Lions, monkeys and skulls oh my!
Sometimes a gal just has to get out of the office- and if she’s lucky, she can convince a friend to go along for the ride. I'd had a week like this when my friend Gilligan and I made a two hours ride from Hamilton, New Jersey to visit The Strange and Unusual Oddities Parlor of Kingston, Pennsylvania.
On an fairly ordinary street nestled in with a nail salon and a vintage clothing shop, you’ll find a rather eccentric window display of jubilant skeletons and taxidermy critters. The Strange and Unusual Oddities Parlor certainly stands out among the basic buildings of small town Americana.
"Don't Touch the Lion"
Upon entering the store we were greeted by Tina and a fluffy black dog named Mister T. The faint sound of a tattoo gun could be heard throughout the shop. The dark purple walls are filled with beautiful antique display cases, golden frames and huge pieces of taxidermy. They even had a beautiful stuffed lion in the shop with a warning.
Skulls and bones in the back
Unlike other similar stores, The Strange and Unusual was organized in a very clean, free flowing manner... Translation: I could turn around with my camera bag and not worry about dropping or breaking anything. It was great to be able to just wander around at my own pace and not worry about any precariously placed shelves. Everything was more or less broken down into sections, with skulls and bones towards the back, wet specimens towards the counter, and a variety of fantastic mounted insects against the back wall.
You want to know about the merchandise, right? Everything within the store is reasonably priced- being from New York City I was amazed by some of the prices. I had to make the difficult decision of taking home the antique photo album or the horse skull (the photo album, of course) simply based on the prices alone. Need a tiny viewing coffin? Vintage furniture? Hanging bats? A pair of Strange and Unusual leggings? They got ‘em. The store has a small, but very thoughtfully curated collection of curios.
They even had a basket of taxidermy ducklings.
The staff and their friends were fantastic to speak with and incredibly helpful. They told us stories of Dee Snider (he’s a big fan of the shop), deep fried pizza and recommended a fantastic, cheap thrift shop - where I acquired an Edward Gorey illustrated book for a brand-spanking dollar. Tina even told us stories of the ‘Antler Man’ that deals with the shop, I was kind of hoping to run into as we drove home. If you happen to be in the area it is well worth the trip, you might even get a Strange chocolate bar for your troubles.
Nearby food and other stuffs
If it weren’t for Tina’s suggestion we wouldn’t have found anything nearby. She recommended an army/navy store across the street that had a great selection, as well as the aforementioned Plymouth thrift shop. You might be tempted to take photographs of the nearby abandoned funeral home covered in ivy… if you do-be sure to do it fast. We weren’t outside the car for more then two minutes taking pictures before the cops warned that it was considered trespassing. Whoops.
Although we were told of deep fried pizza there was none to be had...a number of places we saw were closed until much later. The drive back to the highway proved nothing but chain restaurants and fast food. We tried to get lunch at several places, but were told that they only opened for dinner. Bah. If you go up there, ask Tina for where you can get the deep fried pizza and let us know how it is!
285 Wyoming Ave.
Kingston, PA 18704
This piece comes from our resident Brooklyn creeper, JR Pepper. Follow her on Instagram @girlduality