Tucked into the green rolling hills of Bridesville, B.C. is a quaint home familiar to fans of fantasy films and adventure novels, the house belonging to none other than the Middle Earth adventurer Bilbo Baggins.
Okay well not exactly, the home is listed on Airbnb as the Hobbit Mountain Hole. It was constructed by a master builder and obviously massive Lord of the Rings nerd who has since left the property. According to the home’s current owner and caretaker Christina LeComte, the home took two years to build with construction ending in 2019.
Last year LeComte moved to the 400-acre ranch and has been caring for the Hobbit hole since April 2020. Having never run an Airbnb before let alone a Hobbit house, LeComte considers the experience an interesting journey, learning how the house and its surrounding plant life react to the different seasons. As the house changes throughout the year, she calls it very much "a living thing."
LeComte admitted she hadn’t watched the Lord of the Rings films before she took ownership of the Hobbit hole - something she wishes she had done earlier.
"I kind of regretted that I hadn't done so sooner because I actually really liked them," she said, going on to compare the similarities between her real-life Hobbit hole and the movies. "I think it's pretty accurate actually. Where it is located it does really feel like Middle Earth or some kind of fantasy world because it is so secluded and private.”
So what’s the house like?
Just near a grove of evergreen trees the land gently rises, interrupted by a stone chimney. Underneath you can see the large circular door to the Hobbit hole and beside it two windows peeking through the earth. A few feet from the door is a fire pit complete with a couple of wooden chairs, perfect for discussing one’s 111th birthday.
As you open the door you are greeted to an entryway with two leather armchairs seated across from one another. Above the chairs is a small chandelier (mind your head Gandalf) and beyond that is a fireplace with a few lines of Elvish text above the mantle.
"All we have to do is to decide what to do with the time that is given to us," the inscription reads.
Throughout the home is furniture and decor that make the house feel like Bilbo had just nipped out for a pinch of Longbottom Leaf.
Decorating the home has been an ongoing process according to LeComte.
"I always keep adding things to it," she said. "It's always a lot of fun because you kind of wait for the right thing to come to me that fits."
Far away from people? Sign me up!
By now you might be thinking of finding a friend in your bubble, packing your Lembas bread and going on your own adventure to visit the Hobbit hole but you might have to wait. According to LeComte the home is booked for more than half the year already.
With no advertising to speak of, save for an Instagram account and the Airbnb site, LeComte says the house attracts its own customer base. This was especially true in 2020 even though LeComte wasn’t expecting a single booking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"Last year a lot of people said they were so glad that they were able to escape 2020," she said. "It seems to be something really special to people."
As visiting the Hobbit Mountain Hole would constitute non-essential travel outside of nearly all B.C.’s regional health authorities, Vancouverites will have to wait for travel restrictions to be lifted before visiting.
Luckily LeComte plans to keep offering the Hobbit Mountain hole as a place to escape for as long as she can. Although she and her husband are busy enough with the ranch as it is, LeComte is motivated to keep offering the Hobbit hole because of the feedback she has received so far.
"I can't actually believe that I'm in a position to facilitate something that means so much to people," she said. "The reactions that I get from people... I don't know how to say any other way, but sometimes they're really profound."
While we may not be able to visit now, we can pass the time enjoying the sprawling works of Tolkien between the pages of his books or on our screens. Just remember there will always be a Hobbit hole there under the hill in Bridesville, B.C. and there always will be.