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Old 12-19-2012, 07:54 PM   #1
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Re: Favorite small town

For visiting, we like Helen GA. It's a little town that was on the verge of dying out. They reinvented themselves into a Bavarian village. They have a few really good German restaurants. Is it a tourist trap? Yes but we often when there just to wander down the streets, watch the FREE street performers and buy a funnel cake. Beautiful in the Christmas time. Nearby is Unicoi State Park. Nice campground.
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Timber officials came into the Valley , saw huge virgin timber, and built a great sawmill, Matthews Lumber Company. Simultaneously, the Gainesville and Northwestern Railroad came up the Chattahoochee River to Helen. In 1913 the Valley was named "Helen”, after the daughter of the railroad surveyor. The lumber company, located in the center of Helen on the Chattahoochee River, continued sawmill operations until 1931, shipping to Europe and the U.S. until all timber was cut. Settlers again left for opportunities in other places. By the 1960's, there was nothing left except a dreary row of concrete block structures.

In 1968, local businessmen met to discuss what could be done to improve their town. They approached a nearby artist friend, who had been stationed in Germany. He sketched the buildings, added gingerbread trim, details and colors to the buildings, giving an Alpine look to the entire town. In January 1969, business owners and local carpenters began turning ideas into reality. Now all downtown stores have been renovated and many buildings and cobblestone alleyways added. Faces of buildings were painted with scenes of Bavaria and North Georgia, mirroring the migration of early settlers.

Helen has accomplished much; it has created a new town and industry, providing jobs for more people and boosting the economy of the entire area. Helen also commemorates its historic past when the early settlers came to this remote area. A village with mountain heritage and a touch of Bavaria, Helen has created a unique experience for its visitor.
Given that we have always lived in small towns, it's hard to say what is our "fav" since we not only lived with the benefits but the drawbacks. We do prefer a small town over a large one. best set up was when we lived in Whitwell and that was close enough to Chattanooga that we could enjoy the small town but drive into the "city" to enjoy things like restaurants, banking, shopping, museum/Imax.
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:49 AM   #2
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Re: Favorite small town

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Originally Posted by richlindquist
Thanks Lorna! In my searches for good small towns to visit, I stumbled across http://www.smalltowngems.com and one of their favorites was Helen, GA. Looks like a nice place.

Rich
Interesting website,only problem is the "criteria" they use to decide on them

Most small towns don't have all the touristy crap they require

We love little towns and we live in a small town (I guess )
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:00 PM   #3
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Re: Favorite small town

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Originally Posted by bansil
... We love little towns and we live in a small town (I guess )
Yep, I guess that you could call Mtn Ciy, TN "small". Some folks might call it.... tiny!

Elizabethton was pretty neat about some things. There again, we could run into Johnson City for shopping.
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