European Staycation Spots in Georgia, USA
Have you been dreaming of a European vacation? Has the idea of going to Europe been a dream that seems out of reach? Do you want to experience an old world chateau filled with luxury without leaving the state of Georgia?
Many of us dream about vacationing in Europe! If this is a dream i hope you have a piggy bank set aside and designated as 'Europe', but in the meantime while you are accumulating enough money to make it a reality, go ahead and experience a little of Europe in the US and in the state of Georgia in particular.
If you are planning on a staycation - meaning you live in the state but still want to experience a bit of what Europe has to offer why not do it at Chateau Elan in Braselton, GA and Helen, at Georgia's Alpine village in the north Georgia mountains.
Both are located in the mountains of Georgia. Within an hour or two drive, depending on where you are coming from in the state, (it could be more). This may not be typical for everyone, but it could be a day trip, an overnight trip or a two night destination that gives you a taste of Europe in the state of Georgia.
Having a meal is a must when visiting Helen, and typically there are restaurants with authentic German meals adding to the flavor of the Bavarian culture in the North Georgia mountains.
I. Chateau Elan
This beautiful piece of French architecture makes one's breath catch in awe and inspiration. Just a 40 minute drive or so outside of the city of Atlanta going north on I-85, you will find this beautiful place tucked into the mountains of Georgia.
The long driveway leading up to the chateau ends in a circular pebble stone drive, containing a man made pond with a large water fountain and path. At the Chateau's welcoming front entrance you are immediately pulled into the romantic idea that you have just arrived at a classic french experience. The melding of the french provincial and southern hospitality entices one to throw off all their worries and step into a magical place set on 3,500 acres.
Chateau Elan's Inn shows off the same architectural beauty and details that you can find at chateau's in France and around the European countryside, with it's wrought iron detailing, cornice molding and wooden shutters and of course the roof pitched high and striking against the skyline.
It is a classic Chateau facade at it's finest with the sunny golden yellow that causes it to seem like it is either a part of the sunrise or sunset.
There are a myriad of things that you can do at the Chateau which will make the experience even more memorable. There are lots of things to do inside and lots of things to keep you occupied on the outside if you wish to leave the luxury of the Chateau's rooms and venture onto the grounds.
Things to do:
1. Tour the buildings, experience the French market replica
2. Tour the grounds, the vineyards, the golf courses,
3. Go to the spa
4. Learn how to cook
5. Taste the wines, well recognized winery and free wine tours
6. Eat at several different restaurants
7. Be romantic
Several times during the year Chateau Elan offers special events and packages that are budget friendly for those of us who are looking for deals and still want to enjoy the European experience with out taking a flight out of the country.
These usually fall on the weekend, normally a Sunday night, but this can vary depending on the hotel's discretion.
If you want your children to enjoy the experience of Chateau Elan they have a club just for them. Along with their own activities which include arts and crafts, nature walks and story telling. Club critters is geared towards the little ones have their own lifetime of memories.
There is also a Grand Prix race track for the racing enthusiasts!
II. Helen Ga - The Alpine Village
Helen, Georgia is a small Northeast town hidden in the North Georgia mountains, the Blue Ridge mountains to be exact along the Chattahoochee River. It's history is rich with the Cherokee Indians, their burial grounds, gold and lumber during the 1900's. Then it began a decline like many such towns of the era only to re emerge as an old world alpine village in the 1960's.
Helen is one of Georgia's idyllic city's. What makes it even more appealing is that the Alpine village dominates the area. A taste of Bavaria in North Georgia! Helen is a year round tourist attraction but it is well known for it's Oktoberfest - mid September to the end of October (6 weeks) and it's Christmastime decorations and celebrations.
It is a Germanic influenced town, which exhibits it's ties to the old world through it's cobblestone streets, alleyways and Swiss Alps type architecture.
Famous for all of it's outdoors activities, Helen has several Georgia parks and waterfalls that make it even more attractive, like the Unicoi State Park and the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Things to do in Helen:
1. Out door activities like; hiking, fishing, rafting, bike riding, horseback riding and camping are activities that are most popular if you are the outdoors type and the weather is good.
There are nominal fees to enter the parks but lots of other activities are popular in Helen, like tubing.
2. In door activities; shopping, museums, eating and a history lesson.
There are plenty of shops, especially Christmas shops selling all kinds of exotic European crafts for those interested. You can find a quirky place known as Goats on the roof for unusual gifts. There are also museums and places of interests that bring the idea of a European experience to life with out ever leaving the state of Georgia. Places like Charlemagne's kingdom are especially entertaining for children.
3. Eating in Helen; restaurants offer cuisine from the continental to the German fare featuring bratwurst, sausage and beers with other well known German foods. Places like Hofbrauhaus restaurant is a classic.
You can visit Helen, Georgia at any time because of all the things that are offered year long like festivals and arts & crafts events. There are also activities offered by the parks in the area to keep anyone busy. Anna Falls for instance has Firefly hikes in the spring, which features a short hike up to the waterfall at dusk, about 8:30 pm, so that you can view the dance of the firefly's.
- Helen, Georgia | Helen - White County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Helen, GA and the surrounding White County are known for shopping, camping, both rustic and luxury mountain cabins, restaurants, bed and breakfast inns, mountains, theater, recreation, romantic getaways, beautiful scenery, family activities, waterfal