May 20, 2010


Lynn Coffey moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1980 and settled in Love, Nelson Co. She began publishing Backroads, a small rural newspaper, in 1981. Her intent then was to "capture the stories, crafts and culture of our mountain neighbors." The last issue of the newspaper was in December, 2006. Now, she has published in book form many of the stories that had appeared in the newspaper over the 25-years that it was printed.

There were a lot of Coffey families mentioned in her articles and it was Lynn - and my friend John Taylor that many of you have read about in this blog - who were very beneficial in helping me compile the Coffey families in that area of Virginia.

David A. Maurer, a writer for the Charlottesville Daily Progress announced Lynn's book on May 16.   He began this way:

"Even as a little girl growing up in the flatlands of south Florida, Lynn Coffey could hear the mountains calling her.

"She spent countless happy hours in a nearby woods creating an imaginary cabin of moss and branches. In high school, she was the only girl in the agriculture class, but she knew the knowledge it provided would be invaluable when she reached her mountain home.

"Such callings don’t have to be explained, only answered. And so it was that in 1980, Coffey came to the Blue Ridge Mountains to live.

"She discovered her place in the world was near the hamlet of Love in Nelson County. The mountains had called, but it would be the kind, elderly folks living in the hollers and on the ridgelines who would tell the young woman their stories.

"'From the time I was a little girl, I had always had a bent toward this kind of life, and always wanted to talk with the old people,” Coffey said one recent afternoon in the log cabin that sits on the small farm she and her husband, Billy, own.

“'When I moved here, one of my neighbors [Bunny Stein] was an artist and liked to write. I liked to take photographs and had always kept a journal."

“'We started talking about starting a small rural newspaper that could capture the stories, crafts and culture of our mountain neighbors. We decided to do it, and it just went crazy.'

"Stein came up with the name Backroads. The first monthly edition came out in late 1981, and it was an immediate success."

According to the article, Lynn will sign copies of her book at the New Dominion Bookshop located in the "Historic Downtown Mall" at 404 East Main Street in Charlottesville beginning at 2 PM, Saturday, May 22.

The book will also be available at Quest Bookshop, Michie Tavern’s General Store, the Virginia Shop, UVa Bookstore and Student Book Store or by mailing a check or money order for $25 made out to Lynn Coffey to Lynn Coffey, 1461 Love Road, Lyndhurst, VA 22952.

Click on the title link to read the complete Maurer article.

No. 988

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