Holden Beach, North Carolina: Mary's Gone Wild - Bottle House

Folk artist Mary Paulsen began creating a childhood wonderland in her yard in 2008. Her bottle house is covered with 8,000 bottles.
Address:
2431 Holden Beach Rd SW, Holden Beach, NC
Directions:
NC-130/Holden Beach Rd. SW. Continue to follow NC-130, when you get to the Ludlums produce market, right beyond it is Mary's.
Hours:
Daily 9 am - 9 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
910-842-9908
Admission:
Free - Donations accepted.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Visitor Tips and News About Mary's Gone Wild - Bottle House

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Mary's Gone Wild. Mary's Gone Wild - Tree House Art

Mary's Tree House is still going...sort of strong. We got there at 10 am, and Mary was nowhere to be found. She's still making art (as of two months ago anyway), and the oddity of the place does not disappoint. Biggest advice? Wear bug repellent. Mosquitoes will getcha.

[Kristie, 05/09/2014]
Mary's Gone Wild. Mary's Gone Wild - Tree House Art

We stopped by and met Mary. "It's nowhere near finished yet," she tells us.

This is by far the most intricate and terrifying, yet intriguing, case of hoarding-meets-art I have ever encountered. Very much worth the stop, but as others have mentioned the mosquitoes were as thick as the crazy inside this place. Don't wear flip flops as you go to visit; most of the walls are made of old old glass bottles. The art work is painted on old window panes. As of July 2012, most of the treehouses were in disrepair, they seemed sturdy enough, but made me wonder if they were safe to support weight. Each house was decorated with a theme, some were not classifiable, others were just freaky. Especially the Jesus-themed chapel-style house.

[Marissa, 07/31/2012]
Mary's Gone Wild. Mary's Gone Wild - Tree House Art

We thought Mary's Gone Wild was as good as the Cross Garden in AL, and in many ways better. The mosquitoes are the only reason we aren't still there -- I'd suggest going in the heat of the day to avoid them because there are so many little nooks and hovels that you'll want to explore. And be sort of terrified by.

[Bubbly and Boozy, 09/08/2011]
Mary's Gone Wild. Mary's Gone Wild Tree House Art

Looks more like an eyesore than art. Wouldn't go out of the way to see it, but was passing by Holden Beach Rd and stopped to take photos.

[LGosnell, 07/07/2011]
Mary's bottle house. Mary's Gone Wild - Bottle Houses

During a recent trip to the area, we found this by chance just driving by, though its actually pretty hard to miss. A roadside sign indicated a 30 year anniversary, although who knows how long the sign has been there.

Mary has constructed all of the buildings herself with a myriad of materials. Especially amazing are the bottle buildings. She uses whole bottles mounted horizontally with grout. There are hundreds and hundreds of painted folk art windows and "still lifes" of clustered junk everywhere, in every nook and cranny. She collects donations for Feed the Children and acts as a kind of pawn broker for local families in need, accepting trades of scrap materials in exchange for household items, diapers, food, etc.

We spent over 2 hours there and experienced sensory overload to the degree of hardly being able to speak afterward. Allow yourself plenty of time to explore and recover.

[Sisters of Zone F, 05/09/2010]

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