Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer

Segments air during Issues & Ideas (Wednesdays from 1 to 2 p.m.)

Tom Wilmer’s Lowell Thomas Award-winning NPR Podcast—recorded live on location across America and around the world—showcases the arts, culture, music, nature, history, science, wine & spirits, brewpubs, and the culinary arts.

We cover nouns and verbs—people, places, things, and action—everything from baseball, to exploring South Pacific atolls, to interviewing the real Santa Claus in the Arctic. Come along!

Guest host, Steve Koch reports from Little Rock, Arkansas about the life and music of Conway Twitty. Conway Twitty was born Harold Jenkins in Friar's Point, Miss., where his dad ran the ferry to the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River. When Jenkins was a boy, the family moved to Helena, Arkansas, where Jenkins got into music and started his first band. 

Grownups love the trout farm experience as much as the kids at English Mountain Trout Farm near Sevierville, Tennessee in the Great Smokey Mountains
Tom Wilmer

For more than a century family vacations in the mountains of America often included a trip to a trout farm. Join Charlie Ford at English Mountain Trout Farm just down the road a spell from Forbidden Caverns on the outskirts of Sevierville, Tennessee in the heart of the Great Smokey Mountains for the rest of the story.

Tom Wilmer (left) with Mo Mao at symposium in Chengdu, China
David Laing

Correspondent Tom Wilmer met Mo Mao at a symposium in Chengdu, China a year ago. After returning home Mo and Tom kept up their friendship via Instagram—and that’s how Mo came to America to visit with Wilmer in Morro Bay. Mo serves as the Municipal Foreign Exchange Project Manager for the city of Chengdu (population 16M) in the Southwestern province of Sichuan adjacent to Tibet.

M.V. Zumbrota companionway
Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit with Captain Chuck Myers aboard the historic M.V. Zumbrota, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2018 and home ported today in Marina del Rey Harbor.

Snowmobile racing on Lake Michigan is popular winter pastime in St. Ignace, Michigan
upsnowmobiling.com

Discover why the midst of winter is an amazingly popular time to visit the Uppper Peninsula town of St. Ignas, Michigan. Tubing, sledding, skating, ice hockey, and snowmobiling are passionate pastimes with the locals and visitors alike. 

Kika de la Garza serving on Ag Committee in Congress
Jose R. Lopez New York Times

  

Watching congressmen and senators stubbornly refuse to engage in cross-aisle politics reminded me of conversations with retired Republican Senator Ben Knighthorse Campbell, and retired Democratic Congressman Kika de la Garza back in 2013.

Both touted their numerous friendships and partnerships with representatives from the opposite side of the isle.   

  

The Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee--frozen in time
Thomas Wilmer

The Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 serves today as the powerful anchor of the National Civil Rights Museum in MemphisTennessee.

Faith Morris, External Affairs Officer visits with correspondent Tom Wilmer.

Barbara Barrielle (left) with her daughter (and actress in Break Night) Charlotte Barielle on the film location set
Courtesy Barbara Barrielle

BREAK NIGHT is a police thriller movie made for less than $50,000 in eight days (with on-location filming in Oakland, California). A conversation with Producer, Barbara Barrielle.

Dan Hicks
Danhicks.net

Steve Koch reports from Arkansas about the legendary musician Dan Hicks:

Dan Hicks was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, but his family moved to Santa Rosa, California when he was five.

Hicks spent most of his life in northern California, where he honed his chops and became a ground breaking folk jazz bandleader. 

Fredericksburg Brewing Company in Downtown Fredericksburg, Texas
Fredericksburg Tourism

A visit with the brewmaster and assistant brewmaster at Fredericksburg Brewing Company in downtown Fredericksburg, Texas. Brewmaster Rick Green specializes in old-world German style beers, in celebration of Fredericksburg’s German heritage.

Promo photo for George Hamilton's performance in the 1964 Hollywood Movie, Your Cheatin' Heart
popentertainment.com

Join Steve Koch, host of "Arkansongs" for a look at Hollywood actor George Hamilton’s early career as a singer.

Hamilton’s short-lived singing career was boosted by his onscreen portrayal of Hank Williams in the 1964 film Your Cheatin’ Heart.

William Scripps Jr., pulls a fresh draft of his Altstadt Beer at his Fredericksburg, Texas brewery
Tom Wilmer

What happens when you have ample funding to realize your dreams, combined with a tenacious quest to recreate classic German-style beer in the heart of Texas?

In the case of William Scripps, Jr., it was the creation of Altstadt Brewery in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Quintessential Chocolates logo banner
Tom Wilmer

Lecia Duke traded a career as an architect to become a Swiss Master Chocolatier based in Fredericksburg, Texas at Quintessential Chocolates.

Along the way Duke became America’s sole producer of a centuries old European confectionary process known as Liquid Pralina (liquid center) chocolates. 

Fischer & Wieser Culinary Adventure dinner Fredericksburg, Texas
Thomas Wilmer

It all started with a peach orchard planted in 1928 and a roadside fruit stand in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Today, in addition to fresh peaches, Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods cooking sauces are sold nationwide. 

Kodak Corporation

  Host of the NPR Podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer met up with Georgia Durante, at of all places, a summer camp for kids run by St. Vincent de Paul in the hills above Santa Barbara, California where she talks about her best selling book, The Company She Keeps chronicling her amazing life journey. 

Georgia Durante grew up in Rochester, New York, and her modeling career commenced when she was just 13 years old.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson's home in the Texas Hill Country that also served as the Texas White House
Thomas Wilmer

Join Mike Ryan, National Park Ranger at LBJ’s Texas White House, located 14 miles west of Johnson City in the fabled Texas Hill Country.

Ryan shares insights about President Lyndon Baines Johnson's accomplishments, and life on his ranch. 

John Sepulvado KQED California Report Host
KQED

KQED's California Report host John Sepulvado shares his passion for building relationships with NPR affiliate stations across the state. 

Luckenbach, Texas General Store and Saloon
Tom Wilmer

A mid winter night’s visit at Luckenbach, Texas—where we chat with Dan who tends the store and saloon, and Bo Porter who’s spent more than 40 years as a traveling troubadour. 

Olan Tisdale, owner of Fredericksburg Pecan Company shares his passion for the Texas pecan
Thomas Wilmer

Olan Tisdale’s passion for producing pecans dates from his childhood on Barnett Ranch near San Saba, Texas. Today in addition to growing pecans he and his wife Nanette operate the Fredericksburg Pecan Company retail store with online sales as well. 

Doug Lewis of Lewis Wines pours his vino at Fischer & Wieser Culinary Adventure in Fredericksburg, Texas
Thomas Wilmer

Thirty year-old Doug Lewis owner of Lewis Wines along with his partner Duncan McNabb, operate their winery in the heart of the Texas Hill Country near Johnson City. 

Arkansongs talks blues legend Grace Brim

Dec 24, 2017
Blues musician Grace Brim
Amy O'Neal

Join Stephen Koch, host of Arkansongs, a production of KUAR in Little Rock, Arkansas as he shares the story of Arkansawyer Grace Brim.

The historic adobe at Talley Vineyards in Arroyo Grande Valley
Tom Wilmer

Brian Talley’s grandfather started farming in the Arroyo Grande Valley back in 1948. It was Brian’s dad who planted grapes in the early 1980s and eventually started producing wine as well, and as they say, the rest is history. 

Leo driving his make-and-break engine boat, Maggie around Petty Harbour.
Rebekah Nolan

Newfoundland is an island that has always been defined by fishing. The first settlers came over from England and Ireland to harvest the seemingly boundless supplies of cod that inhabited the grand banks. 

Back in 1946 five year-old Jimmy Hawkins played the role of Tommy in It’s a Wonderful Life. Decades later the film was voted the most inspirational movie of all time by the American Film Institute. When it hit silver screen for Christmas season in 1946, it was a box-office flop and lost $500,000 even though it was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Judi Boulter visits with correspondent Tom Wilmer at Trellis Coffee Company on the Big Island of Hawaii
Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer

The Trellis Coffee Company, producers of the Kona Joe Coffee brand on the Big Island of Hawaii, is one of hundreds of coffee producers in the Kona District. Kona Joe was the first island coffee grower to utilize a trellising system. 

Lim Family Luau at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel pays homage to old Hawaii
Thomas Wilmer

The Lim family Luau has been performing at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel since Laurance Rockefeller opened the resort back in the mid-1960s. Today the luau is the oldest, continuously operating show on the Big Island of Hawaii. Lorna Lim talks story about her family’s passion for performing authentic song, hula dance, and tales of old Hawaii. 

Manta Restaurant Executive Sous Chef Rio Miceli (Left) and Wendle Lesher (Center) Director of Food and Beverage at Mauna Kea Resort talk with correspondent Tom Wilmer
Mauna Kea Resort

Executive Sous Chef Rio Miceli and Wendle Lesher Director of Food & Beverage at the Mauna Kea Resort’s Manta Restaurant talk story about honoring and showcasing Hawaii’s multi-ethnic cuisine. 

Rolinda Bean teacher of Hawaiian history and culture
Thomas Wilmer

Hawaiian culture and history teacher Rolinda Bean talks story about her personal journey of teaching Hawaiian history and cultural mores that have been passed along generation after generation through genetic imprinting and story. Ms. Bean teaches Hawaiian culture and history on the Big Island of Hawaii and works at the Sheraton Kona Resort.

Travel correspondent Tom Wilmer visits Healdsburg California and talks with local business owners about the economic recovery of their community following the devastating fires earlier this year.

Executive Chef George Gomes at the Sheraton Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii
Sheraton Kona

George Gomes, the Executive Chef at the  Sheraton Kona Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii has been a passionate chef since he was a teenager. His first big break was a stint as a chef at the legendary Mauna Kea Resort on the Kona Coast. Gomes shares his culinary passions and lessons learned from stints around the world and close to home.

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