Linda Holland welcomes her guests through the circular front door with a platter of Hobbit seed cakes, a heretofore fictional foodstuff Bilbo served to Balin with the white beard (I Googled it). In Bilbo’s mailbox, guests will find their party invitation, a keepsake Rune Stone bearing the Wizard’s mark (whatever that is), and a list of rules for staying in the Airbnb (no pets, free parking).
See, when it comes to fans of the Lord of the Rings, there are book people and there are movie people. I, for example, think Viggo Mortensen is a very attractive person. Linda Holland and her husband, Randy, are, I would say, on the extreme end of book people. “Since reading The Hobbit in grade school it has been a real passion for me that actually has developed into a labor of love for Linda and I,” says Randy, who is constantly adding things to the property to make it look less like Fairfield—a small Virginia town about a half-hour south of Staunton—and more like the Shire. “Nothing cheesy,” he insists. Think “adventure” rather than “whimsy.”
The Airbnb does offer some This Earthly amenities, like a Keurig coffee machine, but is impressively faithful to Middle Earth: a fireplace, a small writing desk, a church bell above the door for the other residents of Hobbiton to announce themselves, etc. The high school sweethearts do their own blacksmithing and some woodworking. In the fall, they make sorghum molasses and apple butter, which sound v Middle Earthy. They whittle custom hobbit pipes. “The list goes on and on,” says Randy.
The one bedroom property set against the Blue Ridge Mountains runs $150 a night, a price that includes a complimentary bottle of local wine and infinite opportunities for Instagramming your cosplay.