Before Jackson’s Movies
My love affair with Tolkien’s work started when I was a young boy watching the animated “Hobbit” movie and has continued to this day. While my wife was pregnant with our first child (who is now 22!), I read the LOTR trilogy to her and she fell in love too. Though, admittedly, I’m the bigger nerd.
We also enjoyed B&B Inns from the first time we stayed at the Amber House in Sacramento to our road trip down the Oregon coast. As we returned from the coast, we drove through a beautiful valley and dreamed of building a village of hobbit holes. We are passionate about showing hospitality and we strongly considered running a B&B of our own, but our children were a priority, so we put that dream on hold.
As I worked away at a desk job, I thought of building a sustainable organic farm someday. I was inspired by Joel Salatin and other pioneers in soil management. I wanted to return to the simple work of growing food and leave the earth better off because I was here. While this never happened the way I expected, farming was part of the journey. Along the way, we also learned about earth-covered housing. If you’re serious about saving the planet, a hybrid or electric vehicle is a good start, but we could eliminate 50% of our residential energy consumption and carbon footprint by transitioning to earth-covered housing. Recently, wildfires have claimed thousands of homes in California and experts predict that global warming will only increase the danger. Earth-covered housing can withstand fires and other natural disasters far better than traditional homes.
Finding Our Mission
We started seriously looking for a place to build hobbit holes back in 2014. Our search led us back to my hometown of Redding and a property in nearby Bella Vista, California. Redding has more than its share of homelessness and substance abuse, and we wanted to help. We learned that foster youth are at far greater risk of ending up homeless than any other group. The statistics and stories compelled us to adapt our vision for a hobbit-themed resort and incorporate a plan to help foster kids and end homelessness before it starts. So, after 10 years of operation, the inn will convert to a youth shelter where we can care for kids who have nowhere else to go.
Bringing It Together
Looking back, it makes perfect sense that we would build earth-covered hobbit holes on land with a sustainable organic garden to run a B&B Inn and later convert it to a youth shelter. Of course, if you had told us all that 20 years ago after we finished reading Return of the King, we’d have thought you were crazy. God’s plan for us was revealed one step at a time, and we are amazed at where he has taken us. We look forward to sharing this part of the journey with you.
-Lael & Amy