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There are a ton of cool places to visit in Georgia. Helen, Georgia is a cute little secluded town with Bavarian-style buildings nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Helen isn’t more than about 90 minutes from Atlanta (depending on the traffic). There is one road in and one road out. I’ve heard that it’s the third most visited city in Georgia coming behind Atlanta and Savannah.
Helen is known for it’s annual Oktoberfest celebration. Oktoberfest in Helen is the longest in the nation, running for nearly six weeks from mid-September to the end of October. But, there is so much more to do in Helen.
There are a ton of accommodations that include Bed and Breakfasts and rustic cottages if you want to visit for a few days and see all that Helen has to offer. (There are even camping options). My husband and I have visited multiple times and we definitely think that Helen also makes a great day trip destination.
Helen offers golf, arts and crafts, and numerous festivals. Here are a few of the cool places to visit if you are taking a day trip to Helen, Georgia.
Shopping in Helen, Georgia
There are tons of shops right within walking distance of Main Street. The first place we stopped at was the Pepper Palace. The Pepper Palace is located on River Street and they honestly have every single type of sauce you could ever imagine. My husband, who loves spicy food, was ecstatic to find hot pepper options such as VooDoo Reaper Hot Sauce, Scorpion Death Stalker Hot Sauce, and Diabolito Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce.
One of the coolest things about Pepper Palace is that there are multiple testing stations. You can test almost every type of sauce that’s in the store. Beware: there is no free water so if your mouth is too hot, you are going to have to buy a water bottle from them.
The hottest sauce in the store is, “The End.” Of course my husband had to try it and I have to be honest, he did a great job but I could tell that it was really, really spicy. (Picture below). This small bottle of sauce was $28!
The Glassblowing Shop
The Glassblowing Shop is located right on Main Street. Whenever we visit Helen with our kids we come here for the live demonstrations. The Glassblowing Shop has tons of unique hand-blown gifts. The types of art offered at the Glassblowing Shop ranges from tiny fairies and medieval dragons to an elaborate and delicate stagecoach drawn by six horses and carrying women who hold miniature purses.
Wild West Old Time Photos
I don’t care what age you are, this never gets old. When I was a kid, we loved to go to the local carnivals and festivals and everyone could dress up and take an old time photo. I still feel that way today! Wild West Old Time Photos is right off of Main Street and easily accessible from Main Street.
Food and Beverage Options in Helen, Georgia
Grab a quick snack at the Hofer’s Bakery and Restaurant Cafe. Hofer’s is a German bakery and cafe and they had some of the best peanut butter cookies and cannolis that I have ever eaten. The wonderful ladies working in the bakery were also super nice.
Besides cookies and cannolis, Hofer’s has cakes, eclairs, muffins, and donuts. If you are really hungry and want more than a snack, there’s also a quaint little restaurant inside just past the bakery. One of my favorite things about Hofer’s was the nice outdoor seating.
King Ludwig’s Bier Garten
We stopped over at King Ludwig’s Bier Garten and had a drink and a giant pretzel. The bartenders were really nice and there is tons of outside seating so you can people-watch while you relax. If you stop by later in the day, you may see a live band performing. It’s a great place to stop by mid-day or to finish up your day trip.
Fox Vineyard and Winery
Wine tastings are one of my favorite things to do when I’m out with my husband. Fox Vineyard and Winery specializes in growing the native Georgia grapes, Muscadines and Scuppernongs. Feel free to take a stroll over the winery tasting room and sample a few bottles. You’ll be glad that you did.
Mountain Fresh Creamery
On our way out, we stopped by the Mountain Fresh Creamery. Mountain Fresh Creamery is a 4th generation dairy farm where they make their ice cream right on site using their farm-raised cows. Literally some of the best ice cream I have ever had in my life.
Here are a few more places we’ve visited recently including Savannah, Georgia.
Have you ever visited Helen? What is the best part of a Georgia mountain vacation to you?
All photos © 2019 Mike Mason