I fell in love with Tolkien after reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when I was in college. Gifted with a box set of the fantasy novels, I read them in sequence during a Christmas break — most of which I spent being a dutiful resident assistant in a near
-empty dormitory at the University of Alabama. But I wasn’t lonely as I waited to head home for the holidays. Gandalf and a whole cast of characters kept me company.
That’s why, for me, visiting Hobbiton today was like a kid’s first trip to Disneyland — all bright-eyed wonder and innocent fun.
The movie set bringing The Shire to life was constructed on a private farm about 45 minutes northwest of Rotorua near a small town called Matamata.
Seeing The Shire was like walking into Tolkien’s imagination. Meandering amidst the hobbit holes, I couldn’t help but wonder what the great writer would have thought about Peter Jackson’s movie set.
Striding up the hill to Bag End,
I was surprised that Bilbo didn’t greet us, but perhaps he was off on another unexpected journey. He must have been in a hurry to leave, because he left the door open.
We stopped by the Green Dragon before leaving The Shire and raised a pint to the imaginations of writers everywhere for bringing us wonderful tales that enrich our lives.