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This influencer is busting the ‘boring Delaware’ stereotype

First State Destinations is Alexis Harris, a transplant from Raleigh, North Carolina and digital marketing phenom who became the influencer she was looking for.

Alexis Harris at Firefly.

(Courtesy photo)

Have you ever been sitting at home bored (because, you know, you’re in Delaware), scrolling through Instagram, when a post catches your eye and you wish you were there? And then you look at the handle — and it’s @firststatedestinations posting about things to do in Delaware?

First State Destinations (FSD for short) is Alexis Harris, a transplant from Raleigh, North Carolina and digital marketing phenom who became the influencer she was looking for in Delaware. Someone who knew all of the coolest things to do locally, whether it’s nightlife, brunch or exploring the outdoors. Someone who made you want to be in Delaware with dynamic content that shows off sides of the state that few really know.

Harris moved here fresh out of college to be with her then-partner. The relationship would end, but her attachment to Delaware didn’t, so she stayed.

“Even before I moved here, I started to be fed the narrative that Delaware is boring,” said Harris, who runs her own boutique digital marketing business in addition to FSD. “It’s just not true.”

FSD started in October 2020 on TikTok. Instead of looking for recommendations for things to do, she started by thinking of an experience or a place that exists in places like LA or New York, then she’d research to find the closest thing to it in Delaware.

Once an experience is chosen, she uses her digital marketing skills to create eye-catching content. There’s yoga on the Riverfront, sunsets at Rehoboth Beach, hiking in Brandywine Creek State Park and lots of food. Those amazing-looking tacos might just be from a truck you’ve passed a hundred times on Kirkwood Highway, for instance.

@firststatedestinations

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While FSD busts the “boring Delaware” stereotype — Harris said she’s received messages from people as far away as California interested in visiting the state — at its core, it’s all about community and connections.

“As you get into your adult years, especially when you’re moving to a new state, it’s hard to meet new people organically,” she said.

With more and more people working from home, she isn’t alone in finding it challenging. After receiving hundreds of DMs and comments from people wanting to join to hang out with her, she started a Facebook group for adults in Delaware looking to connect with others interested in joining up for some local adventures of their own.

“It’s a pretty even divide of ‘natives’ born and raised in Delaware, transplants that have moved here long term and people that are here temporarily for work school,” she said. “And then also there’s a number of people that don’t specifically live in Delaware, but they’re 20 minutes out in Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, that want to be able to join in and visit here and all the experiences that I’m sharing.”

FSD has even been known to save relationships, per Harris: “I’ve seen a number of messages where someone will be thanking me because their wife was not a happy camper about moving to Delaware for his job, but finding my page made them feel better and a little more excited about it.”

Does Delaware still have some work to do to be a top-tier destination? Harris says yes — but not because there aren’t enough good concepts and establishments.

“I think the ideas are there, but there’s definitely opportunity to elevate the experience a little bit more, versus just opening an establishment,” she said. “You’ll notice those establishments that do open may not last long. Not because the concept wasn’t there, but because the overall experience and marketing of that wasn’t followed through all the way.”

Find FSD on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

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