In an upcoming special event, the Patrick County Historical Society welcomes T. Mills Kelly, history professor at George Mason University, to talk about his recently published book, “Virginia’s Lost Appalachian Trail.” Kelly’s research brings to us the remarkable story of the founding of the original Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine, but his particular emphasis is on the 300-mile section that runs through Virginia.
As Kelly notes, the “original” trail once passed through Patrick County on its way north and south, a fact not realized by most modern hikers on the current route. Dr. Kelly has explored most of the original trail and has interviewed many hikers and dozens of people who lived in the area it traversed. Some early hikers noted not only the scenic beauty of the trail in Patrick, but the rugged climbing involved on some parts of their trek hereabouts as well. Kelly will explain some of the reasons why the trail was eventually relocated also.
Besides his career as a teacher and historian, Kelly is an avid hiker himself. He has a good feel for the natural environment associated with the trail, the early hikers who took on the difficult journey, and the local people who often welcomed and accommodated those “oddly dressed strangers” with food and lodgings as they passed nearby.
A light reception will follow the program and books will be available to purchase from the author. The program will be at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 21 at the history museum, 116 West Blue Ridge Street in Uptown Stuart. Contact the museum at 276-694-2840 or society president, John Reynolds, at 276-957-2506 for more information. (Contributed photos)