Sunday, December 13, 2009

To Helen

Magnet # 116:  Helen Buildings

Material:  Resin

Purchased By:  Lindsay

Well, I had an adventure this weekend.  After work on Friday, I drove up to my friend Lindsay's house near Atlanta and spent the night.  The next day, we joined up with her friend - and fellow faithful reader of this blog - Danny and all went to Helen in north Georgia.  Why Helen?  Well it was once home to a gold rush and later became logging town, but after these industries dried up and workers moved on, the city found itself in a decline.  So its leaders came together and hired a local artist who had lived in Germany to redesign the downtown in the tradition of an Alpine village, only in the Appalachians.  In 1969, construction began to make these designs a reality.  Since then, the town has been revitalized through the many tourists who come to enjoy its unique feel.

Helen is known for its Oktoberfest, June hot air balloon races, and summertime tubing down the river.  But when I found out about it, I thought it would be a great place to visit in December, just in time for Christmas.  And when we got there, the town was indeed all decked out for the season.  There were ornaments everywhere, Christmas songs being played, decorations galore, and Santa was even driving a horse-drawn carriage.  It really was charming to behold.  Sure, it was in the thirties, and we arrived a little late in the day, so we didn't have as much time as we'd have liked, but we still had fun.  Everyone bought something, and Lindsay was particularly pleased with her purchases.  And she got me a few magnets for Christmas.  Even though this one isn't a completely accurate replica of Helen, it's so cool I had to have it, anyway.  Helen doesn't really have a castle, but who knows, maybe someday.

Want to visit Helen, but aren't close enough?  Well, there are towns like it scattered across the United States and they'll have you wondering if you aren't actually in Bavaria or the Netherlands.  Solvang in California is perhaps the best known of these - it was actually founded in 1911 by Danish immigrants who wanted to keep the feel of their old homeland.  There's also Leavenworth in Washington, Michigan's Frankenmuth, and Lancaster in Pennsylvania, to name a few.  A visit to any of these should put you in a Holiday mood.  As for me, I'm so glad we were able to see Helen this weekend.  It was definitely a special Christmas-themed activity.  And I hope we're all able to get together for another trip sometime soon.


  1. Enjoyed the trip. I certainly wouldn't mind future excursions with you, it was fun!

  2. Absolutely - in fact Lindsay and I were discussing the places we still want to see in Atlanta on the way through there. Might not be much of a trip for you, but it should be fun nonetheless.