Helen was founded at the turn of the 20th century as a simple lumber outpost. In the 1960s, when logging declined, business leaders came up with a plan to transform the tiny village of 300 into a theme town, and "Alpine Helen" was born. Today many businesses along Helen's central streets sport a distinctive German facade, giving an initial impression that you've stumbled on a Bavarian vista in the middle of Appalachia.
Don't expect small-town prices for anything from parking to ATM charges. This is clearly not Bavaria, but the effect can be briefly contagious, making you feel as if you've stepped into a fairy tale. If it's too touristy, visit nearby areas for delightful crafts, shopping, and dining. Sautee and Nacoochee are the home of the Habersham Winery, the Folk Pottery Museum of North Georgia, and a number of other pottery and craft shops.