I generally don’t get too caught up in pop-culture trends. I guess I just don’t enjoy going along with the crowd, at least not at the same time the crowd is going. Sometimes I catch up, and other times I just let those swank crazes drift right on by, with the exception of Harry Potter, but I was 12 when the first three came out and at that point I hadn’t even heard of them so it’s okay.

Lord of the Rings, on the other hand? So not my cup of tea. Just…No. I almost tried once to get into one of the movies but then I realized I didn’t care and fell asleep instead. So some may ask me why, then, did I choose to go infect this seemingly holy nerd-itarium with my un-LOTRed mindset. My answer: New Zealand, as it turns out, is the mecca of Peter Jackson’s blockbuster trio. And it just so happens that I was in New Zealand…with my boyfriend…who is a nerdy fan of the fad. Plus, I really like nature and Hobbiton is set beautifully amongst the countryside of a nearby sheep farm.

So away we went to Hobbiton with a busload of crew member friends to soak up all the geek grime we could from this sacred site. The houses were cute and the landscape, well-manicured, but mostly I loved the idea that Elijah Wood and Sean Astin had walked the same paths as I. I’ve crushed on those two since “Flipper,” and “The Goonies.” Not so much anymore, but their roles in those movies inspired me when I was a child. The Green Dragon on-site pub was also a highlight for me. Apparently it’s famous for being a set in “The Hobbit,” but its muffins and beer alone had me satisfied.

Overall the weather was fantastic, and the scenery, gorgeous. I am happy I went if for no other reason than to break out my friend’s “I Love The Shire” tank top and watch the boyfriend’s face light up with excitement and pride…at least I think that’s where he was at…

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