Helen Georgia a Classic South-German Style Town
Helen, Georgia, is one of the top tourist attractions in the Southeast. Located only a couple hours north of Atlanta in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
A friend told me about Helen, GA and even though I had never heard of it I though it would be a nice day trip for my wife and me.
After searching for things to do I decided on the following itinerary:
- Hofer’s of Helen German Bakery for breakfast
- Walk around town for a couple hours
- Hike to Anna Ruby Falls
- The Nacoochee Village Tavern & Pizzeria for a late lunch
- Quick trip to Babyland General Hospital
- Wine tasting at Habersham Winery
Hofer’s of Helen is a quaint little German bakery that has a restaurant with only about 12 four-top tables. We arrived at around 9:30 and the line was out the door. The wait was around 45 minutes. There are some German options, but we opted for a more traditional breakfast experience. The bacon onion hash was delicious as were the sausage links, which had a sweet maple flavor to them. I would say it is definitely worth the wait.
After breakfast we decided to walk around town for an hour or two and see the charm of this Alpine village. There are a lot of tourist shops that sell everything from fudge and jerky to gems and stones as well as a host of souvenirs. We even got to see a horse carriage riding through town. As we walked across the Chattahoochee river I couldn’t help but think about what those muddy waters meant to me!
Once we crossed the Chattahoochee river we saw the Georgia Mountain Coaster across the street and went to check it out. There were two couples walking down the steps and they said that it was “Freakin’ Awesome” despite the cost. Based on their recommendation we decided to give it a go. I had heard of these type of rollercoasters that wound through mountains and had always wanted to try one. It did not disappoint. I’ll be honest though, I did pull up on the brakes ever so slightly a couple of times. My wife went full speed the entire time, which surprised both of us.
Earlier our waitress recommended that we visit High Shoals Falls and Blue Hole Falls instead of Anna Ruby Falls. She said that it requires a little more hiking, but is worth it. It was a moderate hike that took us about 30 minutes to hike each way. It was nice to get out and enjoy nature while working off our breakfast.
As we drove back into Helen we stopped for a late lunch in the Nacoochee Village. There are several businesses in the area that offer “a unique shopping experience for visitors” according to their website. We didn’t have time to look around, but rather headed straight to the Nacoochee Village Tavern & Pizzeria. The atmosphere was nice with plenty of large screen TV’s and outdoor seating. The popcorn they offer was unexpectedly good. They also had a nice variety of Pizzas to choose from, which was difficult for us, so we ended up ordering several different pizzas by the slice.
I then told my wife we were going to visit a hospital and she didn’t seem shaken by the idea, but I’m sure she was wondering what I had planned. The Babyland General Hospital is a 2.5 million dollar Southern Style “hospital” built by Xavier, the creator of the Cabbage Patch Kids. It is the only place in the world where you can witness the birth of a hand-sculpted Cabbage Patch Kid and then name and adopt them. It was a nice experience to see a little of the history of the Cabbage Patch Kids. Surprisingly there were more adult visitors than children while we were there.
Finally we headed back toward Helen and stopped at the Habersham Winery. My comments should not be viewed as expert advise as I am NOT a wine snob. That being said we did a wine tasting and didn’t enjoy any of the wine we tried. The peach Bellini was delicious though. The experience made us miss the Karma Vista Vineyards in Coloma in Michigan which you have to try if you ever get up that way.
After a little wine we made the relaxing trip back home while we talked about the nice time we had visiting the little German town in the middle of the mountains in Georgia.