Hobbit houses

Leo's dad is reading him The Hobbit; both of them are enjoying it immensely.  There is something special about reading a favorite childbood book with your own child.  I'm not a Tolkien fan myself (I'll be reading the Narnia books to the kids, thank you), but I'll make an exception for The Hobbit:  I would love to live in a hobbit house.  This one, built to house someone's collection of Tolkien manuscripts and artifacts, is my favorite.  Check out the interior shots of the round door, the "butterfly" window, the fireplace, and the library.

While googling "hobbit house" I turned up a reference to a hobbit house practically in our own background.  The kids and I went looking for it at the Winkler Botanical Preserve in Alexandria, VA this morning.  I had never even heard of the place, but I'm so glad we stumbled on it.  There was a network of wooded trails; a stream, waterfalls, and a lake; a Craftsman-style building called the Catherine Lodge; and a mysterious series of book-boxes at strategic points along the trail, each inscribed with a single letter.  Our real-life adventure seems to have criss-crossed with someone else's!  What could be going on at the Winkler Botanical Preserve?

Oh, we also found an abandoned hobbit house, just Milly's size (she went in).  It was nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.