Insider’s Guide 2011

Forget Philly (for once). There’s more than enough to love in your own backyard, from hidden-gem boutiques and restaurants to home services and health-boosting activities.

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Just for the Ladies (or Guys)

Bling It On!
Forget the kids. Gather at least five (or up to 30) of your girlfriends, grab a couple of bottles of wine, and spend an evening blinging out everything from wine glasses to flip-flops. A portion of every purchase goes to cancer research and education. 134 N. High St., West Chester; (610) 696-6996,

Online Meet-Up Groups for Main Liners
Enter your zip code on to find new friends in your area who share your interests. A recent search turned up local groups for single boomers, new moms, sports fans, foodies, motorcyclists and business networkers.

That’s Entertainment

Stages of Imagination
This award-winning professional adult acting troupe performs limited-run, original Broadway-style musicals geared to children ages 3-11 at Neumann and Saint Joseph’s universities. Plays are themed to foster personal character development and life skills, dealing with such relevant themes as self-esteem, bullying, nutrition and tolerance. $6.50. 648 N. Lemon St., Media; (610) 892-8189,

Chamber Singers and Chorale of Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges
Among the finest chamber ensembles in the world, this 30-member group celebrates the music of the Renaissance. Visitors are welcome at rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday afternoons at Haverford, and Thursdays at Bryn Mawr. Wednesday-evening rehearsals for the chorale at Haverford are also open to the public. (610) 896-1006,

Bryn Mawr Film Institute
In addition to screenings of first-run flicks, BMFI’s free “Open Screen Mondays” allow area filmmakers to show short works and have them critiqued by the audience. And check the schedule for “Sing-Alongs,” where you can come in costume and warble your way through The Sound of Music, Grease and other faves. 824 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr; (610) 527-9898,

Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Chester County
Whether you’re mad about The Mikado or partial to The Pirates of Penzance, you can’t help but love this lively local troupe and its over-the-top productions at West Chester University and West Chester’s “Old-Fashioned Christmas.” (610) 269-5499,

The Sporting Life

Main Line Ski ClubFencing Academy Main Line
Group classes for students age 8 and up, from beginner to advanced levels, are held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Beginner fees: $160/two months; individual lessons also available. Church of the Good Samaritan, 212 W. Lancaster Ave., Paoli; (610) 889-0300,

Main Line Ski Club
You don’t have to be a skier to enjoy the activities organized by members (mostly singles and couples over age 40) of this volunteer club. In addition to hitting the slopes, the groups plan a wide range of other outings, including mixed-doubles tennis, monthly socials, plus hiking, biking and foodie forays. Membership fee: $35/singles, $45/families.

At Your Service

Job Squad
By filling out a brief online form, Cabrini College can connect you with students for local, nonprofessional jobs like babysitting, light housekeeping, party help, companion care and yard work. The service is free, but you’ll be asked to suggest the per-hour fee you’re willing to pay for the student’s work. 610 King of Prussia Road, Radnor; (610) 902-8100,

Surrey Services for Seniors
This nonprofit organization offers transportation, in-home care, fitness, recreation and social programs, and more for seniors of all income levels in Chester and Delaware counties. Supervision is provided by Home Care Nurses, and each caregiver is bonded and insured. 28 Bridge Ave., Berwyn, (610) 647-6404; 455 Park Way, Broomall, (610) 544-1770;

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