Looking forward to a day in Germany
I recently got the chance to spend 1 day in Alpine Helen, Georgia and it was a fantastic day!
After 11 days of working within the community in Hayesville NC, we were ready for a day of MWR. For those who are not military that stands for Morale, Welfare, and Recreation-another words a day of fun and no work! The mention of a Bavarian village called Alpine Helen in Georgia, snuggled in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains instantly intrigued me. This brought to mind Schnitzel, Spaetzle and more German goodies. That is all I needed to hear- I was in!
Having lived in Germany in 2012-2013 I was so excited to once again experience the German culture I did not need any persuading to choose this option for our one day of fun.
Cool River Tubing and Adventures
Not only were we going to the Bavarian village, we also had the option of stopping at Cool River Tubing and Adventures. One of the adventures offered by Cool River is Zip lining! Now I have always wanted to zip line but was not quite ready…but that day…I was so pumped to do something crazy…well ……let’s say controlled crazy –as we did wear plenty of safety equipment.
Thankfully my 2 besties on this trip, Linda and Tom were up for the adventure. Gathering early we boarded a bus and originally was going to head to Alpine Helen in the morning It was suggested that we zip line early in the day-this turned out to be excellent advice. After a few seconds of deliberating, we decided to board the other bus and go to the zip line first..this was the best decision we made that day.
The bus ride from Hayesville North Carolina to Helen was scenic and our bus driver was friendly and provided us with lots of interesting facts about the area..this made the trip go faster and soon we were at Cool River!
Only 6 of us from a group of 100+ chose to zip line… so we went in and paid for our fun..The staff at Cool River were friendly and did their best to humor our nervous jesting….I mean who doesn’t climb into that harness with some kind of joking..
Just pulling the harness up and tightening it brought on much laughter.. while our lady parts were safe there was some advice from our guides for Tom to avoid pinching and torsion….he took their advice and loosened the straps a bit.
The guides were very patient and safety was definitely a priority for them.
Stepping off that first platform having never zip lined before was –well quite intimidating… But wanting to be brave for the other ones in our group I bravely stepped off the first platform and only screamed for the first 10 seconds of my (10-second trip)—haha
I was disappointed once as I reached the other platform as I thought I pushed record on iPhone before I jumped or lunged or well just closed my eyes and stumbled into air…–I thought I was recording this first-ever event of zip lining..only to find when I arrived at the next stop…that I had not pushed record.
After that, I made sure to hit record prior to leaving the platforms. Zip-lining was awesome and if you haven’t tried it I would highly recommend it. Linda conquered her fears of heights (well she may still be afraid of heights but by the 4th platform she no longer had to be gently pushed off of it by our guide) and Tom just had a good time. Here are two other people from our group that had a great time as well.
After ziplining we did some shopping in the main office and I went outside and took lots of pictures of the confidence course…it looked very challenging and others in our group chose to go through the course and then grab a tube and go down the river.
Tom, Linda and I climbed aboard the bus and headed towards Alpine Helen. Tom had been told that Old Heidelberg Restaurant was the one to go to and so we walked down the sidewalk eyeing all the stores we wanted to come back to explore.
We crossed a bridge and watched for a minute the people who were in innertubes lazily making their way down the river.
We had almost given up hope and then up ahead we saw the sign for the restaurant and gazed upon it rising above the other buildings –it is white with blue trim in the classic German-style.
Inside the walls were painted with graphics of beautiful German Castles.
Making our way inside we found a table and gazed at the menu with great excitement…well I was super excited I can’t speak for Linda and Tom😊 The meal we had was exceptional and lived up to my expectations. We each had 3 different items and they all were fabulous! Tom had a burger, Linda had a Rueben and I had the schnitzel. https://www.facebook.com/Old-Heidelberg-German-Restaurant-Pub-Helen-Georgia-175930725785378/
Craving Schnitzel I ordered the Jager schnitzel with a side of spaetzle and sauerkraut… Let me just say it was greatness and as others have I highly recommend this restaurant for genuine German fare. Though the Navy was not allowed to partake of alcoholic beverages there was plenty of German beer to be had.
Shopping in Alpine Helen
After eating a massive lunch, we walked outside and started our shopping adventure. The corner of the building by the Old Heidelberg had a great souvenir store with such a great variety of items that I could have spent hours gazing upon. I wanted to post the name of the store but when I asked the owner he said there was not a name—apparently, it used to be a high-end jewelry and glass store but it was not children friendly so they changed the name and the inventory… definitely stop in this store has something for everyone!
Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen
Making our way across the street we entered the Hansel & Gretel Candy Store filled with fudge and more fudge and a variety of candy…we stopped and watched them make the fudge on a marble slab. We were told that they kept turning it on the marble until it did not move…. Filled with samples it was a great store to go in and view a wide variety of goodies. www.hanselandgretelcandykitchen.com
One after another we made our way through stores with cuckoo clocks and steins–one being Lindenhaus Imports http://lindenhausimports-com.3dcartstores.com/
The Glassblowing Shop
There are lots of t-shirt stores and one very scary glass blowing place called The Glassblowing Shop.
I only say this because…well everything in there is breakable and I tend to be a klutz…they had glass everything and a demonstration was going on as we browsed… http://www.glassblowingshop.com/
There is also a massive underground store that was filled with everything imaginable. Set up like a flea market it had sections that were different. We spent a long time down there just walking and staring in awe at the abundance of items to spend money on….I left with a small bag of colored rocks…this was the only place that actually chastised me and made me remove rocks until the bag closed…(don’t try and cheat them of a couple extra rocks!!)
Grannys Famous Funnel Cake
It started to rain so we ducked into a small store selling hand squeezed lemonade called Grannys Famous Funnel Cake, the young woman working behind the counter was friendly and she eagerly sold us 3 lemonades. The lemonade was very refreshing and just what we needed after shopping for several hours.
There was one last stop into a jewelry store and then we started to make our way back to the bus. We were all exhausted on the bus ride home and I couldn’t wait to get home to look through all the goodies I had bought and the many bags of pretty rocks I purchased.
Helen was a great town, I wish we had been able to spend several days there because there were many more places to eat and shops we didn’t get a chance to see. There are several hotels in the town and if you want a taste of Bavaria without traveling to Germany this is the town to visit!
There are unlimited attractions in Alpine Helen including mini golf, a Folk Pottery Museum, water parks and tubing, a zoo and petting zoo, pottery, canoeing, cruises, rafting, carriage rides and horseback riding, state parks with hiking and biking trails, vineyards and wineries…to name a few.
Upcoming events in Alpine Helen include: you can also find this information in their App:
- Alpine Helen’s 47th Annual Oktoberfest – Sept 7-10, 14-17, 21-24, Sept 28-October 29.
- Oktoberfest parade Sept 9th at noon.
- Annual Lighting of the Village – Nov 24 at 6 pm
- 10th Annual Christkindlmarkt – Dec 2-3 and Dec 9-10
- Annual Christmas parade – Dec 9th at 2 pm.
- Dropping of the Edelweiss – Dec 31st
- New Years Eve Event – 8 pm until midnight