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The Helen to the Atlantic Balloon Race and Festival is truly on of the most spectular sights in North Georgia.
The first weekend in June each year brings 25-30 colorful hot air balloons to Alpine Helen to fly in the beautiful N. Georgia mountains.
Photos and information can be found at
Written Oct 16, 2004
Don't miss Helen's Octoberfest.
I have already posted this tip on the "nightlife" section. However, Octoberfest goes on all day long.
One of the main reasons for our village's success is Octoberfest, which begins the second weekend in Sept and continues for two months with a celebration that includes Bavarian music, oompa bands, bratwurst, beer and plenty of polkas. Seems like the official dance of Helen should be the polka or the chicken dance. Check out the city's official website (www.helenga.org), it plays continuous polka music and sometimes the chicken dance. You can also see this year's Octoberfest schedule on their website.
The main Octoberfest party is at the city's Festhalle located on the back streets of town. There are live bands, beer drinking and partying going on all over town and most of the resturants.
Octoberfest is one of the main reasons that Helen is the third largest tourist attraction in Georgia.
Combine Octoberfest with the beautiful fall leaves in the mountains and you have one great vacation.
Written Oct 18, 2004
Address: all over town
located on main street (hwy 17) just walking distance from central helen is betty's store. if you are staying in helen this the place to buy groceries, beer and wine. part of the store is a modern grocery store and part is a old fashioned general store. the beer and wine selection rivals a major city store. a very interesting place to visit when in helen.
Written Oct 31, 2006
Address: main street
This is what ALL the shops, banks, restaurants look like in the city. In the 70's the town was going bankrupt so some of the business leaders decided to turn Helen into a Bavarian adventure. It worked and now tourism is the major form of business in the town. You must go to OKTOBERFEST. Not as good as the one in Munich, but alot cheaper.
Updated Aug 23, 2005
the sautee general store is located about a mile east of helen on hwy 17. named after the chickasaw warrior sautee it is an interesting place to visit when in the helen area. the sautee general store has the usual tourist mechandise but one part of the store is just like a turn of the century drug store. the sautee genral store is worth stopping into on the way to helen.
Written Oct 31, 2006
Address: hwy 17
the nora mill store is another interesting place to visit when in the helen area. nora mill is located about a mile east of helen on hwy 17. this late 1800's grist mill now houses a general store. the nora mill is worth visiting when in the helen area.
Updated Nov 1, 2006
Address: hwy 17
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.
Updated Jan 31, 2009
Address: In Cleveland
Most putt-putt golf courses are somewhat cute and a bit tricked up but this one is downright beautiful. From the garden entrance to the elevated deck walkway from the clubhouse to the ice cream shop and on to the course itself, the landscaping is striking and quite lovely. If you are traveling with kids putt-putt is a sure winner and this one is lovely as well. Adjacent to the course is an ice cream store where you get a 10% discount when you show them your scorecard. Our 7 year old grandson thought it was a perfect day - mini golf followed by ice cream!
Written Jul 18, 2007
Address: 7914 S Main St
Phone: (706) 878-3328
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.
Updated Feb 5, 2009
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.
Updated Feb 5, 2009
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