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Garysburg, North Carolina: Q. J. Stephenson's Occoneechee Trapper's Lodge

A folk artist built some crazy animals and a a crazy-photogenic lodge on his lawn out of fossils and bric-a-brac.

State Rd 1310, Garysburg, NC
I-95 exit 176, then east into town. A quarter mile past the Garysburg post office which is at 214 Old Highway Rd. Private property, visible from road.
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Visitor Tips and News About Q. J. Stephenson's Occoneechee Trapper's Lodge

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Q. J. Stephenson's Occoneechee Trapper's Lodge

It's in front of someones house, which would require you to park in their driveway. Odd.

[Kirsten, 04/25/2021]

Trapper's Lodge.

Q.J. Stephenson's Occoneechee Trapper's Lodge

As of last June, there are new owners at Q.J. Stephenson's place! And if no one's out in the yard to let you into the lodge (as there was when I went by), there's a buzzer on the front that you can press to let them know you're there. A lot of the art that used to be inside, maybe half of it, is gone. New owner Mike told me that some of it went to the Smithsonian and some of it went to family members, but there's still plenty to see. I'm just glad that someone is going to maintain this place.

[Dean Jeffrey, 04/25/2018]

Trapper's Lodge.

Q. J. Stephenson's Occoneechee Trapper's Lodge

Still for sale and still empty. It's totally random and there are families surrounding the stop. Totally worth the 5 minute detour!

[Phoebe, 04/19/2016]
Occoneechee Trappers Lodge

This wonderful gem is worth the time and effort to find it. It's a shame that the town of Garysburg isn't doing something to conserve the lodge (hint, hint) and cash in on the tourist traffic on the way to the Outer Banks. The "For Sale by Owner" sign is still posted, so we better enjoy it while we can. Awesome place to let the kids stretch their legs. Take time to enjoy this treasure.

[Katie Sawyer, 08/19/2014]

Folk artist Q.J. Stephenson built the lodge out of fossils that he found. He died in 1997; the lodge has been for sale for several years.

Inside the lodge.

Q.J. Stephenson's Occoneechee Trapper's Lodge

I visited Q.J. Stephenson's Occoneechee Trapper's Lodge a few years ago, not too long after his wife died, and wound up running into their daughter and her husband. They were cleaning up the house and grounds, trying decide just what to do with the place. She said there had been some talks with town officials about possible options to save the lodge, but no decisions had been made.

I visited again just about a year ago, and right after I got there a van pulled up with four people who turned out to be conservators from the Smithsonian. They were there to see what, if anything, could be done with the property. Frankly, they didn't seem too optimistic.

Then, just last month, I was in the area again and saw a "For Sale By Owner" sign in front of the house. Apparently nothing's happened and the place is for sale. The lodge looks to be in great shape, by the way, and you can look through the windows and see Stephenson's works just as he left them.

[Dean Jeffrey, 02/18/2013]

We have a cartoon image in our heads of a van full of Smithsonian conservators, iPads at the ready, roaring around the countryside and spilling out to render judgment on the nearest neglected bottle house or button grotto.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Rocky the Giant RockfishRocky the Giant Rockfish, Weldon, NC - 3 mi.
Grave of the Only Masonic Grand Master of AmericaGrave of the Only Masonic Grand Master of America, Halifax, NC - 8 mi.
Rock Garden of AmericaRock Garden of America, Littleton, NC - 16 mi.
In the region:
Henry Cowan Sculptures, Bear Grass, NC - 52 mi.

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