He’d love it!
JRR Tolkien, best known for his authorship of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, once said, “I am in fact a hobbit in all but size. I like gardens, trees, and unmechanized farmlands …. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour; I go to bed late and get up late (when possible). I do not travel much.”
Based on that description, it’s very likely that Tolkien would have loved the Hobbit House of Montana. It’s also equally likely that he would have been amazed to learn that this Hobbit House started as a Monolithic Dome.
In the beginning
When Steve Michaels, a 62-year-old, creative business owner and his wife Chris, began planning an imaginative get-away for themselves and their family, they decided to build a Monolithic Dome on their 100-acre alpaca ranch in Trout Creek, Montana. Steve said, “I learned about the domes on Monolithic’s website. I didn’t do a lot of shopping. When I see something I like, I go for it.”
Steve had quickly discovered that a Monolithic Dome had what he primarily wanted: it could be built underground and it was energy-efficient. In 2008, a crew from South Industries of Menan, Idaho completed the shell of a Monolithic Dome that has a diameter of 37 feet and a height of 14 feet and is built into the side of a hill.
But at that point, the Michaels were not thinking “hobbit.” That came about when Stan Hamm, their contractor, said that the dome reminded him of a Hobbit House. Jamie, Stan’s wife and a Tolkien fan, enthusiastically agreed. At that moment, the Monolithic Dome began its transformation into a Hobbit House and its surroundings began becoming a Shire inhabited by Hobbits, Elves, Fairies, Sprites and Trolls.
Since its completion in October 2010, Hobbit House of Montana has opened its doors as a Tourist Home. Reservations can be made online at The Shire of Montana or by calling (406) 827-7200.
Inside, the 1075 square feet of this Monolithic Dome encompass a master bedroom with king bed, a master bath, a small bedroom with twin bed, a living/dining area, a gourmet kitchen with granite counters and a laundry with washer and dryer. Furnishings are lush, handcrafted pieces that both humans and Hobbits find comfortable and attractive.
For entertainment, Hobbit House has HD-Blu-Ray Color TV, Wi-Fi, XM Radio and a deck with a gas barbeque and a spectacular view of the Shire.
Exploring the Shire
Just about every inch of Hobbit House and its Shire have been planned to look like and make visitors feel like they have truly entered Hobbit land. Hobbit House has a green door and a thatched roof. A giant, ceramic mushroom grows near its entrance. A 2000-pound rock, that was chiseled into a bench in Bali and shipped to Montana, welcomes visitors. This bench, visitors are told, probably was a Troll that turned to stone when he looked at the sun. Retaining walls beside Hobbit House have murals depicting the plant and animal life of the Shire.
Land surrounding Hobbit House brims with delightful surprises. There are more giant mushrooms since they’re a favorite food of Hobbits, who eat six times a day. Very old trees with stoney blue eyes and diamond-shape mouths stand guard and keep the secrets of the Shire.
The wizard Gandolf, complete with peaked hat, beard and pipe, can be spotted in his horse-drawn wagon.
Not be outdone, the Trolls have a house, made of a 700-year-old cedar tree, in whose cracks they hide. They have a mine that’s a scary place, so it’s equipped with a warning sign, a club and a night light. And they have a bridge that doesn’t charge a toll.
In the Shire’s Haunted Forest, there is an Elf House with a straw roof and Fairy Caves with circular doors, that can be seen and inspected but not entered. Strollers may also discover the Hobbit Honeymoon Suite, with its bold “Do Not Disturb” sign since it’s built for honeymooners; Bilbo Baggins’ House, with its round, green door and picket fence; Fredo’s Place, whose entrance and windows are decorated with stone.
Finally, there is a Wishing Well that supplies the water for the Shire. Based on what Tolkien established, at this well the Trolls get first dibs, then the Hobbits, Elves and Fairies. The Sprites are last but they only drink the mist.