Mandeville, LA – The J.R.R. Tolkein Trail is a hidden away gem of both a tourist attraction, place of contemplation and window into the mind of a man who ported his vocation, writing, through his Catholic faith.
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The first thing you notice on the Tolkein Trail (see map below) is that it is remarkably like The Shire described in The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings and visualized by Peter Jackson in movies by the same name. Even the height, color and lush texture of the grass holds up to in person examination, nay, exceeds it! Then there are the “kissing gates” that separate on piece of property’s access from another; so named I was told, by their service as meeting places of youth in the spring of adolescence.
Most striking is “the two towers” that play such a huge role in the books and the movies. Note that Stonyhurst College presented Tolkein, who visited this shire and Stonyhurst as his son attended studies here, with a choice of “two towers”. There is even a larger than life wooden tree sculpture of Gandolph carved into the trunk of a tree that graces Hodder House, a private manor on the trail. If you get the chance, EVER, go to the real shire and walk the Tolkein Trail, your soul and all your senses will thank you for it.