Tucked away on the edge of the small city of Carrabelle, there is a local landmark worth a visit, day or night. The song of cicadas is nearly deafening as you approach this hidden gem along Florida’s Forgotten Coast. Massive, prehistoric-looking grasshoppers flit about; landing here, and hopping there. It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s bright. The sun is high in the sky on this very Florida September day, and you kinda feel like you’re trespassing as the merciless humidity spawns beads of sweat (literally) all over your body. Welcome to the Carrabelle Bottle House, you’ve made it.
A sign outside the chainlink gate reads, “We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your viewing. Please just come on in. Do not let the dogs out. No fee. Welcome.” By now you might be wondering, why does a house made out of bottles exist in quaint little Carrabelle? Leon Wiesener, the property owner, former art professor, and visionary behind the Bottle House, is quoted as saying, “All I know is that I awoke one morning, turned to my wife and stated that I was going to build a house out of bottles.” And that, he did. Leon used over 6,000 bottles to construct the pentagon-shaped house, which he completed in 2012 after nearly a year of building.
Lush ferns creep along the edges of the Bottle House, which is nestled in one corner of the yard. Stepping inside the structure, the outside world fades away, and you are swept into the colorful wonder that inhabits the space. Natural light filters through the bottles, illuminating the interior room with glowing amber, azure, chartreuse, ultramarine, silver, and playful pops of cherry red. A sleek floor depicting images of koi fish brings a final touch of brightness and whimsy to the piece.
It’s important to note that the Bottle House is not the only one of Leon’s creations on the property. The yard is filled with interesting and curious things to see, including a lighthouse (also built from bottles), several geodesic sphere sculptures, a colorful bottle half-dome, citrus trees, native plants, a small pond, and a vegetable garden. At night, the yard takes on a different vibe altogether. Leon has placed artificial lights in and around the sculptures to display the different works in a rainbow of glimmering color after the sun has retired for the evening.
If you are traveling through the Forgotten Coast area, or just want to take a roadtrip to see this little slice of Florida, consider etching out some time to stop by and visit the Carrabelle Bottle House. It’s a wonderful sightseeing destination for adults and kids alike.
604 SE Ave F, Carrabelle, FL 32322
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No fee.