09 December 2008

Hobbiton, Part One

Bitter, desperate disappointment welled within me as the realization struck: Hobbiton was closed. Not for the day. Not for the season. It was closed forever.

It was the final day of a week-long trip along the northern California coast, the land of my youth. Over the course of the vacation Star and I had lived in the lap of hostel luxury, held hands with Sasquatch, discovered hundreds of starfish in almost as many tide pools, and of course, wandered among the redwoods themselves. Steinbeck described these ancient giants as “ambassadors from another time… a stunning memory of what the world was like once long ago.” The towering dignity and “cathedral hush” made a walk in those Woods more of a rite than a hike.

Almost as awesome as the redwoods themselves, though, was the main road that runs through them, a winding stretch of highway known as the “Avenue of the Giants.” Part-tourist trap, part-nature museum, the Avenue is a curvy little jaunt through roadside Americana. Necessary stops include such magnificent specimens as a six-foot ear of corn and a sixty-foot Paul Bunyan, who, along with his blue ox sidekick, beckons weary travelers to come and behold the “Trees of Mystery,” an arboreal Believe-It-Or-Not. None of these grandiose spectacles, however, could rival the expectations for the last stop of our trip.

Flipping through guidebooks a few days prior to the flight out to California, I had come across an intriguing passage, little more than a bullet-point. At the very bottom of a list of things to see, came the following line:

Hobbiton, USA; a kitschy walk-through tribute to Tolkien’s The Hobbit.”

I was enthralled. I wanted—needed—to know more, but even the typically omniscient internet could only tell me that Hobbiton USA was maintained by the San Francisco Guild of Hobbits (an intriguing concept in its own right). One thing I did know, though: I had to see this place. Not only did I like the idea of a kitschy walk-through, but Tolkien’s masterpiece held a special place in my heart: on another road trip long ago, listening to my mom hiss out Gollum’s lines, I learned to love good literature. And so it was decided—Hobbiton USA would be the culmination, the grand finale, of our journey.

2 comments:

kelly said...

Oh, I get goosebumps just thinking about walking through the redwoods, and I've never even been there. ...One day...

I'm waiting with bated breath to hear the rest of your Hobbit experience.

Mars said...

You use big words.