Greetings from Middle Earth, where it was snowing as I arrived here in the Shire on Monday. This was after a 75-degree day on Sunday, and temperatures in the 80s for several days before that.
Bob and I had driven down to Harrisonburg on Saturday to spend Easter with Jon Morgan at JMU. I booked us into an inn that has particularly nice breakfasts, and Jon Morgan joined us for Easter brunch there. Then we walked around the university arboretum, which was lovely with the spring flowers blooming and the koi, turtles, and ducks enjoying the pond. Bob had to work Monday, so we dropped him off so he could take the bus home. I spent Sunday night at the inn, as well. Then on Monday, I checked out and headed for Middle Earth, where I’d rented a Hobbit House for a few days.
I checked into Bag End on Monday afternoon. I thought I’d be out of touch while I’m here, but the Hobbits just installed wifi over the weekend! So I can have my pastoral Shire scenery and stay connected, too.
The Hobbit House is one of two dug into this hillside, but the other is up the hill from me, and I can’t see it from my cozy hideaway. My Hobbit House is the smaller of the two. The interior is round, but with one straight wall that separates the main room from the bathroom and a utility closet along one side. Like all dugouts, it has windows on only one side.
The main room has a queen-size bed, a bar counter with two stools, a couple of fold-up rocking chairs, and two small tables. The kitchenette is a row of bottom cabinets with a thick countertop, a hammered copper sink, and a small refrigerator under the counter. There’s a shelf above for mugs and a few food items like (among other things) condiments, honey, flour, oil, and the all-important waffle mix. There is no stove, but on the counter is a small microwave oven, a waffle iron, a hot plate, and a Keurig coffee maker. And that’s pretty much all of my cute little Hobbit House. It’s too small and too rustic to be Bilbo and Frodo’s fabulous Bag End; I’m clearly not as wealthy a hobbit as they are.
I had planned to spend my whole time here writing, but I have to admit I’ve done nothing at all so far today, though I might still do a bit tonight. I had planned to, but Jon Morgan wanted to see the Hobbit House. So I drove a half-hour back to Harrisonburg, met him at the dining hall where he and his girlfriend Kat were having lunch, and then brought him back here. (He was finished with his classes for the day, but Kat was not.)
We hung out here well into the evening, made waffles for dinner, and watched (of course) the first Lord of the Rings movie. Then I had to drive him back. The roads in the Shire, by the way, are very dark at night! It’s a rural area, with only the occasional house, and most of them far from the road. And no street lights. I arrived back here after ten, finished the dishes, made myself a cup of tea, and fired up the computer to record this. The weather was much warmer today; it got close to 50 degrees and was sunny, and the snow around my Hobbit House melted away.
So far, I have not been visited by a wizard and thirteen dwarves, but maybe they’re planning to stop by tomorrow, eat all the waffles, and take me on a long and perilous journey.
And for those who are asking, the Hobbit House is in the Shenandoah Valley, a few miles outside of Broadway, Virginia.