“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
The gently rolling hills of the Shire form a backdrop for a small copse of trees. This stylized view morphs into a more naturalistic – haptic, even – experience. Standing on the doorstep of Bag End, you can reach out and touch the flora & fauna that grow around and on top of that most famous of holes in the ground. Go ahead, ring the bell, but don’t bother checking that Longbottom crate for leftover tobacco.
Kids (or the observant) will discover something special right at their eye line.
A hearth fire glows from the kitchen down the hall, while bright morning light pours through windows in the nearby front room. This kid-height shadow-box appears to run straight back a few feet – beyond the actual width of the shelf – but is actually staged vertically, periscope-style.
It is a peek back to a happier time at Bag End, when visits from outsiders – such as the one with the tall grey hat, seen here on the coat rack – were scandalously frequent.
By the time we arrive, The Shire has faded from memory, and Bag End is abandoned.
The former residents left traces, however, if you know where to look.