We (meaning the Ivylad side of the clan) are going to Helen, Georgia in November!
I’ve never been, but my SILs have.
This is where we’re staying.
We’re going to be sharing the cabin with Ivylad’s folks, while his sisters and their gang will be in another cabin.
Each family will be responsible for their own breakfast and lunch, and we’ll have a communal dinner each night.
Any tips on shopping, sights to see, restaurants to check out? Anything to avoid like the plague?
Honestly, my advice is to avoid the town entirely. It’s nothing but a collection of tacky gift stores. Unfortunately, if you’re going in November, it’s going to be too cold for the only thing the town has to offer: tubing down the river. Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia, isn’t too far away and offers a really nice view. Anna Ruby Falls is pretty also.
I noticed one of the attractions listed for your cabin was the AT. I’d avoid that if I were you, unless you want to drive and drive just to end up with a pretty shitty view, unless you want to say you’ve been to Springer Mountain, the southern trailhead of the AT.
You’ll be relatively close to the outlet malls near Commerce. If you want to go shopping, check that out. It’ll be crowded, but it’s worth it if you like that kind of thing.
You will also be very close to Oconee County in upstate SC. I can give you some sight-seeing suggestions for around there, if you like.
We spent a weekend in Helen once. Laughed until our lungs hurt. The town is like Bavaria on acid.
The funniest thing was seeing some poor German tourist being trotted around town by his American hosts, who obviously thought he would feel “at home” in this ludicrousness. Needless to say, his expression of bewilderment was truly priceless.
There’s some lovely countryside around there to drive in. But other than that, I can’t suggest a whole lot except to enjoy it for what it is, tasteless American tackiness at its best!
When in November are you going? The Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers always has their fall seminar there the first weekend of November, so you might be stuck up there with a bunch of drunk lawyers (myself included!).
The Nacochee Guesthouse is a little bed and breakfast in Saute, the next town over from Helen. It has a wonderful restaraunt, but you have to bring your own wine (or adult beverage of your choice),- it's in the county adjacent to the one Helen is in, and it's a dry county (Helen itself is not in a dry county). There are also places to hike, especially if you drive a little bit north of the area- this is a really pretty time of year to be in North Georgia. You could also check out the Unicoi Lodge- they may be able to give you some information about things to do, and they have a pretty decent restaraunt there, too.
If you can, try to get out to the surrounding areas- there's a place called "Mark of the Potter" that is realy neat, it's a place where they make and sell pottery in an old mill, it's on the water, and it's a great place to do some Christmas shopping.
We’re going Thanksgiving weekend.
The boys plan to play golf, and we want to hit the stores the day after Thanksgiving to start the Xmas shopping. We plan to sit in the hot tub a lot, drinking mulled wine and spiked hot chocolates.
So, what, you’re telling me it’s not an authentic replication of an Alpine Village? :eek:
Beats going to Helen back.
Helen has a mammoth sized santa they keep on side of the road year-round for some reason.
Definitely check out Mark of the Potter. The place used to be an old grist mill, and you can go down into the basement and see the old machinery. Sometimes there will be a potter at work upstairs, and they make some really nice stuff. The back door opens to a balcony over the Soquee River, and you can feed the gigantic rainbow trout.
Don’t know how much you’re into hiking, but there are some nice spots. Anna Ruby Falls trail is about a mile on asphalt, and is a popular attraction. A few miles out of town on highway 75, take Richard Russel Scenic Highway to Duke’s Creek Falls. It’s an easy trail, just one gigantic Z shape to the falls. My favorite trial is Raven’s Cliffs. It’s about a 3-mile hike through thick woods, but there are some cool camping spots. Here are some pictures I took of Raven’s Cliffs.
Not into shopping though, so I can’t tell you much there.
Mark of the Potter is a must, as is the Old Sautee Store. Nora Mill Grainery is less than a mile south of Helen and is a working grist mill. You can buy fresh milled corn meal and grits as well as packaged baking mixes. Good stuff. I’m not much of a shopper but my wife ususally spends some time in the outlet mall in Helen.
Golfing: Innsbrook golf course in Helen is a must. A gorgeous course that will challenge any golfer, reasonable rates. Almost always see deer, beaver (not the women golfer kind, though there are usually some of them too), fox, etc. during the round. My wife likes to ride in the cart while I play 'cause the scenery is amazing. November may be chilly.
Outdoors: Anna Ruby Falls has been mentioned and is worth the trip. It’s located in a state park, so there is a $2.00 parking fee. Many 1 to 2 mile walking trails in the park and the lodge serves a decent buffet at lunch and supper. Dukes Creek Falls is another one of my favorites.
Food: Go outside Helen for food. The best place is The Deer Lodge. Take highway 75 north over the mountain (hairpin turns abound, it’s not a fast trip) about 15 miles. It’s on the right and easy to drive by, so pay attention. Excellent, plate sized steaks and fresh trout for a good price - maybe $10-12 per person. Chattahoochee BBQ, just north of Helen, is good.
Driving in Helen on weekends: Don’t. Can’t. Period.