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The town plaza in Helen, Ga.

Nearly 3 million visitors annually come to this replica German alpine village in the northeast Georgia mountains about 125 miles from Chattanooga.

Helen contains the nation's longest-running Oktoberfest, as well as other unique Bavarian traditions.

Visitors also can hike to witness the 153-foot falls in Unicoi State Park and see a variety of bears, exotic snakes and lizards at a local animal park.

Sources: UnicoiStatePark.org; The Greater Helen Area Chamber of Commerce

MEET HELEN

* The town was founded in 1913.

* Helen was renovated into an alpine village beginning in 1968, when a group of local businessmen met to discuss how to revive their town.

* The population was 532 as of 2014.

* Helen claims its Oktoberfest, which was started in 1970, is the longest-running in the United States.

PROST!

The annual Oktoberfest commemorates an 1810 royal wedding in Bavaria.

Helen’s 2017 event will be held Sept. 7-10, Sept. 14-17, Sept. 21-24 and Sept. 28-Oct. 29. German-style bands from across the country, and even the world, come to the Helen Festhalle. Admission is $8 Monday-Friday, $10 on Saturdays and free on Sundays. (1047 Edelweiss St.; 706-878-1908; helenchamber.com/Helen/Oktoberfest.html)

GOES GOOD WITH DRINK

* There are numerous dining choices in Helen, but if you’re craving German cuisine, try Hofbrauhaus Restaurant and Lounge and don’t pass on their pretzels. (9001 N. Main St.; 706-878-2248)

* For a change of pace, visit the North Georgia Barbeque Company. (663 Edelweiss St.; 706-878-5753)

FALL IN LOVE

* Anna Ruby Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest cascades along two creeks. Enjoy breathtaking views at Curtis Creek falls, a 153-foot drop, and York Creek falls, a 50-foot drop. Visitors can hike a half-mile paved trail to view both falls.

* More adventurous hikers can trek the 4.6-mile Smith Creek Trail. Picnic along the creek or buy snacks and drinks in the visitor center and gift shop. Hours are 9 a.m. to dusk daily. Admission for the falls is $3 per vehicle. (3455 Anna Ruby Falls Road; 706-878-3574)

 

 

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