What’s There To Do In Wilmington, DE?

Delaware… The very first state of the USA. This state isn’t really known for anything else at all, there’s no major well known city, everyone who visits usually flies into Philadelphia International and is almost always on a business trip of some sort. And what’s the most popular business reason? Lawyers apparently, but I’ll get into how I came to this conclusion a little later. So since this place isn’t popular, is there even anything to do here?

Random fact about Delaware: There is no sales tax in the state! This means if
you buy a t-shirt with a price tag of $6.99, you’ll actually pay $6.99, not a penny more!

A Good Spot for Lunch

It was a windy Wednesday at noon, CCR played over the speakers of the patio section of an Irish pub named Catherine Rooney’s, the smell of cigar smoke was very strong and was coming from a man 3 tables away who had apparently just finished a plate of wings and was washing it down with a Guinness. I was sitting at a high rise umbrella table, waiting for my Buffalo Chicken Flatbread to come out, when the wind quickly began to increase in ferocity, CCR had ended and now the screeching guitar of Hendrix was playing. The name of the song escaped me, but you can never mistake his sound.

Catherine Rooney's, Wilmington, DE

Trolley Square has a strong draw in Wilmington, DE, it features a large offering of food spots and the locals are very open to talking to tourists, this has been the friendliest U.S. city I’ve ever visited, a random college aged girl walked by and asked me “if she matched”; I smiled and replied “Sure, yoga pants go good with anything”. My food arrived shortlymy quick encounter, I wasn’t sure what to expect, flatbreads aren’t a common choice for me to order. The last flatbread I had eaten was in Minneapolis and wasn’t worth mentioning, this however was a delicious improvement. There was a layer of almost syrup-like buffalo sauce on the bread, it acted as a glue to keep the chicken cubes, onion strips, and bleu cheese crumbles in place, in the center was a small mound of leafy greens. It all came together very nicely. The bread served as a dry foundation and the buffalo sauce had a pretty good kick to it, the chicken was above average, and the amount of bleu cheese was maybe a bit overwhelming, but not enough to turn me away. The serving size is generous; I was able to finish 3 of the 4 slices (if you can call them “slices”).

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread at Catherine Rooney's

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread at Catherine Rooney’s

After my meal I headed back to my rental car, the wind continued to blow down the street carrying the occasional piece of light trash with it and the sky started to darken. As soon as I got in the car it started to rain, but not very hard as I was expecting. The rest of the day was spent on some alternate projects.

“What the hell would make you come to Delaware? Let me guess, lawyer? Banker?”

Trolley Square in Wilmington, DE

Healthy Food and an Unhealthy Dessert!

My 2nd day in Wilmington had better weather. A storm had arrived overnight and the sun dried everything up pretty quickly in the morning. I had breakfast at the hotel and headed out. This time I did a lot more walking than the first day which allowed me a closer look at the area. I traveled just out of downtown and wandered around Trolley Square a little more, there were just way too many places I went past the previous day that left me curious.

Trolley Square in Wilmington, DE

After walking around for a while I came across a few places that left me ambivalent. There were a couple Asian eateries that had me interested, but there was one other place that had a unique allure. I didn’t take a picture of it, because there really wasn’t anything to take a picture of. It was an old style white door with 4 glass panes sectioned off on the upper part. A paper sign taped on the inside of the one of the 4 panes that read “Fresh Thymes – Open”. This place seemed surprisingly legit despite its shoe-string budget display. I walked in and the aroma was very “green”, like I had just walked into a greenhouse, the smell of plant-life was strong. One of the two women working told me to sit anywhere, so I took a spot near the front bay window. The shelf was littered with local farmers, vegan guides, and organic guru pamphlets talking about to live well, you must eat well.

I’ve never been Fresh Thymes in Wilmington, DEa big fan of vegetarian foods; the vegan burgers and tofurky and all that jazz. I had tried a lot of it and was turned off by the odd taste. But I was willing to give this place a shot. They’re menu existed for a variety of diet life-styles. The typical breakfasts, bagels, muffins, salads, wraps, soups, sandwiches and so on. Then, there are variations of some of these, the vegetarian options, vegan options, carnivore options, gluten free options, and of course the overall feeling that no matter what you ordered, it was going to be healthy. This, honestly, made me even more excited to order something.

“Do you eat meat?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Meat. Do you eat meat?”

Ditch Witch Iced Tea at Fresh Thymes in Trolley Square, Wilmington, DEI asked the waitress what was popular and she then asked if I eat meat. I wasn’t sure I heard her right and had her repeat the question; this is something I don’t believe I’ve ever been asked before. I said I did and she suggested a few things. The one that stood out was The Jim, so I ordered it up along with a Ditch Witch Iced Tea, which was freshly brewed organic green tea infused with some lemongrass and a hint of mint. After roughly 10 minutes my food arrived. The plate was decorated very well, the sandwich cut in half, some chips, a strawberry half, and 2 slices of pickle. The sandwich (The Jim) was some pesto, tomato, spinach, and smoked salmon which was then lightly grilled and served on Tuscan bread. This was honestly one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. The crispy bread, the spinach adding a bit of crunch and the salmon was amazing. I would like to say that if I came back to this restaurant I would try something different, but I’m not sure I would want to pass up having this again! Unfortunately I didn’t get to meet the namesake, because I would’ve liked to have met whoever came up with this (assuming somebody named Jim of course).

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"The Jim" at Fresh Thymes Cafe in Wilmington, DE

Now for dessert! I headed over to a place I had passed earlier called Scrumptious. I remember seeing both frozen yogurt and coffee as advertisements for what this place offers. A quick walk about 4 blocks away and I arrived.

Scrumptious in Wilmington, DE

I went inside and while the place looks small from the outside, it stretches pretty far back. A girl sat at the counter and while I was trying to decide she handed me a menu and asked what I liked.

“I’m in the mood for something cold like ice cream, but I need some coffee to pick me up.” I told her
“Well, all the coffee here is pretty good.” This other customer seemed to be a regular.
“I was looking at that Coffee Break.” I had my eyes on this the longest.
“Oh, a milkshake! That’s pretty good! Do you want the taste or the caffeine more?” she asked
“Both!” I replied

The girl working the counter commented that the Coffee Break milkshake didn’t have much caffeine. The girl that was helping me decide suggested replacing the regular coffee ingredient with 2 shots of espresso, which I agreed with and got a regular (medium). It took a few minutes for her to prepare, but it was well worth it! While it was being made I chatted with the frequent customer who had helped me. She asked why the hell I would come to Wilmington and was convinced that I was either there for legal reasons looking for a lawyer or law firm, or I was in the banking industry, as most visitors fall into one of those 2 fields. After I explained to her why I was actually there and talking about movies for a couple moments my milkshake had been completed. The espresso mixed with a good amount of frozen vanilla yogurt made for a delicious extreme cold latte with chocolate crumbled up and mixed in. I unfortunately couldn’t get a really good shot of the beverage, but the one below turned out the best.

Scrumptios in Trolly SquareI’ve been a fan of milkshakes since birth, and while this wasn’t the absolute best ever, it was certainly up there; and it was actually exactly what I needed to get me through the rest of the day!

Come back next week as I wrap up my adventure in Wilmington with a 2nd part! I ended up discovering a lot in this city and I’m pleased to say that if you ever get a chance, you should visit, you’ll save a lot of cash on hotels since it isn’t a big tourist attraction!

2 thoughts on “What’s There To Do In Wilmington, DE?”

  1. Great post Ken, it’s great to learn more about places that aren’t really touristy. I’ve driven through Delaware before but didn’t know anything about the state so I didn’t stop. I’m also craving some good bread right now, as it is hard to come by in China.

    I also had no idea about there being no sales tax.

    Will

    1. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’ve learned over time that the occasional detour can lead to a fun adventure! If I had stuck to the direct route I wouldn’t have discovered anything. I hope to visit China within the next couple years!

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