Serenity Cellars, Helen GA Side Streets, 12 Spies Vineyards

by | Dec 2, 2023

Serenity Cellars, Helen GA Side Streets, 12 Spies Vineyards

This is our last week in the North Georgia mountains for this year. The Fall scenery has been a great treat and we’re traveling to Serenity Cellars, Helen GA Side Streets, 12 Spies Vineyards, some of our favorite locations.

Serenity Cellars, Cleveland, GA

I took a short trip from the campground and stopped at Serenity Cellars, one of our favorite wineries located in the Cleveland, GA. We found Serenity Cellars several year ago as we traveled the area looking for the different styles of wines created by the local vintners.

The Serenity Cellar’s tasting room is located on a large hillside with both indoor and outdoor seating. Weekends are always special with musical entertainment along with the great wines offered. We often bring food and spend a while enjoying the wine and talented singers. But, on this visit I stopped by mid-week when less crowded to talk with the Edwardo who is the resident sommelier. Edwardo took me on a tasting journey of their delicious wines and of course, good conversation.

I couldn’t leave Serenity Cellars without wine for the holidays. Always a great visit.

The Side Streets of Helen, GA

A trip to North Georgia wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the pretty Bavarian village of Helen, GA. We have traveled here for years and watched as it has transitioned into one of the more popular locations in the area with people visiting from all across the world. This year, I wanted to do something a little different and spend the afternoon visiting some of the side streets around Helen to experience what the village had to offer other than the typical shops, restaurants, and Oktoberfest Halls.

Helen Arts & Heritage Center
I stopped first at Helen Arts & Heritage Center to take in the wears from many of the local craft persons. The Center has a wide assortment of quality painting, jewelry, pottery and much more on display with each item available for purchase.

I also had the opportunity to speak with one of the local jewelry makers who shared her experience and also gave me a tour of the center. Make sure you catch her sharing her craft in the video below.

Helen Glass Blowing Shop
The staff at the Arts Center suggested I stop at the Helen Glass Blowing Shop to see the many pieces of glass art made locally. I was treated by the local glass blower making a number of items. I also found unique jewelry created in the shop and couldn’t leave without purchasing a piece for Joan. You should have seen Joan when I surprised her with a unique turquoise necklace and matching earrings.

Nora Mill Granary Grist Mill & Country Store
I also stopped at the Nora Mill Granary Grist Mill & Country Store to tour the grain making process and of course, purchase some fresh ground corn meal and buckwheat pancake mix.

Nora Mill Granary is an operational gristmill built in 1876 and is located on the edge of the Chattahoochee River on the outskirts of Helen. The mill is unique, not powered by a vertical water wheel, but uses a water turbine fed by a 100 ft. wooden raceway. During many of the weekends, you can visit the Granary and see the mill in action.

It’s wonderful that the third and fourth generation of the Fain family continue to operate the mill providing high quality milled corn products and allowing visitors to experience this historic general store and granary.

12 Spies Vineyards, Rabun Gap, GA

Much has changed in Raburn Gap, GA along with the nearby villages of Clayton and Dillard since my first visit in 1980. A few years out of the US Air Force and then college, I was working for the Continental Telephone Company who served over 1,400 rural telephone companies operating in 31 states. I was a central office technician and part of the team converting this area to digital telephone.

I fell in love with these North Georgia mountains – the beautify of the rolling hills, the lifestyle and pace of the mountains, and the friendly people who treated me as one of their own. Much has changed over the years and the area has grown offering a wide range of real estate options and service businesses.

One addition to the North Georgia mountains has been wine making. The area has attracted a variety of vineyard growers and wine makers each offering their unique approach to wine making as well as tasting rooms. One of our favorites is 12 Spies Vineyards. We have become friends with Shelly and Mike Brown, vintners and owners of this winery. They have transformed their piece of a valley into a beautiful tasting room and outdoor space treating visitors to that unique experience of local wine, beautiful landscape, and on the weekends local entertainment talent. And on our last day in the North Georgia mountains, we were able to again experience a great Saturday, spending time with our friends all while enjoying great 12 Spies Vineyards wine and song from Teddy Baker.

This season for North Georgia is over, but we know much more lies ahead. Joan and I often find ourselves counting the days until we return and hope you too will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful North Georgia mountains in the near future.

serenity cellars, helen ga, 12 spies vineyards
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