FEB 2014

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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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 39 I N S I D E R ' S G U I D E By Steve Morley Surrounding the bustling city of Nashville, the adjacent counties of Williamson, Rutherford and Wilson can provide viable options for either an outside base when Nashville hotel space is scarce or too pricey, or a self-contained meeting destination that makes a Music City visit within easy range—all three are located within about a 30- to 40-minute drive of downtown Nashville. ■ ALABAMA ARKANSAS FLORIDA GEORGIA KENTUCKY LOUISIANA MARYLAND MISSISSIPPI MISSOURI NORTH CAROLINA OKLAHOMA SOUTH CAROLINA TENNESSEE TEXAS VIRGINIA WEST VIRGINIA Central Tennessee Murfreesboro is by far the largest city in Rutherford County, an out- lying part of the Nashville metro- politan area and roughly a half-hour's drive away. Home to Middle Tennessee State Univer- sity, the 'Boro boasts a hip vibrancy and diversity characteris- tic of a college town: a mosque, a Buddhist temple and a hippie com- mune coexist there. Still, its half- city/half-village flavor is owed to its local merchants and restaura- teurs combined with larger commercial attractions such as The Avenue. Rutherford County CVB Mar- keting Director Stacie Pierce said, "The Avenue Murfreesboro is the largest open-air shopping venue in the state," featuring World Market, Dick's Sporting Goods and other outsized national franchises. Pierce adds that the Stones River Mall has 75 retailers and a recently- added outdoor courtyard. Within the city's neigh- borly town square, you'll find local shops and restaurants such as Southern Stained Glass and Bella's Boutique, the century-old City Café and the upscale down- home cuisine of B. McNeel's. Or, take a short drive into the country to Christiana's legendary Miller's Grocery for a seriously rustic dining experience. History buffs don't have to go far to find places of interest: attrac- tions include Stones River National Battle- field—a 570-acre park memorializ- ing a key Civil War battle—and Cannonsburgh Village, depict- ing pioneer days with such struc- tures as a gristmill, general store and a functioning blacksmith's shop. Nearby Smyrna, north of the 'Boro, offers the historic Sam Davis Home and Museum, a 168-acre property built in the early 1800s. Tours are available of the grounds, where Civil War hero Davis and his family lived. Smyrna will also be of interest to those inclined toward Louisiana-style eats, as the city is home to Raz'z Bar and Grill. The Cajun eatery, recently named on the Food Network's "The Best Thing You Ever Ate," is also available to cater corporate meetings and special events. ■ "Rutherford County is a great place for meetings, with central location, easy I-24 access and free parking county-wide," said the CVB's Stacie Pierce, noting the availability of 3,800 rooms ranging from moderate to luxury. Adjacent to The Avenue open- air retail center is the city's premier event venue, the Embassy Suites Murfreesboro Hotel and Confer- ence Center, offering 43,000 square feet of meeting space, many smaller group options and a round-the-clock business center. Its nearly 30,000-square-foot Mirabella Grand Ballroom can accommodate up to 2,800. Murfreesboro's 168-room DoubleTree by Hilton has 4,000 square feet of meeting space, while the Clarion Inn & Suites, with 174 sleeping rooms, provides 13,000 square feet of meeting space. The 112-room Hilton Garden Inn, located in nearby Smyrna, offers 2,000 square feet of meet- ing space. Or, the Walnut House is a hardwood-floor event venue serving up to 200. ■ Rutherford's Hot Hotels Just West Of Nashville Photos courtesy of Rutherford County CVB Find Hip Vibrancy In Rutherford County The Avenue Murfreesboro 27-52 CS FEB 2014_Layout 1 1/31/14 5:10 PM Page 39

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