Small town, big draw

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Helen is one of Georgia's most-visited destinations

  • This sketch by the late artist John Kollock depicts Alpine Helen as it is today.
    This sketch by the late artist John Kollock depicts Alpine Helen as it is today.
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Who would’ve thought that a town covering just over 2 square miles with a population of less than 600 people would be one of the most visited cities in Georgia?

State tourism research director Ashley Barfield said the Northeast Georgia Mountain Region, which includes White County, is the fourth-most visited region, with 7.29 million domestic visitors in 2017. This follows the Atlanta metro area, the Georgia coast and the historic heartland.

On the state’s tourism website, ExploreGeorgia.org, the Helen city page is in the top 10 landing pages for the website quite often, according to Barfield.

Helen also has the most visitors out of all the cities in the Northeast Georgia Mountains region, said Jerry Brown, executive director of the Alpine Helen/White County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Helen is something special,” said Georgia Deputy Commissioner for Tourism Kevin Langston. “It’s unique, it’s beautiful and it has something for everyone — great food and drink, outdoor adventure and the Bavarian theming that is fun without being over-the-top. In total, it makes for a great visitor experience that appeals to a wide audience.”