Friday, September 3, 2010

Have you seen Helen lately?

The theme of this blog post is definitely the GOOD stuff coming up! Sorry for the rant this morning. After a tearful plea to an unsuspecting husband and a prayer or two sent upward, I have regained my composure and I am trying to concentrate on the GOOD things that are coming up.

I told you I am resilient.

But bare with me...

Okay. I mentioned I have a vacation coming up. It's not exactly resort style fun, but it is a get away with relaxation, friendship, family and fun all rolled into one. It will all start Friday the 10th and last through the 19th. I will be MIA on the blog scene, but I have requested a few people fill in for me. Still not finished making my asks.. but I did tackle a few people that for one - do not have a blog, but have a LOT to say and then a few of YOU will be asked soon.

I think you will be surprised and I hope you will enjoy what they all have to say... which is - I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT. I picked a wide variety of people from totally random backgrounds. I am sure it will be good stuff! Luckily, I will be able to check things from my phone, so I should be able to read your comments!!

Moving on.. my little vacation (as I mentioned before) will be Friday. The egyptian and I are heading to my parents home (they live in the Oconee National Forest) also known as - Haddock, Georgia. (I grew up in Macon - but they have since moved to the country.) That night we plan to just relax with my family... which means PLAY with that devil, Autumn.

Saturday morning, I plan to continue relaxing while my mom (who is an artist) plans to take the egyptian to the gallery (where she is the president of) and use him as a model for her portrait class. They are using oil paints and he is getting paid to model! Seriously. A quick $100 for sitting there. Turns out, he has an excellent profile (the nose is perfectly straight.) Very excited for him. Also -  I promise to get one of the paintings and take a picture of it. LOL

That night we are heading to a party with some dear old friends I have known for 25 years. Sunday, we are heading to another friend's home in Warner Robins, Georgia. The egyptian will be speaking at her school on Monday morning.

Tuesday I leave middle Georgia and head up to Atlanta for a work conference. That's only one night - but hey, it will be good to see my "team". There is usually only one Communications Director per major metro. In my state - that leaves me. My boss works in Tampa, and her boss is in Atlanta. So - all of the team will get together! (Atl, Bham, Nashville, Jackson, New Orleans, Jaxville, West Palm, Miami, Tampa, & Orlando.)

Wednesday I will head back to my parents home. I have left Thursday and Friday open - but Saturday - I AM TAKING THE EGYPTIAN TO HELEN, GEORGIA. I am sure, if you are not from Georgia you have no idea where Helen is. It is a little jewel in the foothills of the Blue ridge and the beginning of the Appalachian mountains.  My mother and father will be joining the egyptian and I on a day road trip. We were trying to figure out if we wanted to rent a cabin, then we opted out. It is only 2 1/2 hours from my parents home. We will leave early Saturday morning, and return late Saturday night.

This is how the Visitor's Center describes Helen:

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Chattahoochee River, this Northeast Georgia village has a rich history linked to the Cherokee Indians and Indian burial mounds as well as early settlers who arrived to mine for gold and cut virgin timber for a thriving lumber industry in the early 1900s. Helen is a re-creation of an alpine village complete with cobblestone alleys and old-world towers. We've got shopping, camping, both rustic and luxury mountain cabins, restaurants, bed and breakfast inns, mountains, theater, recreation, romantic getaways, beautiful scenery, family activities, waterfalls, museums, history, art, fishing, tubing, golf, and more. Something for every member of the family.

Sounds cute, doesn't it? My family has been vacationing up there for years. When I was little, we spent a little time up there.. and as an adult, I have taken many an exchange student up for a day of rest and relaxation! One of my favorite activities in the summer is tubing the Hooch. Which means - we take inner tubes to the top of the mountain and tube down the river to another spot. Usually takes about 2 hours to do that stretch of river! What else is cool about it - it's cheap. Only $10 bucks and you can do this all day! $6 for one trip!
Our plan is a little more relaxed. We will arrive in the morning (10ish) and my hope is to go directly to Higher Ground Coffee and More Shop.  The little mountain coffee shop claims to have a smorgasbord of coffees available. Sounds like the perfect way to warm up and kick start our day of activities!!! I checked out there menu, and lo and behold - there was a Pumpkin Spice Latte. *insert hallelujah chorus here!!* They also have Apple Cider and something called White Lightening - coffee with a double shot of espresso... sweet Jesus, bring it on!
I did check, and yes - the egyptian will be able to have some hot tea. :-)
After our coffee morning, we hope to walk through the shops. Shops there are a plenty! Sooo many cool ones to pick from! (Oh.. side note, and NO I am not going there.. but the original Cabbage Patch kids were "born" in Helen. Seriously - click on this link for the Babyland General Hospital. Apparently, people dressed as nurses will bring your new baby to your little one.. as if they are in an actual hospital. I just can't make this type of stuff up - I swear!!)
As far as the shopping goes, lots of German themed shops. The whole town is VERY German (Bavarian Architecture everywhere.) There are also tons of folk arts and clearly, I will be inspired to learn quilting soon! (That sounds sooo lame.. but I really want to try it out.)
After wondering and lots of picture taking, our plan is to go to Hofer's of Helen Bakery & Cafe for lunch.  I figured this might be the best option for a wide variety of food - and still that "German" feel. The problem with German food is that the menus are covered in pork! (Remember, I have an egyptian - muslim - no pork! Heck, and no beer for him.. booo.) But this menu seems to be a good pick. Since he LOVES bread, this is a bread heaven!
Apparently the little shop has quite a history! The original bakery was thought to be one of the best bakeries in the US!
The menu carries everything from Ofenfrischer Leberkäse mit Kartoffelsalat und Spiegelei (Grilled Bavarian luncheon loaf with homemade potato salad, topped with fried egg.) to Spätzle “Schwarzwald” (German noodles tossed with ham, green peppers, onion, tomato and Parmesan cheese) to Jägerschnitzel (Sauteed medallions of pork loin topped with a creamy burgundy mushroom sauce, served with homemade spätzle and red cabbage) to something like a  Bratwurst on a Bun to something the egyptian could have like - Home-baked Roast beef on Rye or a Reuben.
After lunch, the plan is to go play a little miniature golf! (This will be a first for the egyptian.) He has nooooo idea how GOOD I am and how COMPETITIVE I am. Not to mention how much fun it will be to play with the family. We will go where we always go - Alpine Golf!  $7 a person and we have about an hour or so of good, clean fun!

Following the Alpine Golf, we can either go to Unicoi State Park and Anna Ruby Falls or head to BrassTown Bald and see amazing sites on top of the mountain.

Either choice will be excellent and a great opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and excellent hiking.

Following the good times wondering it will be about time to grab a bite to eat for dinner. Some choices I am looking at are Cafe International (where we ALWAYS eat) which has a fairly wide range of options for dinner and it includes a patio dining overlooking the Chattahoochee River.

Another option is the Troll Tavern (below the bridge!) It is a hole in the wall - but we might want a quick bite before we hit the road!

One last stop - before we leave - has got to be to the Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen!

A few other shops I love are:
Christmas & More shop -  Old World Charm, with a hint of Holiday Tradition - from tapestries to hand-painted ornaments, nativity's, heritage lace, German ornaments, Pyramids, Steinbach, Ulbricht, Nutcracker, Advent Calendars, Music ... a unique shopping experience for sure!

Classics - Entering Classics is like stepping into a true Old World atmosphere with Alpine Yodeling and Folkmusic playing in the background. I bought the coolest Claddagh necklace from there a few years back!

Elfmade Wooden Toys - Just reminds me of Santa's workshop!!The shop is the work of one man who has been making toys for 40 years. He is an artist with the bandsaw, and has been green during his toymaking career.

Goats on the Roof - They are a family-fun unique gift store offering fun gifts, t-shirts, specialty items, Amish jams and jellies, gourmet foods, Amish cheese, and wine.
You can even try gem mining, fudge, ice cream & you feed the goats with "bicycle feeders", etc. (Seriously click on the link for the full effect!)

Gourd Place - we will have to go to b/c my father grows gourds in his garden.

Habersham Winery - For mom! 

Lindenhaus Imports - Has the coolest Bavarian Walk clocks!

Mark of the Potter - Did I mention how much I "dig" pottery?!

Old Clarksville Mill - Over 18,000 Square Feet of Old Clarkesville Mill has been brought back to life as an Art and Antique Mall with over 100 vendors.

The Music Box - Amazing!!

Then of course, we will return home that night. Then back to Alabama in Sunday!

(I am quite the little planner, aren't I?) ;-)


Foxy said...

Ooh! Do you have room for one more?? :) (IF I had the money...;)

Nicole said...

If you were closer I would say - COME ON!

Yenta Mary said...

That sounds like so much fun -- a bit of "doing" and a bit of "relaxing." And as much of a prissy city girl as I am, floating in an inner tube is just about the best way to decompress that there is. Enjoy!!!

Robin said...

I have been to Helen and it is a place out of time. I have also been to the Cabbage Patch factory where those babies are made. It is a hoot. I do believe I have seen those waterfalls, as well. I hope that the weather is good for you and gives you lovely days to take it all in. At least in Northern GA it is somewhat cooler, so that will be nice. Have lots of fun on your vacation and come back rested!

Bossy Betty said...

So glad you will be able to get away. Sounds iike a great vay-cay!!


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