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This Camden County borough—just 16 minutes from Philadelphia via the PATCO Speedline—is home to a vibrant theater community and a lively shopping and restaurant district.
Paint your wagon: Find the perfect knickknack for your living room—or purchase the ornate bedroom set you’ve always dreamed of—at the Painted Cottage (719 Haddon Ave, 856-854-0534), which offers a large selection of hand-painted furniture and accessories. With an entrance tucked away in an alley, you’ll know the building by its beautiful glass-decorated exterior.
Take a break: Relax with a mango iced tea at Grooveground (647 Haddon Ave, 856-869-9800), a hip but refreshingly unpretentious corner coffee shop. Those jonesing for a caffeine fix can enjoy a freshly brewed latte while snacking on sandwiches or pastries. Monthly live music performances showcase local singers and songwriters. Many used DVDs and CDs are also available for purchase.
Dress to impress: Find the perfect gown for New Year’s Eve and other special events at Marlene’s Dress Shop (710 Haddon Ave, 856-858-4777), which specializes in elegant designer wear, plus accessories and shoes.
Enjoy the arts: Plan a night on the town every second Saturday of the month. Collingswood holds its Second Saturday extravaganza year-round on Haddon Avenue between Harvard and Lees avenues, where local painters, sculptors, food vendors, and musicians share their talents with the community. Festivities begin at 6 pm.
That’s amore! For a romantic dinner, try the cozy BYO Italian eatery Villa Barone (753 Haddon Ave, 856-858-2999), arguably the most reasonably priced of Collingswood’s upscale restaurants. Try the prosciutto and melted provolone asparagus or the sautéed broccoli rabe with sausage, and then top it off with a slice of triple-layer chocolate moussecake or ricotta-stuffed cannoli. Fair warning, though—wear adjustable-waist pants!
Say cheese: Sample one of over 30 types of grilled cheese sandwiches at the Pop Shop (729 Haddon Ave, 856-869-0111), served on a pretzel or pumpernickel, focaccia, or rye bread. The 1950s-style eatery houses an authentic soda fountain and jukebox—the perfect place for children or the young at heart.
Lights galore: Enjoy a sea of holiday lights on December 8 as the Collingswood Fire Department and local emergency companies decorate their vehicles for the Parade of Lights. The procession kicks off at 7:30 pm, traveling down Haddon Ave between Zane and Homestead avenues.
All that jazz: Discover rising jazz talents at the First Thursday Jazz series held monthly at the Collingswood Community Center (30 Collings Ave, 856-854-4440). On December 7 join pianist Sam Dockery and his band as they celebrate the 88th birthday of Basie and Ellington drummer Butch Ballard. January 4’s performance showcases saxophonist Denis DiBlasio and his Crash Bop trio.
Beyond funky: For the impossible person on your gift list, try Mineralistic (709 Haddon Ave, 856-854-2656), where you’ll find everything from a collection of fossils to gargoyle incense burners and Celtic bracelets.
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A Meal for Amiel
As mentioned earlier in the week, on February 8, chef Florian Wehrli, along with top chefs from New York and Northern New Jersey will collaborate on a benefit dinner at Perona Farms to raise money to build a greenhouse/interactive classroom for Frankford Township School. The five-course tasting meal will feature regionally grown meats, cheeses and produce.
Early in Saturday night's American premiere of a work by the South African choreographer Robyn Orlin, the dancers of the all-male Senegalese troupe Jant-Bi begin to advance steadfastly toward and then literally into the audience--standing on the backs and armrests of occupied seats and striking a pose of invincible, unyielding bravado.
At that point, who could guess that this pinwheeling, sometimes perplexing, affair at Montclair State's Kasser Theater would culminate in a flood of joy uniting audience and performers?
For some reason, that is my favorite line in what I like to think of as my favorite play, Waiting For Godot. I certainly will not forget this particular carrot. That I can't explain the contents of this picture is part of what I like about it. In other words, you can't make this stuff up.
Snow everywhere in Jersey. Nonetheless, you can celebrate the Super Bowl on the beach in Sea Bright. In Driftwood Cabana Club's rebuilt, enclosed, all-weather tiki bar, "You kind of feel like you are on a cruise ship," says beverage director Beau Keegan, "because all you see is water.”