Magical Earth Retreat in Hocking Hills offers ‘hobbit hole’ cabins

CREOLA, OH – These days it’s easy to “feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped off too much bread,” even for those who don’t wear a power ring.

Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit who said those words to his wizard friend Gandalf in the “Lord of the Rings” books and movies, had to visit the elves to recuperate.

Luckily, modern travelers have Magical Earth Retreat (, a new lodging experience in the Hocking Hills that features cabins designed to look like the most luxurious hobbit holes.

Sorcerers must watch their heads, but others will find plenty of room in the

Schwarby family

The project was set up by the Schwarby family, owners of a business development company based in Florida. Family matriarch Karina Schwarby said the company was looking nationwide for a site for its first vacation rental project, but never even considered Ohio.

“I thought it was all flat like that,” she said, holding out her palm.


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“I wanted to build in Montana, but my family said, ‘We’re an East Coast company.

The Schwarbys eventually heard about the Hocking Hills through a relative in Cleveland.

After their first look, they were hooked.

Ash Cave, which inspired the location of Magical Earth Retreat, is just eight minutes from the property.

“Our first visit (in 2018) was to Ash Cave,” Schwarby said.

“We were amazed. My kids said, “This is the place.”

Today, Magical Earth Retreat is about an eight-minute drive from Ash Cave, which I too consider to be the most magical natural feature in the Hocking Hills.

The family was already considering partially underground cabins, which are kept at a constant temperature by the earth around them, for reasons of economy and ecology, Schwarby said.

A trip to New Zealand inspired cabins

The inspiration of Lord of the Rings

But the idea for the “hobbit-hole” look came from another family trip, she said.

“We went to New Zealand and saw the site where ‘The Lord of the Rings’ was filmed,” Schwarby said.

“It gave us even more inspiration. It was very magical. »

But even visitors who don’t know a hobbit from a Klingon will likely appreciate the comfort and beauty of Magical Earth Retreat, which opened in the spring.

If Bilbo had a modern kitchen it might look like this.

What to expect

Each of the site’s four individual cabins sits on the side of a hill, with lots of light coming from the exposed side, like an exit basement – ​​or hobbit hole.

Sleeping options range from a king with double bunk beds to a single queen.

Inside, each cabin is decorated with its own unique color scheme and fixtures, but each includes a kitchen area with a stove and mini-fridge, microwave, and retro-looking Keurig coffee maker. assorted. (I know Bilbo didn’t have a microwave, but if he did, it would look like this – trust me.)

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Roughly sawn cedar ceilings and walls are lovely and give off a delicious smell of cedar wood.

Each cabin also has a large screen TV, decorative electric fireplace and Wi-Fi.

Each also has its own wood-fired red cedar hot tub just outside the hobbit-inspired front door – another feature Bilbo could only dream of.

Although the front door is designed to look like a traditional hobbit door, modern building codes require the working portion to be rectangular.

You will also find thick cotton sheets, sheets and bathrobes.

A redwood sauna pod with its own beautiful view is also available to guests for an additional fee.

“We’ve done our best to give you that five-star feeling in the woods,” said Ron Schwarby, son and business partner of Karina Schwarby.

Sounds like the perfect place to plan a dragon treasure heist.

Due to their placement in the hillside, the cabins have a wonderful view of the small pond on the property and the valley below. And the retreat’s lovely fireplace lounges are a great place to gather at dusk to organize a community or simply enjoy a glass of wine.

Dusk is also a good time to view the cabins from below. Twinkling with fairy lights, the cabins, stacked into the hillside, will certainly remind fans of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ books or films of Hobbiton.

Guests can schedule a visit to the optional sauna, which offers its own magnificent view.

The Schwarbys also hope fans will be inspired to check out Amazon Prime’s new “Lord of the Rings” prequel, “The Rings of Power” ( , which debuts in September.

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Magical Earth Retreat rates start at $375 a night, with a two-night minimum stay.

The Schwarby family said it’s not over with the Hocking Hills, by the way. The second phase of their project – which will feature “Moroccan-style” cabins – is already underway. And planning has begun for phase three, with luxury treetop accommodations elsewhere on the property’s 13 acres.

Magical Earth Retreat's foyers are large enough for an entire community to gather.

For more information on things to see and do and other places to stay in the Hocking Hills, visit

Steve Stephens is a freelance travel writer and photographer. Email him at [email protected]

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