Helen, Georgia

by

Shannon Guess

Helen, located in White County Georgia, is a wonderful place to spend the day or the weekend. Helen is a complete re-creation of an alpine village. This comes complete with cobblestone alleys and old-world towers. The town is known as German town because when you come into the town you feel like you have stepped right into a quaint little German village.

Helen is celebrating its 40th year of being a Bavaria community.  In 1968 a group of locals met to discuss ways to bring their town to life as well as bring visitors in for added income.  They approached a nearby friend, who was also an artist who had been stationed in Germany, to see if he could help.  He sketched the buildings and added gingerbread trim and various colors to give it the alpine feel.  In 1969 the sketchings became a reality as the business owners began renovating their stores.

The area is also rich in history. The area’s history revolves greatly around Cherokee Indians. Mounds can be seen on the outskirts of Helen. Although they are protected by gates, they are highly visible and you can get close enough to get some photographs.  The history in Helen also surrounds the early settlers who arrived to mine for gold in the early 1900’s.

There is a wide variety of shops that cater to everyone.  Just to name a few, there are Victorian stores, Western stores, Biker stores, toy stores, antique shops, and even a Dutch store.  My favorite store, bear in mind I am a true chocoholic, is the Hansel and Gretel candy store. They have the most amazing fudge I have ever eaten.  I also enjoy the clock store. When you walk in, you will see the most amazingly beautiful hand made cuckoo clocks.   Most of the clocks were made in Germany. The prices can be moderate to high depending on what you are looking for. I bought mine from there ten years ago and it still works beautifully.

There are also a variety of places to eat in Helen.  They have fast food places, but it is best to go into one of the restaurants to get a true feel of Helen. My favorite place to eat while I’m there is Paul’s. It is on a river and you can eat on the terrace over looking the water. There are also several spots where you can have a picnic.

Besides eating and shopping, Helen has many outdoors activities to offer.  There are stables close by for you to either pet the horses or take them out for a ride.  There are a couple of different companies that offer tubing on the river. There are some hiking trails. And close by are some great places such as Anna Ruby Falls, Baby land General Hospital (home of the Cabbage Patch Kids), a Kangaroo conservation center, and so much more.

There are signs showing you where to park your car. I turn right beside Wendy’s and go to the end of the street. If you look to your right, you will find a parking lot where you can pay $2 for the entire day. What’s even better about this spot is that there is rarely anyone in the booth (in this case, you can park for free).

There is so much to do in Helen whether you are traveling alone, with other adults, or with children.  There are also many different celebrations held throughout the year.  For more information on the many things to do while in Helen, visit

www.helenga.org.

 

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