Selah Lou Who goes to Helen for Christmas

For Selah’s very first Christmas in the continental United States, we decided to leave the continent and fly to Bavaria, Germany… well no, not really, but she’s not even two-years-old so we took her to Georgia instead. She didn’t know the difference.

Bavaria, Germany or Alpine Helen, GA?

Alpine HelenGeorgia only has a population of around 430 residents, yet it is the state’s third most visited city. If you visit this charming little town, you will see why it so good at packing a crowd. Helen is a recreated Bavarian Alpine village with the Chattahoochee River flowing gently through its center. Helen first began as a home to the Cherokee Indians before European settlers eventually arrived for the gold and the timber. When Selah Lou Who came to town, she was simply there to see Christmas.

Selah Lou Who likes to carry her own bags!
Selah Lou Who is ready to see Christmas in Helen
I’m pretty sure she knew Santa wasn’t real!
Downtown in Helen, GA
Go to Muller’s Fried Cheese Café for authentic German Cuisine!
Selah Lou Who waiting patiently with Mommy for our food to be served.
Daddy ordered the Pork Loin Cordon Bleu Schnitzel, potato salad, red cabbage, and kraut. It was köstlich …yum!!!
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Alpine Helen is one of the best places to see Christmas lights in the Southeastern U.S.A.
Selah Lou Who just loved the Christmas tree!
Mommy makes all my blog posts look better!
Visitors to Helen can take home that special souvenir from one of their many German-themed shops.
Gingerbread men proudly on display
One of many finely dressed yuletide displays
Unforunately this candy kitchen was closed for the night, but we would be sure to visit the very next day.
The Gourmet Shoppe in Helen offered free samples of the local wines.
At the Heidelberg you will find the most authentic sausage plates in town. The grub is great, the service is fantastic, and the beers are large and frosty!
The window all dressed up at Windmill Dutch Imports
Even mommies like Santa Claus!
After the Grinch made Selah Lou Who go to sleep, he enjoyed an adult beverage… or two!
Alpine Helen offers a phenomenal selection of imported German beers and is known for their annual Oktoberfest in September and October.
The Paulaner Salvator Double-Bock is a German-beer lover’s dream!
Selah Lou Who greets the sunshine behind the Hampton Inn in Helen.
This beautiful mountain stream ran right behind our hotel.
Jolly’s Toys in Helen, GA
Come stay in an authentic windmill suite at the Heidi Motel!
Inside of Charlemagne’s Kingdom you will find a massive Germany-themed model railroad exhibit complete with miniature villages, Alpine scenery & traditional music.
While strolling past this charming row of cottages, Selah Lou Who found herself a friend.
She was very disappointed when we didn’t take him home!
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After Selah Lou Who said goodbye to her four-legged friend, our trail led us into the beautiful Unicoi Park.
Selah Lou Who is still looking for that dog.
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The Alana Falls didn’t so much fall as it did trickle.
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She was very fond of the tulip girl with the wooden klompen (clogs).
Located along the river and right in the heart of downtown Helen, the Castle Inn is a romantic English-style inn with lots of character.
These Padlocks on the bridge reminded Rebecca and I of a wonderful trip we took to the real Germany.
Enjoying a frosty mug with this busty, headless fräulein!
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Shortly after that last picture was snapped, Rebecca abandoned me for this headless dude in lederhosen… what a jealous act of revenge!
…and now she’s flirting with the soldier while I am standing right there!
The only snowmen we found in Helen were all indoors.
Poor Frosty was melting!
You know we weren’t leaving town without first setting foot inside Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen!
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She said she has four teeth, plenty enough for a bite out of one of those delicious caramel apples!
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There was so much to choose from I didn’t know what to get. I ended up leaving with chocolate covered pretzels.
The owner of Tim’s Wooden Toys really knew how to make Selah crack a smile. He’s the closest thing to a real-life Geppetto in all of Georgia!
This nutcracker was taller than me…. as were the third-graders on the other side of the room.
We found wall to wall Santas in Betty’s Country Store
Father Christmas standing guard just outside the door
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Before leaving, we stopped at the Cafe International for the best reuben in town!
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Now she’s eyeing my sandwich like she wants to make a trade. I tried to tell her!
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Selah Lou Who, being not yet two, stuck with her trusty peanut butter sandwich squares.
It was tempting but daddy was driving home.
The heaters and plastic afforded us warm outdoor seating with a view of the river below.

After lunch, Selah Lou Who got buckled in all nice and cozy and napped most of the ride home. While she probably won’t remember much of our two-day bavarian getaway, her daddy and mommy sure will. Memories like these are what makes life precious, especially when they’re still full of so much innocence and wonder. Thank you for visiting my site and I hope your holidays are spent joyfully with family and friends.

Merry Christmas from Big John, Rebecca, and Selah Lou Who!

Happy travels,

Big John


Posted in Adventurous Places, Great Dining, North America and tagged , , by with no comments yet.

Traditions of Christmas in Dixie

The Christmas season is once again upon us. It’s a time to love, a time to give, and a time to spread good cheer. Because it’s the most wonderful time of the year, It’s only fitting that I pay homage to America’s most beloved of holidays. In doing so, I’ve set my sights on a region of the United States that has a distinct culture all of it’s very own. Y’all know the place I’m referring to… Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton, Old times there are not forgotten, Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land!

That’s right boys and girls, I’m talking about the South. Home of antebellum plantations, bluegrass music, shrimp and grits, and mason jars full of sweet iced-tea! If you find yourself this holiday season restless and going south of the Mason-Dixon line, then allow me to point you to a few of my favorite  places for Christmas in Dixie. You’re fixin’ to have a real swell time down South! Spend some time in any one of these spots and you’re certain to discover that good old-fashioned yuletide cheer!

Helen, GA

Question: What do the Alps of Germany have in common with the southern state of Georgia? Well absolutely nothing, unless you’re talking about the town of Helen. This charming village, with a population of roughly 500 people, is hidden deep within the shadows of the Chattahoochee National Forest. In 1828, this Blue Ridge Mountain community sprang up out of the glittering dust of the Great Georgia Gold Rush. When gold fever finally ran its course, the town became a hub for an emerging timber industry. Unfortunately, the people there had more saws than they did trees and in the 1960s the town nearly shut down. It wasn’t until 1968, when businessmen bumped heads with a local artist, that they came up with a unique solution to revitalize the town. Helen, Georgia would be given a Bavarian facelift; and slowly over the following years, the entire town was recreated to look just like a German alpine village. There are German-styled restaurants, German-themed gift shops, German traditional festivals, and one of my favorites -cold German beer! With all that Old World appeal, this place is just brewing with adventure! When you throw in Santa, horse-drawn carriages, and some holiday lights into the picture, than Helen becomes a place that easily populates the top of my list for spending Christmas in Dixie.

 

Christmas-Helen

Helen, GA

 


The Biltmore Estates

If you wish to step back in time to the Gilded Age of American History, then look no further than the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. On Christmas Eve, 1895, George W. Vanderbilt opened the doors to his 250 room home for the very first time. Although back then only his close friends and family were invited in; this chateauesque style mansion is now open for all those who wish to grace her halls. If the opulent views from within don’t take you aback, then step outside. The scenic panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains most certainly will! Step into America’s largest privately owned home and feel dwarfed by 35 foot Christmas trees. Take a fascinating tour into the lives of one of America’s wealthiest families. Sip wine with friends; and even enjoy a casual or fine dining experience at any one of Biltmore’s award-winning restaurants. For those with a little shopping in mine, there are elegant stores selling various items from Christmas décor to books and timeless keepsakes. When you visit the Biltmore, you will probably want to stay past dark. The annual Candlelight Christmas Evenings is a stunning sight to behold. From glowing candles, crackling fires, to thousands upon thousands of holiday lights. This is one Christmas in Dixie celebration you do not want to miss!

 

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The Biltmore Estates

 


Colonial Williamsburg

Hey! Is that Patrick Henry I see standing over there? No, actually the good Governor died in 1799; but if you’re standing in Colonial Williamsburg today you might not know it. Taking to the streets of Colonial Williamsburg is like taking a leap back into 18th century America. The entire place is a living museum where interpreters work and dress exactly like they did back in the day. Williamsburg served as the capital of Virginia from 1699-1780. It was the political epicenter leading up to the American Revolution. Williamsburg is also home to the College of William and Mary; this center of higher learning opened its doors in 1693 and is the 2nd oldest school in the United States. If you’ve never been to Williamsburg than Christmas is definitely one of the best times to go. During the holiday season you can ride down cobblestone streets, whisking past lines of carolers, perched high inside a horse-drawn carriage. You can relive history as the Fife and Drum Corps marches down Duke and Gloucester St. When you grow cold, warm yourself by a bonfire with a mug of hot cider. Best of all, if you’re dying to catch up on all the latest gossip concerning the British, there are plenty of authentic taverns around that can still serve up a pint or two.

 

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Colonial Williamsburg

 


Wherever you choose to journey this holiday, whether it’s up north or if it’s Christmas in Dixie, please don’t forget about the most important journey of them all. I’m talking about the one that occurred a very long time ago. When three noble men set their sights on a mysterious star hanging over an Eastern sky, there became a reason for this season!

 

Star-of-Bethlehem

The real reason for the season.

Thank you for reading my article about Christmas in Dixie. Please visit Big John’s Adventures in Travel again real soon. Feel free to explore other areas of my blost, post a comment, and show some love on social media.

Merry Christmas and happy travels,

Big John

 

 



Posted in Adventurous Places, North America and tagged by with no comments yet.
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