We wanted so badly to go away over Easter weekend, but alas, we left it too late for anywhere decent that we wanted to go. Seeing as Oliver was still recuperating, and I was getting my sugars level on my insulin pump (more on that next time), we decided to try and do some day trips.
I had heard about Helen in Georgia. Many of my friends had been there, and people had advised going to see it so on Good Friday we took a drive up. It is about 100 miles from here, and took about 2 hours.
The thing that makes Helen such a must see is its styling. In 1969 the town was failing as a logging town, so they zoned all the buildings to become replicas of a Bavarian alpine town. Even the chain stores that are in the town are in buildings that you would expect to find in the Alps, not north east Georgia!
We parked up (good bye $5) and had a little walk around. Most of the shops were typically aimed at tourists with your fudge place, old time photography and souvenir shops. Very similar to Gaitlinburg.
We had lunch at the Castle Inn. It may have been 11.30, but I had a beer. Paul was more sensible with a soda, the same as the boys. Paul ordered a German special wurst, I had a club sandwich. Isaac and Sebastian had grilled cheese sandwiches, and Oliver had a burger. The food wasn't great. The service wasn't good either. It really was a well oiled tourist restaurant. The staff were constantly observing you, as soon as you were finished and paid, the table was clear. It was more like a processing plant than a restaurant. It wasn't even that busy! Maybe they expected to get busy later in the day. We were not very impressed.
We went for a walk around the town. It was all very picturesque.
We headed up to the local park, so the boys couldhave a play. Hooray, somewhere where you were not trying to be sold something or having to part with your money in one way, shape or form. The kids enjoyed it too!
We headed back to the car. By now it was only about 1pm. I had seen that there was a State Park nearby and a waterfall nearby, so we decided to head there. To get to Anna Ruby Falls you had to drive through Unicoi State Park. Very beautiful. Especially on a warm spring day.
We had to pay $3 each per person over 16 to enter the Anna Ruby Falls area, as it is run by the Cradle of Forestry in America (not an organization I had heard of!) And not the state parks. This was a very reasonable price. We parked, and headed up towards the falls. There were quite a few people around, and they allow dogs.
This was one of the first signs we saw.....
We made it to the falls.
They are beautiful.
They are twin falls, where two different streams join at the bottom of the falls to just one creek, Smith Creek. This then leads into Smith Lake, the centerpiece of Unicoi State Park. It was so pretty there, and nice and cool by the falls. As we were descending back down, you could notice the rise in temperature as you moved away from the falls itself.
And this delightful sign, reminding you that you are in the Deep South......
As we drove back to Helen, the boys mentioned that they had spotted a mini golf course on the way through. I had seen more than one, but thought it best to keep my mouth shut.
That was the next stop. With mini golf, the boys play while Paul and I spectate/ referee. We were stuck behind another family, so Paul and I ended up potting a couple of balls. Guess who got a hole in one? ME!!!! I really am not keen on mini golf, so this was a complete surprise.
Seb always gets a little confused when we get to the 18th hole, and the ball disappears forever.....We don't keep score, but I think we are near to playing a little bit more seriously.....
That will be interesting.........