With German-spiced restaurants, Old World towers and balconies, and specialty and import shops tucked along its strasses and platzes, gingerbread-trimmed Helen is a storybook re-creation of an alpine village perched alongside the Chattahoochee River in the Blue Ridge Mountains. These three free things to do will help make a visit there affordable for a family.

Here are three free things to do in Helen, Ga., on your next family vacation.

1. Glass Mountain Gallery is the home of fine art glass artisans Phillip and Janine Shelby. For a limited time each year the Shelbys open their studio and gallery to the public to give glass blowing demonstrations and tours of the facilities to see the furnaces operating at 2400 degrees and the cold shop where cutting, grinding and polishing of art glass takes place.


2. Gourd Place is a free museum of handcrafted gourd products that date back more than 30 years, retail shops and a wildflower-strewn nature trail around the lake. Buildings are handicap-accessible.

3. Habersham Winery has been producing wines since 1983, Habersham Winery is one of Georgia’s oldest. Sample wines in the  testing room which offers views of the tank room, oak barrel room and bottling line.