Helen, GA

There is so much meat in Helen, GA.

Meat (Jake + in front of Jake). Spaetzle.

It’s pretty much the only thing there is to eat. That, and buttered soaked noodle dumplings, otherwise known as spaetzle. I don’t eat meat, although Jake does. But, I completely agree with everything about spaetzle. After nearly two weeks of spaetzle, however, I was probably sweating out butter on my runs. Therefore 10 days was probably about enough time spent in Helen, GA.

Which is adorable. Helen, GA is adorable. Meaty, buttery, touristy, and adorable. Formerly a struggling logging town, and briefly a mining town, the city revived itself by transforming into a replica Bavarian alpine town. Hence the meat and butter noodles, which is apparently the only thing this brand of German people eat. Possibly the only thing all German people eat. Oh, plus sauerkraut, which is one of the most terrible foods ever invented and should be dispatched to the fiery depths of what some people believe is Hell, where it belongs.

I expected more donuts. Of the Bavarian cream variety, specifically. And while I did locate a few locations with very admirable selections of baked goods, I did not notice enough Bavarian cream donut offerings.

And honestly, both Jake and I could have used a few extra Bavarian cream donuts during this time in our lives. Helen, GA is an awesome place – but sometimes life stumbles in and puts a damper on our fun.

While in Helen, my dad’s health took a turn for the worse-than-it-was-before. My dad, he’s awesome. He knows a lot of things, like how to pronounce ‘spaetzle’ – which is, according to him: ‘spats-lah.’ He resembles Super Mario. His superpowers never involved plumbing, but he was pretty good at beating levels on the NES when I was in elementary school and being a dad. But life has koopa’d him hard during this past decade – and the baddies battle for his body seems to finally be winning.

So, we spent a lot of time while in Helen trying to help set up medical support for dad from afar. And support him emotionally. Which was not a fun thing for him – or us.

Simultaneously, a friend and cohort was having some issues of their own, requiring extra compassion and energy to be spread in that realm as well.

It was a tough 10 days in Helen, GA on the personal front.

But… Helen. She’s cute. And that cuteness won’t let you be completely bummed out during a visit to her.

Staying at Unicoi State Park didn’t hurt either. Actually, living there for 10 days may have been the best part of Helen. Unicoi was incredibly quiet. She provided perfect hammock hanging trees. The cellular data service within her bounds was banging. And the trails. They were gifts in dirty, sweaty, solitude form.

There was even a trail that ran from the campground in Unicoi to Helen proper.

If you’re ever thinking you need a weekend, or week getaway – especially if you’re within a driving radius of Helen – I completely recommend popping in. Will you become saturated with butter and possibly be offered a slot on a turntable within the dairy showcase at the Great New York State Fair if you stay too long?

Anything is possible.

But do know that if you look hard enough, you too might be able to find one menu item that is not meat or spaetzle or (gag) sauerkraut. That menu item at Hofer’s of Helen is called Apfelküchle and it is not meat or butter noodles. It is fried apples… probably in butter.

And also, if you visit Helen, please go the Cabbage Patch Babyland Hospital. Which is apparently a real thing. A real thing that we did not find the time to explore inside. Although, while poking around Helen one evening, we did note a young child with what appeared to be a fresh Cabbage Patch doll in tow. She seemed very pleased with the doll.

And we were pleased by Helen.

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