Blue Ridge Country September/October 2020 - 14

T H E G O O D WA L K

PLENTY TO EAT

Exploring Helen, Georgia
and Unicoi State Park
Nothing too hard here, but lots of old-world-themed fun.
By LEONARD ADKINS | Photos by LEONARD AND LAURIE ADKINS

bushes and lush patches of ferns. Close to a mile in, a
mowed meadow provides a more expansive view of the
sky just before the trail crosses an elaborately constructed
wooden bridge across Lower Smith Creek. The feeling of
isolation that was present in the deep woods at about two
miles fades away as the route goes by a water tower and
comes into town.
Since we had started the walk before breakfast, we
stopped in Hofer's of Helen to share orders of German
potato pancakes and apfelküchle (sliced apples dipped
in batter, fried and speckled with cinnamon sugar). In
fact, I'm sure we consumed more calories during the
day than we expended walking, as sampling the local
fare became interspersed with our explorations of the
town's attractions.
Watching an HO train traveling around a stylized
scene of alpine Germany in Charlemagne's Kingdom was
followed by hand-dipped chocolates from the Hansel and

WHEN YOU
Downtown Helen, Georgia, features Bavarian-style architecture.

T

hree straight nights of heavy rain during an
extended car camping trip in northern Georgia
persuaded Laurie and me to seek indoor accommodations to dry out a bit. Unicoi State Park's
lodge became the logical choice when we found
its rate for two nights was the same or lower
than many other lodgings in or around Helen. It
also enabled us to walk the park's more than 10 miles of
trails, including the 3-mile route that leads to the center
of the Bavarian-themed village.
There are no spectacular overlooks or roaring waterfalls along the way, but that's OK, as the pathway passes
through a pleasant variety of hardwood forests, evergreen
groves, murmuring streams, towering rhododendron

14

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

GO

THE WALK: A moderately easy 3-mile (or
moderate 6-mile roundtrip) walk into Helen from
Unicoi State Park. Shopping, dining and meandering around town will add another 1 to 2 miles.
DIRECTIONS: From Unicoi Hill Park (where
you could leave a shuttled car) in Helen, drive GA
75/GA17 northwestward for 1.7 miles. Turn right
onto GA 356 and follow it 1.8 miles to the park
lodge.
MORE INFORMATION: Short descriptions
of all of the park's trails are available on explore.
gastateparks.org/unicoi-trails.


http://www.gastateparks.org/unicoi-trails http://www.BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

Blue Ridge Country September/October 2020

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