Is Dover really that unfriendly?



Welcome to Dover!

How are you today?

A few more of those comments and the capital city might not have made New York City-based Conde Nast Traveler’s naughty list.

Dover, Delaware, is No. 7 on its list of “unfriendliest” cities to visit.

Guess who is one better?

Wilmington. Yes, Wilmington.

The survey’s brief introduction — at

“Over the last four years, we’ve asked our readers to rate a city’s friendliness” in the Readers’ Choice Awards survey, especially with respect to where you felt welcome.

“Did an outgoing local show you the way? Was the city easy to navigate? Some 128,000 people took the survey in 2015 — see what you had to say about the friendliest (and unfriendliest) cities in the U.S.”

From the Editor logo copy copyThe top 10 unfriendliest: 1. Newark, New Jersey; 2. Oakland, California; 3. Atlantic City, New Jersey; 4. Detroit, Michigan; 5. Hartford, Connecticut; 6. New Haven, Connecticut; 7. Dover, Delaware; 8. Wilmington, Delaware; 9. Los Angeles, California; and 10. Baltimore, Maryland.

About our upstate city, wrote:

“If I did not have family there, I wouldn’t have a reason to go there,” said one reader. Ouch. ‘Was really just passing through’ said…more than a few. Another found the people ‘rude’ — ‘not a place I would want to visit again’ — and a difficult place to get to off the highway. But wait, there’s hope! Seek out the Wilmington Opera, the Delaware Symphony, and Hotel du Pont for a more memorable stay.”

And, then there was the Dover comments:

“Poor Delaware. Can’t catch a break. ‘A nice quiet town’ starts one reader, ‘almost nondescript, though. There are some cute areas— [but] it is not truly memorable.’ One reader wasn’t all that interested in the city’s hot spots — its military base and casino — but ‘Dover is a great town but when you are going with a purpose,’ like Firefly Music Festival and the Sunday brunch at McGlynns.”

On the first page, under the introduction, there was a link to where you could post a comment if you disagree. This editor clicked to see if he could find what people might have said.

What it said was, “Page Not Found. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we could not find the requested page. The link you’ve selected may be broken, or a page that was once here may no longer exist. Please visit our homepage and try again.”

How unfriendly is that?


Your comments are welcome here.

The Delaware State News posted the information on its Facebook page earlier this week and got a strong, mixed reaction.

And, certainly, we would like to hear more.

As a community facilitator, the Delaware State News would like to share your views on how we can improve the perception of Dover, or whether we really need to do so.

After all, these lists come out all the time.

A few weeks ago, we shared a report that ranked Delawareans among the worst drivers.

And, we got another talking about how we had one of the best state fairs in the nation.

Another said Delaware is one of the best places to raise a family.

So what do you think?

Share your thoughts in a letter to the editor emailed to or post your comments under this column at


Thinking about the criticism, this editor decided to call one of the friendliest people in Dover — Judy Diogo, president of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce.

Her reaction to the unfriendly ranking:

“Every place you go, you have to meet a variety of people to get a real impression of that location,” she said. “And, obviously, they did not.”

“They did not contact the Central Delaware Chamber. That I can tell you.”

Ms. Diogo said they may not have had enough time to meet enough of the interesting people and community-minded people that live and work here. Or perhaps they got the wrong impression.

“Someone new coming in could take that protectiveness that we all have about our community and take that the wrong way,” she said.

On the other hand, maybe Dover businesses can make a difference.

Ms. Diogo said customer service training is one step.

Another important one is a program that would familiarize staff with the community.

“When you know what’s going on in your community, you become an ambassador of the community, become proud of the community, and that changes the way that you interact with people,” Ms. Diogo said.


So, which cities were ranked the “friendliest”?

Topping the list was Charleston, South Carolina.


“One reader put it perfectly: ‘People speak to each other!’ (Ha. All those poor Northeasterners not used to a ‘hello’ on the street.) ‘The city is so lovely and easy to get around on foot.’ ‘Charleston is by far my favorite city!,’ says another reader. ‘It has the charm of the South, the sophistication of the city, and a warmth and friendliness that is unmatched.’”

The rest, from No. 2 to No. 10, are Park City, Utah; Savannah, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; Austin, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Asheville, N.C.; Jackson, Wyoming; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Burlington, Vermont.

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