Nestled in Appalachian foothills in North Georgia is the small Alpine village of Helen, GA. This quaint little village displays Bavarian style architecture with cobblestone streets and tons of souvenir shops and restaurants featuring Bavarian style cuisine. The height of their season is the Oktoberfest celebration which includes a parade, German music, dancing (waltzes, Polkas and the Chicken Dance) and hot air balloon rides. Just to the North of Helen, tourists may also want to visit Unicoi State park, featuring Unicoi Lake, a 53-acre freshwater lake, offering outdoor activities such as a swimming beach, trout streams, wheelchair-accessible fishing docks, seasonal canoe, kayak and paddle boat rentals, seven picnic shelters with charcoal grills, three playgrounds for children, many spots for birding, 7.5 miles of hiking within the park, mountain biking trails within the park, and plenty of places to enjoy the natural beauty of the lake and park. Unicoi State Park also offers overnight lodging.
Helen is located approximately 1 1/2 hours North of Atlanta. As such, it was on our favorite day trip and weekend getaways when we lived in the Atlanta area. The Chattahoochee River runs through the village giving the town an authentic Alpine Old World European atmosphere. We really enjoyed the plethora of specialty shops offering a variety of crafts including leather goods, jewelry, candles, cuckoo clocks, homemade quilts, and glass-blowing, with emphasis on a variety of crafts from the original Cherokee Indian settlers.
With an appealing combination of Southern Appalachian charm and Swiss Alpine themed architecture, Helen is a great family destination especially in the fall and during the Oktoberfest celebration that runs from September through November. If you are anywhere near the area, I highly recommend a visit to this unique, fun-filled village, and the surrounding area.