Bright and early we headed out this morning, excited for a full day of exploring. Of course we had to stop at Starbucks first for some coffee, and it was there that they directed us to Big Bear Cafe for breakfast, a local mom and pop place. This restaurant is located next to the train station and you know that you are in a small town when you walk in and half of the people in there say “Good Morning”. Breakfast was cheap and delicious and I think that Andy had some of the best cheesy hash browns I have ever had…yum!
After our bellies were full, we drove over to Toccoa, Ga to see the famous Currahee Mountain. Andy has been talking about this mountain since we saw the first episode of Band of Brothers when the soldiers were in training. Here’s a little history tidbit… In 1942 the 506th Parachute Infantry received their training at the foot of Currahee and began each day by running 3 miles up the mountain and 3 miles back down. The regimental patch that they wore had the word Currahee and an outline of the mountain on it. There battle cry was “Currahee”. Boys who became Men and Brothers in war, as a result of their training in this unit, were from all walks of life and all parts of the United States. Every year they have a race to the top of the mountain and back and every year Andy asks me if I want to run it.
We stopped at the Military Museum first. Just Andy and Davy went through the museum, Matty and I played outside; he needed to do a little running. We wandered into the gift shop and then set off to drive to the top of the mountain. It was a slow dirt road, but the views were beautiful.
After we left the mountain, we headed west towards Helen. I have been hearing about this town for years but have never had the opportunity to visit it…so this trip is the perfect opportunity.
Helen is a unique town in that it is a re-creation of an alpine village. It is complete with cobblestone alleys, old-world towers, buildings that have gingerbread trim, and scenes painted throughout of Bavaria and North Georgia. One of the things that it is most known for is that it has the longest running Oktoberfest in the country; running from September 22 to October 30. “Oktoberfest you say???” and Andy was in.
There is really only one road in and out of Helen and the traffic was not fun at all. We stopped to get some cash, and decided that the bank drive through teller was just as good as anywhere to park, so we did. We did one quick walk through of the town and then decided to put our name on the wait list at the troll tavern and restaurant. While we waited the boys played in the river and we settled in with an ice-cold draft beer. For lunch, there really wasn’t any other option…we had to go with the combo wurst platter…delicious! After lunch we wandered around a little more and then decided to head out. It was unique and fun…but crowded.