I have never known Wilmington other than a place I drove by on the way to Baltimore or Washington DC, but recently I have been more than pleased by enjoying two summer nights in the city’s downtown. The well marked streets and easy on and off exits from 95 provides a close escape from the strip mall restaurants and the heavy price of parking and dining of center city Philadelphia. If you have a night this week, you will be enthralled at how close and fun this gem of a place can be for a family, friends or a couple.
Baseball has become all the passion in the Delaware Valley and the popularity of the Phillies has descended on the many minor league baseball teams we have in the area. With the price of tickets close to $200 for Citizens Bank Park, the Wilmington Blue Rocks will have a family of four sitting just as close for $25. It is an intimate baseball setting with free parking and promotions each night. The baseball is Kansas City Royals Single A team, so there is plenty of potential big league talent from the ages of 19-26. The Blue Rocks compete in the Carolina Northern League with the Orioles, Braves and Washington’s best talent. It has been a quality, competitive game every time I went.
The park is open with reasonable prices on snacks, but it has plenty of beer to enjoy watching the game. The parking is free and I saw some tailgating going on each time. It is one of the oldest minor league parks in the area and much closer than Reading and the Lehigh Valley. I recommend it for young families and friends and its prime location on 95 makes it for extended families to share baseball together.
Before the game, make sure you stop at Joe's Crab Shack. We have nothing like it in Philadelphia. The crab legs and lobster are delicious and the drinks will have you beaming from head to toe. It looks like an old Red Lobster setting in the 80s and 90s before they went all fancy. It is a fun, relaxed place to share steam bowl of clams with outdoor and indoor seating. The food was reasonably priced for crabs legs and clams at around $26. Mine came with fresh sausage and corn with plenty of warm butter and old bay. The menu is truly amazing and I finally have a place to eat and enjoy seafood within 20 minutes of my house. The place was made for happy hour with friends or fun dining for families. The only caveat is that the televisions are poorly placed if you want to catch a Phillies game while you are there.
After the game, the Iron Hill Brewery in Wilmington will have plenty of quality beverages for your caravan. I am a huge fan from its Media location, and this place serves the same tasty craft beers. It is large and open with plenty of room to hang out and enjoy the summer evenings. The best part of the evening was the walk on the promenade along the water outside the restaurant. I was jealous that my Philly part of the Delaware has nothing like it as I watched joggers and families stroll in the warm summer night air.
Wilmington is just waiting for an urban renewal. With its spacious sidewalks and new glass buildings, an economic boom will come if we ever get out of the recession. I can imagine myself in a walking downtown city like this as I enter my empty nest years with close baseball, great seafood, and good beer to enjoy.