Bavarian-Style Lodge on Chattahoochee River
Helendorf River Inn Suites & Conference Center is situated on the riverbanks of the Chattahoochee River amid northeast Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, but it could be right at home in Germany. It has alpine architecture, including brown gingerbread trim and a turret, which gives it the feel of a stately Bavarian lodge. Appropriately, Helendorf is at the heart of the town of Helen, which features a pedestrian-friendly mile-long stretch of artisan shops, restaurants, and brauhauses that embrace all things German.
Inside, you’ll find thick wood timbers lining the lobby ceiling. The newly renovated riverfront balcony rooms come with private balconies overlooking the Chattahoochee riverfront. You can also enjoy the calm waters of the heated enclosed pool—one of the reasons the hotel earned a 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
Helendorf has an assortment of surrounding shops and restaurants. Stop to pose for an antique sepia-toned photo or stroll downtown to fully experience the town’s German culture.
Helen, Georgia: Replica Bavarian Village Surrounded by the Appalachians
In 1968, the townspeople of Helen, Georgia—a struggling sawmill town in the Blue Ridge Mountains—hatched a dramatic plan to reinvigorate the economy and boost tourism. Led by local business owners and artists, Helen adopted a German identity, complete with cobblestone alleys, timber-frame cottages, and Old-World towers. Ever since, the town has thrived as a Bavarian-style village, now welcoming nearly two million visitors a year. Several festivals take place in the town every year, most notably a hot-air balloon race, a German-style Mardi Gras, and an eight-week-long Oktoberfest.
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Helen is also home to some incredible countryside scenery. Unicoi State Park and Lodge contains trout streams, mountain-biking trails, and a freshwater lake. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail passes nearby, and the Anna Ruby Falls drop off in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. The area’s natural setting lends itself to scenic outdoor activities, including tubing down the Chattahoochee River.
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