SEP 2017

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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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 65 T E N N E S S E E An Indoor Oasis: In the fall of 2016, when the heat was still in full force, the massive atriums at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center provided a cool space to enjoy a variety of dining, entertainment and shopping experiences with- out breaking a sweat. My room in the Cascades Atrium had a cozy balcony that overlooked the lush indoor gardens, waterfalls and ponds. The meeting and conven- tion spaces were spacious and easy to access from anywhere in the enclosed nine-acres, yet set apart from the bustle of the other areas. A large outdoor pool was available, but many people seemed to prefer the large indoor pool and fitness area. This is a great property for groups of all sizes whose participants want a variety of price points when it comes to accom- modations, dining and shopping. It's unique, fun and there's no need to worry about the weather! Historic Holiday Spot: It was nearly Thanksgiving when I stayed at the Union Station Nashville, but it somehow seemed a fitting time to enjoy the glamorous setting of this restored 19th-century railroad station. A huge fireplace and wooden staircase in the spacious lobby, the gorgeous100-year-old Tiffany styled stained-glass ceiling and the sparkling chandeliers made it feel like I was in another era. There was a historic sign telling of departure times and desti- nations from days past, as well as a clock tower. My guest room had all the modern amenities and looked out over the lobby, which has a modern bar and restaurant. The elegant large meeting rooms also feature beautiful stained glass and lots of dark wood molding. A great place for small to mid-size meetings, it's within walking distance of many city hotspots. Festive & Fun: I had never spent Christmas eve and Christmas morning in a hotel before and I have to say, it was pretty fun to enjoy the holiday at a luxurious suite in the Omni Nashville. Huge decorated trees and a "living room" off the spa- cious lobby that featured a large fireplace provided the traditional holiday ambience. A surprising number of people were in one of the hotel's restaurants, Kitchen Notes, for both Christmas eve dinner and an amazing Christ- mas day brunch. There was also a band playing at BarLines, an on-site music venue. The hotel has extensive state-of-the-art meeting space and it's just across the street from Music City Center, as well as connected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, allowing lots of options for large and small group gatherings. Modern and filled with light, the hotel features an abundance of mu- sically-themed art. Tempting Tastings: I am among the many people who enjoy wine tasting and City Winery has made this activity an experience to remember, offering a wide assortment of wines on tap backed up by a gour- met menu. It's a great setting for small group dinners or large functions of up to 2,000, with rustic exposed beams and a fireplace, a main stage and out- door patios. Super Sunday Brunch: Meeting-goers looking for a happening off-site restaurant should check out Saint Anejo's, located along burgeoning M Street in the downtown area known as "The Gulch." A Mexican cantina specializing in premium tequila and mezcal, this restaurant puts on an amazing Sunday brunch. The Tequila Library lounge, located in a private mezzanine that overlooks the first level, is a great place to host a private event. An Epic Eclipse Event: I had the good fortune to be in Nashville on August 21 and was able to enjoy the solar eclipse from the vantage point of L27, the rooftop bar and pool area at the elegant new Westin Nashville. I was part of a group of writers (from all over the world) and we had one of the private cabanas that surround the pool. We got to sample some excellent appetizers and drinks, including a special Eclipse beverage. As the moon slowly covered the sun, we all donned our eclipse glasses and watched in awe. From our 27th floor perch we could see the entire cityscape and beyond. It was amazing to watch what appeared to be a sunset in the middle of the day and to see all the city lights come on. When the sun was fully eclipsed you could hear people cheering from all over the city as well as the rooftop. It was a truly great experi- ence that I will always remember! n Sampling the Sites of Nashville Site Visits by Marcia Bradford Over the past year I have had the privilege of visiting several outstanding Nashville venues. The "Music City" is booming, attracting millennials and baby boomers alike and drawing international travelers, as well as a wide range of events. I can personally attest that this lively destina- tion has much to offer to all types of meeting participants. Here's a look at some of the highlights:

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