LIVING THE DREAM, Part 22: “Helen. Georgia, An Alpine Melting-Pot”

June 20, 2018

Day 2 of “Playing Tourist”‘

Helen, Georgia

After all of us slept late, we piled into our Subaru around noon and headed south to  Helen, Georgia. Settled in 1969, according to a sign that greeted us as we entered the city limits, Helen is an Alpine village decorated Bavarian-style. Even the Dollar General Store followed suit by decorating the outside of its store in the Bavarian theme.

After parking in one of their lots which vary from $2 to $5 (depending on their distance to main activities), all five of us spilled out of the car to stroll the shops.

The first stop was Wildewood, conveniently located near our parking lot. This shop was one of my favorites as it offered a variety of merchandise that was a little out of the ordinary.  Besides for t-shirts galore, its shelves were stocked with one of my ‘addictions’:  purses of every size. Clutches, wallets, backpacks and shoulder bags were made of leather. Thankfully, since I had recently purchased a large, lightweight backpack at Wal-Mart, I was able to resist a backpack hurling itself into my quivering arms. At a counter across the aisle from the purses was another addiction: jewelry. Rings, earrings, and necklaces and even tiny glass boxes for rings were displayed in a rainbow of colors.

Another shop Bonnie, her teens, and I prowled while Jeff took a phone call was Tim’s Wooden Toyshop. As we prowled around in there, I wished my grandchildren were still little when I saw a wooden baby rattle sanded down to a smooth, satiny finish.

Next, we crossed the street to Dreamcatcher’s, an import store specializing in Native American jewelry. As I had misplaced the toe ring I bought in Port Aransas, Texas, I succumbed to a selection of toe (or “pinky”) rings and picked out one with an opal and sterling silver band in the shape of a sideways cross. It was almost an exact match to a ring and earrings I found, four years ago, in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Saving the best for last, we hopped back into the car and drove around the corner to Betty’s Country Store, located on Yonah St. For souvenirs, gifts, wine, groceries, and a delicatessen where you can order fresh deli sandwiches, salads, potato chips seasoned with pink Himalayan salt and more basic flavors, and HUMONGOUS cookies big enough  to share. As far as drinks, we reached into an old-fashioned Coca-Cola cooler and pulled out iced-down, bottled soft drinks. Betty’s definitely caters to all tastes. After we feasted on custom-made submarine sandwiches, chicken-and-dumplings, potato chips, cookies, fruit salad, and drinks, we were instructed to tell the cashiers what we had and pay them later.

Having shopped in these three stores, and more, we were ready to go home and flop out on the closest couch or bed we could find.

The two days that Bonnie, Hannah, and Brayden spent at our campground have really been fun. Even Russet got in on some extra loving from Brayden who took a special shine to her. After they packed the rest of their bags into the Ford, we hugged before they pulled out around  5:00 a.m.

Now, it’s back to the camp-hosting business. After the adventures of the past two days, I came away with stories-in-the-making and characters waiting to be born. Little do those people we ran into suspect that one of them could wind up in one of my books.

For our next adventure, I’m thinking I’d like to explore the waterfalls in this area. Who knows? There are at least two beautiful falls: “High Shoals” and “Anna Ruby”.

Stay tuned for my next adventure in “LIVING THE DREAM”.