JUL 2013

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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Page 46 of 60

ALABAMA ARKANSAS FLORIDA GEORGIA KENTUCKY LOUISIANA MISSISSIPPI NORTH CAROLINA OKLAHOMA SOUTH CAROLINA TENNESSEE TEXAS VIRGINIA WEST VIRGINIA Roanoke Valley CVB INSIDER'S G U I D E By T. Wayne Waters Blue Ridge Mountains One of the most beautiful regions of America's Southern landscape is that which extends from western Virginia to western North Carolina—the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sandwiched between the Appalachian Mountain range to the west and the Piedmont regions of the two states to the east, the Blue Ridge Mountains offer scenic beauty and outdoor recreation that's easily accessed. In Virginia, the city of Roanoke is a central point along this Mountain Range and in North Carolina, the city of Asheville is the hub of the region. ■ Roanoke Is A Blue Ridge Magnet Roanoke and the surrounding Roanoke Valley is growing in popularity as a destination for meetings as well as for leisure travelers with more rooms sold in 2012 and 2013 than at any time in our history, said Roanoke Valley CVB President Landon Howard. "We continue to see significant growth in visitation as well as new product offerings coming online, including new hotel properties, new restaurants and galleries, and renovations such as Center in the Square in the heart of Roanoke," he said. Much of the attention that Roanoke is getting is due to Center in the Square, Roanoke's historic downtown cultural hub. The attraction cele- 46 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ J U LY 2 0 1 3 brated its grand re-opening in March following a $30 million year-and-a-half renovation. The building now houses the city's major museums and a 340-seat theater. It also boasts an open-air rooftop green space that can accommodate up to 600 (standing), and features gardens, a koi pond and an overlook deck. The ground floor atrium offers a 6,000-gallon living-coral reef saltwater aquarium, two 500-gallon jellyfish aquariums, a seahorse estuary and considerable function space. Center in the Square has a community room and a high-tech boardroom. The facility is now registered with the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Rating System. ■ Several aquarium tanks are now housed in the atrium of the newly renovated Center in the Square attraction in Roanoke, Va. w w w. c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m

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