EWING, Va. — Author Joe Tennis will be signing copies on his most recent book, “Virginia Rail Trails: Crossing the Commonwealth” — available from The History Press at $19.99 — from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 10 during the fall festival at Wilderness Road State Park near Ewing, Virginia in western Lee County.
“Virginia Rail Trails” profiles abandoned railroads that have been converted into trails – from Cape Charles to Cumberland Gap, with many lying along U.S. Hwy. 58. That includes the Wilderness Road Trail in western Lee County with stops at Wheeler, Elydale, Caylor and Gibson Station. About half of this line was built on the path of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.
Another chapter focuses on the Virginia Creeper Trail at Abingdon and Damascus. More feature the Bee Rock Tunnel of Appalachia; Guest River Gorge; Devil’s Bathtub; Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail at Martinsville; Washington & Old Dominion Trail in Northern Virginia; High Bridge Trail State Park; and the New River Trail.
“This is a railroad history book but also a hiking and biking book,” said Tennis. “It’s for railroad fans as well as the outdoors.”
The 272-page book contains maps, vintage photos, color photos plus narratives, including recollections of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad by former Wheeler resident Carl Cheek.
“For decades, the L&N provided a lifeline in Lee County, long before U.S. 58 became a four-lane freeway,” Tennis writes. “It was a place where wild strawberries grew profusely along the train tracks as cars carried coal.”
Tennis, 46, is a resident of Bristol, Virginia. He has written about Lee County for Blue Ridge Country and the Bristol Herald Courier. His previous books include “Haunts of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Highlands” (The History Press, $14.99), which features ghosts at Cudjo’s Cave and Sugar Run. Tennis is also the author of “Southwest Virginia Crossroads,” which provides a regional guide and details how towns and communities took their names.
For more information, call 276-466-0654.