Our last full day in Georgia was an all-out let’s-do-as-much-as-we-can sort of a day. Our hosts recommended that we take a drive to visit the town of Helen in northern Georgia. They told us it was a touristy, Bavarian-style town with a lot of interesting things to see and do. One of the things we like to do when we travel is to go on factory tours. One website had indicated that there were three different factory tours available in Helen (an old-time corn mill, a candy factory, and an artist’s glass-making studio). So, off we went!
Our hosts told us that it was a good thing we were doing this trip on a weekday, because they had heard stories of hours-long traffic tie-ups in Helen on weekends. We found no traffic problems, and very few other people in Helen on this Monday.
As they had told us, the entire village consisted of Bavarian-style architecture, with lots of little touristy shops, cafes, and restaurants. We saw Dutch wooden shoes, all sorts of hot pepper sauces, fudge and candy, glass-blowing, wooden toys, and tons of T-shirts and baseball hats. You get the picture.
I thought this German restaurant, the Old Heidelberg, was visually interesting.
We did get to see people making candy, and we did visit the glass studio, but I wouldn’t exactly call them factory tours. We also went to the Nora Mills Granary, which is where the stone-grinding corn mill was, but the mill was not operating. They explained that it only operates on weekends.
When we left town we had some time to go to a nearby US Forest Service facility where there is a short hiking trail to a lovely waterfall: the Anna Ruby Falls. I was delighted to find that my Senior Parks Pass for National Parks allowed us free entry. We all enjoyed a beautiful ½ mile hike along a creek to get to the falls. I was impressed by the falls. I’ve hiked to a lot of waterfalls over the years, and I have to say that this one was one of the nicest.
We had told our hosts that we had never tried boiled peanuts, which evidently is a “southern” thing. When we passed by Fred’s Famous Peanuts on the way up to the hike, they told us we could stop there on the way back to sample some boiled peanuts. This was a fun little stop. Neither of us liked the boiled peanuts, but we were offered a taste sample of some fried peanuts. Now those were worth having, so we bought us a couple of bags of them.
We decided that the best place for dinner would be one of the German restaurants in town, and the Old Heidelberg was the winner. Sausages, sauerkraut, red cabbage, German beer. Yum.
And our Georgia adventures came to a close after a 2.5-hour drive back to our hosts’ home in Rome.