Things to Do in Helen, GA on a Rainy Day

My family and I recently traveled to Helen, GA, to experience the holiday magic and see what the hype was all about. Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans for us. During our trip, rain was down pouring literally the entire time we were there! Since we have two small children, trekking around in the cold December rain (bummer it was not snowing!) was the last thing we wanted to spent what was supposed to be a fun weekend doing. Instead, we researched fun things to do inside in Helen. There was not much out there on the Internet about what to do there on a rainy day, so I decided I would fix that! Here is a list of fun indoor activities to do in Helen, GA, if you happen to get stuck inside on a rainy day.

Mine for Gold or Gem Stones: There are a few places you can go for this but they are all covered and the kiddos LOVE doing it. The only downside is it doesn’t take up much of your time, but you can definitely kill an hour if you have them pace themselves.

Escape Room: If you have older kids and adults in your crew, visit Escape Room for an exciting, mentally challenging and fun time. More info here: escape rooms of helen ga

Baby Land General Hospital: This is just outside of Helen in Cleveland, GA, but it is a short drive and completely indoors. Read more about it here: Cabbage Patch Babyland General Hospital: Making Magical Memories

Charlemagne’s Kingdom: Visit the German –themed model railroad exhibit! This elaborate display is fun for all ages. More info: georgiamodelrailroad.com

Jolly’s Toys: This toy store is located directly in front of Charlemagne’s Kingdom and is a blast from the past for parents! So, after checking out the model train hop on over to Jolly’s Toys to kill some time inside the fun little shop. It is super cramped but has some fun and exciting things to pass the time with your little ones.

Habersham Vineyards & Winery: Depending on your children’s ages this may or may not be a good place to visit, but if you think they will sit and stay put for a while bring them with for a fun wine tasting indoors. (Wine for the adults, of course. Drink Responsibly!) Just pack some coloring books or the iPad and you’re set. More info: habershamwinery.com

Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen: There are two of these in either end of Helen’s main drag, but the primary store at 8651 N Main St, is large and has a parking lot — the perfect spot to visit for a sweet treat on a rainy day.

Honestly, there is not much to do in Helen that is indoors besides restaurants. It is a beautiful mountain town with some wonderful parks and family hiking spots, so if you and reschedule your trip for a sunny weekend, DO IT! If not, make sure you bring some movies, popcorn and snuggly PJs so you can snuggle up by a fire and enjoy some family time!

Things to do in Helen, GA on a rainy day.jpg

Advertisements

Cabbage Patch Babyland General Hospital: Making Magical Memories

Nostalgic best describes how our recent visit to the Cabbage Patch Babyland General Hospital was for me personally. As a kid, my family visited the original location and I still remember watching a Cabbage Patch baby being born out of the magical cabbage tree! I was a tad confused then, but it was a magical and exciting place to be!

And it STILL is a magical place to be. The new location opened in 2007 and sits on a beautiful lot with mountain views. Outside, the property looks like an old southern mansion and has huge white cabbage patch statues throughout the grounds. When you walk in they have you sign in as a visitor just like you would visiting a baby in the hospital. In the main lobby, they take you through the history of the Cabbage patch doll and even have a giant cabbage you can sit in to take your picture.

img_3097

You walk down a hall with the nurseries and rooms set up like hospital rooms into a large room that has the magical cabbage tree inside. My four-year-old daughter LOVED it! She was so entranced by the cabbage baby being born and all the fun things inside to see. She spent her time going around looking at all the dolls they have set out around the store.To me, it was just a very nice and BIG doll store, but to her, it was a magical place, and that’s all that matters.

If you are driving into the mountains or visiting Helen, GA, AND you have girls, visiting Babyland General Hospital is worth it. We somehow managed to visit without buying a single thing – another bit of magic in and of itself! However, they have several different price ranges of dolls and some other small toys you can purchase if you’re not looking to spend $80- $250 on a Cabbage Patch one-of-a-kid doll.

Some tips if you are planning to stop in:

  • Around the holidays, they decorate the building making it an even more magical and exciting experience for the kids.
  • Make sure to bring your camera for the many photo ops they have throughout the experience.
  • Plan on spending at least an hour there so you can look around snap photos and “witness” a “baby” being born.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oktoberfest with Kids! Helen, Ga. 2018

Last weekend my family and I visited a small Blue Ridge Mountain town in the Northwest area of Georgia originally developed to model a Bavarian Alpine village — Helen, GA­. I know what you’re thinking, “What?” Yes, an Alpine village in North Georgia. So, in true fashion every October the town of Helen celebrates Oktoberfest.

This year was Helen’s 48thAnnual Oktoberfest and for those of you unfamiliar with this celebration, here is a brief description of the festivities:

“German-style bands from around the country and around the world play on the stage for your listening and viewing pleasure. See the Alphorns blown, the Cowbells rung and the Accordion squeezed. Grab your partner and take a spin on the dance floor to the timeless tunes of the Polka. The Festhalle is set up with rows of long tables so you can eat and drink while watching the show.”

At first thought, kid-friendly was the last thing that came to mind when envisioning Helen’s Oktoberfest. However, after speaking with a seasoned local we figured we would give it a try.

The Chamber sets up the festivities in their Festhalle with kid-friendly amenities, such as their own dance floor. Around town, all the bars and restaurants are celebrating too, and since the town is already designed to look and feel like you are in Bavaria, the beer tents and extra outdoor seating puts the icing on the cake.

On our first day we walked the charming village and ate an early dinner at the Heidelburg, a German restaurant nestled in a multi-level building overlooking an Oktoberfest beer garden and the charming shopping area of Helen. We were lucky to get a spot on their balcony. This enabled us to take in the sights and sounds of the festivities while enjoying a beer and some German food with the kids in tow.

Our oldest daughter (four) enjoyed watching the festivities and dancing next to our table. We ordered German pancakes and the Heidelburg’s sausage sampler to share. The food was good and seemed authentic. German food tends to be heavy and less flavorful than I’m use to, so if you get bad German food it is REALLY bad. On our last night we ate at the Bavarian Inn and discovered just how bad German food can get! If you are visiting Helen make sure to eat at the Heidelburg at least once and try to get there for early dinner so you can grab a balcony table.

Another spot worth noting is the Alpine Pretzel Haus on the other side of the street but still on the main strip of Helen. The pretzels come out piping hot and the Beer cheese is some of the best I’ve ever had. My advice would be to splurge and spend the extra $1 for one more cheese — you will thank me later.

Our visit showed us Oktoberfest can be fun with young children. Helen offers plenty to do with kids, while still coming away with an authentic Oktoberfest feeling.

Aside from all the Oktoberfest, we were also able to get some hiking in at Dunes Creek and it was absolutely beautiful. We wore our Osprey carrying pack to tote our one-year-old, but our four-year-old daughter lasted the entire hike on her own! The views were stunning and the weather was perfect. We can’t wait to go back and explore more trails as a family in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

IW5A7394

Fall in Georgia is a little later than up north but the leaves started to change in Helen during our visit. If fall leaves are on your must-have list, make sure to wait until the last week of the Fest to visit. We stayed at the Loreley Resort, a charming condo style resort right on the river and within walking distance to downtown Helen.

Dusk

The property was beautiful and the accommodations fit right in with the Bavarian theme, with enough cabin feel to make it a perfect fit for your family’s getaway to Helen.

We loved our stay in Helen and cannot wait to return to experience the Christmass holiday festivities this year!