Charm and Tradition: A Guide to Helen, Georgia (USA)

A Bavarian-Inspired Gem in Georgia

In Northeast Georgia, there is this cool place called Helen, a relaxed mountain town giving off major German vibes. Come on in!

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Back in 1969, they decided the Lumber business was a bust and switched it up. Helen got a glow-up and turned into the picturesque place it is now. Imagine this: Bavarian-inspired buildings and lit holiday celebrations. Check out the rad things to do and chow down in this alpine village!

Great Retreats in Helen

For primo places to crash in Helen, Georgia, Valhalla Resort is the bomb. It’s all about luxury with suites, bungalows, a private village, and relaxing townhomes. Between hikes and hitting downtown (just two miles away), you can spa it up, play golf, and even brush up on your tennis skills!

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If you’re more into that English vibe, the Castle Inn is your move. For a mountain retreat, Lucille’s Moutain Top Inn & Spa is the spot. In short, there’s plenty to keep you occupied for a wonderful stay.

Things to Do There

Looking for what to do in the city? First up, hit the Georgia Mountain Coaster in downtown Helen, which is a blast for all ages. If you are all about nature vibes, check out Anna Ruby Falls at Unicoi State Park. It’s a one-mile trail perfect for exploring.

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Feeling more adventurous? The city hosts the Helen to the Atlantic Balloon Race, the South’s oldest balloon event, on May 30. And if you’re visiting around during the holiday season, the town goes all out with the Lighting of the Village, “Christkindlmarkt” for gifts and treats, and a festive parade on December 9. It’s a winter wonderland vibes, Georgia-style!

Getting to Helen, Georgia

Your best bet is flying into Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) or Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). From GSP, it’s a 108-mile drive, and from ATL, it’s 96 miles. Rent a car, and you’ll be cruising in around two hours (traffic permitting!).

Once you’re in Helen, though, you can ditch the wheels and go for a stroll. Walking is the best way to see all the place has to offer. Main Street is where it’s at, hosting restaurants, shops, and inns, all in a day’s walk! You’ll love it. Get over there!

Matera Is a City That Offers Its Visitors Great Experiences

Matera is a hidden gem nestled in the arch of Italy’s boot, almost faded away into history. Abandoned in the 1970s, this ancient town miraculously thrived again with the determination and resilience of its locals. In 2019, it was honored as a European Capital of Culture, becoming renowned as one of Italy’s most breathtaking destinations.

Matera Is Wonderful

Matera Is a City That Offers Its Visitors Great Experiences
Matera Is Wonderful

Matera has a rich history with its ancient stones, architectural complexity, and the authenticity of its cuisine. It offers a unique haven for travelers with a deep appreciation for art and culinary delights, allowing them to witness the harmonious coexistence between humanity and the surrounding landscape.

Matera offers a myriad of attractions and activities that promise to captivate every visitor. Hiking through Murgia Materana Park rewards adventurers with breathtaking views, historic churches, and fascinating caves. A guided tour with an expert allows travelers to explore the city’s neighborhoods, delve into its history, and marvel at the cave houses, rupestrian churches, conduits, and underground cisterns. The Church of Saint Mary of Idris stands out among the numerous historic churches, offering both interior frescoes and an exterior view that showcases its remarkable cliffside construction. And for a touch of modernity, the Museo della Scultura Contemporanea Matera displays a captivating collection of sculptures within a 17th-century palace.

Matera’s Cuisine Is Great

Matera’s Cuisine Is Great

Indulging in the local cuisine is a must-do experience in Matera. Trattoria del Caveoso, situated within a cliff, allows guests to savor fresh pasta, grilled sausages, and succulent beef filet, complemented by regional drinks. Il Rusticone specializes in mouth-watering pizzas, while Vitantonio Lombardo Ristorante, located in a grotto, offers an elegant evening with visionary tasting menus prepared by chef Vitantonio Lombardo, who has earned the restaurant a coveted Michelin star.

The best time to visit Matera is during the mild winters, making it a year-round destination. One exceptional summer event worth considering is the Madonna Della Bruna festival, held on July 2nd, featuring lively parades, vibrant parties, and magnificent fireworks. However, if summer heat is not your preference, consider planning your trip in the fall or spring when temperatures hover in the comfortable range of 60s to 70s.

How to Get There

How to Get There

To reach Matera, the closest airport is Bari Palese Airport, followed by a shuttle bus ride. Alternatively, buses and trains are available from major cities in Italy, although train journeys can be quite lengthy. Once in Matera, exploring the town on foot is the best way to navigate its narrow streets, while taxis are available for shorter journeys.

Matera’s incredible resurgence from abandonment to cultural accolades is a testament to the determination and love its residents have for their hometown. Visitors to this awe-inspiring destination are rewarded with a journey through time, where ancient history merges with contemporary delights, leaving an indelible mark on their hearts and memories.