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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Go with the flo’ in Florence, Ala.

Courtesy Visit Florence

Where is Florence, Ala.?

Florence (population 38,000) is in Alabama’s northwest corner, two hours southeast of Memphis, Tenn.; two hours southwest of Nashville, Tenn., and two hours northwest of Birmingham, Ala. Atlanta is a five-hour drive.

How do we get there?
Interstate 65 is 45 minutes east. Northwest Alabama Regional Airport has two daily flights to Memphis on Delta Airlines. Huntsville International Airport is one hour east.

Tell me about the main conference facilities.
The Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa is the city’s largest meeting complex, with 200 guest rooms and 35,000 square feet of meeting space that includes a ballroom for up to 1,000.

In addition to its 6,000-square-foot spa, the hotel has a revolving restaurant, a bar with live entertainment each night and a music memorabilia museum. It is linked to two golf courses on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. The Fighting Joe, named one of the top 10 new courses by Golf magazine and Travel and Leisure Golf, and the Schoolmaster, are eight miles from the resort.

Florence’s other conference property is also waterfront. All 75 lodge rooms at Joe Wheeler State Park have balconies that overlook Wheeler Lake. Meeting space will accommodate groups of up to 300 theater-style. Other accommodations include cottages on the lake, cabins on the Tennessee River and a group lodge.

Tell me about some off-site venues.

  • Want high fashion with your hors d’ouevres? Opt for a reception at the downtown store of designer Billy Reid, named Best New Designer in 2010 by GQ and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Florence is his home base.
  • Florence is home to Alabama’s only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed residence, the Rosenbaum Home. The Usonian home on two riverfront acres in downtown Florence welcomes dinners and receptions on its grounds.
  • Music is the life of any party and Florence’s music traditions make it easy for events to hit the right note. Options include local recording studios and the grounds of W.C. Handy’s birthplace, a log cabin that’s now a museum.
  • McFarland Park on the Tennessee River is used for national fishing tournaments and other  outdoor events.