Find those fun and funky “special” places across the country. Hit the road and discover all the odd roadside attractions that make getting there more than half the fun. Road tripping gives you an excuse to search out hidden gems along your route. Look inside for suggested trips and inspiration to plan your own camping gem journey.
Escape into a magical world in Helen, Georgia, a charming Bavarian-style village that’s just a few hours from Atlanta. This Blue Ridge Mountain town echoes the charm of the Alps, complete with gingerbread-decorated buildings, mountain views, and pastoral scenes with cows and goats. Set on the rolling Chattahoochee River, Helen serves up its old-world charm with plenty of modern amenities.
Spend your days wandering down the cobblestone alleys, admiring the German architecture while you enjoy fresh-made treats from the Hofer’s of Helen Bakery or get ready for a hearty lunch of brats and beer. You and your sweetheart can take a romantic buggy ride or pay a visit to Anna Ruby falls to admire the beauty of the splashing water. Helen has a number of unique shops and artist’s workshops to visit such as the Glassblowing Shop, Willows Pottery, Scarlett’s Secret, and the Hansel and Gretchen Candy Kitchen. This is a terrific place to buy a year’s worth of gifts for the whole family!
You’ll find more artwork at the Glass Mountain Gallery and the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeastern Georgia, both set right here in Helen. But if outdoor sports are more to your taste, never fear – Helen has plenty for you as well. With a number of outfitting shops in town, you’ll have all the gear you need for a day of rafting or tubing on the Chattahoochee, horseback riding through the mountains, or golfing. The town is home to a number of stables, making it easy to head out on a trail ride. And you’ll also find miles of hiking trails through the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains.
Explore fun eateries with names like Kaffe und Kutchen, Ma Gooche’s Restaurant, the Alt Heidelberg Lounge, and Stovall House. You can relax at the Troll Tavern or sip your coffee at Miss Katherine’s Café. And you certainly won’t want to miss a trip to the Habersham Winery for wine tasting and a tour, or the shopping at Windmill Dutch Imports or the Scandinavian Import Company.
Helen’s history is tightly tied to the Cherokee Indians who once lived in this area. Before 1800, Cherokee villages were scattered all throughout the Helen valley. In 1813, the Cherokee followed the tragic “Trail of Tears” out of the valley toward Hiawassee, and were were soon replaced by white settlers who took up gold and timber mining. The German theme was developed in 1968, when a local artist returned from a long stay in Germany. With its mountain setting, Helen proved to be the perfect choice for a little Bavaria in Georgia.
It’s only natural that such a unique town should host fun festivals and events. Head to Helen for the annual hot air balloon race, Winefest, and the Volksmarch walking event. The town puts on spectacular Christmas parades during Alpenfest and fireworks at the Fourth of July. And all the guests in town enjoy the Bavarian Nights of Summer.
The highlight of the annual calendar is Helen’s Oktoberfest, the longest Oktoberfest in the South. Running from mid-September through October, this lively harvest festival has fun for the whole family. Come get to know the German spirit in Helen, Georgia!
- Category: Camping Gems