I do not know anyone who would describe Wilmington, Delaware as a knock-out city one should visit before one passes away. It is depressing and drab – albeit perhaps poised to be revived:
But once a year, I make a point of getting to Wilmington. It is halfway between New York City, where I live, and the environs of the District of Columbia, and therefore is the ideal place to meet for lunch with my friend, Liz, whom I met 31 years ago when we both lived in the District, and swam laps at the YMCA on 17th Street. We engaged in enough lightweight locker room chit-chat that when she ran into me around Dupont Circle one night, she spontaneously invited me to a party. She mentioned there would be a guy there I might like. The guy didn’t work out, but Liz and I struck up a conversation that hasn’t stopped. On Fridays we would meet for a glass of wine on the front stoop of my apartment on U Street; we had countless dinners at Lauriol Plaza, a favorite because it was sooo good and cheap; and made sure we had at least one weekend every summer in Chincoteaque at the Harbor Light Motel – long since demolished:
We took a three-week trip to Italy, where we hiked along the Cinque Terre, climbed the Tower of Pisa and took the night ferry to Sardinia. Wilmington is a perfect place to rehash and renew.
Usually we meet at Harry’s Seafood Grill. This year, to break up the routine, I did research and found Vinoteca 902 at 902 N. Market Street. The website menu appealed to both of us and we planned to meet there at 12:00. The game plan went awry at 11:42 when Liz called to tell me Vinoteca 902 was no more. Given that midday restaurant choices in Wilmington are limited, we ended up back at Harry’s, which was perfectly fine. At 12:15, we were seated in a booth, and started to talk. And then it was 3:30 and time to go. We’ll be back next year to pick up where we left off this year.