By Terry Rogers
On Thursday, October 16, several travel writers from throughout the country took a tour of downtown Milford as part of a visit sponsored by Southern Delaware Tourism. Tina Coleman, Media Director for the organization, said that the tour was designed to introduce the writers to the arts and events available throughout southern Delaware.
“This is one of the best types of advertising as it costs nothing,” Ms. Coleman said. “The writers visited many fine dining restaurants, art galleries and other locations throughout Sussex and Kent County. They then return home to write articles for various publications.”
The travel writers that visited Milford came from several other states including Boston, Georgia, Atlanta, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Coleman shared that one writer has published articles in the Boston Globe and an airline magazine while another was a writer for Recreation News, a publication that goes to federal government employees. The focus of the tours was to promote long-weekend getaways in southern Delaware.
The tour began at the Mispillion Art League where the writers learned the mission of the group, which is to provide community-wide access to quality visual arts. Their next stop was at Live Cheap and Make Art Studios, owned by Bob and Rosemary Connelly. They viewed Mr. Connelly’s award winning photography and Mrs. Connelly’s watercolor paintings.
The group then visited Gallery 37, a unique art gallery owned by Marcia Reed. The group enjoyed looking at the works of several artisans that show and sell their art at Ms. Reed’s gallery. After the visit to the gallery, they headed to Second Street Players where enjoyed some delicious treats from Dolce Bakery.
“That was definitely a well-enjoyed part of the tour,” Ms. Coleman said. The group ended the tour with a walk along the Riverwalk, viewing the Augusta sculptures that line the walkway and a visit to Sugar Bee, a unique candy and gourmet chocolate shop.
Frances Folsom, a freelance writer who says her article will be submitted to publications such as the Boston Globe, Antiques and Fine Art, as well as Fiber Arts now, said that she was very impressed with Milford.
“I wish we had more time to just walk along the Riverwalk,” Ms. Folsom said. “It is such a beautiful little town and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the art galleries in town. I was very impressed with the exceptional artwork I saw at the Mispillion Art Gallery, Mrs. Connelly’s shop and the other galleries we visited.” Ms. Folsom said that Milford was definitely a town she wanted to return to and would recommend to others through her writing.
Ms. Folsom said that the visit to Delaware was very busy and her visit to Milford was very brief. She was interested in learning more about the shipbuilding history of the town and hoped to return for a visit to the Vineyard Shipyard in the future.
“It was great to provide the writers with an idea of the sheer volume of arts and entertainment that is available in downtown Milford,” Ms. Coleman said. “We want them to know that southern Delaware is not just a summer vacation spot, but that there are things to do here year-round. Last year, we did a fan tour similar to this. When we tallied the benefits of the tour, we found that we got back seven times what it cost in additional visitors and tourist revenue. That was one of the reasons we chose to do this with the travel writers as well.”