Weekend getaway in the mountains . . .

We’re back! :) Last weekend we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary and spent the weekend tucked away in a cozy cabin in Helen, Geogia. The town of Helen is the re-creation of a German alpine village- complete with cobblestone alleys, quaint village shoppes, authentic bakeries and restaurants, and old-world towers. Its quiet location on the Chattahoochee River, nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains, was the perfect spot for our long weekend getaway. :)

I took 2 cameras with me on this trip- my Canon XTi with the 24-70 2.8 L lens and a Sony DSC-H20, a small point a shoot for when I wanted to snap a quick pic and didn’t want to drag out the big camera.

If you’re interested in seeing more information about any of the pics below, like which camera I used, you can click on any of the pictures and it’ll tell you what camera I used and, if it was the Canon, which settings I used, like aperture, shutter speed, etc.

On to the pics! :)

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

The cabin we stayed in had a waterfall in the jacuzzi! And also a waterfall into the hot tub on the porch- my favorite. :D

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

One of the peaceful views near our cabin.

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

On our first morning in Helen, we went to Anna Ruby Falls.

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

The path to the falls was very pretty, and a nice, easy walk.

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

One of the twin falls- this is the one on the right. I’m not sure if this is Anna or Ruby. ;)

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

That afternoon we took the puppies on a hike around the lake at Unicoi State Park. It was a beautiful 2.5 mile hike, and there were lots of places to stop and take in the scenery.

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

Within 5 seconds of being on the trail, Howie finds a mud puddle. And what does he do? Of course he has to lay down in it! :p

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

Oh, Howie.

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

Fortunately, later in the trail, there was a creek for the puppies to play in (and wash off in!!)

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

See? This is a little bit later on the hike. All clean! :)

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

The lake was gorgeous! :) I kept wanting to rent one of the paddle boats, but we ran out of time. :p

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

“Smile shutter” at work on the Sony camera! :) (more on that later! :))

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

The next day was Helton Creek Falls- it was a very short path to get down to the falls, and it had these cute little stairs that took you right down to the base of the falls. :)

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

We spent the morning just lounging by the creek, throwing sticks for the dogs to fetch, and watching the cascades of Helton Creek falls. It was nice and warm later that afternoon, so we rented some tubes and went tubing down the Chattahoochee river!! :) I really wanted to take my camera so I could get a pic of us tubing, but I’m glad I didn’t now- we got SOAKED!! :) I’m not sure the camera would’ve made it. :p But we had fun. :)

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

On our last full day in Helen, we did a longer 5 mile hike up the Raven Cliffs Falls Trail. Early in the hike we came across this heart tree and had to stop for a pic! :)

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

This was one of the falls we came across on the trail. You could get down the base and wade around in the water and also get up to the top and sit on the rocks atop the falls.

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

The Raven Cliffs Falls is a beautiful trail- lots of these little bridges to cross.

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

And Lots of rocks and gnarled roots to maneuver too.

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

Howie bravely crosses the Dodd Creek along the trail.

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

But Miley refuses to come down until someone comes and gets her. ;)

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

One of the upper falls along the trail.

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

This was a very peaceful, tucked away hiding place. We took a break here before going back! :)

Helen Georgia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Twin Falls Cabin, Chattahoochee River, apline village, Anna-Ruby Falls, Helton Creek Falls, Raven Cliff Falls

On our last day before leaving Helen, we took the puppies down to the Chattahoochee River and let them play in the water, fetch sticks, and try to catch the passing tubers. ;)

See more pics from our trip here!

This trip was my first chance to really get to use the Sony DSC-H20 and overall I was pretty pleased with it. Macro mode wasn’t all that impressive- it had a hard time focusing on close up subjects and didn’t really blur the background all that much. The HD video is awesome though. Another cool feature was smile shutter. I could turn it on, set the camera on a rock or something, get in the pic, and when we both smiled, it automatically took the pic. And if we blinked, I didn’t even have to set it up again. If we smiled again, it took another pic without me having to get up and mess with the camera again. Sweet! We used that a *lot*! :) Of course it wasn’t perfect… It had a hard time detecting smiles in low light and from far away, and sometimes even in perfect lighting and perfect closeness to the camera we’d smile… and smile…. and smile really, really, big… And nothing. Then as soon as we’d give up… It snapped the pic. LOL. Of course. But overall it did work really well. :) It has a decent zoom (10x optical), but the camera was still small enough for Kevin to carry around in his pocket while we were hiking. Probably my favorite thing about the camera was “Easy” mode. In Easy mode, it automatically detects whether you’re taking a picture of a landscape, a portrait, macro, back lit, and probably some other modes that I didn’t notice, and it adjusts the settings for that particular pic. It worked great- I kept it on Easy almost the whole time (except when the puppies were playing in the creek, then I put it on Sport/Action). Oh, one more thing- I like how it snapped the pic really fast- not a huge lag like on some digital point and shoots.

Hope you liked the pics! :D Thanks so much for looking!! :)

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66 Comments

Oh Amanda, looks like you had a wonderful time, love the pic of Miley wanting help getting down, looks like she is begging please! Beautiful scenery, we have never been to your part of the country, would love to take a trip there sometime. Thanks for sharing your anniversary!
Barb

Wow! What a great trip! We’ve been to Helen twice and haven’t made it to the falls yet…I’m so happy that you shared your trip photos and cabin pics (that cabin was really great). The dogs are too cute!

Looking forward to seeing you at the Scrapista event!

Absolutely LOVE the first pic w/ the dogs in the bathtub. That looks like an editorial shot! It’s perfect! Should be in some home/architecture mag or something.
thanks for sharing!
-diana

Loved your pictures. I am from Georgia so that was like taking a trip home for me. I’ve been to the falls, and Helen and stayed in the cabins with the jacuzzi’s up there. I just loved it ! It was just a reminder what a beautiful place Georgia really is.

Your pictures are great. I am from Texas and have never been to Georgia but this just might be my next vacation. BEAUTIFUL!
Thanks for sharing.

Amanda, I love your comments and the photos (and info) that you share! Will you be posting photos of the town, too, later on? It sounds so scenic.

Well, again Congrats on your anniversary! Looks like you enjoyed your trip. I enjoyed seeing your beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing them with us.
I have only driven through Georgia on the way to Florida and your pics make me want to visit that area. I love hiking. You would love the Upper Peninsula in Michigan….come visit some time! Tahquamenon Falls is beautiful. Puppies are welcome!

I’m not the outdoorsy type…but it sure looks beautiful enough for me to want to try it! LOL. Looks like the pups sure had fun!

What a great place to get away! The pictures are even relaxing to look at. Makes you feel like you’re there! The dogs look like they are having a blast!

Happy Anniversary !! Seven is a great number, keep going. Dogs are wonderful, love their harness. Enjoy your summer.

Love the pictures. Thanks so much for sharing. Looks like the babies had a great time, too. Have a good weekend.

Beautiful Pictures!! My Anniversary was last weekend as well (6th wedding Anniversary on the 30th). So glad you guys (all of you) had a good time!

Great photos! Love the waterfalls too – especially beautiful. Looks like the dogs had a great time too.
How fun to have a waterfall in the jacuzzi. Thanks for sharing and Happy anniversary!

Wow! Sounds like you had fun! What a great way to celebrate an anniversary. I loved the pics and the info you shared about your trip and the cameras :) The dogs are so cute, that is so funny about Howie and the mudpuddle. We had a golden retriever that did that when he was hot. Talk about a hairy ball of mud! That’s neat that you were able to take them with you, how fun!

gorgeous pictures, as always! congratulations on your seven year anniversary! kinda funny – we were in ellijay/blue ridge, ga last weekend celebrating our anniversary as well! this was our second year in celebrating in that area and we plan to go every year (and this year we did bring the dogs – our girls – as well!). if you don’t have one already, i highly recommend the remote for your XTi. i picked mine up for maybe $30, and it’s been my best friend ever since! no more setting the time, running to get in the picture, waiting for the shutter, running back to check/reset, repeated as necessary. my pictures are no where near as beautiful as yours…you’ve set a wonderful standard for me to work towards. =)

What a beautiful place for a romantic getaway. Looks like you and the dogs had a blast. I love the pictures of them in the tub, so cute.

wow looks like a great little getaway!!
congrats on your anniversary ♥♥♥

i love your photos. i was thinking about getting a point and shoot camera to take away with us, i think it would come in handy alot:-) i love your waterfall photos, they look great.

http://www.jacquiandjeff.com

wow looks like a great little getaway!! i’m glad you had fun:-)
congrats on your anniversary ♥♥♥

i love your photos. i was thinking about getting a point and shoot camera to take away with us, i think it would come in handy alot:-) i love your waterfall photos, they look great.

http://www.jacquiandjeff.com

Thank you for sharing this. It looks like so much fun. My husband and I love to get out and hike. I have the bigger Sony Cybershot and have been looking for a smaller camera to keep in my small handbag. I think this would be perfect for that. Thanks again.

Amanda your pictures are BEAUTIFUL and your vacation looks like it was amazing! Thanks so much for sharing!
Happy belated anniversary!

What a beautiful place to get-away to. Love the pictures knowing the shutter speeds (thanks for the tips). The pups look like they had a wonderful time too! Happy Anniversary!!

Found your blog through Polka Dot Mom! Love your pictures – you must have a fantastic camera, along with a fantastic eye. :) I LOVE Helen, my inlaws live in Hayesville, NC, about 45 minutes from Helen – hubby and I always escape to Helen for a day or two when we are in town. lol

I enjoyed looking through the great pictures! Happy Anniversary!

I was wondering if you might have any dog training tips. Your two pups seem so well behaved in every picture and you don’t even have to put them on a leash outside…incredible! Any help or direction to go in would be appreciated! Thanks!!

I’m so glad you guys had a good time! The pictures look so lovely, it must have been really beautiful out there!

I have absolutely NO idea about cameras.. I have a Cannon Powershot that’s about 2 years old and it’s great, but I don’t know if it’s an SLR or point and shoot or what the differences are! I LOVE to scrapbook and I want a new camera to provide better pictures, but I’m clueless with what I need in one or what to look for. I would like a camera that doesn’t take forever and a year to take the picture… and perhaps a better zoom! ANY ADVICE? HELLLLP!!!!!!!

Hey Amanda! Great photos!! Don’t know if you remember me but I wrote you an email back in April, I’m from Vancouver, Canada, and I am such a fan of your site :o) My hubby and I are coming up to our 1st year wedding anniversary in August and I just wanted to let you know how you have inspired us to do a long-weekend getaway tradition too to celebrate our special days! What a great idea, so romantic and yet doesn’t have to be expensive. That place where you stayed in Georgia though looks absolutely gorgeous!

I do have one photog question: I have a Canon XS with just the lens that came with the kit, and whenever I am taking pictures in bright direct daylight even when my meter tells me it’s a correct exposure on manual mode, my subject always turns out dark. How do I avoid this? Any tips would be so appreciated :o)

~Danna

Congratulations on your anniversary and thank you so much for sharing the pics. My fiance and I have been on the lookout for a honeymoon location- we are both very outdoorsy- and this is exactly what we have been looking for!

Amanda

Thanks for sharing your pics of your trip. You have great photography skills!

Howie and Miley are soooo adorable! I have a Jack Russell/Rat terrier named Samson. He is also black and white. I just love your dogs.

Marilyn in Tennessee

I live in Helen and it is easy to take the beauty of our town for granted, thanks for posting those pics. I might go up to Helton Creek tomorrow after seeing them. Next time your here take a ride up Richard B Russell scenic highway (it’s close to were you get in to tube) It is beautiful and it will take you to Brasstown Bald and Hiawassee which are equally pretty. Glad you enjoyed your trip!

Amanda,
It looks so cool and refreshing! I live in Gilbert Arizona and I miss the moisture of the East! You picked a really nice place for your anniversary trip.

My husband and I celebrated an anniversary at the Bowrown Lakes in British Columbia and that was so gorgeous and peaceful. We camped and canoed there.

Happy Anniversary!

p.s. Your “oh Howie” picture made me laugh!

Hey… what a wonderful vaca. I agree, the first photo with the pups is SO Architectural Digest cover material!!!
Dana (Comment #40)left you a question I had too, can you send me what you replied to her!?!?!?

DId you photoshop the waterfall photo to get the water to be a soft blur and not the rest of the photo???

LOL Stefany! You crack me up. :) Here’s what I sent Danna :)

“On your camera, set your metering to partial or spot metering (check the manual for how to do this, it may not have spot metering, but if it does, use that). Then, get right up in your subject’s face, don’t let much of anything else be in the picture (it doesn’t have to be in focus), and set the exposure based on that. Then you can back up and frame the picture however you want and use the settings you got from their face. You may have to adjust if it’s a little too bright after you take the first pic.”

For the blur on the waterfall, I used a tripod and set the shutter speed to 1/4 (what is that, 1/4th of a second?). You can see the rest of the settings here if you want. :)

Hi Amanda – I found your website by complete accident – So glad that I did. Great info and photos. Thanks. Paige

Wow…beautiful pictures! We live very close to Helen and go camping there often. I must say that your pictures really capture the beauty of N. Ga better than any I have ever seen. Glad you enjoyed your trip and Happy (belated) Anniversary!

I have really enjoyed finding your blog today and I am a very good armchair traveler. I used that word again this afternoon with the Fabulous Lollishops followers!

I wish I was shabby enough to join, I admire all of you!

Now, your hike with your dogs was so fun, Thanks so much for letting me share in your experience. I know my Dog “Emma” would love it also! Your photos are awesome! I use to be able to hike like you and your dear hubby, never take anything for granted!

I look forward to seeing more of you in the future and will go back to re-visit what I just saw, I believe and I also will share yoiur site with my dear Husband also who is sleeping now. Smiles, Cyndi

I have been perusing your blog and loving your stories and photographs, especially Miley & Howie. They are too adorable. I have not been to Helen, GA since 1987 and seeing all these photos makes me think I need to plan a trip southeast vs. northwest later this summer/fall. I look forward to reading more adventures of Kevin, Amanda, Howie & Miley!!!

I love your pictures. My husband and I got often to Anna Ruby Falls. we live about an hour from there. It is beautiful there.

just found your site via your free fonts. thanks for sharing!!
i know those georgia hikes!!! my husband and i lived in dahlonega for 2 years almost 20 years ago. wow…i remember my first rapel (did i spell that right?). it was raven cliff falls!! 100 feet down!! i was only 25 and not very afraid. could i do that today???? no way.
also blood mountain is a AWESOME hike. i miss those times. that was way before kids…..and my husband and i hiked all the time. georgia mountains are gorgeous. love your photos. you just took me back!!
happy anniversary.
sue

Hi Amanda,

First of all, I am so thrilled that I stumbled upon your fantastic blogs and websites. I am anxious to try, as well as purchase creative things from you for my blog.

But I also wanted to ask you if you could share the name of the cabin business that you stayed with your hubbie for your anniversary in Helen, GA.

My hubbie and I went there for the first time last summer (to get out of the Carolina summer heat) and we stayed in a pretty run down place. However, we really enjoyed the Helen area and would like to return. So if you don’t mind sharing the name of the place that you stayed, I’d greatly appreciate it!

Great work and thank you!
Roz (bella)

You really have to take the hike down to Dukes Creek, It’s just about ten minutes outside of Helen. The hike is just a tad over a mile long, but it’s a mild incline, and your in cool shade most of the time. Once you get to the falls, they are just as inviting as Anna Ruby. You should also try camping at Unicoi, camp at site #59 in the Laurel Ridge section. that puts you a few hundred feet from access to Unicoi lake with a awesome fishing dock. The tent sites are all nicely shaded with big trees, and camping down at site # 59 puts you right next door to the ampitheatre

Amanda, I loved the pics. My husband and I are wanting a weekend trip for our anniversary and this looks like its the place for us. I was interested in the cabin you stayed in. I am looking for a cabin with a jaccuzi inside and outside, could you please let me know exactly which cabin to reserve.Thank You so much.Happy Anniversary.
Thanks.

Hey! I’m super new to your blog but I absolutely love it! :) You have so many great ideas! :) WOW! I was wondering how you took those wonderful pictures of the falls?? What setting did you put your camera on? I’ve been trying to do this with mine forever and I can’t figure it out! :) Slow shutter speed? I don’t know…please let me know your secrets! :) Thanks!

What a glorious trip. I now want to visit Helen for a getaway with my sweetheart. Maybe next January (2011) when we have our 7th anniversary. :o) May HIS face shine upon you.

I got to your blog from another blog.I clicked on the photo of your mountain trip as one of my daughters took me on vacation in July.We stayed in a cabin in Blairsville,with a hot tub in the loft(but no waterfall)and had a great time with lots of day trips including Knoxville,Chatnoogna,Blue Ridge,and Helen.We are both in a photo club and got lots of photos.I loved your photos of the scenery,especially the falls.

Amanda, would you be willing the share the exact cabin you rented while on this vacation? The photo with your puppies in the tub is wonderful! This year My guy and I are celebrating our 30th anniversary and I would love to visit Helen. Thanks for your blog, I enjoy your photography! Linda