Jen Boes is the Executive Director of the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau and this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE. Read her story below.
“I grew up in Sussex County, Delaware, and then lived in Lewes for many years – splitting my time between the beach area and the Belgrade Lakes, Maine. I worked remotely for a PR firm in Maine during this time.
As you get older, you begin to realize the importance of being close to family and all of my family is in this area – either Southern Delaware or the Baltimore area. I wanted to come home. Plus, I was none too keen on the New England winters or even worse …. The dreaded mud season. I began to quietly look to move back to Delaware and one of my marketing peers connected me with Sarah Willoughby, my predecessor at the Bureau. I interviewed for the PR position she had available and was hired. I will be forever thankful to Sarah for getting me back to Delaware and helping me land this job that I love so much.
I worked in the Delaware tourism industry many years ago when I was in my 20s. When I returned to Wilmington two years ago, contacts I had not been in touch with for more than 20 years embraced me with open arms and helped me along professionally. It was like I had never left. This kind of camaraderie and support is another thing I really love about our city and its environs.
My ideal night out in Wilmington would begin with a Birds and the Bees cocktail at Torbert Street Social. It’s like a Bee’s Knees but even better. Then I would have a steak dinner at Bardea Steak, making sure to leave room for one of the fabulous desserts at Le Cav afterward. The profiteroles are my absolute favorite. I eat early so, considering that, there would still be time to take the pup for a stroll along the Wilmington Riverwalk then take in some live music at Docklands or at The Queen if there is a performance going on there. We are going to see Aziza Nailah at the Queen this Friday, as a matter of fact, and I am really excited about it.
My favorite event in Wilmington? There are so many, it is hard to pick just one! I have never attended the Delaware Burger Battle before, but I have tickets for this year, and I am really looking forward to that. I love a good burger, and I think the Wilmington area serves up some of the best around.
I also like Hagley’s Bike & Hike & Brews, particularly the ones where I can bring my pup along. Those are called the “Dog Days of Summer.” I brought a couple of friends along last summer (and my dog, Bourbon). We had a lovely walk along the Brandywine followed by some craft beer and food truck noshes. It was a great way to spend a summer evening.
I continue to choose Wilmington because I really love it! While I live outside of the city limits, my friend lives right downtown above DE.CO and I spend a lot of time there. It used to be this city cleared out after the workday was done. Not anymore. Last Saturday, we went out for a late dinner on Market Street, and it was hopping. That level of energy was so exciting to see. With a couple of new hotels, a new food court, several new dining spots that recently opened up, and more people moving downtown, I think this is just the beginning.
Our city is so diverse. There are so many cultures and ethnicities here. I’d like to see that aspect of our city celebrated more in terms of an attractor for visitors – and it most certainly is. It’s one of the things that sets our city apart. This diversity is represented in our food scene, the arts community, independently owned retail, and much more. And there’s also our rich African American history of which the Underground Railroad is but one chapter.
I also think the number of art galleries that are located downtown is impressive. Art Loop Wilmington is one way the city is helping to drive attention to them. And our performing arts roster is like none I’ve ever seen for a city of just over 70,000 residents. I’d like to see our city continue to grow as a Mecca for both the visual and performing arts. I think this is another one of our differentiating factors.
My advice to Wilmingtonians? Get out and be a visitor right here in Greater Wilmington! Take a staycation… I don’t think many of us are aware just how many things there are to do right here in our own backyard.“
Read more #PeopleOfWilmDE posts here. To nominate next week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE, email us at ItsTimeWilmDE@TappNetwork.com. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok.