Eat, drink and soar through sky in Helen, GA
Sometimes you just need to get out of town, right? Even if it’s just for a day, breaking free from Atlanta traffic and it’s overall hectic pace is just what the doctor ordered. My friend Lauren texted me after seeing my wine adventures in Helen, and said “I want to go up there and have a girls day.”
It takes about 1.5 hours from Atlanta to get to Helen, so I planned enough activities to keep us busy into the evening: Zip Lining, Wining and Dining.
I was both sad and relieved at the same time that our day and a half adventure a couple months back didn’t allow for zip lining. I like adventure, but I’d only been zip lining once before in Costa Rica and I got stuck and it was weird and embarrassing… I’d wanted to give the adventure another shot but I did have a bit of anxiety. So, Lauren and I decided one Saturday in June was the perfect day to go face this fear.
There are a handful of companies that do the zip lining, or canopy tours, but we chose Nacoochee Adventures. Both on the phone when booking our appointment and in person, the staff is overly friendly and our guides provided a ton of comic relief too.
Nacoochee Adventures has several canopy tours to choose from whether you want a little bit of history with your zip line adventure (Goldmine canopy tour) or you just want to get down to business of swinging through the trees (Moonshine canopy tour). We did the latter zip line tour and I felt that the four lines were plenty to get my adrenaline going. I’d guess we were up there for about 1.5 to 2 hours.
The zip lining was exhilarating and I never once felt scared after I did the first line. Truth be told, those first four zips were just a build up to what Nacoochee Adventures appropriately names the Big Zip Intimidator – a half mile long dual zip line where you zip alongside your partner.
Prices for the canopy tours start at $49 and you can add on the Big Zip Intimidator and Giant Swing for $20 and $10 per person respectively.
Watch the video from Nacoochee Adventures:
Dine at Hofer’s German Bakery. Make sure to look up the exact address and put that into your GPS, otherwise you’ll end up driving around forever to find it like me and Lauren did. I should have been able to find it easier as it is right off Main Street, and I’d eaten breakfast there are couple months prior.
Though the decor is nothing special, the food certainly is. At breakfast, get the Bacon Onion Hash which is topped two eggs and cheddar. At lunch, get the German specialties like sausage three ways or Jager Schnitzel, thinly pounded pork topped with a mushroom cream sauce.
Even with your belly full, you can’t help but have a wandering eye towards the well-stocked bakery as you are leaving. Strategically placed, if the sight of these goodies doesn’t get you, the fragrant smell of the freshly baked goods sure will.
While I love the wine tour and being escorted on a comfy and air conditioned bus with GA Wine Tours (definitely do this your first time visiting the wineries of Helen), it does feel a bit rushed. So, do the wine tour the first time and then pick one to go back and sip on wines at your own pace.
I picked The Cottage Winery because, well, I could just sit on their patio and stare at the gorgeous view all afternoon. It was hopping when we arrived just before closing. Bellying up to the bar, we picked out five “tastes” out of the 15 or 20 selections and savored each one. Then, we each chose a favorite and paid for a glass, taking it out on the patio.
The Cottage Winery, 5050 US-129, Cleveland, GA 30528, open daily
Hofers, 8758 N Main St, Helen, GA 30545, open daily
Nacoochee Adventures, 7019 South Main Street Helen, GA 30545, seasonal / reservations recommended