Helen Georgia – Historic, Romantic and Much MoreOctober 27, 2010 No Comments
Scenic Alpine town offers a refreshing escape
About 70 miles north of Atlanta lies Helen Georgia, a Bavarian-inspired town where traces of Cherokee Indian culture, horse-drawn carriages, a beautiful river walk, historic streets, restaurants, horseback-riding, tubing, golf and a host of other entertainment options welcome you. If these don’t sound inviting enough, maybe a hot air balloon race, a Winefest or an Oktoberfest touted to be the South’s longest will. Helen offers these and much more – for a day, a weekend or as long as you choose to get away.
This mountain town exudes Bavarian charm and offers an optimum blend of outdoor activity and southern hospitality. I highly recommend it for couples and families with children of any age. I’ve been there during summer but I’m sure it would make a great fall and winter destination as well.
First stop – Anna Ruby Falls
But, if you do head there in warm weather, be sure to stop by Anna Ruby Falls, first. Take the 0.4 mile long moderate trail and hike up to the base of these twin falls for a great photo op and view of the gorgeous falls. You’ll get to see many of the trees and shrubs making up the Chattahoochee National Forest as you walk along the Chattahoochee river – gushing forward in some places and a gentle trickle in others. However, if you’re looking to enjoy a splash in the cool waters, this is not the place for you – you are advised to stay out of the water on this trail. Signs put up throughout the trail explain the names and facts associated with the many species of trees and plants growing here – be sure to share them with your children. The Smith Creek trail is 4.6 mile and supposed to be more challenging – if you’re particularly looking for some uphill fun. We took the easier route and am glad we did. Having experienced the Niagara Falls, I guess most others pale in comparison, especially since there’s so little to do once you get to the base, besides snap a few pictures and catch your breath before heading back down. So, for me, the real fun began when we got back from the hike and got into a tube.
Get wet – Go tubing
If there’s one experience you just shouldn’t miss in Helen, it’s tubing in the Chattahoochee. It’s relaxing, refreshing and stimulating offering you a chance to explore the river at your pace. Several tubing companies offer the service, picking you up and dropping you off at various starting points and dropping you back at the end of your tubing trip. We chose the Cool River Tubing and it was a great experience from start to finish. You get to choose from two different lengths of rides, the duration ranging from an hour to two. If it’s your first time, and you have young kids, the former may give you a chance to explore tubing without being too overwhelming an experience. You have the option of going solo or linking your tubes together. While linking tubes may seem like a good way to keep your family or group together, remember that linked tubes are way more difficult to maneuver around rocks. On the flip side, if you choose solo tubes, there’s every chance that you will get separated from your group somewhere along the way and probably end up meeting them at the finishing point. Either way, you’re assured at least an hour of super-water-fun and don’t let anything dilute that for you. If I were you, I would remember to leave all non-water-proof valuables, wallet and gadgets behind in the tubing company’s office. I speak from experience. Though we came back with great memories, we bid adieu to our beloved camera at the end of that memorable tubing trip.
If like us, you enjoy ‘walking towns’, you will have plenty to explore in Helen. Enjoy the Cobblestone streets and specialty shops of this recreated Alpine village at a leisurely pace. Stop by a glass blowing shop, watch a candle being made or buy a hand-crafted cuckoo clock before you settle down for a traditional Southern meal or relish a Bavarian delicacy. Enjoy a romantic horse-carriage ride with your loved one or a fun family ride that’s sure to be a treat for the little ones.
Not many places can pull off mixing history, romance and outdoor fun in one splendid package. Incredibly, Helen, Georgia does.