Wednesday, August 17, Jake and I left Swansboro, North Carolina, and set out for Helen, Georgia, 459 miles across North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, but mainly South Carolina. AND IT WAS HOT!!! Mind you it is mid-August out on the highway in a southern state, but damn was it hot. And BORING. I’ve driven through South Carolina before and always remember it being so pretty and picturesque, but not on I-20, I-26, or I-385. Nope. That was probably the worst of all our days traveling overall.
After eight hours sitting on the bike, we finally reached Helen; I was hot, sweaty, and cranky, but ready to go exploring.
Helen, Georgia is a beautiful Bavarian Alpine village that sits right on the Chattahoochee River in the Northern Georgia mountains. As we came into the town in the afternoon, it felt like we were riding into old world Bavaria.
We checked into our hotel, the Country Inn & Suites by Carlson (which was super convenient and a short walk to pretty much everything), showered to wash the road off, and set out for some food. There were many restaurants right on the Chattahoochee where you can watch the people tubing. We were there during their “off-season” so there wasn’t much tubing going on. We decided on Paul’s Steakhouse (pictured right, the closest building) which sits right on the river and offered a good variety of food, but mainly seafood. It wasn’t too bad, considering we were in the mountains, at least 300 miles from an ocean. Since we were there in August, and their busy season is basically when Oktoberfest starts, we didn’t have to worry about crowds of people, so we were in an out. Other options of restaurants right on the river includes: Viele Margarita’s, Café International, The Troll Tavern, and Rib Country BBQ. There are more restaurants as well, those are just the ones right on the river in the heart of Helen.
The only thing about being in Helen during the off-season, and arriving around dinner time, was not many shops were open. We were able to find a few that were open, where we bought a Nesting Doll that was made in Germany, a shot glass (to add to my unhealthy shot glass collection obsession) and a Beer Stein at Lindenhaus Imports. They had everything from beer steins to Cuckoo Clocks, and some funny looking trolls; this was definitely my favorite shop. We didn’t buy many other souvenirs since we didn’t have much space on the bike.
We walked around Helen and looked at all the neat little buildings. We found a little Alpine Wedding Chapel, a bunch of Bavarian inspired housing, and the Oktoberfest Festhalle, which was closed sadly. When it is open, however, you can enjoy beer and brats while watching some shows; it is open from mid-September through October 30th and is the longest running Oktoberfest in the United States. This fall marks the 46th Annual Oktoberfest.
Our evening ended with playing a round of mini golf at Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf. I would have thought that the course would have been more Oktoberfest related, but we had fun, and we got ice cream afterwards (which they also offer).
Since we were only in Helen for one day and one night, we weren’t able to hit up all of the attractions and activities that were available for us to enjoy. If you head to Helen for a weekend or even a week, you can check out the Helen, Georgia Attractions page. They have everything you could imaginee to occupy you with, from Arts and Culture to Wine and Vineyards, and even activities for the kids.
The next morning, we set out on the bike, as the sun was coming up, for our third destination: