Blessed with a fair share of Southern mansions and moss-draped live oaks, Georgia often is pegged as the poster child for the Old South.
But venture into four of the state’s smaller cities and you’ll find a lot of the New South and a lot to attract small meeting groups.
In Cartersville, northwest of Atlanta, a new conference center that will accommodate up to 2,000 people is expected to open in October. One mile off Interstate 75, the Clarence Brown Conference Center is projected to quadruple meeting business in a town that already sports two Smithsonian-affiliate museums and the Barnsley Gardens Resort.
South of Atlanta, in Macon, planners are taking note of a long-awaited development — the construction of a convention center hotel. The hotel that opened last year next to the city’s downtown Centreplex is a full-service Marriott, no less.
New hotels are commonplace in Valdosta, a stopover town off I-75 that’s 15 miles from the Florida border. Almost every hotel in town has been built or renovated in the past five years, and two of those properties are steps from the Rainwater Conference Center, within view of the bustling interstate.
An upscale green hotel is helping change the perception of Athens, already well known as the home of the University of Georgia. The newly opened Hotel Indigo there is attracting more corporate meetings. Those business people find that when they adjourn, there’s more to eat than burgers and pizza, thanks to the super chefs who’ve come to this city east of Atlanta to open restaurants with stellar menus that seem a steal compared to those in the capital city.
More Georgia Meeting Guide:
There’s nothing old school about Athens
Cartersville’s proud to say it’s not Atlanta
Convention center hotel has Macon singing a new song
Valdosta’s a belle on the southern border
WEB EXCLUSIVE! Georgia’s Savannah