I love taking back-roads in our travels and this one satisfied me. We slowly climbed in elevation and soon mountains were in view. We meandered down the two lane road leading to Helen. We passed Habersham and its antique store, coffee cafe, winery, etc. Don't blink! We came back a day later to explore the busy little spot, but unfortunately the coffee cafe had already closed for the day. (We got there at 4:30pm on a Saturday!) We went into the antique store and they were getting ready to close at 5pm. So, we only explored part of the store.
We found our hotel (Country Inns and Suites) in Helen and liked that it was on Edelweiss Strauss Lane and not on the main drag. It was quiet and the beds were comfy. Hubby had arranged for fresh flowers to be delivered and waiting in the room for our anniversary when we arrived. That was a lovely surprise!
We explored downtown Helen and meandered into the little shops. We expected more of a festive atmosphere. The big draw to Helen in the summer months happens to be tubing the Chattahoochee. It looked like the rubber ducky races many towns hold. Tubers were packed on the buses taking them up the river to be dropped off and packed in the river as they floated down stream.
We opted to explore other parts of the area instead of tube. The winding road adventure took us to Unicoi State Park. We put it on the list to explore at a later date. A lovely mountain lake looked so inviting and there seemed to be many places for camping. We also went up the mountain to see Brasstown Bald. Our first attempt was to late in the afternoon and we went back on Sunday before we left the area. It was definitely worth the return visit!
One evening we played miniature golf at Alpine Golf. It was such a quaint course and very well kept. It offered splendid views of the sunset over the mountains. Afterwards we visited the ice cream shop on the grounds.
A model replica of Alpine Golf
We ate dinner at Paul's on the River and enjoyed a delicious meal, our first evening. It was a bit pricey, but we were celebrating our anniversary. We had a lovely lunch the next day at a little cafe off the main street in downtown Helen. The cranberry chicken salad was a delight! Our final evening in Helen, we ate a Mexican restaurant and the food was okay. We never got to eat at the German restaurants in town. They were all very busy and we weren't in the mood to wait. They will be on the list for our return trip!
Overall, we enjoyed our visit to Helen and will definitely return to explore the natural sites more.