Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Down the Hobbit hole into Middle Earth's splendor

Cinema's beloved Hobbit journey began in New Zealand's picturesque forest

The homes of the Hobbits are small, befitting the tiny, magical people made famous by writer J.R.R. Tolkien.

Hobbiton beckons visitors to New Zealand's South Island.
The new Hobbit movie is out, and here's where it was filmed.
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I COULD almost see Gandalf coming around the corner. Frodo is waiting for him.  "A wizard is never late," Gandalf says. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”
And so did we! We arrived in Hobbiton precisely as planned on a recent morning after leaving lovely Wellington, New Zealand, for the journey to Middle Earth.
We'd driven along New Zealand's gorgeous south coast whre Frodo and Sam reached the Gate of Mordor in the beloved J.R.R. Tolkein "Lord of the Rings" books. Now that the recent Hobbit movie is out ("The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," opened in theaters Dec.17) we'd like to take you to where the movie version started.
Tourists, including Cookie and Keller, stroll through the pristine and well
maintained grounds of the Alexander farm in New Zealand, where
Sir Peter Jackson filmed the "Hobbit" movies, including the current release.
WALK WITH US through a beautiful forest into a world of movie magic.  Tiny houses, built into the hillside, well tended gardens and picket fences adorn the lovely acreage of Hobbiton, near Matamata, N.Z., about an hour's drive from Wellington.
Enter The Shire, with many a hobbit hole, and you'll be mesmerized by Middle Earth's ethereal splendors.
Director Sir Peter Jackson spied the "Lord of the Rings" location from his private airplane in 1998, when he was scouting locations for his adaptation of the classic 1937 Tolkien works.
Lord Peter Jackson made many friends
during his filming of the "Hobbit" movies.
JACKSON is known as a nice guy, easy to work with, amiable, friendly to all, considerate and well mannered.  He is respected for his tender care of the environment, and his desire to make things look real and natural.  He hired gardeners and landscapers, who continue to keep Hobbiton lovely, right down to the vegetable and flower gardens which are tended and pruned daily.
"We get to eat the produce," our guide told us. "It's all organically grown and very delicious!"

Bruce Keller finds himself invited to tea in a Hobbit home. 
COMING UP:  Find out how Kiwi born, Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson enticed the farm family named Alexander to give him the rights to film on their pristine land.  (Hint:  he sweetened the pot with a three-month paid  vacation.) He had to finesse the project, though, since he would be using earth movers to create a road, and building a huge set. Remember to enjoy, learn and live, and visit us Wednesdays and weekends at: www.whereiscookie.com

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COMING UP:  The Maori people of New Zealand have their own magic -- in music, stories, weapons, dance and their intricate tattoos.  Come with us to two Maori villages, where Cookie gets a tat and we sing, play games and touch noses and foreheads with the school children. Visit us Wednesdays and weekends at www.whereiscookie.com

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