Tennis promotes Route 58

Published 10:22 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Riddick’s Folly will host author and speaker Joe Tennis on March 11. Tennis will be reading and discussing two of his books — “Along Virginia’s Route 58” and “Virginia Rail Trails.”

Both of the books are interrelated and follow the same journey. Both of the narratives get their start in eastern parts of Virginia.

Tennis’ book about Route 58 was originally published in 2007 but went out of print in 2014. He released a new version of the book in 2015, and the new version features Riddick’s Folly, Mr. Peanut and the Great Dismal Swamp.


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“The other book features the train station and the rail trail built around Driver. What I’m going to talk about is Route 58 and how it parallels all the railroad lines,” Tennis said.

Both books start around the Chesapeake Bay and end at the Cumberland Gap.

“This is a heck of a journey, and when I did the Route 58 story what amazed me was the diversity of the terrain and of the stories,” Tennis said. “It never goes over the state line until you get to the very end.”

Tennis’ story about the railways in Virginia follows a journey from the beach to the bluegrass fields in the western edge of Virginia.

“’Rail trails: Beaches to Bluegrass Trail goes through Suffolk and the original Route 58. They wanted to connect a trail on these railroad lines, and I look at Route 58 as something as we can promote in Virginia. It will take you from the beach to the bluegrass fields,” Tennis said.

Route 58 has special meaning for Tennis, because he is a Hampton Roads native. Tennis grew up in Virginia Beach and regularly traveled to Suffolk.

“I took a trip all the way to the end of the road. I took a trip back and they were rebuilding in the spring of 1993,” Tennis said.

Writing books isn’t something Tennis has always done, but writing for newspapers has been his career since he graduated from Radford University.

Tennis was a freelancer with the Virginia Beach Beacon before he went off to Radford, and his career took him to Tennessee.

The book signing at Riddick’s Folly will take place from 3 to 4 p.m. March 11. Both books will be available for sale for $19.99. Tennis’ other published works may also be available for purchase.