A European Vacation, here in the USA
My hubby and I always love the adventure of traveling. Sometimes we find that we have the absolute best resort with awesome activities, sights, and restaurants to explore. Other times, we may find that we have three flights of stairs we must navigate on foot every time we want to venture out, there may not be restaurants available (that we’d like), or there’s simply no activities or places to go. But those are things that contribute to the adventure!
This trip was particularly hastily planned, and we knew nothing about the area. On the morning of March 13, 2020, we filled our car with all we could possibly need for a week’s vacation at the Loreley Resort in Helen, Georgia. Because of the many stops and lunchtime, the eight- hour trip extended beyond nine hours.
Eager to get to our destination but also starving for dinner, we opted to first get close to our lodging and then find a nice, nearby restaurant. As we kept driving though, we noticed the areas we passed were quickly becoming more and more rural, with no restaurants to be found. We realized we may have to skip our dinner.
And then, within a couple of miles of Helen, we came to a huge curve that wrapped around the mountain. We were amazed at the sight: Nestled in a quaint little valley was an entire village awaiting us. Was it European? Certainly, we saw flavors of Germany, Switzerland, and Ireland. It was perfect! We thought, did we experience a scientific warp around that last curve to arrive here? Excitedly, we drove the full length of the village before choosing a restaurant.
We entered Hofer’s of Helen and selected from the German menu; the Ziguener Schnitzel was particularly delicious. And, dessert from their bakery was the yummiest moist Marble Swirl Butter Pound Cake. We strolled through this well-lit town late into the evening, along with several other folks. That walk was much needed following our delicious but rich feast. We gazed into the Chattahoochee River, which meandered through the heart of town. Although it was late for us travelers, in this village we felt quite safe and at peace.
After a wonderful evening, we arrived at our home away from home for the next few days, a huge rustic condo with a balcony set within a small community that reminded me of Switzerland or the Dutch country.
For the next few days, exploring the city of Helen was especially appealing to my husband and me, as we walked the sidewalks along a variety of interesting shops, all within a reasonable distance from our parking lot. The Country Store displayed many antique treasures, including an old-time icebox and stove for shelving their sale items.
The Café International’s Wiener Schnitzel was mouthwatering, as was their Reuben and cabbage. As if we were food critics by profession, we compared their fare with that of Hofer’s and The Troll Tavern’s appetizing Weiner Schnitzel platter and their grilled Reuben. Every day, we had two scoops of ice cream, always choosing a different shop, so we could also compare and decide which was the best (in taste, selection, and pricing).
While we ate our awesome breakfast on day three, we were informed that because of the dangers and requirements surrounding the Coronavirus Pandemic, some shops would be closing that day, and certainly the whole town would be closed the next day. We made sure that we had experienced every shop, every restaurant, ice cream parlor, and all the sites before our day had ended.
Sadly, we packed up and headed home in the morning, reluctant to face the harsh reality of the Pandemic that lie ahead of us.
Good-bye precious Helen, we will be back someday!