The Welcome Wagon: Meet and Greet
Seeing ILM through new eyes
The rise in remote working over the past couple years has brought a wave of people to the Wilmington area. Meet some of these new neighbors and discover (or rediscover, if you’ve been here a while) where to work, relax, and connect around town.
- Meet Greet: Read more about Katie Schmidt and why she moved here below.
- Beach Draw: Click here to read why Loleta Robinson decided to make Wilmington her home.
- Plugging In: Click here to read about Kelly Specht and why she chose Wilmington.
KATIE SCHMIDT works remotely as managing editor for Universal Parks & Resorts, managing the Discover Universal blog, which is the official blog for the Orlando and Hollywood Universal theme parks. “I essentially get to help people planning their Universal vacations by coordinating – or writing myself – destination guides, itineraries, tip blogs, etc.,” says Schmidt, who moved to Wilmington from Orlando in April. “I write about roller coasters and Butterbeer for a living.”
What made you decide to move here? “I went to college in Orlando and honestly never intended to stay as long as I did after graduation! Like so many people during the pandemic, I had an unusual opportunity to work from anywhere and get to sort of try on different cities during 2021. Wilmington was one of those cities, and I just absolutely fell for it. The people are genuine and interesting, the town is charming and welcoming, and the dining options are insanely good.”
Were you considering other cities as well? “I was! Chicago was a close contender, but as a Florida native, I had to accept that I would not do well in a Chicago winter. Wilmington felt like a nice option that would be cooler and have more seasons than Florida, without such a drastic change in weather.”
What factors played most into your decision of picking here? “It was definitely the people. I was here for a month in early 2021, and everyone I met during that month was so hospitable to me. My family – like most families during 2020 – had gone through a lot of loss, and my trip here was a much-needed mental and emotional recharge. The people I came across during that month were remarkably open and kind. Whether it was my Airbnb neighbors in Carolina Place inviting me to sip wine on their front porch; the founder of a local business giving me her number and insisting I reach out if I ever moved here; or the three women I met waiting in line at End of Days Distillery one night who said, ‘You’re going to come sit with us, right?’ I have never met people as welcoming as those I’ve met here in Wilmington.”
What do you miss though from your last city? “Definitely my friends and this one breakfast sandwich at the cafe up the street from my old house. It was called the Robin’s Egg and I would walk to get one every Saturday back in Orlando. I am still on the hunt for my favorite breakfast sandwich in town and taking all suggestions.”
What have you learned about how to work remotely? “My number one tip to working remotely is to put on your shoes when you log on every day. It sounds silly, but how do you expect to convince your brain that it’s time to work and be a professional when you’re barefoot?”
Favorite places to visit or spend a day? “One of my favorite things about living here is how walkable everything is! I live downtown, so my favorite way to spend a day is just walking in and out of the shops – Gallery Citrine, Papercut Books, Modern Legend – grabbing a tamale at Capricho and catching a show at Thalian Hall. I’ve loved every production I’ve seen there so far and have even caught a couple movie nights.”
Favorite places to eat or drink? “‘Favorite’ is such a tricky word because it implies I’m capable of picking one! Favorite bars are End of Days Distillery (shown above), New Anthem, and Blue Post Billiards. I’d like to go on record and say I’ve never had a bad meal in Wilmington. I’m going to limit myself to three spots here, though, and lay it out as what I would consider a flawless day of eating in town – The Basics for breakfast, Elijah’s for lunch, and manna for dinner.“
A surprise you’ve come across since moving here? “This is kind of a sappy story, and if you don’t know my deep love of sunflowers it may not make much sense, but it’s what comes to mind when I think of being surprised since the move … Last year when I was here, I discovered Gallery Citrine and loved it. My first weekend in town, I wanted to take my best friend who had road-tripped with me to my favorite spots, including the gallery. When we walked in that day, the entire front room was full of sunflower art — everywhere you looked there was some sort of sunflower. I got chills! It felt like this nebulous confirmation that I was in the right place at the right time and was being welcomed to my new home by a room full of sunflowers.”
Advice for other newcomers? “Start a list of recommendations you get. I have a running one on my phone so that whenever I’m chatting with a local and they mention their go-to spot, I just write it down. I’ve found a lot of great new places to try this way!”
To view more of photographer Daria Amato’s work, go to dariaphoto.com
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