Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer
Join Lowell Thomas Award winning travel correspondent Tom Wilmer as he shares his travel experiences from across America and around the world.
info_outline The International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee 05/10/2016
The International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee The average American may have a surprise in store when ordering biscuits on their travels abroad. In many parts of the world, the biscuit is more like a cookie made for dunking rather than a breakfast staple. Not so in the American South, or most any part of the U.S. for that matter. Something as simple as a biscuit has risen to the challenge of our culinary landscape in innumerable ways. More than 20,000 people from all over the world descend upon downtown Knoxville, Tennessee each spring to celebrate this buttery carbohydrate at the International Biscuit Festival. Much like a biscuit’s layers, the festival has given rise to this cultural phenomenon. Follow associate producer, Melissa Corbin as she reveals how each of us are connected to of all things…a biscuit. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer iTunes NPR One (mobile app download) Podcasts.de (Germany) Stitcher.com Player.fm (U.K) and more than 20 other podcast channels around the world
info_outline The Gangster Museum of America 05/09/2016
The Gangster Museum of America Long before the rise of Vegas, gambling, bootlegging, and prostitution was a $100 million dollar a year business in the town of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Even though gambling was illegal, everyone from the Governor of Arkansas down to the Hot Springs mayor, police and fire departments turned a blind eye and kept an open hand for bribes. By the late 1920s, Hot Springs legendary as a popular hangout for many of America’s most infamous gangsters, even notorious bank robbers like the Barker Gang and Bonnie & Clyde. Historians conjecture that the reason there were no bank robbers in Hot Springs throughout the 1920s, 30s and 40s because the bank robbers hung out in Hot Springs when they were off duty. Al Capone loved Hot Springs so much he’d ship in his armored plated Cadillac and book an entire floor in the swanky Arlington Hotel whenever he and his associates came to town. Back home on the streets of Chicago or New York City, mobsters such as Albert Anastasia, Benny Siegel, Mayer Lansky, Bugs Moran, Frank Costello, and Lucky Luciano, might be archenemies, but when they came to Hot Springs, they were on neutral turf. The Gangster Museum of America is appropriately located in the heart of downtown Hot Springs. Come along and listen in as the director of the Gangster Museum, Robert Raines, and Fred Mark Palmer, an associate of Raines who long ago worked at the mob controlled Vapors casino in Hot Springs talks with correspondent, Tom Wilmer. The duo talk about the era of the mobsters, when top performers played gigs in town, like Brenda Lee, Al Marino, Phyllis Diller, Rosemary Clooney, Patti Page, Count Basie, and The Dorsey Brothers. It was a late December day in 1961, when Tony Bennett first tested the song “I Left my Heart in San Francisco” in a Hot Springs nightclub. The next morning Bennett flew to San Francisco and premiered the classic the following night in the Fairmont Hotel’s Venetian Room. Google Map Directions to Gangster Museum of America You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer iTunes NPR One (mobile app download) Podcasts.de (Germany) Stitcher.com Player.fm (U.K) and more than 20 other podcast channels around the world
info_outline The future of Tourism: Travel Plus Social Good 05/06/2016
The future of Tourism: Travel Plus Social Good Elaine Masters, Associate Producer for the NPR Podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, speaks with Kelley Louise, Executive Director of Travel Plus Social Good. Volunteerism and Eco-tourism are buzzwords for the travel industry but is tourism really improving lives? Kelley Louise works to help the industry take action to ensure that local communities are helped through tourism. The mission statement: Our goal is to build the travel industry of the future, one in which sustainable travel acts as the catalyst for solving the world's most pressing issues." Kelley speaks about the invitation only Travel Plus Social Good Summit at the United Nations Headquarters; how she, a millennial traveler, became involved and how the group is working with local hubs in 23 countries around the world. Your host, San Diego based Elaine J. Masters is the The Trip Well Gal, an award-winning freelance writer, author, and blogger. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer iTunes NPR One (mobile app download) Podcasts.de (Germany) Stitcher.com Player.fm (U.K) and more than 20 other podcast channels around the world
info_outline Superior Bathhouse--America’s Only Brewery Located in a National Park 05/03/2016
Superior Bathhouse--America’s Only Brewery Located in a National Park Thirty-something Rose Schweikhart turned a personal passion for beer in to a driving and thriving brewery and culinary business. It’s the Superior Bathhouse Brewery smack in the heart of downtown Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. Two distinctive qualities separate Superior from the rest of the burgeoning micro-brew industry across the country. You see, Rose’s enterprise is the only brewery situated within a National Park, and it is the only brewery in the world utilizing thermal spring water as the key ingredient. Another engaging dimension of Schweikhart’s brewery is that it’s located in a historic circa-1916 Classic Revival-style repurposed bathhouse—a remnant from the glory days when Hot Springs spas attracted patrons, and patients from around the world seeking a multiplicity of cures, and relief from an endless litany of ailments. In partnership with the National Park Service, a million dollar plus renovation—reuse of the old bathhouse provided Rose with a fifty-year lease. In addition to offering beers crafted on-site, Schweikhart also serves a cool selection of regional favorites from Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and naturally, Arkansas. Join Correspondent, Tom Wilmer at the Superior Bathhouse Brewery where he visits with owner and visionary Rose Schweikhart who talks story about her passion for brews, with a special fondness for Belgian style. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show, Journeys of Discovery with TomWilmer iTunes NPR One (mobile app download) Podcasts.de (Germany) Stitcher.com Player.fm (U.K) and more than 20 other podcast channels around the world
info_outline Hot Springs Arkansas—Home of America’ Smallest National Park 05/02/2016
Hot Springs Arkansas—Home of America’ Smallest National Park Correspondent, Tom Wilmer visits with Steve Arrison, CEO of
info_outline Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas with Ranger Miguel Marquez 04/29/2016
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas with Ranger Miguel Marquez Hot Springs
info_outline Texas Hill Country's Reveille Peak Ranch 04/20/2016
Texas Hill Country's Reveille Peak Ranch Situated in the countryside near Burnet, Texas Reveille Peak Ranch is reminiscent of a State Park but it’s a private ranch where the cows still roam, and there’s a mammoth lake with tent camp sites around the fringes. There are also some of the steepest vertical rock faces where mountain bikers come from across America to push their limits. Special events are hosted throughout the year at Reveille Peak Ranch, including the legendary Spartan Race (April 23-24), The Rogue Trail Series, (May 22), The Green Beret Team Challenge (June 4th), and more. The Ranch is also a prime destination for campers, RVers and Scout groups. Weekdays, owner and visionary, Vol Montgomery offers gratis use of his facility to the Armed Forces, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, and regional law enforcement agencies that use the property as a training facility. We stopped in at the ranch for a visit with Vol Montgomery. Come along and join us.
info_outline Nashville's Seeds of Hope 04/20/2016
Nashville's Seeds of Hope Come along and join Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer NPR podcast, Associate Producer, Melissa Corbin reporting from Nashville, Tennessee. Melissa visits with Kathrine Bryant of the Nashville Public Library's Seed Exchange Program at last fall's Tennessee Local Food Summit on the campus of Tennessee State University.
info_outline Dick Jordan, Filmmaker and Blogger talks New Media and National Parks 04/19/2016
Dick Jordan, Filmmaker and Blogger talks New Media and National Parks Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer for part-two of a conversation (Link to prior episode) http://www.thomascwilmer.com/a-conversation-with-multimedia-travel-journalist-dick-jordan/] with multi-media travel journalist, Dick Jordan as he shares his insights about whether print travel publications are dying, where in today’s on-line information age travelers can find stories that will inspire them to travel to new places, and how to plan a visit to America’s often crowded national parks during 2016 when the National Park Service celebrates its the 100th year anniversary as guardian of the parks You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR #Podcast show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on iTunes, NPR One (download APP), Stitcher.com, podcasts.de (Germany) subscribeonandroid.com and numerous other podcast channels around the world.
info_outline A Conversation with Multimedia Travel Journalist, Dick Jordan 04/18/2016
A Conversation with Multimedia Travel Journalist, Dick Jordan Join Correspondent, Tom Wilmer for a conversation with multi-media travel journalist, Dick Jordan. How did Jordan’s second career some about? Come along and discover how a two-week journey through the remote “Panhandle” of Southeast Alaska erased twenty-five years of failed attempts at becoming a published travel writer and launched Jordan’s multi-media endeavors. In addition to producing travel features for print publications, he’s also a prolific videographer for community based television stations, and producer and director of the documentary film, Cuba Libre. Host of the talestoldfromtheroad travel blog, Jordan has also carved a niche a prolific contributor to various social media platforms. Jordan also shares his personal insights about ways other travel journalists can benefit by using social media platforms such as Facebook to connect with potential readers and followers. Stay tuned for Part 2 A Conversation with Dick Jordan:The “Death” of Print Travel Publications, Finding Inspirational Travel Stories, and America’s National Parks You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning #Podcast show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on iTunes, NPR One (download APP) , Stitcher.com, podcasts.de (Germany) and numerous other podcast channels around the world.
info_outline Heart of Texas Hill Country Wine Discovery 04/15/2016
Heart of Texas Hill Country Wine Discovery The Texas Hill Country is a rising star in America’s wine industry. Destinations such as Fredericksburg, Texas have morphed in recent years from bucolic historical small town experiences in to trendy wine destinations. The same thing is happening in Burnet County’s Highland Lakes Region.
info_outline Getaways in the Heart of Texas Highland Lakes Region 04/12/2016
Getaways in the Heart of Texas Highland Lakes Region Journey to the Heart of Texas for a discovery of cool places to stay in Burnet County, Highland Lakes region. This is the place if you’re looking for quietude, hiking, biking, fishing, camping, or just luxuriating lakeside. join correspondent, Tom Wilmer in Burnet County where we’ll stop in at Thunderbird Lodge and Event Center for a chat with owner, John Williams, and then we’ll visit with Denise Lewis and her friend, Craig Harris who recently completed a major renovation and remodel of the lakeside, Painted Sky Inn. And then it’s off to see the culinary wizard, Laura Eliel at the castle, Smythwick Castle and Lodge that is. It’s not lakeside, but it’s an equally tranquilizing destination as it’s set on 10-acres graced with ponds, waterfalls and sprawling oak trees. @texastourism
info_outline Discover Texas Highland Lakes Region 04/10/2016
Discover Texas Highland Lakes Region Burnet County, situated in the heart of the Texas Hill Country is graced with five Highland Lakes. It’s just an hour’s drive away from Austin, but it’s so tranquil and rural in these parts you’d think you were ten hours from the bustling capital city. This is the home of the Blue Bonnet Café in Marble Falls that’s been serving down home specialties for decades. It’s also the home to trendy breweries, award-winning wineries, Canyon of The Eagles Resort, and numerous captivating inns, B&Bs and lakefront vacation rental homes. Boating, fishing and camping are big draws here. I’m correspondent, Tom Wilmer, come along and join me as we visit with Jeanne Emerson and Burnet County Judge, James Oakley, who are both passionate boosters of the region that’s a true hidden gem in the heart of the heart of Texas.
info_outline Save the World--One Beer at a Time 04/03/2016
Save the World--One Beer at a Time Quynh and David Rathkamp made a dramatic transition in their lives. They both gave up successful medical practices to save the world one beer at a time. David realized his true passion in life was crafting fine Belgium-style beers and both Quynh and David shared a passionate quest to help the less fortunate, close to home and around the world. So they started the Save The World Brewing Company in Marble Falls, Texas and their business became the first 100 percent philanthropic production brewery in America with all net profits earmarked for worthy causes such as Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels. I met up with Quynh and David at Canyon of The Eagles Resort in Burnet County, in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. @texastourism
info_outline Love's Jazz and Art Center North Omaha 03/27/2016
Love's Jazz and Art Center North Omaha Join Correspondent, Tom Wilmer in Omaha, Nebraska at Love’s Jazz & Art Center in the heart of the North side of town for a visit with Tim Clark, Executive Director. Love’s is a non-profit center that melds the best of local and regional art and music. The North Side of Omaha has been a hub of American Jazz and blues since the 1920s. At the height of the jazz and blues era The Dreamland Ballroom, McGill’s Blue Room, Jim Bell’s Harlem on Lake, and venues that catered to the African American community played host to legends such as Luis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, the Nat King Cole Trio and other greats. Love’s Jazz and Art Center was created in honor of Preston Love and to pay homage to Omaha’s illustrious past as a Jazz and Blues trendsetter. It also serves as a venue for present day, local, regional, and national musicians as well as artists to showcase their work. In addition to ongoing art exhibits with an African American emphasis, the center offers a live jazz concert every Friday night.
info_outline The Food-Archivist --Saving the World One Recipe at a Time 03/25/2016
The Food-Archivist --Saving the World One Recipe at a Time Based on the California Central Coast, Ann-Terese Barket is on a mission to preserve family recipes. She developed the Food Archivist to assist families save and preserve ancestral recipes that historically have been passed down through the oral tradition. Barket has propelled the process in to the 21st Century by providing on-location audio and video recordings of grandma or grandpa in-the-kitchen preparing family specialties. By creating audio-video archives of family recipes Barket ensures that her client’s recipes will be available for generations to come. Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer for a visit with Ms. Barket as she explains the nuances of her Food Archivist business.
info_outline A Retired Congressman and a Senator recall the Age of Consensus 03/19/2016
A Retired Congressman and a Senator recall the Age of Consensus Kika del la Garza and his wife, Lucille recall a very different time in Congress as they visit with us in their McAllen, Texas home. A time when they had more friends who were republicans, even though they were staunch Democrats. Following six consecutive terms in Austin, de la Garza was elected as a democrat to the US House of representatives from the 15th District. His congressional career spanned 32 years, from 1965 through 1997. In 1976 del La Garza became a founding member of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus where he served as chairman from 1989 to 1991. He became the first Hispanic since 1917 to chair a standing committee in the House when he was elected chairman of the committee on Agriculture—serving from 1981 to 1994.
info_outline Tourism Ireland's Niall Gibbons--Exploring The Emerald Isle 03/16/2016
Tourism Ireland's Niall Gibbons--Exploring The Emerald Isle Niall Gibbons is the Chief Executive of Dublin based, Tourism Ireland, with 22 satellite offices around the world. Correspondent, Tom Wilmer visits with Niall Gibbons as he shares his passion for Ireland, and specifically cool things to do and see around the Emerald Isle, including visits to Dublin City, Belfast, journeying along the 1,600 mile-long Wild Atlantic Way coastal route, the Antrim Coast, Bushmills Distillery, and much more.
info_outline The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert California 03/13/2016
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert California If you’re planning a trip to Palm Desert, California, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is a not to be missed experience for anyone, any age. How about a camel ride for the kids, or up close viewing of Giraffes, elephants, a leopard, hedgehogs, a butterfly habitat, and cheetahs. I was absolutely stunned when I visited the Zoo’s Tennity Wildlife Hospital and Conservation Center. This multi-million dollar facility is loaded with state of the art surgery suites, and treatment rooms. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls allow visitors to watch the medical staff at work. Tennity also serves as a rescue, rehabilitation facility for local wildlife.
info_outline The Glorious Culture of Bali 03/11/2016
The Glorious Culture of Bali Join Molly Blaisdell and Suzie Rodriguez, Associate Producers for the Lowell Thomas Award winning NPR Podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, as they explore the glorious culture of Bali. Celebrated worldwide for its beautiful beaches, clear waters and diverse marine species, the island of Bali – home to the majority of Indonesia’s Hindu minority – also contains thousands of religious temples that range in size from mega-complexes to tiny home-based structures. Join Molly and Suzie for an exploration of the role played on Bali by four different kinds of Hindu temples, and learn about the five major religions of Indonesia. We’ll also visit a performance of the legendary Barong Dance, talk to a professional theatrical mask maker who creates the dance’s fantastical masks. We’ll also visit a traditional cultural village where we join warriors in ancient dances, and be entertained by Bali’s ancient Gamelan music.
info_outline The Wild Atlantic Way with Ireland’s Tourism Minister, Paschal Donohoe 03/09/2016
The Wild Atlantic Way with Ireland’s Tourism Minister, Paschal Donohoe Join Correspondent, Tom Wilmer for a conversation with Paschal Donohoe TD, Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. Based in Dublin, Mr. Donohoe shares his personal insights and recommendations about great things to do and see on the Emerald Isle, including Ireland’s culinary offerings, historic cities, sites and much more. Mr.Donohoe is an exceptionally passionate advocate of The Wild Atlantic Way, a 1,600 mile-long self-driving route along Ireland’s West Coast. @tourismireland
info_outline Two Legendary Travel Journalists Share Secrets of a Great Interview 03/07/2016
Two Legendary Travel Journalists Share Secrets of a Great Interview Join two masters of the art of conducting live interviewers as they discuss best practices for achieving compelling and engaging content. Laurie McAndish King, Associate Producer for the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, caught up with Don George and Paul Lasley at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference in Corte Madera, California. Don George is an acclaimed travel writer and editor. Author of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing and The Way of Wanderlust, and editor of ten travel anthologies, Don is Editor at Large for National Geographic Traveler and Editor of BBC’s Travel Words and Wanderlust site. Paul Lasley is Co-host and Executive Producer of “On Travel,” a podcast about all aspects of travel that airs daily to some 3 million listeners in 180 countries on the American Forces Radio Network. Paul has won two Gold Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Broadcast Awards. Listen in as they discuss the importance of spontaneity, developing rapport, making the interviewee look good, whether to provide a list of questions ahead of time, and managing time constraints. Don and Paul share a few interview horror stories, too.
info_outline San Diego Whale Watching with Naturalist Guides 03/04/2016
San Diego Whale Watching with Naturalist Guides When we cast off from the dock in downtown San Diego, bound for a whale watching adventure off the coast, I had no idea that meeting and visiting with the onboard naturalists would be just as fascinating as watching the whales. The engaging volunteers, working under the auspices of the San Diego Natural History Museum, made the four hour whale watching cruise a fascinating, educational adventure, in addition to the visual and auditory experience of watching behemoth whales breach the surface and flash their flukes.
info_outline Whale Watching—Therapeutic for PTSD Vets and Cancer Patients 03/03/2016
Whale Watching—Therapeutic for PTSD Vets and Cancer Patients Jim Unger, Hornblower Cruises & Events V.P., visits with Correspondent, Tom Wilmer in San Diego. Unger talks about the company’s array of maritime adventures, ranging from harbor cruises to weddings, and dinner cruises. But he focuses on the company’s passionate support for U.S. Military veterans dealing with PTSD. Hornblower’s relationship with the Vets started when crew members noticed a handful of passengers who’d return again and again for whale watch cruises. A conversation was struck and the crew soon learned that solo veterans had been attracted to the whale watching adventures all on their own, and they found the experience powerfully healing and therapeutic. In response, Hornblower Cruises and Events has become passionate supporters of the veterans. The vets receive annual passes so they can go out on the boats anytime they are in the mood.
info_outline Historic San Diego circa-1910 Church Reborn as Cool Event Venue 03/03/2016
Historic San Diego circa-1910 Church Reborn as Cool Event Venue The Abbey on Fifth Avenue in Uptown San Diego was built as a church back in 1910. Today it’s a premier venue for weddings, concerts, meetings, parties and more. Constructed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, back in the day, neighboring structures in Balboa Park, built for the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition were graced with complimentary design motifs. Fortunately, more than a century later the Abbey, and the Balboa Park edifices, still stand as elegant reminders of a long vanished era in San Diego. I came to San Diego specifically to experience Hornblower Cruises and Events’ whale watching adventure, and it was by pure chance that I discovered the Abbey and its connection with the harbor cruise company. The Abbey serves as Hornblower’s base of operations for their shipboard culinary offerings. I stopped by the Abbey and discovered that this historically significant building, graced with dramatic stained-glass windows, is a super popular venue for parties, weddings, live concerts, meetings and more. And it has also played a starring role in numerous Hollywood movies and television shows.
info_outline San Diego Whale Watch Adventure Aboard Hornblower Cruises 02/23/2016
San Diego Whale Watch Adventure Aboard Hornblower Cruises Hornblower Cruises and Events maintains a fleet of seven vessels based in San Diego that offer harbor tours, dinner cruises, weddings, office parties, private yacht charters and more…but the reason I traveled to san Diego was specifically to board the "Adventure Hornblower" ship for a four-hour whale watching cruise out in the open ocean not far from Point Loma.
info_outline Mount Eden Vineyards--Premier Chardonnay & Pinot Noir 02/22/2016
Mount Eden Vineyards--Premier Chardonnay & Pinot Noir Perched on a mountaintop, 2,000 feet above the Santa Clara Valley floor in California, Mount Eden Vineyards owners, Jeffery and Ellie Patterson say, “ It has been a wonderful experience to raise a family in this magical place and to be custodians of a great tradition. The land and its history are the heroes here. Our job is to simply let our magnificent Mount Eden speak through our wines.” And exceptional wines are a house specialty at Mount Eden, with their 2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay awarded the coveted #5 spot on Wine Spectator’s “Top 10 Wines of 2015--and that’s just one of a seemingly endless litany of industry and consumer accolades.
info_outline World-Class Art Abounds in Palm Desert California 02/20/2016
World-Class Art Abounds in Palm Desert California The Desert realm around Palm Springs, California is an awe inspiring living work of art...but I never expected to find truly world-class art within the museums and galleries of Coachella Valley. So I was stopped in my tracks when I walked in to the Palm Springs Art Museum and its cool satellite facility in Palm Desert. Reading between the lines, I realized that some of incredible art came to repose in Palm Springs due to the inordinate number of captains of industry, Hollywood luminaries and recording stars who have claimed domiciles in the desert realm for decades and bequest their collections to the local museums in their wills, as well as funding endowments.