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Helen, Georgia: Summertime fun on a budget

Helen is a tiny little German town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northeast Georgia alongside the Chattahoochee River. Known for its touristy nature, Helen is a re-creation of an alpine village filled with cobblestone alleys and old-world towers. Accommodations include many choices: mountain cabins, bed and breakfast inns, and hotels (check out the unique Hampton Inn two blocks from the main drag). Best of all, it’s only a short three to four hour drive from the Birmingham area.

The buildings give the Germantown vibe.
Becky J. Beall

What shall we do…
Helen is a unique destination with something for all ages…in other words, the perfect place for families to spend long weekends or even take a week-long vacation. The pace is slower and there is so much room for meandering around town. Visit the one-of-a-kind shops, take a break in one of the beer gardens (after all, it is a German town), and don’t miss the chance to river tube for only $5! Yes, you read that correctly! Only $5!

Hiking is also popular in Helen. Check with the Welcome Center when you get into town and you will find a wealth of information about local restaurants, hiking trails, and everything in between.

Betty’s Country Store is a don’t miss place! Betty’s is on the corner of Main Street and Yonah Street and started out as a mom and pop grocery over 30 years ago. Today, it is a fun blend of groceries, produce, baked goods (you have to try Betty’s carrot cake), fresh meats, cheeses (grab some Farmer’s cheese to bring back home), deli, and more! The setting is laid back and folks just stroll in and out with a variety of different purchases. It’s so much more than a store…it’s a landmark!

There are several nice wineries that you’ll want to check out including:

Habersham Winery – One of Georgia’s oldest wineries producing wines since 1983. Sample wines daily in the tasting room.

Sautee Nacoochee Vineyards – Enjoy 100% Georgia wines and a view of the valley. They have a tasting room for your pleasure as well. NOTE: Be sure and taste the Red Headed Stepchild wine (and perhaps take some home).

The Yonah Mountain Vineyards – North Georgia wines at their finest. Visit for a taste of their award-winning wines.

Strolling the streets of Helen, river tubing, hiking, and winetasting can definitely fill your days, but be sure and save time (and room) for some of the city’s fabulous culinary delights. Café International is a great lunch treat and overlooks the beautiful Chattahoochee. Hofer’s of Helen Bakery & Café is a fabulously authentic Bavarian bakery with a palette-pleasing menu of spectacular breakfast choices.

For dinner, you’ll want to plan a trip to Nacoochee Grill (serving lunch and dinner, steaks, seafood, and local fare). Their dinner menu features a delightful selection of appetizers from BBQ Duck Tacos and to locally famous Nacoochee Valley Crabcakes, made withfresh lump crab meat. Dinner selections include Shrimp and Grits, Center Cut Pork Chops, grilled sausage plate, and many more.

Two of Helen’s greatest treasures (in my eyes) were a little off the beaten path so look for them. One is Nora Mill Granery & Country Store (706) 878-2375 where grits and corn meal are still ground the old-fashioned way…bring back some Georgia Ice Cream (White Speckled Grits). The other favorite stop was Jumpin Goat Coffee where they roast their own beans and sell their offerings in a quaint little gift shop. Great way to start the day!

Helen, it seems, is always having a festival or event in celebration of something and the biggest one of all is Oktoberfest! Make your plans now and attend this year’s event—the perfect place to enjoy this German-inspired celebration is Helen! Enjoy German music, food, and drinks – there are beer gardens all over the main part of town for your pleasure!

Enjoy Helen in the summertime, during Oktoberfest, or both! Visit the Alpine Helen / White
County CVB
web site to play your trip today!

IF YOU GO...
Hampton Inn

147 Unicoi St.
Helen, GA
(706)-878-3310
www.hamptoninn.com

Habersham Winery
7025 S. Main St.
Helen, GA
(706) 878-9463
www.habershamwinery.com

Sautee Nacoochee Vineyards
98 Nacoochee Way
Helen, GA
(706) 878-1056
www.sauteenacoocheevineyards.com

The Yonah Mountain Vineyards
1717 Highway 255
Cleveland, GA 30528
706-878-5522
www.yonahmountainvineyards.com

Alpine Helen / White County Convention & Visitors Bureau
726 Bruckenstrasse
Helen, GA 30545
706-878-2181
www.helenga.org

Betty’s Country Store
18 Yonah Street
Helen, GA 30545
(706) 878-2943
http://bettysinhelen.com/

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