 Final Rankings

Girls 10-13 1 - Shae Cooper - 100pts 2 - Sienna Brewer - 76pts 3 - Natalie Miller - 31pts

3 - Ian Boguski - 27pts

3 - David Posey - 43pts

Masters 1 - Jason Long – 52pts 2 - Justin Ward – 47pts 3 - Wes Morrissette – 37 pts

Wakesurf Open 1 - David Posey – 46pts 2 - Kale Troha -37pts 3 - TJ Allen - 28pts

Veterans 1 - JJ Daniel - 37pts 2 - Beau Wellborn - 26pts 3 - Shane Cook - 20pts 3 - Scott Wilson - 20pts 3 - Jason Rogers - 20pts

Outlaw 1 - Logan Popwell - 76pts 2 - Blake Daniel – 74pts 3 - Wes Morrissette - 67pts

Andrew Adkison TJ Allen Phil Aslinger Jeremy Baker David Barton Paul Beatty Rachel Benefield Colby Bernier Ian Boguski Avery Boykin Ava Brewer Sienna Brewer Ryan Brobst Mason Broussard Harrison Brown Eric Chorba Abby Cook Shane Cook Shae Cooper Troupe Creswell

Alabama Marine Police Buffalo Eddie’s Pour House Century Bank City of Guntersville City of Guntersville Fire & Rescue City of Guntersville Police Dr. Byron Smith & The Smile Team Empress Audio & Marine Flipside Watersports Flora-Bama Ole River Grill Flora-Bama Yacht Club Cody Hunnicutt Colby Bernier Hayden Fike

(*Bonus Points from Mountain Wake Games Cable Contest are not included) We’re only showing the top 3 point positions due to space, but please see the complete final rankings at

Amateur Men 1 - Troupe Creswell - 71pts 2 - River Mayo - 57pts 3 - Beau Wellborn - 28pts

Junior Boys Beginner 1 - Zac Miller – 91pts 2 - Whit Creswell – 88pts 3 - Roger Miller – 67pts

Amateur Women 1 - Sienna Brewer – 97pts 2 - Natalie Miller – 88pts 3 - Abby Cook – 56pts

Junior Girls Beginner 1 - Ava Brewer – 22pts

Womens Open 1 - Sienna Brewer - 59pts 2 - Shae Cooper - 54pts 3 - Mary Morgan Howell - 40pts

Advanced 1 - Micah Starnes - 40pts 2 - Eli Ehlers - 37pts 3 - Ryan Brobst - 17pts 3 - Dylan McKnight - 17pts

Mens Intermediate 1 - Simon Flarity - 37pts 2 - Kane Ward - 31pts

Wakeskate Open 1 - Kale Troha – 71pts 2 - Haden Hopkins – 68pts

Boys 10-13 1 - Troupe Creswell - 91pts 2 - River Mayo - 81pts 3 - Kane Ward - 57pts


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Grom Pro 1 - Kane Ward - 97pts 2 - Whit Creswell - 58pts 3 - Avery Boykin - 57pts Pro Open 1 - Colby Bernier - 82pts 2 - Andrew Adkison - 57pts 3 - Codi Hunnicutt - 57pts

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Photo by Peggy Hill

SLEPC Photo by Chris Grillis

Photo by Chris Grillis

Keeping Smith Lake Beautiful WRITER PEGGY HILL

Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Smith Lake Environmental Preservation Committee (SLEPC) hasn’t changed the entire world, but they did help protect our little corner of it, and for that, we owe them a debt of thanks. IN 1995, A LOCAL ENTITY WANTED TO BUILD A SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT ON RYAN CREEK, WHICH FLOWS INTO SMITH LAKE. At that time, officials claimed the plant would not pollute the lake, but many residents were concerned. In April 1995, over sixty people from four different counties crowded into the Grandview Community Center to discuss how they could stop the proposed plant. They decided to form an organization. Selecting the name Smith Lake Environmental Preservation


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Committee (SLEPC), they elected officers, incorporated as a non-profit, and began collecting donations. One of their goals was to increase public awareness, so they erected a large sign on County Road 222 near where the Topre plant now stands. It read, “Notice. Proposed site of (a) sewage treatment plant. This plant will dump approximately 2.5 million gallons per day into Smith Lake.” After just a few weeks, SLEPC was growing and gaining supporters like Jim Pittman. Jim is described as an expert in

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There are three similar groups on Smith Lake, and all of them are 501(c)(3) non-profit corporations. Each organization focuses on a different county, but their membership is open to people in any county. The organizations work together on cleanups and other issues vital to Smith Lake. SMITH LAKE ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION COMMITTEE (SLEPC) Focuses on Cullman County

MISSION: Smith Lake Environmental Preservation Committee is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the beauty and purity of Smith Lake and its tributaries for all to enjoy.

COST TO JOIN: Annual single, $25; annual couple, $30; annual business, $100; lifetime, $100.

ADDRESS: SLEPC, PO Box 71, Bremen, AL 35033 PHONE: 256-287-1332 EMAIL: Photo by Peggy Hill

sewage treatment facilities, and he explained how wastewater discharge affects water quality. He said, “Both nitrogen and phosphorus are abundantly present in wastewater discharge… If untreated, or partially treated wastewater is placed into a body of water the inevitable result will be an ecological dead body of water, with fish kill, algae blooms, contamination, and odor problems occurring continually.” It was a powerful condemnation of the proposed sewage treatment plant. Edwin Calvert was publicity chairman at the time, and he said, “The SLEPC board authorized me to place a large advertisement in the Cullman Times. They told me to say something that would really get people’s attention. The advertisement I placed said in large letters, ‘SMITH LAKE IS CLOSED.’ In smaller print, it explained the lake wasn’t closed, but if the sewage treatment plant went through it could be.” Edwin laughed and added, “We got attention.” Perhaps SLEPC’s most influential supporter was Debbie Berry, who was secretary when the organization was formed and later became president. Edwin Calvert described her by saying, “When it came to defending Smith Lake, Debbie was like a sitting hen protecting against a hawk.” Debbie took the time to read the regulations and talk to both the Cullman Planning Commission and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM). They discussed options that would allow Cullman to increase sewage treatment without degrading Smith Lake. The final solution was to



MISSION: The goal of SLCA is to monitor and address environmental concerns of the waters of Smith Lake, and its environs in the area of cleanliness, pollution, safety, fish habitat, and other concerns to citizens who live on the shores of the lake, or who use it for fishing, boating, swimming and recreation. COST TO JOIN: Lifetime membership, $50.

ADDRESS: SLCA, PO Box 2411, Jasper, AL 35501 PHONE: 205-221-2183 or 205-300-5253 EMAIL: or WINSTON COUNTY SMITH LAKE ADVOCACY, INC. (WCSLAI) Focuses on Winston County

MISSION: To preserve and protect the environmental quality of Lewis Smith Lake and its tributaries through education of the public and the promotion and

implementation of sound environmental practices. COST TO JOIN: Annual, $10; Lifetime, $100.

ADDRESS: WCSLAi, PO Box 435, Arley, AL 35541 PHONE: Jim Eason, 256-590-2388 EMAIL:

WEBSITE: | The Lakeside Life

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expand an existing sewage treatment plant. successful is that when we asked people to write their representatives, This excerpt from SLEPC’s newsletter dated November of they flooded the offices with letters, and when we asked people to 1996 illustrates Debbie’s leadership style and commitment to attend important City Council meetings, they packed the room. Smith Lake, “The raw sewage overflows at the Good Hope Everyone did what they could.” WWTP continued after the ADEM imposed Please consider joining SLEPC and the other deadline of 8-31-96. On 9-15-96 I observed, organizations that support Smith Lake. What photographed, and reported this to affects one portion of the lake affects the entire ADEM. ADEM inspected the plant lake. See the sidebar for more information. on 10-8-96 and issued a 21-item If enough people band together for deficiency letter and is currently a common purpose, maybe we can preparing a consent order change the world, or at least we can for the town with associated impact the cleanliness of our beloved penalties for non-compliance. Smith Lake. t The newly elected Mayor and IN MEMORIAM Council of Good Hope took On Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, Tim office in early October and Hurt, his wife Suzie, and other SLEPC have promised to resolve these volunteers participated in a Renew Our problems ASAP. Mayor Pittman Rivers cleanup. They picked up trash in contacted me recently and told me several areas and were riding on the boat that several corrections had already looking for another location to clean. Tim was been done and invited me to tour the facility sitting down. He leaned back and passed out. They Photo of Tim Hurt with him. I look forward to working with Mayor were unable to revive him. He passed from a massive heart Pittman and the newly elected Council as they work to rectify attack. The lake community, along with many family and friends lost a problems at the plant. Thanks to them for their attention to wonderful man that day. Tim always said, “Live each day to the fullest this matter.” because we’re never promised tomorrow.” His sudden passing reminds It’s that type of watchfulness, involvement, and cooperation us of the wisdom of those words. This article is dedicated to Tim Hurt, that is needed to keep Smith Lake beautiful, and we can all to everyone on the boat, and to the heroes who tried to save him. Suzie participate. Debbie Berry recently said, “The reason we were Hurt wants to thank everyone for their kindness and support. RENEW OUR RIVERS LAKE CLEANUPS - SCHEDULE FOR 2019

Lake cleanups are a joint effort. Alabama Power Company supplies boats and captains, and volunteers pick up trash from the shoreline. You do not need to be a member of any organization to volunteer for a cleanup, but please register at least one week in advance. Following is the schedule for 2019 cleanups:


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, .Winston County, contact Allison Cochran at 205-489-5111 or Jim Eason at 256-590-2388

Both SLEPC and WCSLAi train and equip water

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, Winston County, contact Allison Cochran at 205-489-5111 or Jim Eason at 256-590-2388

test the water in Smith Lake and its tributaries monthly.

FRIDAY, APRIL 26, Cullman County, contact Jim Murphy at 205-529-5981 MONDAY, MAY 6, Walker County, contact Roger Treglown at 205-300-5253 TUESDAY, MAY 7, Walker County, contact Roger Treglown at 205-300-5253 MONDAY, SEPT. 9, Walker County, contact Roger Treglown at 205-300-5253 TUESDAY, SEPT. 10, Walker County, contact Roger Treglown at 205-300-5253 THURSDAY, SEPT. 12, Winston County, contact Allison Cochran at 205-489-5111 or Jim Eason at 256-590-2388

monitors, and SLCA also trains monitors. The volunteers Results are reported to Alabama Water Watch. Visit their website,, to see the data that has been collected and other information. If you are interested in monitoring in Cullman County, contact SLEPC, and if you would like to monitor in Winston County, contact WCSLAi.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 20, Cullman County, contact Jim Murphy at 205-529-5981


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Smith Lake Pets Meet Lola

BREED: Bulldog mix HOME BASE: Winston County, on Clear Creek, Lewis Smith Lake AL HUMAN: Allen and Christine Williamson LAKE PASTIME: Boat rides. Hanging out on the dock with her family. FAVORITE LAKE TREAT: Although Lola likes lots of different things, peanut butter is a favorite.

Meet Levon Helm

BREED: Boxer/Bulldog mix HOME BASE: Winston County, on Clear Creek, Lewis Smith Lake AL HUMAN: Allen and Christine Williamson LAKE PASTIME: Hanging out on the dock with his family. He doesn’t love boat rides as much as Lola, but he loves being with the family, so he tolerates it. FAVORITE LAKE TREAT: Christine says the dogs will eat pretty much anything, but peanut butter is a favorite of both.

Meet Chico Kitty

BREED: Tuxedo Cat HOME BASE: Winston County, on Clear Creek, Lewis Smith Lake AL HUMAN: Allen and Christine Williamson LAKE PASTIME: Hanging out on the screened porch, watching all the critters in the yard. Chico is a cat and does not care for water unless it’s in his water bowl. His favorite thing is to be in the house with us, where it’s nice and dry. FAVORITE LAKE TREAT: Christine says that Chico the Cat is a bit round, so he doesn’t indulge in treats much, HAHA; but he does love canned food best, which they give him when it’s really cold out, he normally gets dry food. Find out more about this animal family by following their famous Smith Lake Quilter mom, Christine Williamson on @upclearcreek ! Check out our former article on Christine in our 2018-QTR3 issue now available on digital.


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A Holiday Tradition


Before our son’s birth in November 2005 we had various traditions that we would practice from year to year regarding holiday meals.

We were still up in the air about a set Christmas menu because we had often traveled during holidays to be with family, so wherever we landed dictated what we ate, and it could be different every year depending on what family members on either side we wound up with that holiday. Since our son was still a tiny baby for Christmas 2005, we decided to stay settled in for the holiday. We knew we had to plan ahead. It was a perfect time to set a new tradition. We wanted something easy that would not take away from the joy of our 1st Christmas with our son. We began to think about something that could be made ahead so that we could pull it out, pop it in the oven and eat. We both loved lasagna, and when we thought about the fact that the colors were red and white, it was a done deal. It became the staple Christmas dinner for our family. We found preparing ahead a day or two made it so much easier to enjoy the actual day of Christmas instead of having to slave in the kitchen all day. This way, we didn’t miss a moment watching our baby boy enjoy Christmas & Santa. In years since, from time to time we add spinach to our lasagna to give it more of the colors of Christmas (red, white & green). This is also a great dinner option for Christmas Eve and New Years too, feeding many guests if entertaining. Obviously you can change up the recipe to suit your tastes by just omitting the spinach, trying Italian sausage with the ground beef (or instead of), and any other tweaks you want to make. Feel free to adjust all ingredients to suit your taste, this is just a guide and we vary it all the time! Enjoy experimenting and Happy Holidays from The Hannas!


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EASY ITALIAN SAUCE We enjoy making a family homemade sauce that takes hours. But we’ll save that recipe for another time. In the spirit of keeping this easy, we’ll give you a favorite quick go-to. 2 jars of Prego Traditional 1 jar of Prego Spinach Florentine 1 can of diced tomatoes (Italian flavored if you like) 1 can of tomato paste ½ t garlic powder 1 t Italian seasoning 2.5 lbs ground beef (or Italian sausage, or a mix) – salt & pepper to taste (we get our fresh meats from Brickyard Meats in Cullman AL – the BEST!) 2 onions, chopped 1 bell pepper, chopped 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 1 T olive oil

SAUCE INSTRUCTIONS > Mix first 6 ingredients together, warm through, set aside. > While the sauce is warming, brown the ground beef, drain excess grease off, pour into the sauce mix above. > Use the same pan that was used for the ground beef, adding 1 T olive oil, brown the onions, pepper and garlic, and pour into the sauce mix when done. > Stir all ingredients well, place on a low setting on the stove, cover and allow flavors to blend and heat through for about 45 minutes. Set aside.

REMAINING INGREDIENTS 10-12 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (our recipe above) 8 oz Ricotta cheese 1.5 cups of cottage cheese (small curd) 2 cups of shredded regular mozzarella cheese, divided 1 cup of shredded Italian blend mozzarella cheese 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (we use the tri-blend) ¼ cup of parmesan cheese for top 2 eggs, lightly broken/barely beaten 8 oz (½ pkg) of lasagna noodles, uncooked 1 bag of fresh spinach 2 t parsley flakes 1 t garlic powder 1 t Italian seasoning

INSTRUCTIONS > Preheat oven to 350 degrees > Combine the Ricotta cheese, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of parmesan, and eggs, and mix well – add Italian seasoning, garlic powder & 1 t parsley to taste (may also add a little white pepper & salt if desired – no need though) > Spread 1 cup of sauce mixture (see ours above) in the bottom of a 9”x13” pan. > Place 1/3 of the uncooked lasagna noodles over the sauce. Gently spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over noodles, top with a hand full of fresh spinach, enough to make a nice thin loose layer > Repeat layering as many times as you can depending on how deep your dish is. Top with remaining noodles and meat sauce mixture. > Cover with foil and bake from 55 minutes. > Uncover, sprinkle with reserved mozzarella, parmesan and parsley flakes > Bake an additional 15 minutes, browning slightly gold under broiler towards the end if desired. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting and serving into large square pieces while still hot. Serve with wine or fresh tea, bread and a favorite crunchy salad, your choice of dressing, we recommend Italian.

ENJOY! Happy Holidays & Happy New Year! | The Lakeside Life

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It was a long cold day at the Williamson cabin photo shoot featured in this issue. Andrew and Meg were such patient and gracious hosts the entire day. At the end of the day before we wrapped, Meg kindly offered our group a hot spiced apple toddy to cap off the day. We were exhausted and accepted gratefully. So delicious and fitting for the season in flavor and presentation. We just had to get the recipe from her to share with our readers. One evening this winter, just kick back by the fire and enjoy one of these drinks guaranteed to warm you up, raise your spirits, and maybe even cure your ails. Always remember, drink responsibly. CHEERS! TIP 1: Handles make it easier to hold this hot drink, so if possible serve these in hot toddy glasses—these are usually glass coffee mugs, or we’ve even used an irish coffee mug, or as last resort a heavy old fashioned with a napkin wrapped around it to protect your hands

Meg’s Spiced Apple Toddy (Serve as many as you like) Apple cider | Orange slices | Cinnamon sticks | Bourbon Warm about a cup of apple cider per person in a saucepan (or OK to warm in a microwaveable large glass measuring cup) Squeeze at least one slice of fresh orange juice into each cup

Drop a fresh orange slice into each cup Stir each with a cinnamon stick, and serve as garnish in the toddies

Add bourbon & stir (use amount desired, we used 1 shot per cup)


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Meg’s Honey Lemon Toddy (Serves 2) 1 cup hot water (or favorite brewed tea) 1 lemon halved 2 lemon slices (or wedges) 2 T honey (more if you prefer sweeter) Cinnamon sticks (optional) ¼ teaspoon apple cider vinegar for each glass (optional – but truly enhances the flavors – you’ll be surprised!) 1 oz bourbon per glass (or a whole shot if desired, we used a shot, can also use dark aged rum as a substitution) TIP: Warm the toddy glass first by pouring in boiling water, then pouring back out. This can help the ingredients combine even better. Squeeze ½ a small lemon into the bottom of each glass, add honey and ¼ t apple cider vinegar Add ½ cup of hot water to each glass until the honey mixture dissolves. Add bourbon and stir (1 oz or 1 shot per glass) Drop a fresh round lemon slice (or wedge) Stir with a cinnamon stick, and serve as a garnish in the toddies TIP: Consider experimenting with flavors by adding a pinch of cinnamon, clove or allspice, or a combination – so many ways to change up the flavor, even using less or more of the honey & citrus, or experimenting with other citrus, like a grapefruit. | The Lakeside Life

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ADVERTISER INDEX ARC Realty............................................................................................ 17

Joseph Carter Realty............................................................................ 37

Birmingham Concrete Design........................................................... 51

JWB Photography................................................................................ 67

Brickyard Meats................................................................................... 69

Lakeside Pharmacy.............................................................................. 71

Buettner Bros. Lumber Company, Inc............................................. 49

Life on the Lake Realty........................................................................ 55

Bugs Bite Mosquito Authority........................................................... 71

Lakeside Sports & Recreation .......................................................... 70

Bully Sauce............................................................................................. 69

MaeMae’s Paws .................................................................................... 87

Cabin Fever Beverages........................................................................ 19

MasterPro Audio ................................................................................. 70

Cabinet Creations by Joe.................................................................... 37

Mustard Seed Nursery........................................................................ 31

Campbell’s Cleaning Your Way, LLC............................................... 69

Nelems Marine..................................................................................... 51

Chick fil A at Cullman, AL................................................................. 23

Pat’s Archery & Outdoors.................................................................. 31

City of Cullman (CWAC)................................................................... 87

Renasant Bank...................................................................................... 49

Ciy of Cullman (Cross Creek Golf Course).................................... 19

Russell Marine - Smith Lake.............................................................. 81

Cornerstone Beverage, Inc................................................................BC

SARDIS - Cullman Aerial & Real Estate Photography................. 67

Cornerstone Construction................................................................. 23

Scott Eric Day.................................................................................... IBC

Cruise Planners .................................................................................... 73

Seibels Cottage..................................................................................... 43

Cullman Savings Bank......................................................................... 55

Smith Lake Rentals and Sales............................................................ 73

Culpepper Real Estate......................................................................... 27

Southern Roots Fashion ..................................................................... 55

Dixie Duds and Décor......................................................................... 71

Target Pest Control.............................................................................. 85

Elite Boat & RV Storage...................................................................... 65

The Lakeside Life Magazine .............................................................. 85

Free State Boat Docks........................................................................... 2

The Blue Eyed Rabbit........................................................................... 23

Gable Beach Rentals............................................................................ 73

Tow Boat U.S. ....................................................................................... 61

High Point Furniture........................................................................... 17

Valley Heating & Cooling..................................................................... 8

Hydrohoist of Alabama......................................................................... 1

Vintage West Home............................................................................. 37

J&D Auto/Tire Service (combo w/MaeMae’s Paws).................... 23

Werner’s Trading Company............................................................... 31

Jeff Roberts & Associates..................................................................IFC

White Willow........................................................................................ 31

John’s Pressure Washing and Home Service................................... 65

Whitlock’s General Store and Café................................................... 87

The Lakeside Life magazine offers many different advertising packages. Please do not hesitate to call us to discuss an option that will fit your marketing needs. You may call us any time at 205-470-8250 or email us at thelakesidelife@ We are honored to have you consider us in your marketing plan, and we look forward to working with you! We are grateful for our advertisers, and we believe in going the extra mile on your behalf, and for the good of the lake lifestyle community. See you lakeside!


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The Lakeside Life - Lewis Smith Lake - Winter Issue - 2018-QTR4