There's Nothing Lovely as a Tree

Especially when it becomes a home.



The trio of treehouses at Longwood, including the Birdhouse, took about four months to build and cost $1 million. Photograph by Pete NelsonNature’s Castles are perched in trees, 20 feet from the earth—and as close as you can get to heaven.
The trio of treehouses is a recent addition to Longwood Gardens, the horticultural treasure near Kennett Square, attracting guests to groves of tulip poplars in expanses of the 1,050-acre former du Pont estate that were seldom visited.
Kids of all ages are drawn by the lure of a treehouse, a place where they can pretend they are king and queen of all they survey.
“It’s delightful,” says Longwood spokeswoman Patricia Evans. “That’s the response we hear over and over.”
The first and largest creation, the 900-square-foot Lookout Loft on shady Forest Walk, is a rustic Adirondack-style structure with two separate viewing platforms connected by a walkway. What makes the design more special is its accessibility. Forever Young Treehouses of Burlington, Vermont, built the structure in compliance with standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act, installing 75 feet of ramps.
“A treehouse that is wheelchair accessible is a rare thing,” Evans says. “It’s a joy to see kids in wheelchairs, who have never been in a treehouse, wheeling around up there.”
The other two treehouses, reached by wooden stairs, are the work of Peter Nelson and Jake Jacobs of TreeHouse Workshop in Seattle.
The Canopy Cathedral has a 589-square-foot interior with floors crafted of Douglas fir salvaged from a toothpaste factory in Canada. Photograph courtesy of Longwood GardensCentered on towering tulip poplars, the Canopy Cathedral is an ornate two-story house inspired by a Norwegian Stave Church. It has a 589-square-foot interior and diamond-shaped windows. The floors are crafted of Douglas fir salvaged from an old toothpaste factory in Toronto. Its 118-square-foot balcony, accessed by two staircases, provides an aerial view of Longwood’s celebrated Italian Water Garden.
The first stage in designing the treehouse was getting the lay of the land.
“We walked through the gardens on a snowy February day and we could see the tall tulip trees without their leaves,” Jacobs recalls. “These trees sort of jumped out at us and Pete immediately began sketching.”
A month later, Longwood asked for a design for a third, smaller treehouse. The result is the 255-square-foot Birdhouse, a cedar nest with a hawk’s-eye view of Peirce’s Woods. The handle on the sliding barn door is fashioned from a tree limb.
As a boy, Jacobs nailed peach baskets and lengths of lumber in trees in his native New York state. He never had a proper treehouse, though he did persuade friends to help him build a raft like Huckleberry Finn’s.
Trained as a timberframer, he recently finished the three-year job of building his own home on 20 verdant acres in Washington state.
“I’ve picked out sites for three treehouses we will probably use as guesthouses for our three grown children,” he says. “That’s my next project.”
The Canopy Cathedral’s large balcony offers visitors a different perspective on the Italian water garden. Photograph by Pete NelsonLongwood director Paul Redman says treehouses awaken a child’s fascination with the outdoors.
“Nature’s Castles is designed to celebrate trees and engage our guests in an exciting and unique way about the beauty and importance of trees,” Redman says. “You will never think of treehouses in the same way after seeing these creations.”
Real-life celebrities and other well-heeled individuals also are raising the bar. Val Kilmer, the actor, commissioned a 300-square-foot treehouse in a stand of five live oaks on his ranch in New Mexico. (He’s also a distant relative of Joyce Kilmer, the poet who wrote “Trees.”) Rock ’n’ roll icon Sting has a veritable villa in the sky in Italy, and fashion designer Donna Karan enjoys lofty views from her getaway above Long Island.
“I like to use the term ‘escape pod’ to describe a treehouse,” Jacobs says. “It’s a place to meditate, to free your mind. We’re finding that entrepreneurs are asking for treehouses to use as offices.”
Jacobs and Nelson built a $175,000 two-story treehouse on the Virginia Creeper Trail, a 35-mile hiking and bike path that bisects the town of Abington. Ensconced in a single massive pin oak in a grove of beeches, the structure was built as an airy guesthouse, with such amenities as a fireplace, shower and flush toilet. It’s also heated and boasts a mini fridge and microwave. Most of the wood was reclaimed— Douglas fir for the walls, cedar for floors, locust for support posts and cherry for a touch of class.
Other public gardens also are branching out into treehouses. At Tyler Arboretum in Media, Pennsylvania, an exhibition of 16 treehouses designed and built by local artisans opened in May. Those leafy abodes range from Thoreau’s Cabin, a full-scale replica of writer Henry David Thoreau’s rustic home on Walden Pond in Massachusetts, to a pared-back collection of hammocks suspended in the trees, dubbed Kyle’s Tree House.
The Longwood treehouses took about as long to build—four months—and cost as much as traditional homes, $1 million.
Lookout Loft, the largest of Longwood’s treehouses, is accessible by wheelchair. Photograph courtesy of Longwood GardensNo one is putting a dollar value on the views. In early September, visitors are swathed in lush greenery. By October, the leaves will turn scarlet and gold. And in November, when the leaves float to the ground, expect breathtaking views of expansive woodlands and an up-close look at the sculptural boughs of trees.
A destination for aficionados of things both green and grand, Longwood is revered for such seasonal extravagances as exotic chrysanthemums in fall, lavish Christmas topiaries and spectacular stands of spring tulips and Easter lilies. In summer, guests are treated to jaw-dropping fireworks displays, accompanied by colorful cascading fountains and classical music.
But Longwood’s roots go back to trees. Industrial mogul Pierre S. du Pont bought the original 202 acres in 1906 to preserve a historic arboretum slated for the lumber mill. George Peirce, a Quaker, bought the land from William Penn in 1700 and farmed it. His descendants established the arboretum in 1798, and many of the trees they planted stand today.
All three Nature’s Castles have trees growing through their decks—on purpose, of course. The same goes for the hole in the roof over the viewing platform at Lookout Loft, where a tree pokes through, reaching for the sun.
The structures are anchored not in trunks or branches but in technology. Each house is supported by a pin foundation in which a series of long pipes are driven through pre-cast concrete units on the surface of the ground. The result is a base that won’t heave after the ground freezes and also won’t damage the roots of the trees.
“It was important to us that no trees were harmed,” Evans says. “After all, the focus of treehouses is the trees.”
 

This Way to the Treehouses

“Nature’s Castles: The Treehouse Reimagined” will remain open through November 23 at Longwood Gardens, U.S. 1, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Admission is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, $6 for students ages 5 to 22, and free for ages 4 and under. The treehouses are open daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, call (610) 388-1000 or visit www.longwoodgardens.org.
 

“Totally Terrific Treehouses” runs through September 28 at the Tyler Arboretum in Media, Pennsylavania. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4 for children ages 3 to 15. For details, call (610) 566-9134 or go to www.tylerarboretum.org

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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Sports Card & Collectible Show at Aetna Fire Hall on Jan. 22—sign up now! -Sports Cards McFarlane Figures Comic Books Non-Sports cards Wrestling Items Vintage Starting...

Cost: $2

Where:
Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: A2Z Promotions
Telephone: 302-983-2636
Contact Name: Bob Harper
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Belly Dance Classes with Zahra Beginner & intermediate classes open to teens and adults Sundays in January starting Jan 8th Beginner: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Intermediate: 1 - 2 p.m (must get...

Cost: $15-$42

Where:
Take the Lead Studio
320 Lantana Drive
Hockessin , DE  19711
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Sponsor: Take the Lead
Contact Name: Zahra
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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Ah, typecasting—the baritone is always the bad guy! In Devils, Drunks & Dastardly Dudes, we’ll go on an operatic journey of men behaving badly. We’ll add a tenor to the mix, too… but we...

Cost: $29-$59

Where:
OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: OperaDelaware
Telephone: 302-442-7809
Contact Name: Mary Wilcosky
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Come give curling a try! At this 2-hour intro-to-curling event we'll provide a basic lesson then coach you through a mini-game.  Whether you just want to cross #curling off your bucket list or...

Cost: $35

Where:
The Pond Ice Arena
101 John Campbell Rd
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: Diamond State Curling Club
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


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

More information

Notbybreadalone Ministries presents Feeding the Hungry Outreach. All are welcome to come and partake of food, fun and fellowship. Those who desire a better way of life through Jesus Christ are...

Cost: Free

Where:
2nd and 3rd Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801


Sponsor: Notbybreadalone Outreach Ministries
Telephone: 442-0440
Contact Name: Ministers Wayne and Stephanie Dumpson
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Guest speakers Patty Dailey-Lewis, executive director of the Beau Biden Foundation, and Delaware Family Court commissioner Loretta Young will discuss how participation in social media can too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington University - Dover
Building A Auditorium
3282 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: Wilmington University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Telephone: 302-295-1164
Contact Name: Dr. Johanna Bishop
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmers Market Nov 8, 2016 - April 11, 2017  11 am- 2 pm 25 vendors Location:  East Coast Garden Center 30366 Cordrey Rd Millsboro, DE 19966 302-945-3489

Cost: frr

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: East Coast Garden Center
Telephone: 302-945-3489
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmer's Marke 25 vendors

Cost: Free

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Telephone: 302-945-3489
Website »

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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


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

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A four-week series of ballroom dancing classes taught by teachers from the BlueBallroom. Tuesdays starting Jan. 10. Classes are $30 a lesson for Non-Members. Non-Member slots are limited. For...

Cost: $30

Where:
University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


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

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

More information

Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts January 19th, every other Thursday until March 30th This program is based entirely outdoors and is...

Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

Where:
Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

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MARC BROUSSARD In 2004, Marc Broussard, then a precocious 22-year-old singer/songwriter, released his major-label debut; he called it Carencro, after the Louisiana town where he was born and...

Cost: $22 SRO- $32 SEATED

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
Website »

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tutto Fresco has live entertainment every Friday night from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Call for details. http://tuttofrescode.com/

Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
View map »

More information

The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
Website »

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Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

January 28 – Saturday – 1 to 4 p.m. Science Saturday – Truss Me, You Won’t Fall! Become an engineer for the day. Design a bridge to hold as much weight as possible....

Cost: Activities are included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
Website »

More information

The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

GRILLED CHEESE AND CRAFT BEER TASTING We have taken two of the best things on earth and paired them together – Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer – and paired them together in unexpected and...

Cost: $40

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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Saturday, January 28, 2017 at  7:30 pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 763 Valley Forge Rd, Wayne, PA 19087 Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3 pm at Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square...

Cost: Tickets are $25 online, and $30 at the door. Student tickets $10 at the door.

Where:
Church of the Holy Trinity
1904 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA  19103
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Sponsor: Lyric Fest
Telephone: 215-438-1702
Contact Name: Jessica Nelson
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Fan favorite, Dick Smith, returns to the Dickinson Theatre Organ Society concert stage on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 for a show that is sure to bring the house down! Dick Smith has been a...

Cost: $15 Adults; $10 Students

Where:
John Dickinson High School Auditorium
1801 Milltown Road
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Sponsor: Dickinson Theatre Organ Society
Telephone: 302-995-2603
Contact Name: Bob Dilworth
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The Dickinson Theatre Organ Society presents Dick Smith. For tickets, click here: http://www.dtoskimball.org/events-tickets/ticket-information/ For further information, please call us at...

Where:
, DE

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

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MOTHERSHIP Mothership is the area's premier Led Zeppelin Tribute show. Composed of seasoned, professional musicians Mario Padovani - vocals, keyboards, Frank Ginocchio - drums, Chris Julian -...

Cost: 15

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Website »

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