I decided to go to Helen, GA because I was in desperate need of a fun little weekend get away. Plus; I was on the hunt for fairies, garden gnomes, trolls and German food.
Helen is a small little alpine town nestled in the mountains of Northeast Georgia, just a short & pleasant 2.5 hour drive from Asheville. I suggest downloading the ‘Sound of Music’ soundtrack for the trip.
As soon as you enter the town of Helen you feel like you’ve stepped right into a 17th century fairy tale - the village looks like something straight out of a enchanted fable from an era bygone.
Since I arrived in Helen later in the evening (because I headed out after work on Friday) I decided to skip dinner out; and instead stoped by Betty’s Country Store to stock up on snacks, before I checked into my hotel.
Betty's was not only charming AF - the store makes you feel as if you’re in a different century - but yet; still carries modern day necessities like avocados, Cheetos and bagels.
After I got my munchies, I checked into the ‘Baymont by Wyndham’ which was within walking distance to town; and super affordable since I had got a Groupon.
Immediately after check in - I unpacked and placed my haunted doll on the bed so she was nice and comfy.
I always bring a haunted doll when I travel - so the hotel gives me an upgrade because they assume I’ll trap their soul in a Victorian era porcelain doll if they don’t.
Anyway; the beds at the Wyndham were uber comfy - and the blankets were nice and heavy. Also; a nice continental breakfast was included. Bonus; no one seemed to care that I wandered down to eat with no makeup on in my flannel penguin print pajamas.
After breakfast, I headed into downtown. Although the hotel was within walking distance - I actually drove jik I ran into an evil Norwegian troll and needed to make a quick escape back to North Carolina. If you *do* drive into town; park off Chattahoochee Street at the Public Lot - just make sure you bring $2 cash to pay. Unfortunately you can’t pay by solving an age old riddle; and there’s no parking attendant to suggest this alternate form of payment to.
If you’re looking to get some good pics for your IG; I suggest heading into town early. Since Helen is a sleepy little town; most of the shops don’t open until mid morning - so it doesn’t start bustling until around lunchtime.
My first stop in Helen was a few shops on the walk from the lot into the center of the Village. ‘It’s Just Peachy’ is an adorbs clothing boutique and right next door is ‘Chattahoochee Leather Works’ that has Harley gear - antiques, etc. I picked up an super cute nylon hat at the leather works store that’s perfect for hiking, and a bling bling gold looking necklace at the boutique.
After wandering around town for a bit - I headed to King Ludwig Beer Garten for a German Beer. It’s right in the center of town; and probably the best place to take a selfie or find a fairytale creature.
They also have live music.
My next stop was the Alpine Pretzel Haus for a hot and fresh authentic Bavarian pretzel. I got it to go so I could much on it while I headed down to the bridge on the other end of town to go Troll Spotting.
The Soda Jerks Ice Cream Shoppe was a great stop for a mid afternoon Italian Soda.
Keep in mind - many of the shops don’t allow and/or encourage food or drink; so you may want to just sit out on one of the (many) benches around town and enjoy your snacks.
I *finally* ran into some trolls at ‘Lindenhaus Imports’; actually an entire glass container full of them. Bonus; the guy working there was nice enough to answer all of the troll questions I had. Turns out trolls are indoor creatures (unlike gnomes), and if you do keep them in your garden their skin will actually burn. Eek! Oh; I also got a *very cute* homemade Russian thimble there. Helen has German and Chezh roots so you can find a lot of goods tied to those heritages.
My last stop while I was downtown was the ‘Hansel and Gretel’ Candy Kitchen.
The witch that ran it was very friendly - and sold me some pretty mean fudge, truffles, and candy.
I was *so* super tired from exploring all day; I decided to skip dinner and instead head back to Betty’s Country Store and get a ‘Cucumber, Avacado, and Sprouts’ sandwich to take back and eat at my hotel. Hands down one of the best sammiches I’ve had in a very long time; plus it came with a small bag of chips and two Oreos. I added a side of German potato salad for a small upcharge.
While you’re at Betty’s, make sure to wander around and check out all the nostalgia. If you head to the right of the store they’ve got a cute little gift shop area with barrels of bulk candy, greeting cards and soap. I picked up some ‘Old Fashioned Gardenia’ soap; which I didn’t realize was made with lard until I brought it home and asked my furbaby Meatloaf to smell it and let me knowwhat he though of the scent - he definitely tried to eat it.
Anyway; on my last day in Helen I slept in and missed breakfast at the hotel because I was up late the night before watching ‘The Princess Diaries 2’ and Live PD, so decided to head over to Hofer’s Bakery & Cafe to enjoy one last (very delicious) Apple Strudel pastry and a cup of coffee out on their porch.
I also picked up some goodies like Black Forest Torte to bring back to Asheville.
Hofer’s is a place *not* to be missed.
As I was leaving Helen; I drove past ‘Nora’s Mill Granery’ & and ‘Jumpin Goat Coffee Roasters’ and realized I had to plan another trip to Helen because I had much more exploring to do! Next time I’ll definitely check out some of the local hiking and waterfalls too. (It’s always a great idea to incorporate some psychical activity in when you’re eating half of your body weight in pastries.)