Last year when we had to live 2000 miles apart while we piecemeal moved from Las Vegas to Nashville. He flew in early and we had dinner at The Old Steakhouse inside the Opryland Hotel, but the actual day, we spent most of the day texting love notes back and forth.
Then there was our first anniversary where I was in the hospital for nine weeks. The week-long Hawaiian cruise we planned was being enjoyed by his brother and my best friend so it wouldn't go to waste. The day of, he arranged with my nurses to ferret me out of the room. When I returned, Hawaiian music was playing, a tiki head was blowing bubbles, and blowup palm trees filled the room. We feasted on Hawaiian pork and he danced with me in my wheelchair.
For this latest anniversary, I remembered him going on and on about a little town called Helen, GA (Though, I kept mistakenly calling it Helena.)
The town is sweetly Bavarian and you can find wooden shoes and trinkets from Germany even in the grocery store. The German bakery near the far end of town has a raised porch and succulent pastries. Eating the popovers became my cardio for the day.
We had been asking around from the first day about where the best meal was. Everyone said Bodensee. Secretly, I was worried because I had been to my fair share of tourist-popular restaurants that were as bland as Olive Garden. The upside I knew would be that German food generally has no peppers - of which I'm very allergic - so I wouldn't have to worry about my lunch revisiting me later (nor me visiting a hospital.)
We went for lunch to avoid crowds, so we had plenty of time to strike up a conversation with our delightful (and heavily pregnant) waitress, who was extremely sweet and super helpful. My husband knows his way around a German menu, having spent many visits there, but I needed help.
Being used to places that skimp on portions, we over ordered. But it was worth it. We had plenty for a late snack in our hotel.
When we asked out waitress about places to go to celebrate, she told us about the weekly bingo game that all the locals go to, just behind our hotel. Since my husband had never played bingo (and I mean n.e.v.e.r.,) it was tons of fun for both of us. The locals helped us with our cards and were inviting (even when I won the coverall jackpot - the big win of the night!) We went back the next day and left a "finder's fee" for our waitress.
Granted, during the day, the place is a bit nondescript, but the people make up for it. They are welcoming, sweet, and genuinely want you to have a good time.
Every time we are in town, we will be back.
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