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WEB EXCLUSIVE! More mountain destinations

Photo courtesy Helen/White County CVB

1.) Helen, Georgia
Step out of Georgia and into a pocket of Bavaria in Helen, Georgia. Even the Bavarian outdoor scenery seems similar with the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding the town instead of the Alps.

Cobblestone alleys, architectural design and Old World towers help to create the ambience of a recreated alpine town. Authentic German fare and imported crafts, such as cuckoo clocks, continue the theme when shopping and dining in downtown. Special events also aid in transporting visitors to Europe with German-themed Volksmarch, Oktoberfest, Alpenfest and Bavarian Nights of Summer.

The northeast Georgia village keeps close ties with its history of Cherokee Indians and early 1920s gold hunters. At Dukes Creek Mines, groups can pan for gold, screen for gems and shop for Native American jewelry.

Local artisans crafting pottery, glass and other artworks line the streets of Helen’s downtown. For a more comprehensive look at art in the region, the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia is the only museum in the nation devoted to this 200-year-old tradition.

The fun doesn’t end in downtown, since Helen’s surrounding by natural beauty in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The forest claims the 150-foot Anna Ruby Falls and plenty of opportunities for hiking the nearby hills.

2.) Lake Placid, New York
The Adirondack Mountains surrounding this mountain destination have long called sportsmen to greatness, since Lake Placid hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1932 and 1980. Today, groups can take advantage of its plethora of outdoor activities of skiing, gondola rides, kayaking, hiking or even try a spine-tingling bobsled ride. 

Majestic mountains against pristine lakes can inspire many to hike some of the more than 200 miles of trails winding through Adirondack Park. During the spring and summer months, another favorite outdoor activity is riding the 17 miles of white water rafting through Hudson River Gorge. Class III, IV, and V rapids ensure plenty of excitement while navigating past mountain scenery, waterfalls, blue heron and bald eagles.

At the Olympic Center and 1932 & 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum, groups can relive the unbelievable story of the 1980 Olympic Games’ “Miracle on Ice” where the amateur American team managed to win the hockey gold medal against all odds. Guided tours and exhibits on the amazing stories surrounding both Olympic games can inspire tourists to try out ice skating, luging or bobsledding at the center or at the Olympic Sports Complex.

For history even further back, the John Brown Farm State Historic Site marks the last home and burial site of the fiery abolitionists. To see exhibits on the inspiring nature surrounding Lake Placid, the Wild Center presents a museum with live animals from the region to get a close look at otters cavorting, fish swimming and birds calling.

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