Thursday, July 30, 2015

Beautiful Helen, Georgia

After checking into the Heidi Hotel, we put on our walking shoes and, after a moment’s reflection, decided to drive to the other side of town and walk around.

We parked near the river and set out to see the sights.

The first thing we did was check out all the people cooling off in the Chattahoochee River that runs through town. Dozens and dozens of brightly colored tubes floating down the river, enjoying the day.



We were hoping for some cooler weather than what we had in Savannah, but no such luck. It was hot and humid and if we thought about it too much we probably would have just stayed in the hotel room in the air conditioning, flipping TV channels, but we tried not to think about it. Too much.

We popped in and out of a bunch of stores, looking at all the things each store had to offer… and to stand under a few well placed air conditioning vents or in front of a fan or two.

We didn’t have too much money to spend on souvenirs, but it was fun looking. And post cards are cheap. We took a bunch of pictures of course and I’ve narrowed down a few to share with you!



I always want to take a ride in a horse drawn carriage, but I can never get up the nerve to do it in the heat of the summer. I feel sorry for the horses!

My favorite part of town was the Alpine Village.

Alpine Village

Alphine Village


Old Heidelberg German Restaurant

Mary’s favorite store was in this little section, too.

Mary at the Windmill

They had tea pots and tea cups and dishes. And real wooden shoes! I told Mary I’d buy her some if she walked through town with them on her feet. She declined.

Dutch Girl at the Windmill

There were so many little shops, we didn’t get in all of them.

Art Gallery & History Museum

The Art & History Museum was closed, much to our dismay.

Christmas & More Shop

The Christmas Store was closed, but Mary just like the guards, anyway.

Confusing Pizza Shop

This sign was just confusing.

Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen

I loved this building with the beautiful flowers growing along the balcony. It wasn’t until I was going through all the pictures that I noticed the two cuties in the picture and that the name on the building was Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen. It was so bright and humid out it was really difficult seeing what I was taking a picture of. (Actually, I think Mary took these pictures, anyway.) It was such a nice surprise when I found this shot in all the pictures we took!


Found this painted on the wall of one shop.


A few more pictures tomorrow of Helen! Then we’ll be off to Anna Ruby Falls!

More Helen Pictures!

In the middle of Helen there is a beautiful little park, perched on a hill side, complete with a gazebo that overlooks main street. It’s a favorite picture taking spot, apparently. As Mary and I took a few pictures of the little waterfall we were joined by families and couples who had the same idea as they came across the falls.

Alana FallsAlana Falls

Alana FallsIMG_4467

Mary had a great time taking pictures. She probably took most of these. And I steal them for the blog.


We walked up to the gazebo where I took a needed break from the heat. Mary took a look around the park and off she went to take some pictures of the blooming trees by the playground.


She was full of energy, running up the path and back, while I contemplated foot amputation and finding a freezer full of ice to plunge my head in to.

Mary was getting into picture taking finally. We haven’t been anywhere in a while that she wanted to take pictures, so it was good to see her getting some shots.

Mary working

I love her pictures. Here, take a look at some.



A storm was threatening to break on us, so we made our way to a restaurant to have some lunch and wait it out.

We chose the place we found while watching the people float down the river.

The Troll Tavern & RestaurantThe Troll Tavern

They had seating out on the covered patio overlooking the river, but not a seat was empty. The wind was blowing pretty good, the storm winding up, threatening quite a down pour, so we chose a table inside, just to be safe. And it was nice being in the air conditioning, too.

We enjoyed a really good lunch and conversation. We ate and relaxed and pondered on the rest of the day. Our plans were to visit more shops, then head back to the hotel for a rest before wandering through some more places near the hotel. By the time we made our way back to the car it was getting a bit late and we figured the shops would be closing soon.

It was still a bit early to just go back to the hotel for the night, so we decided to just ride around and see what there was to see. We found ourselves at the Unicoi State Park entrance just outside of town. As we drove up the winding road through the park Mary got more excited by the minute, with only a moment or two of apprehension when gazing through the trees at the ravine outside her window. (She grew up in Indiana (flat) and Florida (flat) and Savannah (flat). This means mountains are really cool!

We drove through the campground sites, found the general store, which was closed, and had a good look around. Mary was rejuvenated! We headed up to see Anna Ruby Falls, not realizing it was a separate park. We drove up to a closed gate.

Something else on our agenda was heading to the Mountain Fair in Hiawassee. We haven’t been to a nice fair in a long time, either. We decided to skip the fair, though, because Mary was so excited about going to Anna Ruby Falls.

And that’s another post.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Bit of the Blue Ridge Mountains

I learned of the little town of Helen, GA a few years ago and last week, Mary and I finally got a chance to go up and see what it was all about. I was told it was a lot like Solvang, California, a place I went to as a child and one of my mom’s favorite places. We had actually planned on going in May, but that didn’t work out.

Tuesday morning Mary and I threw our bags in the car and headed out. It was supposed to be about a five and a half hour drive, but with so much coffee so early in the morning we ended up making several stops necessary to complete the trip without messing up the seats and our clothes horribly.

I’d forgotten to print the maps that would lead us to our getaway spot, but we have cell phones and OnStar, so I thought we’d be covered. My cursory glance at the map earlier showed that I had to go up and around Atlanta, so I didn’t push the OnStar button until we were through most of the big city.

And I had to turn around. We got a route from the handy OnStar person and were headed on our way when we found road construction and a detour.

Had to call OnStar back.

We were in the parking lot of a school… or something. Think I missed a turn.

Glad I’m not adverse to making u-turns!

We eventually got back on track and made it to Helen with no problems.

Mary was thrilled to be visiting the mountains of Georgia, he excitement growing with each turn as we headed through the foothills and knowing there would be no tents involved during out adventure.

I made reservations at a cute little hotel right on the main road in Helen; the Heidi Hotel. It looked quaint on the internet and the name was perfect. And I love cheesy, touristy stuff.

The Heidi Hotel

Using a distant eye, this is such a cute place! It has seen better days, to be sure. The outside is adorable. Inside, not so much. It wasn’t horrible, but the Febreeze came in handy. The plumbing needed some work, too, which we found out was on the schedule the day we were to check out. Mary found that the water leaked horribly from the faucet in the bath tub as she endeavored to figure out how to get the shower to work. She also found out the hot water faucet got extremely hot along with the water. She burned her hand on it as she fussed with the handle trying to get the temperature she wanted between scalding and freezing. I had a hard time with it, too, and would have gotten burned myself if Mary hadn’t warned me beforehand.

The Heidi HotelThe Heidi HotelThe Heidi Hotel

Someone tried their best to pretty up the place with some flourish and some murals. It was cute!

The Heidi HotelThe Heidi HotelThe Heidi Hotel

Next up, the town of Helen! We got some great pictures.