Georgia's Alpine Retreat

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the town of Helen, Georgia. This town, begun in the 1940's, has an alpine theme to it. I want to describe some of the dining areas and activities that I enjoy.

Georgia's Alpine Retreat

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Coach Bear on May 30, 2002

Great German food can be found in Helen. Plus, many come to the city for trout fishing, tubing on the river, shopping, and enjoying th eparty of Octoberfest.${QuickSuggestions} The city is open year round, but I have found the best times to visit to be during the Spring and during the Autumn. Either way, be careful of the traffic, both pedestrian and automobile. Passing through the city is less than three miles, but I have had days in which driving those three miles took over one hour. The traffic gets quite heavy. Traffic must stop for pedestrains in Helen. Sometimes the people tend to walk out in the street to get across (not in a crosswalk) and cars are caught having to make a rapid stop to avoid hitting people.

Most of what the majority of peole wish to do can be found in the central area, so park your car and enjoy. ${BestWay} You will want to drive your car to a convenient parking area, then walk where you wish to go. I have never seen any form of public transportation nor any taxis.

Edelweiss German Country Inn & Restaurant

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Coach Bear on May 30, 2002

Stepping into the Edelweiss has the effect of carrying you to the streets of a small German village. The rustic atmosphere of the interior of the restaurant and the smells of kraut cooking and dark bread baking make your mouth begin to water.

The waiters are quick to help you make a selection, which is cooked in the finest traditions of Germany. There is a nice selection of schnitzels and wursts, plus a wide variety of beers. (Since this is a German restaurant, try a German beer... not Budweiser) Most dishes are served with kraut and German-style potato salad. For those who cannot change from their normal diets, there are American touches in the menu, such as steaks. But try the ethnic food. You will enjoy having something different.

I enjoyed the atmosphere. The food was pleasant. But, there was something lacking about this restaurant. I would highly recommend Edelweiss, but there is one restaurant that is MUCH better than this one. Either way, you will have a good meal here.

The Vines European Cuisine
747 Duncan Bridge Road
Sautee, Georgia, 30571
(706) 865-7371

The Wurst Haus

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Coach Bear on May 31, 2002

As you walk into The Wurst Haus, you can smell the great odors of fresh-baked bread, kraut, beer, and other aromas uniquely common to Germany. The atmosphere of the building and its employees is always a nice, toasty one. That comes from a fireplace piled with wood and the pleasant smiles on the faces in this restaurant. As you enter the restaurant, a mature woman dressed in Bavarian costume greets you and directs a girl to take you to your table. Thus begins your experience.

When you sit down you can order from a large menu of Bavarian dishes. The large variety of wursts and the schnitzels are delicious. If you prefer, you can order a lively, fresh trout in almond and lobster sauce. But most of the food is authentic German/Alpine in its nature. You are offered red kraut and German-styled potato salad or spetzel with the meal. There is a nice wine list, but the best of all is the huge selection of German beers. My wife enjoyed trying the weisbeer. I found a great dark beer called Optimizer (Spaten). The sad thing was that the state of Georgia will no longer allow my beer in the state because of its higher alcohol content. How sad for me (and everyone else)!

This restaurant is my favorite place to visit whenever I go to Helen. I know that if you will try it out you will always return.

The Wurst Haus
White Horse Square - Main Street
Helen, Georgia, 30545
(706) 878-2647

Chattahoochee River

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Coach Bear on June 3, 2002

The Chattahoochee River originates in the mountains about five miles north of Helen. It flows through Georgia, forms the border with Alabama, and eventually changes its name as it flows into the Gulf of Mexico, near Pensacola. In this mountainous region, the river is best able to support trout. The water is cold, shallow, and is swift flowing at this point.

Just north of town you can fish from the banks of the river, or wade in the river and fish for trout in the deeper pools. As the river winds into town, there is a small park that gives access to the river. Many are the fish that are caught here. The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries stocks the river on a regular basis at several points. This provides an enjoyable sport for the many anglers that come to this area.

One of the things for which you must be careful are the tubers. Three or four companies rent inner tubes for people to float down the river. In some of the narrow areas of the river you can get caught up with one of these tubes if you are not careful. As with any outdoor activity, you need to be aware of nature, itself. This area has a lot of rattlesnakes. If you go to an area that is not heavily travelled, the snakes like to lay in the sun on the warmer days. So, don't look under rocks and do other things that are unwise.

Overall, you will enjoy the day playing in the water... even if you don't catch any fish.

Chattahoochee River
Helen, Georgia, 30545

Nacoochee Valley Indian Mound

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Coach Bear on June 3, 2002

Easily seen from the highway (US 75), locals tell the story of two young lovers from warring tribes, the Chicasaw and the Cherokee. They come into conflict with their tribes, and families, and meet an untimely death. This sounds like the Romeo and Juliet version of early Native America.

More likely, this mound predates either of these tribes. It is built in a style that was popularized by the Mississippians, or Cahokians, that can be found in Illinois.

It appears as though the mound is on private property, and is not open to the public, but more information can be found by calling (800) 858-8027. I am uncertain as to whether excavations have been made around the mound, but there are no apparent diggings. Either way, it is an interesting sight and the disputed history is an interesting subject of study.

Nacoochee Valley Indian Mound
Outside Helen
Helen, Georgia
(800) 858-8027


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Coach Bear on April 12, 2003

The traditional celebration called Oktoberfest actually runs from September 13 - October 28 in Helen. There is an entry fee of from $5 - $9 per person, depending on which day of the week you go. This holiday time is basically an excuse to have parties. As you travel through the town there are no rooms available, the streets are packed with automobiles and pedestrians, and the autumn air is beginning to chill. The autumn leaves that surround the area are in full color. Life just couldn't get better. My wife and I go at least twice during each year's celebration. She enjoys the scenery and the music. I enjoy the food, beer, and walking by the Chattahoochee River.

The main celebration takes place in the festhalle, which is a traditional-looking town hall. We joined in the merriment and music and dancing by going into this building. There were live polka and oompah bands there playing for the enjoyment of all. We tried to dance along with the thousands of others, but we're not at a very competent level. At least the beer was plentiful for all those of legal age. We enjoyed partaking of the sausages and the drinks and in watching the crowds. This was a marvelous time for all who attended.

On the main streets there was a wide variety of people coming from all over the world. We saw a large number of college-aged youths. It seems that the fraternities and the sororities of the local colleges tend to rent out rooms for this time of the year. Perhaps this is why it is difficult to find enough rooms in the hotels. My wife and I had to make the two hour return trip home after the all-day’s fun-fest.

Be ready to let your feet go wild, your taste buds flourish, and your eyes wander as you enjoy this special festive event. I have visited Helen almost every year for the past 20 years during this time of year, and I will return as long as I live anywhere near the area.

Helen, Georgia

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