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Jul 17, 2013

Root Cellars

'Hobbit House' - actually this is one of 133 root cellars in Elliston NL

Elliston, Newfoundland, is the "Root Cellar Capital of the World" having 133 documented root cellars, some dating back over two centuries. The history and folklore is quite interesting. (For more information visit Elliston's website)

I am personally intrigued by the history because, on the southern Ontario farm where I grew up, we had our own root cellar as did many of the farms around us. Exploring the root cellar was a favoured activity of the boys when visiting another farm. These Ontario farms were settled in the 1830s by Scottish immigrants. The root cellar idea must have traveled from Scotland (in our case the island of Islay) to Upper Canada. I had forgotten about these structures until visiting Elliston this year.

As suggested in an earlier post, Rugged Country, Newfoundland might well have made a great setting for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. The landscapes of Newfoundland lend themselves to these stories. And the root cellars of Elliston quickly invoked the notion of hobbit houses. Looking at the photo above, one can imagine Bilbo Baggins emerging from that door.

Elliston, just outside Bonavista NL, is also known for whales, icebergs, puffins and hospitality. I trust the people of Elliston won't be annoyed by my whimsical characterization of their root cellars.

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