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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40 E D I T O R ' S HOT PICKS CENTRAL TENNESSEE IN-DEPTH Visit for more about the Central Tennessee area through our interactive Insiderʼs THE CENTRAL TENNESSEE counties of Rutherford, Williamson and Wilson provide the opportunity to be close to Nashville and its Country Music attractions, while enjoying the benefits of meeting within smaller markets. And, these three counties offer some of their own unique attractions to enjoy music, history and recreation. HIT THE TRAIL: Of the many tourism "trails," found in central Tennessee, groups can saddle up and hit The Jack Trail. This is where you can explore the state of Tennessee's worldwide reputation for history, music, horses and distilleries, starting and ending in downtown Nashville. The Jack Trail offers an excellent sampling of the things that make Tennessee special, and a perfect opportunity to raise your glass to a one-of-a-kind road trip. TOP PICKS: Rutherford County CVB (800) 716-7560 "Rutherford County/Murfreesboro, TN: Central location, easy access, free parking, 80,000 square-foot confer- ence center, world-class shopping, fun attractions, 300+ restaurants & more." Embassy Suites Murfreesboro Hotel & Conference Center www.murfreesboro. FOLLOW UP: Williamson County CVB C E N T R A L T E N N E S S E E Williamson County, due south of Nashville, encompasses small-town Southern charm and scenic beauty; its northern corridor (along Inter- state 65) is loaded with contemporary stores and restaurants of all stripes. The county's crown jewel, the city of Franklin, is "a must-see," said Kellye Murphy, marketing director for the Williamson County CVB. "This beautiful 16-block historic district is a 'Great American Main Street' experience," says Murphy. Franklin's Main Street offers nu- merous shopping options including Anthropolo- gie and the local-artist-fueled Heart and Hands. Try Merridee's Bakery and Restaurant for tasty coffees, pastries and more, or Red Pony for sophisticated Southern cuisine and fine wines in an atmospheric setting. The hottest new attrac- tion is Gray's on Main, a restored original drug store now featuring a bar, music hall and South- ern dining specializing in locally sourced fare. Franklin offers historical attractions like Lotz House and Carnton Plantation. The historic, restored Carnton house is located on the site of the Battle of Franklin. As the CVB's Murphy points out, 2014 commemorates the city's Sesquicentennial anniversary of the Battle of Franklin, and special events will take place throughout the year. Elsewhere in the county you'll find attractions including Arrington Vineyards & Winery, owned by country music celebrity Kix Brooks. Murphy said it offers "breathtaking views of the rolling hills and beautiful countryside" east of Franklin. Franklin's newest event venues include Lilac Farms, a daytime-only locale adjacent to Arrington Vineyards, and the 6,000-square-foot McConnell House, a restored early 1900's jail accommodating up to 100 for dinner and 200 for a reception. For larger events, 32,000-square-foot arts- themed shopping and event venue The Factory at Franklin can handle up to 800 within well-pre- served walls that once housed industrial facilities. Southeast of Franklin lies the Williamson County AgExpoPark, a 175,000-square foot, cli- mate-controlled facility that offers stadium seat- ing for more than 4,000, and can be transformed into a carpeted exhibition/convention space. The 300-room Franklin Marriott Cool Springs provides nearly 30,000 square feet of meeting and event space under one roof (the most spa- cious of the county's 20 hotels), while the Aloft Nashville Cool Springs is a tastefully appointed option with 524 square feet of meeting space and a well-equipped boardroom seating 12. ■ Find The Great American Main Street In Williamson Co. Williamson County CVB Due east of Nashville, Wilson County sits in the shade of the cedar glades which prevail (and thus, the cityʼs Cedars of Lebanon State Park). Peruse the popular Lebanon Premium Outlets mall, and find local fare at Stroudʼs Barbeque or the tea room at Café Bevande, serving pastry and sand- wiches. In the town square, lined with 50-some local merchants, youʼll see why Lebanon is known as "the Antique City of the South." If youʼre a viewer of country music videos, donʼt be alarmed if Watertown, though a good ways up the road from Music City, looks oddly familiar. Its seemingly untouched small-town surroundings have appeared in videos featuring Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Kellie Pickler, to name but a few. A place to get away from it all, Watertown offers such charms as the White Elephant Emporium (recently featured in an episode of American Pickers), the Stardust Drive-In Theatre, Nona Lisa Pizzeria and Luluʼs Cof ■ Be An American Picker In Wilson County ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 4 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m Gray's on Main in Franklin features a bar, music hall and Southern dining specializing in locally sourced fare . 27-52 CS FEB 2014_Layout 1 1/31/14 5:12 PM Page 40

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