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Summer Vacation (& Engagement!) in Helen, Georgia

It’s been three weeks since Adam and I got engaged. You would think I would have shared the story by now but I jumped right into wedding mode and haven’t looked back since. (No, really. Our March wedding is practically planned. I don’t mess around!) But I wanted to document the story, even if for my own memories. Sometimes you forget the little details that makes the story so meaningful. This is our engagement story, starting from the beginning.

Adam and I wanted to take a Summer vacation so we started planning a trip to Helen, Georgia, a small Alpine inspired town in the mountains. Two days unplugged in a cabin in the Georgia mountains sounded like a dream and I couldn’t wait to nestle into that little city for some much needed R&R with my sweetheart.

Helen, Georgia

Two days before our trip, Adam and I realized we’d overlooked an important detail in our cabin rental agreement and we panicked that our vacation would be over before it began. But thankfully the staff at Blue Ridge Cabin Rentals was SUPER nice and worked with us to solve the problem. Our vacation was still a go!

We left Jacksonville Saturday evening and make the long five hour drive to Adam’s parents’ house in Georgia. We stayed there for the night and drove 3 hours Sunday morning to Helen.

Helen, Georgia

The city was bustling with tourists as we made our way to our cabin at the outskirts of town. Renting a cabin was the best decision we made the whole trip and totally worth the money. The small studio style cabin was perfect for two and complete with a back deck and hot tub. (We stayed in Angler’s Haven, in case you were wondering. Seriously, cannot recommend Blue Ridge Cabin Rentals enough.)

Blue Ridge Cabin Rentals in Helen, Georgia

Blue Ridge Cabin Rentals in Helen, Georgia

Blue Ridge Cabin Rentals in Helen, Georgia

Blue Ridge Cabin Rentals in Helen, Georgia

Blue Ridge Cabin Rentals in Helen, Georgia

Blue Ridge Cabin Rentals in Helen, Georgia

That night, we found ourselves sipping German beer at a restaurant called Bodensee. After browsing the menu, we decided we’re more fans of German beer than food. We sheepishly asked the bartender for his local recommendations and he guided us to Spice 55, a Thai fusion restaurant located at the entrance of town.

Bodensee Restaurant in Helen, Georgia

Bodensee Restaurant in Helen, Georgia

The food at Spice 55 was AMAZING, probably the best meal we had the whole vacation. I had crab wontons and Pad King, a ginger chicken dish. Adam had a lamb in basil dish that he devoured. Definitely worth the long walk back into the city.

Spice 55 Restaurant in Helen, Georgia

Spice 55 Restaurant in Helen, Georgia

We stopped by the King Ludwig’s Biergarten after dinner for another German beer (or two). There was a great two piece band playing and the weather was cool and breezy. We made our way back to the cabin, hopped in the hot tub for all of two minutes before realizing it was not the right season for hot tubs, and sipped on wine before turning in for the night.

King Ludwig's Biergarten in Helen, Georgia

King Ludwig's Biergarten in Helen, Georgia

Monday morning we woke up with headaches (I guess German beer and wine don’t mix very well, ouch!) but powered through and headed out to find adventure. We decided to go ziplining at Cool River Ziplines. The ziplines were fun and Adam learned something new about me – I hate heights. Yikes! (But I wasn’t about to chicken out!)

Cool River Ziplines in Helen, Georgia

Cool River Ziplines in Helen, Georgia

Afterwards we stopped for lunch at Bigg Daddy’s, a sports bar kind of restaurant with giant burgers and yummy quesadillas.

Bigg Daddy's Restaurant in Helen, Georgia

By this time, the rush of the city was gone so we decided to grab our swimsuits and hit the river for some tubing.

Cool River Tubing in Helen, Georgia

Cool River Tubing in Helen, Georgia

The tubing brought out the inner child in Adam. The rapids were fairly fast in one particular part of the river (the water was low from the heat so I use the term “rapids” very loosely) and Adam must have went down the same rapid five times, laughing hysterically each time, before moving on down the river.

Once we reached the end of the river, we rode back to our car and changed into dry clothes. Adam was insistent that we hike one of the mountains. After driving around for 30 minutes, we finally found the Mount Yonah trail head.

Now, let’s get a few things straight. Adam is an Eagle Scout. He grew up camping and hiking mountains. He’s also enjoys running. *Shudder.* I can be high maintenence and I’m certainly not a runner or hiker, especially when it’s hot as Hades outside. BUT, since he carried on and on about hiking the damn mountain, I agreed to go along. Continue…

Hiking Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia

Hiking Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia

We started up the mountain and almost immediately I regretted my decision. It was hot. There were bugs and the threat of a bear attack. And it turns out, it’s a lot harder to hike a mountain than I thought. Early into the hike we passed a couple of guys who obviously knew what they were doing. They told us the top of the mountain was about three miles up and totally worth the effort. Yeah. Right.

Hiking Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia

The whole time we’re hiking this mountain, I complained. It’s hot. I’m tired. You better be taking me somewhere good for dinner. Nag nag nag. Let’s stop and take a picture, aka I’m exhausted and need a break. We FINALLY make it to the halfway overlook of the mountain and I am beat. Convinced I’ll never be able to make it down, I fought to catch my breath and chugged the last little bit of water we had. (Great, we’re out of water.)

Hiking Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia

I worked to find a “tripod” for my camera and used the strap to wrap it around a tree. I’d brought my camera remote like I normally do when it’s just the two of us so I could get some photos of us on the edge of this mountain. Proof I did in fact hike. I finished setting up the camera and took a few test shots.

Hiking Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia

Once everything was the way I wanted it, I climbed on the rock next to Adam and snapped a few more photos. Four or five photos into our “usie” session and Adam sticks his hand out. Stuck on one of his fingers is the prettiest diamond ring I have ever seen. (Ok, maybe I’m a little biased.) I believe my exact words to him were, “SHUT UP.” And I burst into tears. He never got down on one knee or even officially asked me, but then again, that’s not his style.

Hiking Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia

Hiking Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia

Hiking Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia

(Completely unaware of what is to come, an unknowing smooch before the proposal, and right after the proposal.)

Here I was standing on the side of a mountain, hot and sweaty looking like a hot mess, entranced by this beautiful ring and the giant grin plastered across Adam’s face. Little did I know, he’d been carrying the ring around in a little bottle all weekend. Best. Proposal. Ever.

Hiking Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia

Hiking Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia

Hiking Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia

Is this real life? It took me a few minutes to convince myself it was real life. We shot a few more photos with my camera but my favorite picture is this one Adam snapped with his phone.

Hiking Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia

He immediately drafted a text message with the photo and sent it to all of our closest friends and family. WE’RE ENGAGED! Then the real story started to unfold. Poppie went with Adam to pick the ring out. Nana had seen the ring. And Adam of course met my dad with the ring to get his approval. (Dad cried when he saw the ring. I cried when I heard the story. Our wedding is going to be a giant cry fest.) Adam even told a few of his family members. He knew he wanted to propose sometime during the trip, but he wasn’t sure when. He joked that he wanted to see how far I would go for him. Up a mountain, apparently!

Hiking Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia

Thankfully the hike down the mountain was much easier than the hike up. Or maybe I just floated on a cloud the whole way down. Either way, by the time we made it back to the car, my cell phone had exploded with congratulatory texts. Everyone was geniunely excited for us. My girlfriends couldn’t wait to see the ring. And I couldn’t wait to get back to the cabin to put it on Facebook. (So much for being unplugged, haha!)

engaged-fb

We showered and headed out for dinner. By that time it was after 9pm and most places were closed so we ended up at the one restaurant everyone told us not to go to… and it was terrible and overpriced just like they’d said. Oh well.

On Tuesday morning we sadly packed up our cabin and left Helen, but not before stopping by the local winery on the way out for some souvenier glasses and wine. (Wine tasting at 9am? Everything goes on vacation!)

Habersham Winery in Helen, Georgia

I spent the three hour car ride admiring my ring and mentally planning our wedding. (Who am I kidding? I’m a girl, the wedding has been planned forever!) I love that our proposal story is unique. I love that Adam came up with a fun way to ask me. I loved our trip, sweaty difficult moutain hiking included.

And now I can’t wait for March 21, 2015 when I say “I do” to the man of my dreams, my knight in digiblue camis on his trusty Harley.

11 thoughts on “Summer Vacation (& Engagement!) in Helen, Georgia”

  1. Yay! Congratulations again! You’ll be glad you have this all written down and documented. It’s fun to look back on it all because there’s tiny details you forget over time, but this will remind you and make you smile all over again 🙂

  2. I’m a sucker for an awesome engagement story and this one is no different; Love the he carried the ring around in a small bottle all weekend. So very happy for you and Adam, the ring IS gorgeous and I know you’re wedding will be lovely. <3

  3. congratulations! when the other hikers told you that it’d be worth going to the top for, it was almost like they were giving you a hint. 😉

  4. Congratulations, Erin & Adam. This story was amazing, as I’m sure your marriage will be. I can’t think of a more romantic place (or time) to propose than the top of Mt. Yonah. We here at VisitHelen.org wish you health, happiness & lots of precious memories to come!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and comment. We had a great time in Helen and will definitely be back, especially now that it holds a special place in our hearts. 🙂

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