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On the rare day that you are not outside or at a festival, shopping may be an appealing alternative. Helen's downtown may be your first and only stop--it's got everything you didn't know you wanted or needed, from steins to cuckoo clocks to handmade candles. On Main St., you'll find some of Helen's most popular shops, including Nacoochee Village Antiques (selling, of course, all kinds of antiques) and plenty of gift shops, including Betty's Country Store, a must-see, unique country store that'll stock your mini-fridge with eats from the past and present. Also worth visiting is the House of Tyrol for high-quality German gifts and goods. Main St. is also the destination for many of Helen's theme shops, including the Scandinavian Import Company, Music Box Plus, The Enchanted Castle (where you can even buy gargoyles), The Christmas Shoppe, and the Alpine Stamp Shop. For a mostly complete list of shops downtown, visit this website.
You might also find the Alpine Village Shops worth your time; these national and specialty stores are located between Edelweiss Dr. and Main St. and include several outlet stores and tons of specialty shops selling candles, rugs, afghans, art, furniture and crafts.
Take a short drive south to the community of Sautee (Ga Hwy. 384) to see The Gourd Place. It's both a shop and museum dedicated to all things gourd (decor, tools, musical instruments.) They have a specially patented pottery made from molding the clay inside gourds. A must see for pottery fans. (Free admission to museum, but donations accepted.)