Small Market Meetings

NOV 2016

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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www.smallmarketmeetings.com 26 Destination Showcase LOCATION Middle Tennessee ACCESS Nashville International Airport; Interstate 24 MAJOR MEETING SPACES Embassy Suites by Hilton SE Nashville Murfreesboro, DoubleTree by Hilton Murfreesboro, Hilton Garden Inn Murfreesboro, Holiday Inn Murfreesboro HOTEL ROOMS 4,000 rooms in Rutherford County OFF-SITE VENUES The Grove at Williamson Place, Maney Hall at Oaklands Mansion, Carriage Lane Reception House and Inn CONTACT INFO Rutherford County Convention and Visitors Bureau 800-716-7560 www.readysetrutherford.com Meet Me in Murfreesboro By Katherine Tandy Brown All photos courtesy Rutherford Co. CVB M U R F R E E S B O R O, T E N N E S S E E A stone obelisk marks the exact geographic center of the state of Tennessee. It's in Murfreesboro, the home of Grammy-nominated RCA Records Nashville singer- songwriter Chris Young; the state's largest undergraduate university, 26,000-stu- dent Middle Tennessee State; and as the Rutherford County seat, an antebellum courthouse to remind of the town's stint as state capital from 1819 to 1826. Proximity to Nashville is but one of the numerous lures for groups to convene in Rutherford County's 108,000 total square feet of meeting space. "When a planner brings a conference to town and they visit our attractions, off-site venues and 350-plus restaurants, they want to get a feel for the area and its culture," said Barbara Wolke, vice president of the Rutherford County Convention and Visitors Bureau (RCCVB). "Our county is steeped in Civil War history, with a national battle- field and antebellum mansions. Our goal is to deliver a true Tennessee experience." For the past three years, Murfreesboro has received ConventionSouth Readers' Choice Award for Best Meeting Sites in the South. And with a population of nearly 123,000, the Volunteer State's fastest-growing major city is one of the U.S. Census Bureau's Top 12 American Boomtowns. Meetings business is hopping throughout Rutherford County. A new 113-room Courtyard by Marriott in Murfreesboro adds 2,000-plus square feet of meeting space, and a Home2Suites/Tru by Hilton opens in 2017. Nearby Smyrna has a new 89-room TownePlace Suites by Marriott. An UpTown Suites by InTown opens in spring 2017. Late this year, the Fountains at Gateway, a 70,000-square-foot upscale dining, shop- ping and office development, is scheduled to open its first phase, which includes a sizable plaza event space. Eventually, the 31-acre complex will also feature a hotel, fountains, parks and rentable bikes, with connectivity to the city's 12-mile Greenway trail system. Working with planners, the RCCVB creates customized itineraries that can include a group visit to Nashville, only a half-hour away. "A bonus is free step-on guide service from the moment attendees arrive until they leave," Wolke said. "And we have countywide free parking. It's a Southern-hospitality thing." Above: Teams can learn to fire a cannon at Stones River National Battlefield. Left: Oaklands Mansion holds up to 150 guests for receptions.

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