Middle Earth AirBnB

With world travel on pause, I haven’t been particularly motivated lately to read the books on my Real World Travel Inspiration To-Be-Read list. Instead, I decided this was the break I needed to finally read something that has been on my list for a very long time… The Lord of the Rings. In October I decided to join #TolkienAlong, a four-month read through of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy (one book per month) being hosted by BookTubers A Frolic Through Fiction, Books Nest, and Bookstagrammer Fiction Tea. While I’ve been busy journeying through Middle Earth, my brother has kindly stepped in to lend his expertise on where to stay in the fictional realm, with selected reviews of Middle Earth Airbnbs. 

A Backpack Full of Books reading The Hobbit

It’s your friendly traveler of fantasy and science fiction worlds, A Backpack Full of Books, back again filling in for the Suitcase. There’s been no better time to travel to the fantastic while we wait for our world to finish going through its post-apocalyptic dystopian present. A plague and a fascist regime? Pick a lane, 2020. Anyways, perhaps you’ve heard of The Hobbit, as translated from its original Elvish language by J.R.R. Tolkien. Well, they’ve had their own economic downturn to contend with, and many homeowners of Middle Earth all the way from the Shire to Long Lake have turned to Airbnb to make ends meet. I’ve copied a few of the reviews below so you can make an informed decision on where to stay while traveling there (and back again).

~A Backpack Full of Books

Middle Earth Airbnb Reviews left by Thorin and Company on their quest for Erebor

Bag End

It’s 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 is a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. Absolutely lovely to stay at. There was plenty of space to host a meeting with a dozen of your closest friends. The host was very accommodating towards us.
Ori
★★★★★

Food service was good.
Bombur
★★★★★

Our host did not appear to expect us, despite our reservation. Our booking was even posted on the front door, but the guy was clueless. Also, I had hoped for a nonsmoking room, but he spends most of his time right outside the front door smoking, so there was no avoiding that. The round doors and hallway theme of the place gets old quickly. The doorknobs are right in the center of the doors, making them hard to open. I mean, who designed this? Did they get a linguist instead of an architect? The plus side is that the gardens are immaculately kept, though that did not seem to be the doing of our host. Whoever his gardener is, that’s the real hero.
Dwalin
★☆☆☆☆

The Green Dragon Inn

Food service was good.
Bombur
★★★★★

The Prancing Pony, Bree

Honestly, I forgot we stayed here. I know we passed through the area, but I didn’t have any notes on it in my travel journal. Must have been average.
Ori
★★★☆☆

Last Homely House, House of Elrond, Rivendell

A perfect location to host a conference.
Gloin
★★★★★

Comfortable beds, beautiful views, a real sense of history. This is a must-visit as part of any grand adventure. Our host was very welcoming and gracious. Very helpful in pointing out places to visit on the map.
Ori
★★★★★

Oh my god, the singing. They wouldn’t stop with the singing!
Balin
★★☆☆☆

Talk about an OSHA violation. This place is a danger to itself and everyone who stays here. To start with, it’s a really, really steep descent down the valley to get to it. Then there’s the bridge to get to the main house. It’s so narrow you can only cross it one at a time, and it has no handrails whatsoever. If you’re afraid of heights, you won’t even be able to get past it to check-in. Once inside, there’s broken cutlery with very sharp edges just left lying out. It could really hurt someone.
Dwalin
★☆☆☆☆

Eagle’s Eyrie, East of the Misty Mountains

Great view, that’s about it. The flight in was turbulent but we made it in more or less one piece.
Dori
★★★☆☆

Don’t stay here if you’re afraid of heights. Seriously, the listing is just an open rock shelf. It’s about as good as being thrown to the wolves.
Dwalin
★☆☆☆☆

Oh my god, wolves were everywhere! They chased us up trees! Do not recommend!
Fili
★☆☆☆☆

Not good food service.
Bombur
★★☆☆☆

This place is a birdwatcher’s dream getaway. The sleeping area feels a bit exposed to the elements, and the flight in can be a bit costly if you don’t grab a deal when you get the chance, but totally worth it. Our host was a total life saver, apparently an empty nester and quite happy to have us stay. Cooking was a bit of a DIY affair, and don’t expect a lot of the usual amenities. I was also advised not to lean on the hosts to solve all our problems either, but they’ll be there when you need them and are always willing to help clean up after an outing.
Ori
★★★★★

Beorn’s House

Oh my god, giant bees were everywhere! Bigger than hornets! Do not recommend!
Fili
★☆☆☆☆

Our host had trained pets that helped serve food. How cool was that? Speaking of our host, he was very generous, if a bit of an introvert. After our long flight to get there, he almost turned us away for not having a reservation. Thankfully he agreed to let our party stay before finding out how many of us there were. By the time the last of us had trickled in he was in a good mood and allowed us to stay.
Ori
★★★★★

What a sty. I mean literally. The guy kept his animals inside. Sure having them serve meals was a neat trick, but you know what else is a neat trick? Not catching diseases from eating next to animals. Also, we couldn’t go outside at night, apparently due to high bear activity in the area. Maybe that wouldn’t have been a problem if he cleaned up after himself.
Dwalin
★☆☆☆☆

Food service was good.
Bombur
★★★★★

Hall of the Wood Elves, Mirkwood

Oh my god, giant spiders were everywhere! Do not recommend!
Fili
★☆☆☆☆

We each got our own room, which was nice. I was a bit disappointed we had to stay in what was essentially a large cave system when there were normal houses and even some treehouses built into the branches, which would have been fun to stay in. Still, it was a quiet break, especially from the rest of my traveling companions, which was welcome. I also recommend the nearby waterpark attractions. The log flume was quite fun. Our hosts were big into recycling, which was nice to see.
Ori
★★★★★

These were some of the rudest hosts we stayed with. They prepared lots of feasts for themselves with imported wines but did not allow us anywhere near their festivities. Instead, they gave us leftovers. Quiet hours were very strict. The basement rooms where we were put up were really damp and cold.
Dwalin
★☆☆☆☆

Food service was ok.
Bombur
★★☆☆☆

Lake-town, Long Lake

The locals were very welcoming, so long as you like fish. The town was cute, all built up on pilings over the lake. Great boating in the area.
Ori
★★★★★

Food service was good.
Bombur
★★★★★

I don’t know how somewhere can be both a fire hazard and a flooding hazard, but Lake-town did it. It’s entirely made of wood, and over a lake. One small flame and the place burns, then sinks. Who thought that one through? Once you get through those problems, there’re the people to deal with. Sure most of the people on the street are nice, but politics in the town is cutthroat, and you better hope you don’t have to deal with all that nonsense.
Dwalin
★☆☆☆☆

Dale, Long Lake

Closed.
Ori
★☆☆☆☆

Erebor, The Lonely Mountain

Expect a warm welcome. They spared no expense on bedding either. The architecture was a sight to behold of course, with towering mountain halls and finely carved tunnels. It took awhile to figure out how the room key worked, but we got it eventually and moved in.
Ori
★★★★☆

Just the worst place to stay. The host was very particular about all of their stuff, which they left lying around all over the place. Move one little thing and suddenly they’re trying to evict you. When we first arrived we were told there was no vacancy, which, ok, but then it turned out there was only one person staying in the whole place anyways. I mean what gives? We had to get that situation settled before we could move in, and it wasn’t easy, let me tell you.
Dwalin
★☆☆☆☆

Poor food service.
Bombur
★☆☆☆☆

So there you have it. Hopefully that helps you decide where to stay on your next vacation to Middle Earth. Don’t forget your hat and handkerchief.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read through The Hobbit and/or Lord of the Rings? If you could pick one fictional place to stay, where would you go? Have your reading tastes changed in the last 6 months?

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