December 31, 2011
Cleveland & Helen, Georgia
I was first out of bed this morning and decided to get a glass of milk. I poured one, thinking it looked awfully thick, but thought maybe it was just whole milk or something. Right before (thank goodness) taking a drink, I realized we'd bought buttermilk by accident. Projectile vomiting would definitely have been a bad way to start my day!
Everyone finally got up and Jeoff and Josh made us all breakfast, which was awesome, and then we got ready to head out to see what adventures awaited us in Helen, Georgia!
If you've never been to Alpine Helen, GA, it's a neat little town in North Georgia that was redesigned to look like a Bavarian village. I am really not sure why that happened, but there you go. Sometimes the world is weird. Anyway, the whole town was redesigned, and now it's a tourist attraction in the vein of Gatlinburg or Estes Park. There are a lot of shops and restaurants, mostly full of German themed souvenirs. You can find some lovely things there, but there is a certain amount of cheesy crap there too.
It's also a very dog and cat friendly place, and people were walking dogs everywhere. I think I actually made the sound "SQUEEEEE!" I got to pet a few, but there were too many to chase down. One memorable moment was when I sat down to take my foot picture and a giant Burmese Mountain Dog came over and sniffed me. Seriously, these suckers are huge. It came up behind me, so I wasn't expecting it and all I felt was a big, hairy presence. I turned around and saw a mass of fur and a big wet nose, and it scared me to death. It was like being snorfed by a bear.
We shopped, and had an amazing lunch at a very authentic German restaurant called The Old Bavarian Inn. It was seriously delicious. I also learned how to say "ham hock" in German! :) The waitress was so funny! Jeoff speaks German, so he made friends with her, and she took great care of us. I can't remember her name, unfortunately, but we know her son hangs out with Flava Flav! She's not thrilled with that, but since he lives overseas, there is nothing she can do about it and she has resigned herself to that fact. :)
After leaving Helen, we stopped at Habersham Winery, where Josh and Jeoff did a tasting, but the rest of us went over to the antique shop next door. After that we visited the Nora Mill grist mill And Jumping Goat coffee shop across the street, where we looked around and boosted the economy. You know...just doing our part. :)
We had decided to cook out instead of trying to find a restaurant for the evening, so we grilled steaks and watched tv for a while, before breaking out the bag of crackers (which are for Christmas, I know, but still...) and pulling them apart. I've never had so much fun with a pile of cardboard and cheap, plastic toys!
We almost missed midnight, but we managed to get the champagne poured before the ball dropped. :). Everyone got a kiss on the cheek and we walked outside to watch the people down the street shoot off fireworks (i.e. bottle rockets. Shut up, they were magnificent). I think we may have stayed up another hour, all of us sitting in the same room using smart phones & iPads, you know otherwise ignoring each other, and posting dumb things on our various social networking sites. I finally had to go to bed, because apparently the champagne did me in.