What a cool roadtrip! I've covered a lot of those roads and places myself. And plan to again real soon!
I have to say, that it's a shame that Cherokee doesn't have some better places to chow. You'd think there would be several mom & pop country cookin' joints, of some fame. Best meal I had there, was the buffet at the Casino. I suggest staying at "Cool Waters" motel, in downtown Cherokee. It has a delightful little stream right behind it, and is wonderfully relaxing to hear at night.
Glad to see The Dillard House was it's usual excellent self. I usually like to get there, just before sundown, and I ask to wait till a table next to the window is open. Watching the sun set over the valley is really special, as you devour all those goodies, many of which were harvested that morning. As a sidenote, back in the city of Clayton, just a few miles from The Dillard House, is a restaurant that's name escapes me, but it's downtown, and is co-owned, by the banjo playing boy, from the famous movie "Deliverance."
How's that for trivia...
Helen is a nice afternoon, as well. I know of the BBQ place mentioned. Pretty good! My fave place is The Troll, at the far end of town. It sits right on the river, and is a lot of fun at night. The grilled chicken sandwich I have had several times was huge and tasty!
Being in Atlanta, there's too many faves to mention here. I do suggest Green's on Green Street, when in Roswell, Ga., for as close to the Dillard House atmosphere, as one can find in metro Atlanta. Incredible pies!
Sounds like a winning trip for you guys!!!