Helen Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Helen

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    The Valley of the Nachoochee Indians

    by BruceDunning Updated Feb 5, 2009

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    Map of the area of Sautee
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    This is a quite valley where much steeped history took place, mostly for the Indians, who lived a life in peace until the exodus to Oklahoma in Trail of Tears, for the Cherokee. The valley has a mythical history of an Indian girl jumping to her death from a mountain....that same story is prevalent in Chattanooga. Then after the death of the lover woman, the Sautee killed himself--legend.

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    Sautee Community to Shop & Eat

    by BruceDunning Updated Feb 5, 2009

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    Front of the store for goods-antiques
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    This is a small community in the valley of Sautee, near Cleveland and Helen areas. It has a special shop with the entrance still as it looked 100 years ago. In the rear, though, it is set up for that commercial shopping for goods, clothing, jams, Glogg (Swedish cinnamon flavor liquer), cheese, and amber; none of which are "bargins" Next to this is Wendell's restaurant, a country eatery with daily specials of the South.

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    Cornelia is Another "Country Town"

    by BruceDunning Updated Feb 5, 2009

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    Brochure of things to do

    This little town has been a stalwart for years, and has now a museum and some other attractions. It was a town started hundreds of years ago, and even in 1540, the Spanish came through looking for gold. After the Civil War, it was a timber country and secluded. Later it became the "moonshine" capital. The train depot and the big red apple weighing 5,20 pounds are the primary attractions.
    I have visited here often starting in the 1970's due to the inlaws moved to this town of 3,600 to get away from the big city. They did that and moved back after 5 years.
    The town seems to maybe mot hold much attraction for visitors. However, if you hang around long enough, you will find that the big apple, the old train depot and some other sites are really interesting. The locals are all friendly.

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    Octoberfest Fall SEason

    by BruceDunning Updated Feb 5, 2009

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    Town square here for music and dancing-beer
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    The whole town comes alive for Octoberfest. I was there just after one of those times, and clean up is part of the process for them. The festival lasts 6 weeks, going from mid September through October. Yes, there are brats, schnitzel, pretzels, and all other German type foods, to sample. Then they have beer for sale too.
    They have bands playing during the day and into late evenings. It brings out a real celebratory crowd from what locals told me. Some need to be escorted away from the activity, depending on the consumption of beer and integration into the culture. Traffic jams are commonplace and people go up and down the main street to take it all in. It may even rival Sturgis for the motorcycles coming here. The event actually starts in slow fashion in late summer, and seems to continue to almost Christmas. That gets more tourists to come.

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    Unicoi Park

    by BruceDunning Updated Feb 5, 2009

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    Brochure of the park

    The park is 1,000 acres and has a 53 acre lake. The attraction is the camping for the summer and fall. The leaves changing in fall are a real draw of people to the area. They have 100 lodge rooms in motel, 30 cottages, and 80 campsites. It is said to be one of the more serene parks in the area of the South. Many city people come here to get away and enjoy activities in the area; boating, fishing, hiking, climbing, and other things to do.

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    Dahlonega

    by BruceDunning Updated Feb 5, 2009

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    Map of the town region
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    This is a town where you can prospect for gold yet. It was first discovered here in 1828, and a rush of people came for fortune. The small community has a gold museum in the center. The town also has preserved many buildings on Hawkins Street. It only has 3,600 residents, but a lot to offer. In the surrounding area there are waterfalls and wineries to visit.

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    Antiquing is All Around

    by BruceDunning Updated Feb 5, 2009

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    Bessi Mae's Antique shop
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    There are a number of shops on the highways and side roads to shop for antiques and unique gifts. We dropped off in Sautee, which is a little community stop in the valley. It was a nice place. Yes, things are there to be bought-like jams, sorghum,country hams, knick knacks, and even some amber. WE got hooked on that. There are also some factory outlets being promoted, but we favor the local spirit and the unique items in the old timey stores. They are like museums themselves. One was over 120 years old and the potbellied stove was stoked up.
    We stopped at about 4-5 shops on the way to Helen GA. Bessie Mae was in business for 40-50 years and the son now runs the operation on a "bigger" place. It is unique and old time feel. The Tug Hill Trader is a fabulous place for special INdian items, and leather, hand made knives, wood furniture, and many more things not usually found.
    Also in Sautee there is a shop, more commercialized, and expensive. but friendly.

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    Georgia Mountains to see and climb

    by BruceDunning Updated Feb 1, 2009

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    Coming onto the Georgia hills
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    There are an amazing dozen or so hills in this tail end of the Appalachian Mountains. Many water falls also dot the landscape; none of which we saws this trip. There is also kudzu creeping around and killing trees. It is ugly.It was meant to deter erosion, and the vine came form Japan in early 1900's. It now has "taken over" the south, and cannot be readily eradicated.
    Hiking trails are interspersed throughout the hills.
    There are a number of roads and side areas crossing through north Georgia. The way to find out about the local life, is to take some of these off the highway roads and get to know the local ambiance.

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    Stroll the Gingerbread Decor

    by BruceDunning Updated Feb 1, 2009

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    In the main part of town-colorful and decorative
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    Throughout the downtown, the color and decoration of buildings are nice to see, featuring the gingerbread trim and detail painting of the the borders. The town developed into this Alpine theme to promote tourism and bring in revenue for the area for nearly 50 years now. It seems to work, and the tourists "flock" here in summer and fall months. About 60+ shops are right in town and many others in surrounding area. Only 400 residents live in town, but do have workers come for miles to find jobs.

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    Cleveland is for Babies

    by BruceDunning Updated Jan 31, 2009

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    View of the display
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    This is the home and long time-35 year tradition of the Cabbage Patch dolls. Yep, after nearly 20 years of being away, someone I know "adopted" a couple of them for the next generation. The rates to adopt are as mind boggling as before, when they were only $100 range. The fad has apparently not worn off. Xavier Roberts still has the marketing charm and draws 1500 visitors a day in the summer. It is packed and the streets to get into town clogged for many minutes/miles. Be aware of summer traffic jams.
    The old 5,000 SF facility is going to move into an 11,000 SF space to allow more room for visitors/shoppers. Rooms are covered with the dolls and the layout is interesting and themes take you through the life of a doll. You can adopt a newborn if you are there at birthing.
    The history is fascinating for the entrepreneur ability of a young kid to start as a tenn in 1979. . Xavier Roberts sold out in 1982 to Coleco for over $150 million for the manufacturing and franchise rights. They busted by 1986, and from there, Hasbro and Mattel made cheap replicas with plastic heads and bodies. Now those sell for $20-40. The "original" still carries a price over $200 and pushing $300.

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    Shop til Ya'll Drop

    by BruceDunning Updated Jan 30, 2009

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    Old Time photos shop
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    Shopping is what the town wants you to do, and with 200 shops, it is here to browse. Most are concentrated in the center of town, where the other activities also are featured; like eat and sleep. Cuckoo clocks are the main attraction, but also candles and so many other "tourist type junk is everywhere."
    A side light is recently the tattoo and piercing business is vogue, demanded by those type who frequent the area a lot.

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    Nacoochee Indian VAlley-mound

    by BruceDunning Updated Jan 25, 2009

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    One mound near the intersection onto Unicot Turnpi
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    The mound was created by Cherokee Indians. Legend says that an Indian girl jumped to her death and the lover also died then. The mounds was to bury two lovers. A gazebo sits on top of the mound, where there once was town meeting lodge of the Indians. The mound is on private land, so no visiting allowed. This mound is a recreation after excavation was done for artifacts in 1915. It is said to be from around 10,000BC when created.
    The valley is serene and peaceful feeling still today. Hiking/exploring the area seems like a thing to do.

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    Oktoberfest

    by etfromnc Written Oct 20, 2008

    OKTOBERFEST! The German word for fun! Well, that may not be the actual translation, but to the folks attending Helen's Oktoberfest every year it could be. Oktoberfest in Helen started out small in the 1970's, but over the years, and through word of mouth, it has grown into a really special celebration. And this, is not one of those one-week festivals; this celebration lasts several weeks! The north Georgia mountains make a great vacation spot year-round, because of the unparalleled beauty and milder weather; however, during Oktoberfest, Mother Nature kicks it up a notch. Deep Carolina blue skies and color splashed mountains surround a picturesque village, making the days as inviting as the nights. During the day, you may decide to browse the shops, relax in a beer-garden, or simply enjoy Helen's perfect weather and beautiful scenery. At night, during September and October, all paths lead to Helen's massive Festhalle. Located within walking distance of most hotels, the Festhalle is the spot for authentic German bands, food, beer, and fun. You can either spend the evening dancing the Polka and the chicken dance, or you can relax in the adjacent beer garden and enjoy the crisp night air. Whichever section of the huge Festhalle you like best, be sure to sample the fresh cooked wursts, and large variety of German beers. So, if you've never been to Helen, can't afford Munich this fall, or just have never been to an Oktoberfest, be sure to book your hotel room early and plan to be at Helen's Oktoberfest. You will want to come back. Prost!!

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    Try Gem & Gold mining!

    by tpangelinan Written Oct 12, 2008

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    Gem Hunting

    Now this sounds like fun! There are several places to go and get guided tours to pan for gold in the river, or you can get a bucket large or small and search for gems. It's very expensive and fun for the whole family. Checked out the link below for Gold & Gem mining in Ga.

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    Main part of town

    by tpangelinan Written Oct 12, 2008

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    In this cluster of cute buildings you will find several restaurants, neat little nick nack shops. This is kind of the town jewel, each build is done with great detail and then painted to bring out the details.

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Comments (1)

  • Aug 18, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    How far is Helen, ga from Knoxville,tn?

    • leics's Profile Photo
      Aug 19, 2013 at 12:35 AM

      You can find routes and distance by using googlemaps (it's around 140 miles), or you can ask on the VT Helen travel forum here:

      Helen Travel Forum

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