Get Away To North Georgia’s Mountain Beauty With A Touch Of Bavaria – No Passport Required

Monday, January 16, 2017 - by Alpine Helen/White County Convention and Visitors Bureau
- photo by Hansel and Gretel Candy Company in Alpine Helen

Prior to 1800, Alpine Helen was the center of Cherokee Indian culture. Once pillaged for natural resources, first gold and then timber, by the 1960s there was nothing left except a dreary row of concrete block structures. So, in 1968, a group of entrepreneurs worked with a local artist who had been stationed in Germany. The artist determined a new look for the North Georgia town, adding gingerbread trim, Bavarian-inspired details and colors to the buildings. In January 1969, business owners and local carpenters began turning ideas into reality and all downtown stores were renovated. In 2002, $1.2 million was spent on improvements in the downtown area. Since then, Helen has accomplished much, creating a new town and industry, providing jobs for more people and boosting the economy of the entire area–supporting over 1,200 hotel rooms, more than 150 shops, including those of Old World artisans, 40-plus restaurants and a number of wineries.

And while you can still see the beloved old gal of yesteryear in her bustling main shopping thoroughfare, traditional German restaurants and bakeries and tourist mainstays like gold panning and mini golf, you’ll meet a more urbane Helen today. Create a piece of art at The Willows, a working potter’s studio with Paint Your Own Pottery studio. Take in a gallery show or live theatre performance at The Sautee Nacoochee Center. Find a new artist to collect at InsideOut Sautee with its local artists’ gallery and home furnishings, pottery, jewelry and more. Take time to tour the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia; housed in a post and beam building, this is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to folk pottery and showcasing a 200-year tradition of men and women who shaped the earth and water of the Georgia Mountains into once essential household items now valued and collected as distinctive folk art.

While in Helen, feast at dozens of restaurants, including the authentic German bakery of Hofer’s and at the Old Bavaria Inn where German food, stein sales, lederhosen sales and much more contribute to the experience. German food, beer and wine reign at the Old Heidelberg restaurant while at Higher Ground Coffee & More a warmly brewed cuppa is the perfect pairing for the homemade fudge and other sweet confections at the Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen. And, at Muller’s Famous Café, savor delicious European specialties in a cozy and intimate atmosphere.

At the end of your adventure, you’re sure to sleep like a baby in Helen’s in-town hotels, motels and B&Bs, many of which overlook the Chattahoochee River and decorate the landscape with their mural-enrobed facades, and the mountainside and mountaintop accommodations, including B&Bs, cabins and condos, scenically situated throughout White County.

Plan your mountain vacation during one of Helen’s popular annual events, such as Wine Highway Weekend (March), the Northeast Georgia Arts Tour (year-round), Oktoberfest (September through November), and December’s Holidays in Helen.

One of the top attractions in the entire state, hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, Helen celebrates the future while commemorating its historic past when the early settlers came to this remote area. Stop by the Welcome Center in downtown Helen to see the sketches that tell the story of Helen. A village with a mountain heritage and a touch of Bavaria, Helen has created a unique experience for its visitors.



2018 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide Honors Civil Rights Icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development today released its 2018 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide. The cover features an inspiring, artistic rendering of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. along with the Lorraine Motel, the site of his assassination, which is now home to the National Civil Rights Museum. Fifty years ago, Dr. King was in Memphis, where he marched with striking ... (click for more)

What's New In Tennessee Travel For 2018

Tourism in Tennessee continues to expand with new attractions, impressive state-of-the-art developments and milestone anniversary celebrations of iconic attractions that help shape “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” 2018 marks several milestones in Tennessee, including honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the National Civil Rights Museum on the ... (click for more)

City Council Considering New 2-Year $600,000 Contract With Father To The Fatherless

The City Council is considering whether to approve a new two-year contract of up to $600,000 with Father to the Fatherless for the Violence Reduction Initiative. Council members had a number of questions during a lengthy hearing on Tuesday afternoon, but Police Chief David Roddy said the program has helped bring a 35 percent reduction in gun-related shootings and a 16 percent ... (click for more)

168 In Homeless Cold Weather Shelters; Cleveland Offices Open At Noon

The Salvation Army is at capacity with its cold weather shelter at 60 and the Community Kitchen has 108 so far in the cold weather shelter, officials said Tuesday night.  Kimberly George said, "This is the most the two of us have had so far." She added, "More are at the Chattanooga Rescue Mission too."  Lows are not set to reach above freezing in Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you, Dr. King for stepping-out.  Thank you for your lasting voice to what it's all about. Thank you, Dr. King for  stepping up and also showing-up, ...when decisions were being made and  your refusal  to shut-up.  We find your fingerprints on both directions and toward progress.  your modeling, mentoring,  and reactions helps ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Once In A Blue…

On August 21st this past summer, four black women were walking down the street in Dayton, Tn., when a white man asked from his porch, “Are you ladies here to see the eclipse?” Told that yes, they most certainly were, the gentleman pointed to his back deck and another white couple and said, “If you don’t have plans, would you care to sit with us?” The ladies were delighted and ... (click for more)