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!

Catiethering.com

There are two standard options for dogs and cats that arrive at shelters and pounds: adoption or euthanasia. Lisa LaVerdiere decided to create another option that she dubbed The Third Door, providing a home for unadoptable dogs and cats. In a recent visit, correspondent Tom Wilmer learns that LaVerdiere was a successful tort lawyer with a specialization in asbestos issues and juvenile lead poisoning. 

Thomas Wilmer

Teresa Stephens, owner of the Lubbock, Texas Cast Iron Grill recounts her fear of the homeless, until she confronted her phobia and wound up embracing and making sacrifices to feed those in need. Join correspondent Tom Wilmer at the Cast Iron Grill in downtown Lubbock, adjacent to the Buddy Holly Museum, as Stephens shares her poignant tale that ultimately enriched and transformed her life through serving the homeless.

Randi Hair

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the Greensboro, North Carolina where he meets with Greensboro Battleground Parks District's imagineers. 

Irish Archeology

The famine ship Jeanie Johnston, built in 1848, made 16 trans-Atlantic passages carrying more than 2,500 passengers. The vessel is revered in the annals of the Irish Potato famine as not one life was lost throughout her career—while many famine ships lost more than 30 percent of their manifest to disease, lack of fresh water and toxic food. 

Randi Hair

12 year-old Tu Sen arrived in America from a Thailand refugee camp in 1986, clutching her treasured possessions wrapped in a cardboard box. Eventually settling in High Point, North Carolina, Tu worked in her family’s restaurant for 19 years before opening her own eatery, 98 Asian Bistro, five years ago. Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Tu Sen and meets with Patrick Chapin, CEO of High Point Chamber of Commerce, about the reinvention of downtown High Point.

Randi Hair

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Louisiana's East Baton Rouge Parish, in the outback near the village of Zachary. Following a pitch-black evening drive along a gravel road, we arrive at Teddy’s Juke Joint for a visit with the legendary proprietor 73 year-old Lloyd Johnson Junior. 

Thomas Wilmer

Kevin Bumen, director of the San Luis Obispo County Airport, offers insights into the current status of travel by air and specific health and safety responses to COVID-19.  

Randi Hair

Louisiana's East Baton Rouge Parish Library has come a long way since its founding in 1939 with a collection of second-hand donated books. Today the card catalogs are long gone, and the library’s collection now includes more than two million items serving more than 325,000 registered borrowers. 

Thomas Wilmer

Michael Young, the Foundation at Hearst Castle's executive director, talks with correspondent Tom Wilmer about the foundation’s conservation and restoration programs, and what he considers the benefits of membership. Young also shares his passion for the Foundation’s middle school field trip experiences, aimed at inspiring students through Hearst Castle State Park STEAM experiences. 

Courtesy Jill Dutton

Jill Dutton, author of the "USA by Rail" travel blog and "Ride the Southwest Chief," a soon-to-be -completed series of twelve rail travel guides, talks with correspondent Tom Wilmer about traveling around America by train. 

Courtesy Carrie Theis

The village of Carmel-by-the-Sea is just one square mile, but within its bounds there’s more than 50 family-owned restaurants, 45 inns and even more art galleries. The town is distinctive for its storybook architecture and its fondness for dogs.

Thomas Wilmer

"Songs of Hope and Justice" is a free musical prelude to the annual North Carolina Music Festival. Held in the Van Dyke Performance Space, singers, instrumentalists and songwriters from all quarters of North Carolina come together to share their passion for life through music. Following the September 5, 2019 performance, correspondent Tom Wilmer met with the host of the event, Grammy award-winning songwriter and singer Laurelyn Dossett

David Holt

A summer of ‘69 road trip through southern Appalachia struck a cord with musician David Holt and determined his future as a passionate advocate for traditional American folk music and the rural story telling tradition. Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a conversation with David Holt, along with some of his music and storytelling. 

Don McPhail

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a conversation with author and former Hawaiian Airlines sales executive Don McPhail. McPhail’s eight decades of adventuring led him on a literary journey to distill and bring to life enthralling stories that take place throughout the 20th century, from the 1929 Stock Market Crash to the attack on Pearl Harbor to the Vietnam War era. McPhail's poignant perceptions of life in the last century are vividly brought to life in his recently-released historical-fiction books, "The Millionaire's Cruise" and "The Guest from Johannesburg." 

Camp Roberts Historical Museum

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Camp Roberts, the U.S. Army training base located 16 miles north of Paso Robles, where he visits with Gary McMaster, chairman and curator at the Camp Roberts Historical Museum.

Hunterliggett.armywmr.com

Fort Hunter Liggett, located in Monterey County, is the largest and one of the most remote U.S. Army Reserve training bases in America. Come along and join correspondent Tom Wilmer as he explores how the base provides for the moral, welfare and recreation needs of the soldiers and civilian employees, as well as the civilian residents of nearby farming communities. Wilmer visits with Brian Lee.

Thomas Wilmer

Back in the latter 19th century, African American athletes often played on baseball teams alongside whites. But segregation took an ugly turn in the dawning days of the 20th century and black players were barred through Jim Crow laws. Undaunted, black teams were formed across America. The first organized league structure was conceived in Kansas City in 1920, and thus was born the Negro National League, followed by eastern and southern leagues.

Thomas Wilmer

Retired Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary guard George DeVincenzi served on “The Rock” from 1950 to 1958, departing just five years before the infamous island prison closed forever in 1963. Correspondent Tom Wilmer met with DeVincenzi in the old prison hospital, directly across the corridor from where DeVincenzi long ago played checkers with the infamous Bird Man of Alcatraz. 

Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for an exploration of Tennessee’s rural realms. Discovery Park of America is located in Union City a 3-hour drive from Nashville. The park features an array of attractions focused on science, technology, engineering and math, a vintage train depot, log cabins, a Titan missile and much more. 

Thomas Wilmer

One of Nashville’s coolest destinations is just nine miles from the heart of downtown. Warner Park encompasses 3,100 acres of forests and open fields, featuring nationally-recognized jogging trails, biking and equestrian trails, a legendary steeplechase and a nature center.

Thomas Wilmer

Jeff Ray, executive director at Alabama’s Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, talks about the institution, which many consider a $100 million investment in the state of Alabama and its largest philanthropic enterprise. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Hawaii's Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, where he visits with Brittany Horn and Madeleine Longoria Garcia—co-owners of Pacific Coffee Research; and baristas from Kona Coffee & Tea in Kailua-Kona and Waimea Coffee Company, located in the town of Waimea.

Oak Ridge National Labs

In the depths of World War II, top-secret labs were staffed around the clock to create a nuclear bomb. Oak Ridge in Tennessee, dubbed 'Secret City,' was built from scratch in a matter of months and became home to 75,000 Manhattan Project scientists and support personnel, including thousands of women. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the L’ecole de la Maison Cooking School at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. General Manager Lola Roeh takes Wilmer on a tour of the award-winning cooking school. 

National Archives and Records Administration

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Geir Gundersen, supervisory archivist at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Part of the same institution, the Ford Museum is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Alan Squire Publishing

Journeys of Discovery associate producer Laurie McAndish King visits with Linda Watanabe McFerrin about McFerrin's new book, Navigating the Divide, from Alan Squire Publishing’s Legacy Series. McFerrin is an acclaimed travel writer, poet, and novelist with a special talent for creating a sense of place in her work. The two discuss the 'personality of place,' the attraction of risk, and the boundaries between good and evil.

Thomas Wilmer

Located in a century-old building in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, Elsewhere is a 'safe space' for LGBTQ+ experiences in the American Southeast. Artists from around the world sign up for residencies to explore their craft, and educational experiences range from QueerLab to creative retreats. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Joe Rotondi, executive director at the Forge Makerspace in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Forge is a collective, community gathering space for artisans who share a quest to work on creative projects, incubate new businesses and share ideas.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Robert Grese, professor of landscape architecture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; followed by a conversation with Kevin Walsh, executive director at the Yankee Air Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan where visitors can fly aboard WW2 aircraft.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Nawal Motawi, owner of Motawi Tileworks in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Motawi talks about her life journey as an artisan who started her business in a tiny garage back in the early 1990s. Motawi Tileworks was proclaimed by Forbes Magazine’s “America’s Best Small Companies 2017” as one of America’s 25 Small Giants.

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