Small Market Meetings

FEB 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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www.smallmarketmeetings.com 44 Southern Meeting Guide P l a n n e r s would be wise to look beyond the bright lights of major metropol- itan cities to their suburbs. These smaller communities often deliver similar cos- mopolitan appeal but with better prices, more parking and less traffic — all within easy access of the big-city attractions. In the South, suburbs range from quaint historic towns to bustling college communities, each with their own personality and appeal for meeting planners. M u r f r e e s b o r o , T e n n e s s e e Murfreesboro, Tennessee Nashville has gotten a lot of attention in recent years as the newest "it" city, but that hasn't affected the small- town feel and friendliness visitors enjoy in the neigh- boring city of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The city of 125,000 is part of the Nashville metro- politan area and home to Middle Tennessee State University. The conference center at the 283-room Embassy Suites is the city's largest meeting facility, with 42,000 square feet of flexible event space. The Mirabella Grand Ballroom offers 28,800 square feet that can be set up in as many as 10 separate rooms, and the 7,200-square-foot Oakleigh Junior Ballroom can be split into three spaces. Several nearby overflow hotels almost make "a Hotel Row right off Interstate 76," said Wendy Bryant, director of communications for the Rutherford County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The DoubleTree by Hilton Murfreesboro offers another 4,000 square feet of function space. When in town, groups often visit Stones River National Battlefield, where one of the Civil War's blood- iest battles — the Battle of Stones River — began on December 31, 1862. Rangers will lead tours or do special walk-and-talk programs with groups, such as demon- strating how to fire a cannon, and a small classroom in the visitor center can be used for luncheons. Groups can also gather at Oaklands Mansion, a plan- tation home that began as a two-room brick house in 1815 and was added on to throughout the years leading up to the Civil War, culminating in the construction of an elaborate Italianate-style, two-story front addition in 1860. Groups can use the grounds for a tented recep- tion for up to 300 guests or reserve the 1,750-square- foot Maney Hall for seated meals for up to 150 people. www.readysetrutherford.com S h e l b y v i l l e , K e n t u c k y Shelbyville, Kentucky Not only is Shelbyville, Kentucky, the "American Saddlebred Capital of the World," it is also home to Claudia Sanders Dinner House; Claudia is the wife of Groups can meet at the 1815 Oaklands Mansion in Murfreesboro near Nashville. By Rachel Carter The Suburban South

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