Once again we headed to the lovely North Georgia mountains to what has become an annual summer tradition: Tubing the Chattahoochee River ( or the “Hooch” as they call it) in the lovely Alpine village of Helen, Georgia.
Why the pink tubes (www.helentubing.com), not the green? Many friends have asked, and no, the pink tubing company is not paying me with freebies of any kind to pitch them,( though they are welcome to!) but when we first started tubing, our little girl was six and pink WAS the color. Also at the end of the 2 1/2 hour ride, there is the best waterfall ever- and only the pink tubes ride it. That and at a cool $3 a trip (STILL), how can we argue? A family of four having an awesome trip at the price of a single movie ticket! The Cool River Tubing Company (the green tubes) have extended their adventures to include zip lining (www.coolriverziplines.com) for the thrill seeking kid in you( 70lb-250lbs) we were sorely tempted to try them, but were heading into North Carolina next for those speedier type of expeditions.
Tubing aside, this was our second year staying in the actual town of Helen. We booked the Riverbend Motel (www.riverbendmotelandcabins.com). I’d seen it last year online, and it’s proximity to the Chattahoochee- er, right there- was the selling point. (the clean, updated rooms were a surprise bonus!) There are bench swings right next to the river, and we could relax and watch the kids frolic in the shallow waters of the river. We ended our night on the swings, splashing in the river and chasing fireflies.
The Hotel owner, Mark, kindly recommended a German restaurant nearby for a good meal. Again, with kids, this can be a hit and miss thing, but we were definitely not eating fast food in Helen. He suggested we try the Sampler Platter for two at the Bodensee Restaurant (www.bodenseerestaurant.com). The Wurst, smoked pork chops, sauerbraten, Spaetzle and more gave us a yummy taste of Alpine Helen and was more than enough for the four of us- with leftovers! Topped off with dark German beer (for dear husband) and a nice German Riesling for me (I usually invoke a snobby sniff from my wine choice, but I love Riesling, so I was much in my element at the Bodensee) it came to a very nice meal.
We tried the Hofer Bakery the next morning, a short hop and skip from our room, and the best darn Appelknuffen-er Appelknafen- okay, apple pancakes that no one can seem to pronounce, even the staff. Kids love the hot chocolate with whipped cream (who doesn’t?)
Our day was well spent frolicking in the Chattahoochee, dining German-style and exploring the little shops filled with crystal necklaces, glass blown figurines, wooden toys, canned goods and apple ciders of various dubious colors.
We only spent one day in Helen, but there is so much more to do and see. Nearby Unicoi State Park has a trek to Ruby Falls, Dukes Creek- there is a waterfall nearby, but we have yet to find it.
We were sorry to have to bid our adieu to our tubing town, but further adventures lay in await past the north Georgia Border.