Stretching nearly 2,000 miles, the Appalachian Mountains extend from the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador to central Alabama.
Along the way, they cover the eastern edge of Tennessee with the Great Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Valley and Ridge Province.
Rolling hills blanketed with lush greenery, steep slopes shrouded in mist and by beautiful scenery make these mountain destinations ideas for meetings and corporate retreats.
Chattanooga is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and downtown Chattanooga “is completely surrounded by mountains,” said Brian Murphy, vice president of sales for the Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The two most famous peaks are Signal Mountain and Lookout Mountain, where visitors will find Rock City and Ruby Falls.
The setting is “absolutely beautiful,” he said. “Trees and rolling hills and, in the fall and the winter, you can get some snow and some color.”
The 185,000-square-foot Chattanooga Convention Center, with 100,000 square feet of column-free exhibition space and 19,000 square feet of divisible banquet space, is the city’s major meeting venue. But more and more, groups are looking for “diversity of function space,” Murphy said. 2 on the Roof is a new 4,700-square-foot venue that offers 360-degree views of downtown, the river and the surrounding mountains. Receptions with up to 300 guests can also use Chattanooga Whiskey Co.’s event room.
The 260-room Westin Chattanooga opened in October with 29,000 square feet of event space. In the 6,300-square-foot Portman Ballroom, walls of windows slide open to connect to the 36,000-square-foot outdoor Portman Terrace, which provides views of Lookout Mountain.
Also in downtown, the Edwin Hotel is under construction, and the Read House Historic Inn and Suites is closed while it undergoes a $35 million renovation, both slated to be complete this fall.
The city redid the riverfront several years ago to make downtown more walkable and accessible. Today, the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge crosses the Tennessee River, connecting downtown to shops, parks and art galleries on the North Shore. Nearby, the Ruth Holmberg Pedestrian Bridge spans Riverfront Parkway to connect downtown with the Bluff View Art District. The district is a historic neighborhood perched on stone cliffs high above the river where visitors will find restaurants, a coffee shop, an art gallery, gardens and the Bluff View Inn, a bed-and-breakfast housed in three turn-of-the-20th-century homes. In the district, groups can gather at the Hunter Museum of American Art, a modern venue, as well as the historic Renaissance Commons event hall.
The city’s free electric shuttle runs through downtown from the Tennessee Aquarium to the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Bike Chattanooga has over 300 bicycles at 38 stations throughout the city, including one station at the convention center.