Community Spotlight on Helen, GA

Holiday Cheer is here as Helen Georgia lights up for another season! Immerse yourself into this picture perfect Bavarian scenic village with that old world feel of gingerbread trim, cobblestone alleyways, and old-world towers. As the majestic mountains of North Georgia surround you and the beautiful Chattahoochee River runs through downtown, it will make you feel as you”™ve stepped into another world. Famous for many years, Helen has been known for it”™s festive celebration throughout the city that include lighted trimmed rooftops, bridges, windows and much more. Beautifully decorated outdoor trees are on every block with giant nutcrackers and other lighted holiday visuals. Visitors love the many different varieties of warm winter food from the Wurst to the Schnitzel as German and International food is everywhere. Stroll down these brick lined streets and smell the wonderful aroma in the air from Bakeries, Pretzels, Gingerbread, Hot Chocolate, and Fudge shops. Many of these quaint shops feature specialty items like Swiss cuckoo clocks, cheese, steins, wooden toys, handblown glass sculptures, antiques, pottery and handmade arts and crafts. Wether you want to have a Beer at a pub or local Brewery, most have wonderful restaurants with a variety of dishes from German, Mexican, Italian, Asian food, to traditional American sandwiches, steaks and seafood. Many also offer entertainment and have outdoor courtyards. With over half a dozen wineries surrounding Helen, you can also enjoy spectacular mountain views while appreciating the taste of these award winning grapes grown in the rich clay soil. Scenic attractions are located all around Helen that offer hiking trails, beautiful overlooks, and winding wilderness roads at every turn. Surrounding White County are some of the highest mountain peaks with Tray Mountain that is not only the 6th-highest mountain in Georgia, but connects with the Appalachian Trail. Amazing Yonah Mountain stands tall at 3,143 ft., located between Helen and Cleveland and is rimmed by sheer picturesque cliffs. Just south of Helen is beautiful Sautee Nacochee Village. Step back in time with many historical landmarks such as the Old Sautee Store built in 1872 that has a museum of authentic store goods. Just minutes down the road is Stovall Mill Covered Bridge built in 1895, a one lane wood bridge that lays over Chickamauga Creek near State Route 255. The picturesque Sautee”“ Nacoochee Mound at Hardman Farm is a favorite landmark in north Georgia. Guided house tours of this original 1870 Italianate architecture home are part of Georgia State Park with a one mile Heritage Trail along the river to Helen. Nearby Nora Mill Granary & Grist Mill was established in 1876 and still in operation with a live miller making grits, cornmeal and flour mixes beside the beautiful waterfall along the Chattahoochee River. North of Helen is Unicoi State Park that offers miles of streams and trails for unlimited fishing, hiking and biking opportunities. This gem of Georgia is tucked away on State Highway 356 and features 1,050-acres of wilderness. The centerpiece of the park boasts the 53-acre Unicoi Lake [...]

Community Spotlight on Helen, GA2022-10-27T13:47:30-04:00

Road Trip to Dahlonega, GA

Dahlonega remained a tiny town, a mere speck on a map, but all that changed in the 1828 with the discovery of the most precious metal these mountains had to offer ”“ GOLD!   Dahlonega, the Cherokee word meaning “yellow money” was the site  of the first major U.S. gold rush - occurring 20 years before the famous California gold rush. People flooded into the area to seek their fortunes. Dahlonega became a boom town, home to over 15,000 miners and their families at the height of the frenzy. Visitors can still pan for gold at one of the many gold mines in the area. Throughout the year, Dahlonega has many festivals including Bear on the Square, Art Festivals, July 4th Celebrations, Gold Rush Days, and the Hemlock Festival. Many of the summer's Downtown Events bring entertainment for the entire family to enjoy. The Appalachian Jam showcases North Georgia's mountain music pickers and singers every Saturday through mid-October. Listeners and musicians alike enjoy the acoustic bluegrass and old-time string music on the Public Square. Amicalola Falls & Visitors Center - Highest waterfall in the Southeast Open Sun ”“ Wed. 9 am ”“ 5pm, Thurs ”“ Sat. 9 am ”“ 7 pm Appalachian Trail - 2,100 miles + hiking trail that extends up the eastern U.S. From Georgia to Maine. Pan for Gold ”“  at one of the Gold mines to find your riches. Downtown Dahlonega ”“  Featuring many shops, resatuarants, arts and crafts. Dahlonega Gold Museum ”“ 1836 Historical Courthouse showcasing area history. Smith House ”“  Historical Inn and dining facilty. Wineries ”“   Come for wine tastings featuring great food and entertainment at over 5 local wineries just outside of town.

Road Trip to Dahlonega, GA2022-10-27T13:48:37-04:00

North Georgia Hiking Trails

Beautiful trails are yours to explore in the great outdoors of the North Georgia Mountains. Just pack a snack and plenty of water, get your gear ready and go for a hike. Ellijay - Three Forks Trail: To the left (North) on the trail is Long Creek Falls (2.3 miles round trip) . To the right is a beautiful section of old growth forest along Stover Creek. Directions: Take 52 East from Ellijay about 4.8 miles. Turn left on Big Creek Road at the Dollar General. Follow this road about 15.4 miles (the final .4 miles are dirt) to Forest Service 58 and turn Right. This road follows Noontootla Creek to Three Forks. Parking is available where the trails cross the road. Blue Ridge - Free Knob Loop Trail: 2.5 miles, easy rating Directions from Blue Ridge, Georgia: Travel east (toward Blairsville, GA) on GA Hwy 515, approx. 0.8 miles past intersection with GA Hwy 5. Turn Right at Windy Ridge Rd., go 0.2 miles to dead end with Old U.S. 76. Turn left, go 0.2 miles to Aska Road on right. Continue south on Aska Read to Shallowford Bridge. Turn left across river and immediate right on dirt-gravel road leading to Dial, GA. At 0.4 miles come to point where trail enters road from forest. Continue east on road to parking area at 1.2 miles. Suches - Jarrard Gap Trail Trail: 1.0 mile, easy/moderate rating Directions: Take US 19 and 129 south from Blairsville Georgia for 9.5 miles. Turn right (west) onto GA 180 and go 7 miles to the main entrance to Lake Winfield Scott Campground. Turn left into the campground. Follow this road over a hill and continue straight ahead into a gravel parking lot at the foot of the hill. From the parking lot, hike along the paved road passing the guard rail at the head of the lake. The trailhead is on the right of the road just past the guard rails. Blairsville - Sosebee Cover Trail Trail: Traveling through a second-growth cove hardwood forest, the 0.25 mile Sosebee Cove Trail is rated easy and receives moderate use. This area is a memorial to Arthur Woody, who served as the first Forest Service Ranger in Georgia. Directions: from Blairsville Georgia, travel 9.5 miles south along US 19/129 and turn right (west) onto GA 180. Continue along GA 180 for 2 miles to the Sosebee Cove parking lot on the right. Hiawassee - High Shoals Creek Trail: The two waterfalls on High Shoals Creek are the highlight of this 170 acre site. A 1.2 mile trail takes visitors from FS 283 down to the falls. Directions: Take 75 South from Hiawassee turn right onto Indian Grave Gap Road, graveled Forest Service Road 283 which leads visitors through the Swallow Creek Wildlife Management Area to the High Shoals Creek Falls Scenic Area. Dahlonega - Yahoola Creek Trail: This is about a 4 mile trail that circles Yahoola Creek Reservoir but also swerves back into the woods [...]

North Georgia Hiking Trails2022-10-27T13:49:10-04:00

Top of Bell Mountain

Have you ever wanted to feel on Top of the World? Just head to Hiawassee and Bell Mountain Park Historical Site. Originally Bell Mountain was very prominent rising 3,424 foot of elevation from the “Enchanted Valley” of Hiawassee. Then in the early 1960's Bell Mountain's land was purchased to mine for its minerals, and the top was left with a wide gap at the knob. After the mining, Mr. Hal Herrin partner of the Hiawassee Land Company, then later Mountain Realty purchased it in an effort to preserve it from future mining. Bell Mountain primarily became a home for sunset hikes and later on, a place for Jeeps, Hang gliders and other off-road enthusiasts. The mountain also became vandalized at the top with spray paint graffiti from kids and people who took advantage of the remote location that was not monitored. The Hal Herrin Estate graciously donated the 18 acre Bell Mountain Summit to Towns County. in 2016. Today, it has paved the road, established parking area, and in addition to the Hal Herrin Scenic Overlook erected a 2nd platform that offers 360 degree views of the surrounding lake and mountains. From Highway 76 ”“ Turn on Shake Rag Rd. and go slow (Speed limit is five MPH.) Hours are 8 AM - 8 PM, and is Closed during inclement weather.

Top of Bell Mountain2022-10-27T13:50:08-04:00

Cherokee Botanical Sanctuary

Along the Quanassee Path between Spikebuck Mound/Quanassee Town site and the Cherokee Homestead Exhibit is the Cherokee Botanical Sanctuary. This section of the Quanassee Path may be accessed across from Clay County Veterans Recreation Park on Anderson Street or at the Cherokee Homestead Exhibit. This 0.3 mile section of the trail, which follows Town Creek adjacent to Clay County Schools’ property, is a pedestrian-friendly trail through stands of native trees and plants. Native plants were added along this portion of the trail to include those used by the Cherokee for medicine, food, and daily living activities. The Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition donated native plants and helped to remove invasive plant species from the creek beds. Restoration Coordinator Tony Ward explains, “The HRWC was happy to use Duke Energy Funding to help make the vegetation  along the trail more like what people living in Quanassee might have seen along the creek. Native trees and shrubs are better for water quality, too.” The Conservation Fund’s Creating New Economies Program provided funds for additional native plants, informational kiosks and plant labels. Sponsored by the Clay County Communities Revitalization Association, a non-profit 501C3 organization. Please visit or write to PO Box 1533, Hayesville, NC 28904 for more information.

Cherokee Botanical Sanctuary2022-10-27T14:34:15-04:00

Cherokee History Trail: Quanassee Path

Providing accurate historical and cultural information about the Cherokee who once lived in this region. Enjoy a self guided tour along a gentle 2-mile walking trail which winds through five educational sites: Cherokee Homestead Exhibit Clay County Historical & Arts Museum Cherokee Cultural Center Spikebuck Mound/Quanassee Town site Cherokee Botanical Sanctuary Brochures available for download at or pick one up at the Museum, Library or Chamber of Commerce. Sponsored by the Clay County Communities Revitalization Association, a non-profit 501C3 organization. Please visit or write to PO Box 1533, Hayesville, NC 28904 for more information.

Cherokee History Trail: Quanassee Path2022-10-27T14:39:56-04:00
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