Phil Hudgins


Travels with Foxfire: Stories of People, Passions, and Practices from Southern Appalachia

In Travels with Foxfire, native son Phil Hudgins and Foxfire student Jessica Phillips travel from Georgia to the Carolinas, Tennessee to Kentucky, collecting stories of the men and women who call the region home. Across more than thirty essays, we discover the secret origins of stock-car racing, the story behind the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the vanishing art of gathering wild ginseng, and the recipes of an award-winning cookbook writer. We meet bootleggers and bear hunters, game wardens and medicine women, water dowsers, sculptors, folk singwers, novelists, record collectors, and home cooks--even the world's foremost "priviologist"--all with tales to tell. A rich compendium of the collected wisdom of artists, craftsmen, musicians, and moonshiners, Travels with Foxfire is a joyful tribute to the history, the geography, and the traditions that define Appalachian living.

Phil Hudgins retired as senior editor and news training officer for Community Newspapers Inc., which owns papers in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. A journalism graduate of the University of Georgia, he was a Nieman Fellow in 1973-74 at Harvard University, where one of his studies was folklore. Phil began his journalism career at the age of 15 and worked for a number of daily and weekly newspapers. One of those papers was The Clayton Tribune in Clayton, Georgia, where he was publisher and editor for five years and where he served on the Foxfire Fund's community board. Phil retired fully in April of 2015 and began working on the Foxfire book the next month. He has ghostwritten two memoirs and spearheaded production of publications and videos for the Northeast Georgia History Center, where he served as president for two years. Phil and his wife, Shirley, have been married for 52 years. They have two daughters and four grandchildren and live in Gainesville, Georgia.