We decided to ring in the New Year in North Georgia. After the year we both had, we knew we wanted to go somewhere relaxing and in nature and Helen, Georgia sounded like the perfect place. There was enough to do, but not too much to do and that’s one of things I loved most about the area. By nature we’re both go-go-go when on our trips, scheduling in our down times. This trip we were chill-chill-chill and scheduled in our activities most times right before we did them. Not like us, but perfect for this last trip of the year. We actually returned home energized, which was wonderful.
So, if you like a slower pace when you travel or are looking to mix into your adventure trips a more leisure-type trip, I really recommend visiting Helen and the surrounding North Georgia area. We spent 4 nights and I think anywhere from 3-4 nights is perfect. I would also consider this trip for a girl’s getaway, anniversary trip and although I’m no expert-I think the slow-pace feel of the area and the charming town of Helen would make this a perfect trip with young children too.
What to do In Helen Georgia
The town of Helen during the holidays is SO cute. It’s several blocks of German Alpine architecture and decor, which makes you feel like you’re in a storybook while walking around. Add Christmas lights, wreaths and trees EVERYWHERE and the whole vibe is pretty magical. It felt almost Disney-like.
The short history on how this adorable town came to be is that it used to be a logging town and sometime around the 1950’s it wasn’t doing too well and not seeing much profit, so to save the town in the 1960’s it was recreated to look like a Bavarian alpine town. Now it’s a very popular tourist destination all year long, but especially during the holidays.
What to eat right in the heart of downtown Helen, Georgia:
- Get Frozen Cocoa at Yonah Mountain Coffee. It’s amazing.
- Grab and beer and chill at the King Ludwig Biergarten. Live music there on most weekend evenings.
- Eat a restaurant even the locals eat at, Cowboys and Angels. Known for their awesome steaks. Live music on most weekend evenings.
- For nothing fancy, but yummy American fare, Big Daddy’s is a good spot. Big menu and cheap drinks. Great to watch a sports game at too.
- I got a Mint Chocolate gelato from “Coffee and Gelato” that was yummy-the flavor was awesome.
Right down the street from downtown:, still in Helen:
- I didn’t think I’d eat absolutely delicious Thai food and Sushi while in North Georgia, but Spice 55 delivered just that.
- For cathead biscuits and other hearty servings of breakfast staples, Dotties Kitchen. Their gravy was so good.
- Grab a cup of coffee and get gifts for any coffee lovers at JumpinGoat Coffee Roasters. They have TONS of coffee flavors to buy in ground, K cups or in flavor concentrate form.
What to do In Helen Georgia…now for the wine.
In case you didn’t know, North Georgia is the state’s wine country with more than 20 wineries. Ranging from small and quaint to grand and vast. We visited one winery each day and with the beautiful, wintery weather (that wasn’t too cold at all) we enjoyed hours upon hours outdoors soaking in the fresh air while sipping awesome wine. At each winery we each did a tasting and then picked our favorite wines to drink.
Pictured above is our visit to Serenity Cellars, 13 minutes outside of Helen in Cleveland, Georgia. A cozy, humble winery with a friendly staff and generous pour (as you can see by my glass 😉) They even gave us 3 extra wines to try during our tasting. My favorite wine was Tranquility. Because they are an Italian-style winery, they also had a delicious Limoncello, which we ended up bringing a bottle with us home.
A 12 minute drive from Helen and also in Cleveland was Yonah Mountain Vineyard. The winery was really pretty and cozy with outdoor tables that had individual fire pits under a tall pavilion. My favorite wine was their Young American White. We also got to listen to live music, which added to the great ambiance of the winery.
Situated higher up, giving a great mountain view was Kaya Vineyard. This winery is in the town of Dahlonega, about 35 minutes outside of Helen, Georgia. The ride to the vineyard was really lovely and the vineyard itself 100% worth the further drive. I had an awesome charcuterie board and my husband had the brisket sandwich.
We got to hang out with the winery’s two dogs-the owner lives down the street and his pups walk over for visits all of the time. My favorite wines were the SS Chardonnay and Trifecta Blend.
On the way back from visiting Kaya Vineyard, we stopped at Tantrum Brewery. The building of the brewery is cool, but the fact that it’s built on a HUGE open field with views of the mountains was even cooler. I got the 90’s Baby, an American Lager, and my husband got the Poems at Midnight, a Berliner Weisse. Both were really good. The brewery also had live music.
Two other important mentions: The Chattahoochee Cheese Market, which was so cute inside with plenty of goodies to shop, but they also made me an amazing iced spiced latte and and breakfast sandwich. There are also a handful of picnic tables outside where you can enjoy your coffee with a view of a running creek.
Lastly, the Sweetwater Coffeehouse that was so good we stopped by on our way to the airport our last day for a second time. It’s located in Sautee Nacoochee, a town just 8 minutes from Helen. Inside the coffee shop you’ll find some really beautiful pottery and handwoven baskets for sale too. I ordered the quiche, my husband the breakfast sandwich and we both ordered honey lavender lattes-everything was SO yummy.
As I mentioned before, we really wanted to take it easy and just relax on this trip. However, if you’re in for a little more adventure, there are a few really fun activities to do in the area.
What to do In Helen Georgia:
- Fly Fishing
- Horseback Riding
- ATV Riding
- Walking Trails (we actually did do this)
There are also a TON more wineries and vineyards in the area. That’s why I think a Helen and North Georgia trip would make a fun girl’s getaway too.
We stayed in a lovely little cabin that I couldn’t recommend enough. It was absolutely perfect, right next to Helen (we could’ve walked if we wanted to), but it still felt far enough into the woods to give us that peaceful-in-nature feel we wanted. If you’re interested in where we stayed, please feel free to email me and I’ll send you the link!