STYLE HOME: A Sterling Renovation

A quaint cottage on Rehoboth's Silver Lake is carefully converted into an elegant yet efficient beach abode.



E

dwin Albers bought a weary 1930s lakefront cottage in Rehoboth Beach for its stunning view of the water.

That isn’t unusual in a community where the ground a home sits on frequently exceeds the value of the structure.

But in transforming the cottage from a ramshackle getaway to a polished retreat, Albers took a novel approach. He decided he would renovate the house rather than tear it down.

“It had a lot of potential,” he says. “The house just needed to be reorganized to improve the flow.”

His respectful restoration changed his view on life, as well.

In 2000, Albers was inundated with requests for design advice after his house was the hit of the cottage tour for the Rehoboth Art League, a must-do event for aficionados of architecture and decorating.

That inspired the one-time executive of an engineering firm to move to the beach year-round and launch a design firm with Michael Cusumano, his partner in business and life.

Design Center of Rehoboth, also known as DCOR, is a themed resource for furnishings, flooring, art, accessories, lighting and landscaping, as well as guidance on how to incorporate those elements into a home.

When it came to updating his own house, Albers factored in such elements as ceiling height, natural light and the views outdoors in allocating space.

Though the three-bedroom, three-bath house gained only 200 square feet from its original 2,300 square feet, the property lives large because the floor plan is so open.

“Have you ever noticed how closed in a house feels when there are a lot of hallways and a bunch of choppy little rooms?” Albers says. “Here you can stand in the dining area at the front of the house and see clear through to the back garden. It’s the same amount of space, but it feels much larger.”

An expansive living room is decorated in antiques and traditional furniture in a masculine, subtly nautical palette of blue, tan and white. The room is anchored by a fireplace with crisp, white moldings, flanked by a pair of built-in bookcases.

“Symmetry is ever pleasing to the eye,” Albers says. “It establishes an immediate sense of harmony.”

A quartet of big wicker chairs with deep cushions extends that vibe, defining a casual lounge at the back of the house, where there is easy access to the wet bar in an adjoining butler’s pantry.

“I wanted large, overstuffed chairs where people can relax,” Albers says. “The wicker keeps it from looking too formal.”

The lounge also offers views of a shaded garden lush with mature magnolia and cypress trees, the space formerly occupied by a dining room.

In reconfiguring the house, Albers moved the eating area to the front in order to take full advantage of the spectacular vistas of the water. The long, farmhouse-style table easily seats 12, and is open to the kitchen. Because the house is set high, the choicest views are from the vantage point of a person who is sitting, which made it an ideal site for dining.

“When you stand in a room, it’s different than when you sit in a room,” he says. “You need to take that into account when you are deciding where to put furniture.”

French doors opening to a front porch are dressed smartly in crisp white curtains topped with three bands of navy in ascending widths: 1 inch, 2 inches and 3 inches. “Simple cotton duck cloth, something to wave in the breeze when the doors are open,” he says.

The old kitchen has been supplanted by a laundry room and large pantry that also can function as an auxiliary kitchen. A former marketing executive, Cusumano is a gifted cook. He and Albers worked together to install specialized storage for his array of pots, pans and small appliances.

“We are both very handy and enjoyed figuring out ways to make things work efficiently,” Cusumano says.

Ceilings are an important part of the urban mix on the first floor. In the lounge, a subtle grid provides the aura of a coffered ceiling. Albers also appreciates beadboard ceilings because they conjure images of classic porches and Nantucket cottages.

In the kitchen, he gave the material a sophisticated checkerboard twist, installing beadboard in alternating squares with the slats running in opposite directions.

Clean-lined white cabinets contrast with deep, taupe walls and the sparkle of stainless steel appliances and bin pulls. An island provides seating, as well as additional prep space.

“It’s compact but doesn’t look like it because of the open floor plan,” Cusumano notes. “And it works wonderfully.”

Upstairs, Albers designed a master suite, as well as rooms for guests and his two children. He created both drama and additional space in the master bedroom by raising the ceiling to the roofline and integrating storage under the eaves.

“I like the angles,” Cusumano says. “It really adds to the coziness.”

Outdoors, Albers maximized the views with an intimate, second-floor deck, where he and friends can watch geese glide on the lake. The distinctive spiral on the wood railing is a modified spider web.

In a guestroom, he retained open built-in shelving installed in the 1950s, a casual place for friends and relatives to stow their gear for a few days.

“It’s great when people come to visit,” Albers says. “They can just toss their things in there and grab them whenever they want.”

Retaining the solid, functional and attractive shelving is typical of the partners’ approach to design. The way they see it, an integral part of the process is deciding what elements of a house to keep, what to discard and what to modify.

“Ed is a purist, with a total understanding of architecture, and I’m very visual,” Cusumano says. “Neither one of us believes in doing away with things that are beautiful and useful.”

Although it wasn’t beautiful yet, Albers decided a garage built from a 1930s kit from Sears was worth preserving. Now the space is a glamorous poolside guesthouse, as well as a study in design tricks that make the space both efficient and good looking.

On the first story, floors are paved in large porcelain tiles that look like terra cotta, set on the diagonal to visually expand the rooms. The countertops in the bar area are no-fuss laminate. Their luxe look is inspired by earthy color, a gold-tinged brown reminiscent of stone.

Overhead, the garage’s original rafters were left exposed, reinterpreted as rustic ceiling beams. Slipcovered seating flanks a gas fireplace. “It’s a great place to come, even when there aren’t guests,” Cusumano says. “It’s pleasant to sit by the fire and share a glass of wine.”

The exterior of both the main house and guesthouse are typified by cottage details. The posts on decks and fences are capped with copper. The house is painted a sunny yellow.

Wooden gates that might have been transported from a New England garden create a sense of welcome, ushering visitors up the path to the house and setting the tone for the relaxed elegance inside.

 “You should feel good even before you walk into a house,” Albers says. “It makes you happy to be home.”

D

 

Get the look

For a sense of visual harmony, think symmetry. Ed Albers infused the living room with architectural balance by flanking a fireplace with matching bookcases.

 

Create a feeling of continuity by reinterpreting materials throughout the house. Beadboard and moldings are a recurring theme in the Silver Lake cottage.

 

When renovating an older home, research the architectural style, then choose elements that fit the period of the house, such as wood floors and traditional furniture. Combine those elements with modern amenities, including an updated kitchen.

 

Counter earth-tone paint colors with crisp, white trim to highlight the woodwork, wainscoting and moldings.

 

A dark stain on hardwood floors also provides a striking contrast to white woodwork and creates a picture frame effect around area rugs.

 

 

 

 

 

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February 2016

Delaware State University will feature the following events and exhibitions during its 2016 Black History Month celebration: Wednesday, Feb. 3 Black Lives Matter Symposium Documentary...

Cost: FREE and open to the public

Where:
Delaware State University
1200 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
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First State Heritage Park
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43 The Green
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Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Rd
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Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Station Gallery
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Delaware State University will feature the following events and exhibitions during its 2016 Black History Month celebration: Wednesday, Feb. 3 Black Lives Matter Symposium Documentary...

Cost: FREE and open to the public

Where:
Delaware State University
1200 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
View map »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
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View map »


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Cost: $0-14

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Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Rd
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Delaware State University will feature the following events and exhibitions during its 2016 Black History Month celebration: Wednesday, Feb. 3 Black Lives Matter Symposium Documentary...

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Where:
Delaware State University
1200 N DuPont Highway
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View map »

More information

Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

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The Station Gallery
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Cost: Call for information.

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
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Telephone: 302-629-6611x2446
Contact Name: Nanticoke's Diabetes Education Department
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Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
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Cost: Depends on what you purchase

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30336 Cordrey Rd
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Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church
500 McKennans Church Rd
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Join us every Tuesday for this fun and educational enrichment activity. Students will learn to draw pictures from a variety of themes, including woodland animals, creatures by the sea, creepy...

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Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Delaware State University will feature the following events and exhibitions during its 2016 Black History Month celebration: Wednesday, Feb. 3 Black Lives Matter Symposium Documentary...

Cost: FREE and open to the public

Where:
Delaware State University
1200 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
View map »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

Two-hour guided tours are offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Guests will visit Eleutherian Mills Residence, the first du Pont family home built in America; the First Office...

Cost: $0-14

Where:
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View map »


Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Meg Marcozzi
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Cost: Free

Where:
, DE


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Telephone: 302-645-9095
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Cost: Free

Where:
Kimmel Center - Commonwealth Plaza
300 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA  19102
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Sponsor: Kimmel Center
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A successful writer of Broadway thrillers is struggling to overcome a dry spell when he receives a script from a student —a potential Broadway hit. Thereafter suspense...

Where:
, DE

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, DE

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Where:
, DE

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Show More...
Show Less...

Delaware State University will feature the following events and exhibitions during its 2016 Black History Month celebration: Wednesday, Feb. 3 Black Lives Matter Symposium Documentary...

Cost: FREE and open to the public

Where:
Delaware State University
1200 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
View map »

More information

Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

Two-hour guided tours are offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Guests will visit Eleutherian Mills Residence, the first du Pont family home built in America; the First Office...

Cost: $0-14

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Rd
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Meg Marcozzi
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
The Gibby Center for the Arts
51 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
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Sponsor: The Gibby Center for the Arts
Telephone: 302-449-5396
Contact Name: Caroline Zeitler
Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
, DE


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: $50

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Rd.
Seaford, DE  19973
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Telephone: 302-629-6611 ext. 2540
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Where:
, DE

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, DE

More information

A successful writer of Broadway thrillers is struggling to overcome a dry spell when he receives a script from a student —a potential Broadway hit. Thereafter suspense...

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Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Station Gallery
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View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: $13

Where:
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

Two-hour guided tours are offered at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Guests will visit Eleutherian Mills Residence, the first du Pont family home built in America; the First Office...

Cost: $0-14

Where:
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201 Hagley Creek Rd
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Meg Marcozzi
Website »

More information

This art exhibit features fine art works and three dimensional pieces that embrace the subject “red.” Artist are free to use their imagination and creativity, so works will include...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Gibby Center for the Arts
51 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
View map »


Sponsor: The Gibby Center for the Arts
Telephone: 302-449-5396
Contact Name: Caroline Zeitler
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
, DE


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

This art exhibit features fine art works and three dimensional pieces that embrace the subject “red.” Artist are free to use their imagination and creativity, so works will include...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Gibby Center for the Arts
51W Main St.
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View map »


Sponsor: The Gibby Center for the Arts
Telephone: 302-449-5396
Contact Name: Caroline Zeitler
Website »

More information

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Cost: $15–$18

Where:
The Secret Garden
47 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
View map »


Sponsor: The Everett Theatre
Telephone: 302-540-8561
Contact Name: Chris Everett
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Cost: 0.00

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Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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Cost: Free

Where:
First State Heritage Park
The Old State House
25 The Green
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Sponsor: First State Heritage Park
Telephone: 739-9194
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Cost: $40

Where:
Humpty's Dumplings
277 N Keswick Ave
Glenside, PA  19038
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Sponsor: Creative Paint Nites
Telephone: 267-312-8339
Contact Name: Charisse R McGill
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, DE

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Our Winter Group Show features oil paintings by Rosemary Castiglioni, Jim Gears and Mary Ann Weselyk. Still-life paintings with subtle color variations by...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Features activities and crafts that help visitors learn about local and national political roles in environmental conservation. Visitors can learn about the battle that politicians fought for a...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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The Philly Home Show will inspire your inner HGTV star at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from Feb. 12–14 and 19–21. The show will feature highly interactive...

Cost: $13

Where:
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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What was behind the legendary story of King Midas and his golden touch? That is the question to be answered—not with chests full of gold, but with a spectacular array of ancient artifacts,...

Cost: Adults $20; seniors $18; students (with ID) $15; children (ages 6–17) $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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Guests can explore three floors of exhibitions in the Visitor Center, stroll along the river through dozens of historic structures from the Industrial Revolution, and explore the gardens and...

Cost: $0-14

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Rd
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Meg Marcozzi
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Penn Museum opens the world premiere exhibition The Golden Age of King Midas—featuring ancient treasures on loan from the Republic of Turkey—with a spectacular daylong public...

Cost: $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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This art exhibit features fine art works and three dimensional pieces that embrace the subject “red.” Artist are free to use their imagination and creativity, so works will include...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Gibby Center for the Arts
51 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
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Sponsor: The Gibby Center for the Arts
Telephone: 302-449-5396
Contact Name: Caroline Zeitler
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For more information, please contact: Dave Ruffner ​Rehoboth Beach Film Society 107 Truitt Ave. Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 302-645-9095, ext. 4 administrator@rehobothfilm.com...

Cost: Free

Where:
, DE


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society and CAMP Rehoboth will co-present "Tab Hunter Confidential" and "Portrait of a Serial Monogamist" as part of its annual Another Take...

Cost: $8

Where:
Metropolitan Community Church
19369 Plantation Rd.
Rehoboth Beach, DE  19971
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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"La Sylphide" shares the beautiful and romantic story of our hero, James—a young Scottish farmer who, on the eve of hid wedding, abandons his betrothed, Effie, after being...

Cost: $25

Where:
Salesanium School
1801 North Broom St.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Academy of International Ballet
Telephone: 1-866-908-5666
Contact Name: Denis Gronostayskiy
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Venture back with us for an evening where we re-imagine the Victorian Industrial Age as seen through our steam-powered, futuristic goggles.  Our biggest fundraiser of the year and all proceeds...

Cost: $100-$110

Where:
Smyrna Opera House
7 West South Street
Smyrna, DE  19977
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A spoiled orphan girl is sent to live with her uncle on the Yorkshire moors and discovers renewed life, for herself and her sickly cousin, in bringing her dead aunt’s secret garden back to...

Cost: $15–$18

Where:
The Secret Garden
47 W Main St.
Middletown, DE  19709
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Sponsor: The Everett Theatre
Telephone: 302-540-8561
Contact Name: Chris Everett
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Location: St. Mark’s High School, 2501 Pike Creek Road, Wilmington Time: Registration: 11:30 a.m. Race: 12:30 p.m. Fee: $25 (until Thursday, Feb. 11), $35 after and day of event...

Where:
, DE

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Location: Beebe Healthcare’s Medical Center, 424 Savannah Road, Lewes Date: Saturday, Feb. 13 (and the second Saturday of each month) Time: 9 a.m. Fee: Free For more...

Where:
, DE

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Ditch the winter whites for a world of dazzling color at Longwood Gardens, where you can stroll through thousands of orchids in bloom. Kennett Square, www.longwoodgardens.org 

Where:
, DE

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A successful writer of Broadway thrillers is struggling to overcome a dry spell when he receives a script from a student —a potential Broadway hit. Thereafter suspense...

Where:
, DE

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Regional artists Carol Tippit Woolworth, Catherine Drabkin, Pahl Alexander Hluchan, Colleen Randall and Dan Jackson explore the concept of place—physical, emotional and spiritual—in...

Where:
, DE

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