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Hunt for Iconic Hardwoods Near Helen, Georgia

There are easier places to live than the mountains—though certainly nowhere as beautiful. There were incentives to bring Mississippian Indian cultures and then American settlers to the southern Appalachians:  There are animals and fish beneath the hardwood canopies enjoying the cool, clean streams; it’s a little bit cooler; there was a gold rush in the …

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Plan to Kick Out Summer with the Best Oktoberfest in America

The stickiness, frizziness, unrelenting hazy summer sun: what’s the best way to usher it out, preparing yourself for a crisp fall? An alpine Oktoberfest with bier and dancing! Perhaps you haven’t planned a trip to Munich to join some 7 million other seasonal revelers—but that’s no deal breaker. The longest Oktoberfest celebration in America is …

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Great Places to Spend the Night in a Tent Near Helen, GA

There are definitely places one can get lost in North Georgia, leaving behind modern amenities and basking in self-reliance and adventure. But there are also designated campsite areas near Helen where you can get most of the benefits of long-haul backpacking and still achieve a normal night’s sleep, entertain yourself, and have a designated bathroom. Unicoi …

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Getting Lost in the Volk-ness: Dancing in Helen, Georgia

The roots of Oktoberfest: a surfeit of beer and excuse to party in Bavarian style (a Prince’s wedding) in 1810. All the elements that make the celebration so distinct fell into place around the opportunity. German music was already among the world’s most distinctive and folksy; Bach had even written memorable classical church hymns that …

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The Best of Craft Shopping Around Helen, GA

The southern Appalachian Mountains have been open to scrappy settlers since the early 1800s, but modernization has always moved a bit slower here than elsewhere. The terrain and industry have kept the culture close to the land and to tradition throughout mineral booms, logging busts, and—more recently—tourism. Helen itself was incorporated in 1913, but even …

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