Helen, Georgia, is located approximately 90 miles North of Atlanta, Georgia and built to resemble a Bavarian alpine town. It’s a destination for weekenders from Atlanta as well as motorcyclists across the Southeast. Helen, being Bavarian themed, naturally puts on an amazing Octoberfest celebration. Mix Oktoberfest with the vibrant fall colors and you can expect long lines of traffic if you visit in the fall. The main drag provides authentic German food, plenty of small specialty shops as well as great trout fishing.
This visit I focused my attention a bit South of town in the area of Nacoochee Village. My first stop was the Habersham Winery, I’m more of a “Beer Guy” but I appreciate the skill involved in turning a grape into something that can make my brain fuzzy. This winery has been in production since the early 80’s, and these folks have it down, from the Cabernet to Chalet White they have a solid offering. The best part is their tasting area, sample the offerings as you watch the processing take place behind you. Checkout the gift shop and grab a few bottles to take home with you.
Once you walk out of the winery head across the parking lot to Nacoochee Antiques….A mix between a local yard-sale, The Antiques Road Show & American Pickers. I think you can find most anything here. Three stories and room after room of stuff…from cuff-links to jars of buttons…..from vinyl LP’s (remember those?) to Coca-Cola memorabilia you are more than likely find it here.
I spent $20.00 and added 4 slightly used beer glasses to my collection, including a Florida Panthers tankard . This is one of those places that the more time you take and the more you look around the more unique stuff you will find.
Anyone that travels with me knows that you have to be prepared to eat, and when I say eat I mean anything from something you can’t pronounce to something that was swimming in the water just a few hours ago….life is too short to miss out on food experiences.
Today the destination was a mere 200 yards up the road at the Nacoochee Village Tavern and Pizzeria. Walking up to the front door you will smell the pizza that’s cooking, once you enter you will be greeted and asked to find a seat. Then seated you’ll be reminded of the college pizza joint with the exception that the food doesn’t suck and you don’t have to be drunk to appreciate it. The bar is fully stocked and the beer menu is better than my brother-in-law’s fridge. Sandwich’s are huge, consider ordering a half, unless you’re living off of per-diem, then order the whole and take half back to the hotel for later. The folks here are great, and their web site offers a “Pizza Cam” so you can watch all the action when you get back home.
There is still more to do around Helen that I just didn’t get to today. First Unicoi Outfitters, If you want to catch trout so big that you’ll think you’re in Wyoming, then this is the place. A mile and a half of private catch and release river, you will think that you’re on the set of a “River Runs through It”, minus Brad Pitt, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.
Another experience is the Nora Mill Granary. If you’ve ever wanted to visit a real grist mill, then this is the place. Nora Mill’s has been around since the 1870’s. Leave with a bag of stone ground grits or corn meal to remind you of your visit. If you get bored wander down to the river and feed the fish, but don’t miss this stop.
There’s a whole bunch to see in North Georgia.
Spend some time checking out the blogs around http://www.hypesouthflorida.com/ I’m sure there’ll be something you’ll like……