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One-Night Stay at Helendorf River Inn Suites & Conference Center in Helen, GA
Travel by: 9/30/12
Helendorf River Inn Suites & Conference Center is situated on the rocky banks of the Chattahoochee River amid northeast Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains, but it looks like it could be right at home in Germany. It has alpine-style 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, a pedestrian-friendly mile-long stretch of artisan shops, restaurants, and brauhauses that embrace all things German.
Inside, you’ll find a crackling stone fireplace and thick wood timbers lining the lobby ceiling. Feel free to lounge on a cushy plaid couch and sip complimentary coffee or watch television on the lobby's 52-inch flat-screen TV. Riverfront balcony rooms feature private balconies with views of the recently revamped Chattahoochee riverfront. You can also enjoy the calm waters of the heated indoor pool surrounded by walls of windows.
Helendorf has an assortment of onsite shops and a restaurant. Channel Houdini at the magic shop, savor authentic carne asada and fajitas at La Cabana Express, or stop to pose for an antique sepia-toned photo. Stroll downtown to fully experience the town’s German culture, especially during Oktoberfest, a two-month celebration with plenty of German folk music, polka dancing, and lederhosen.
Tucked amid the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia's northeast corner, the tiny village of Helen has a population of just over 500. There’s a distinctly old-fashioned, German spirit here. From the hotel, you can take a horse-drawn buggy ride downtown, where old-timey street lamps illuminate cobblestone streets with names such as Munich, Edelweiss, and Erst Strasse.
City code calls for strictly Bavarian-style architecture along the streets. Take a stroll downtown to browse wood-trimmed shops that sell handmade quilts and imported cuckoo clocks or watch artisans make hand-dipped chocolates and blown-glass vases. Local restaurants serve up authentic knockwurst, bavarian pretzels, and steins brimming with German beer.
You don't need to venture too far outside town to immerse yourself in Helen's beautiful geography. It's roughly a half-mile hike to the base of Anna Ruby Falls, side-by-side waterfalls that flow into the Chattahoochee River. The river itself is popular for kayaking, tubing, and gold panning.