If you’d like to travel to Germany without the long plane ride, then head to northeast Georgia where the small town of Helen has its own Bavarian Alpine village.
Located about 90 minutes outside Atlanta, the 2.1 square mile town charms thousands of visitors each year.
Its cobblestone streets and traditional painted frescos are an Instagram fan’s dream come true.
There are a number of stores to check out.
Hofer’s of Helen aims to capture the ambiance of an authentic German bakery and café. Check out the hand-painted mural showing the history of German baking while you sit on furniture imported from Germany.
The food is what guests really come here for, with specialties including wiener schnitzel, spätzle, and sauerbraten. Hofer’s family recipes originated in Germany and each menu item is made fresh daily. Don’t miss their homemade breads, baked in a stone hearth oven.
Next, be sure to visit Hansel and Gretel’s Candy Kitchen for some sweet treats. Founded in 1973 by David and Janet Jones, the main store in downtown Helen is where fudge, brittle, chocolates and truffles are created. Or visit the factory location just outside town to watch experts produce many of their products. If you are looking for a souvenir to help remember your trip, pop into Lindenhaus Imports. Here you’ll find German cuckoo clocks, bier steins, alpine hats and pins, wood carvings and more.
One of the best times of year to visit is in the fall when the village hosts an annual Oktoberfest celebration. Enjoy German-style food and drink, dancing, live music and a parade. Another can’t-miss time is the Christmas season when the annual Lighting of the Village is held on the day after Thanksgiving and a Christkindlmarkt opens the last weekend of November. They even kick off the New Year with the annual Dropping of the Edelweiss.
by Gina Gallucci-White