Saturday, April 2, 2016


Sea Ranch -The Land of Hobbits?

Brother Bob, sister-in-law Nguyen, Richard and I left "the DOG house" in Bodega Bay sated from our lunch of hot dogs and rectangular burgers in rectangular buns and headed north on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) a/k/a the "the 1" to continue our excellent adventure.

The views were spectacular.  Well, when I actually would look.  Being a tad height "phobic" my life flashed before my eyes every few seconds as I saw us careening off the mountain a la "Thelma & Louise" and crashing into the ocean hundreds (and hundreds) of feet below as we drove up and up the mountains overlooking the ocean.  But my brother loves me (or couldn't stand my loud whimpering) and drove about 5 mph and stopped often so I could actually get out of the car and put my feet firmly on the ground as I took a photo or two.

As we slowly headed north (remember, Bob's driving 5 mph), we reached Sea Ranch, a many mile development of high end coastal houses (some of which are rented out to vacationers), each nestled on large lots often miles apart with views of the ocean.  Hobbits also live there.  I know because there, servicing weary travelers and the inhabitants of Sea Ranch, sat the Sea Ranch Chapel which can only be described as a chapel made for hobbits.  The set designer for the "Lord Of The Rings" movies was definitely inspired by this chapel or was a hobbit himself.

front doors
inside - stained glass window

Inside, we sat on a bench and read the brochures that informed us that the chapel (a non-denominational sanctuary for prayer, meditation and spiritual renewal) and surrounding grounds were a gift from residents Robert & Betty Buffum (sounds like hobbit names to me).  The artist and architectural designer was James Hubbell (Hubbell, hmmmm another hobbit?) and used all local materials and local craftsmen and contractors.

I sat silently trying to meditate away my fear of heights.  No such luck, but I think my spirit was renewed.  I did fall in love with the artistry of this little chapel.  It was definitely hobbit forming.

As we left the chapel and drove north through Sea Ranch-land, I continued to search for a hobbit sighting, but not only did I not see a hobbit, I saw no one anywhere on their decks or property in the miles of pristine land overlooking the Pacific. It was a hobbit ghost ranch.

Next stop, our cabin in the woods in Point Arena, still some hours away.



TravelsWithDan said...

Ha! Glad that neither your fear of heights nor the Hobbits (or their ghosts) took away your wit! Can't wait for the next installment.

Sandra said...

Sounds like a beautiful trip with great views all the way. Really enjoyed your pictures of the chapel, so unique!

Anonymous said...

this is so cool. Thanks, think it has to go on my list for a visit as we head up that way this summer


Anonymous said...

What an interesting place. When I read about generosity like the donated chapel and I suspect at least some of the materials and labor it reminds me how big hearted people can be.

The result is so striking that it would warrant an extension to Sea Ranch to see it and the nearby scenery and housing.

Your write-ups continue to educate and inspire.

Thanks so much.

R and J

Anonymous said...

"Hobbit forming" ...😄 Love it, Ilona! And I know what you mean about not seeing people around Sea Ranch...we rented there once or twice when the kids were little. There's a certain desolation even in the midst of all that beauty.

Anonymous said...

gorgeous and playful at the same time.
Nice writing. It is hobbit-ual?


Sami Zahringer said...

That looks wonderful! I didn't know it existed. Fun to go on this trip with you!