Tennessee

Thomas Wilmer

Reelfoot Lake State Park, located in the northwest corner of Tennessee, is a unique wildlife haven. Tennessee State Parks naturalist David Haggard shares the inside scoop about things to do and see on and around the lake. We’ll then join Michael Hayes, owner of Blue Bank Resort, who shares his family’s multi-generational history of living and working on the lake since the 1880s.

Thomas Wilmer

Come along with correspondent Tom Wilmer as he explores current facets of Memphis, Tenneesee.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Memphis, Tennessee, where he visits the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum with John Doyle, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s first permanent exhibit outside of Washington D.C.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Thomas Crosby, CEO of Pal’s restaurant chain, at the firm’s first diner in Kingsport, Tennessee. Today there are 29 Pal’s throughout northeast Tennessee and southwestern Virginia. Crosby shares insights into Pal’s corporate model, via which he says employees earn a living wage. Annual employee retention at Pal’s is approximately 76 percent—while the national fast food industry annual turnover is close to 100 percent.

TNvacations

In this Journeys episode, Sparta, Tennessee-based Olympic freestyle kayaker Eric Jackson talks with correspondent Tom Wilmer about his extreme kayaking passion and simultaneously owning a multimillion-dollar kayak manufacturing company. Rangers at two of Tennessee’s most popular state parks, Fall Creek Falls and Standing Stone, share insights about the diverse year-round activities. And Dave Sergio, co-founder of Sparta's Calfkiller Brewery, shares his passion for crafting unique brews, followed by a conversation about Tennessee wines with Barbara DelMonaco, owner of DelMonaco Winery & Vineyards in Baxter, Tennessee.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer continues his reporting from the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Cookeville, Tennessee, situated in an area of the state known fondly as Upper Cumberland.

PBS affiliate WCTE

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Becky Magura, CEO of PBS affiliate WCTE in the Appalachian town of Cookeville in central Tennessee.

Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer  as he reports from Pall Mall, Tennessee. There he visits with World War I U.S. Army hero Sergeant Alvin York’s daughter, 85 year-old Betsy Ross York-Lowery, and great-granddaughter, Deborah York, at the family’s farmhouse. A pacifist, York reluctantly went to war and wound up one of America’s most highly decorated heroes.

Visit Kingsport Tennessee

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Jamie Cyphers, the great-great-granddaughter of Kingsport, Tennessee moonshiner Charles “Old Man" Bishop, who reportedly first concocted Long Island Iced Tea back in the 1920s.

Wilmer also stops in for a visit with two Kingsport professional bartenders, Shane Winegar and Randy Ashens, who challenged New York mix-masters to a competition to determine which region makes the best Long Island Iced Tea, irrespective of origin.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from eastern Tennessee, where he explores Roan Mountain and Rocky Fork State Parks. He then visits with innkeepers at the state’s oldest inn in historic Jonesborough, and discovers how community engagement drives business at Jiggy Rays Pizza Parlor in the Appalachian village of Elizabethton.

Thomas Wilmer

Country music leapt from the front porches of Appalachia to the living rooms of the world back in 1927. 

The Victor Talking Machine Company’s producer Ralph Peer came to Bristol, Tennessee in the summer of 1927 to record regional Appalachian balladeers, gospel singers, blues artists—performers like Jimmy Rodgers and the Carter Family. Peer’s 1927 Bristol Sessions also introduced the royalty system to the music industry.

Country Music Hall of Fame entry
Thomas Wilmer

The Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee is the Mother Ship where the entire history of country music from the 1800's to present is showcased and revered in the 360,000 square-foot multi-story facility.

Tennessee Safari Park

Tennessee Safari Park receives 200,000 visitors annually. It’s a family affair in more ways than one, as owner John Conley’s grandfather birthed the park in 1958. What started with a monkey ordered from Sears has grown to include a lexicon of wild, exotic animals from African warthogs to Giraffe, Bison, and White Bearded Wildebeests. Join John Conley as he shares his passion for the family run Safari Park, located on the Music Highway route between Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee.

Tina Turner's old one room school house, and adjacent home of blues legend Sleepy John Estes
Thomas Wilmer

Come along for a stop-off along the Music Highway in Brownsville, midway between Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee. We’ll visit with the town's first elected African-American Mayor, Bill Rawls. Sonia Outlaw-Clark Executive Director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center takes us on a walking tour of the Tina Turner Museum, and adjacent, fabled bluesman, Sleepy John Estes’s cottage where he was rediscovered in the 1970s.  

Patrick Martin (left) with Tom Wilmer at his newest Nashville Bar-B-Que joint in downtown Nashville
Joe McGhee

Patrick Martin founded Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in Nashville, Tennessee ten years ago. His cooking is such the rave around here that there are now four Nashville locations in addition to eateries in West Virginia and Kentucky. There are ribs, chicken and catfish at Martin's, but the pride of Patrick’s culinary talents is centered around his live-fire bar-b-que’d pulled West Tennessee whole hog, slow cooked in the pit for 24 hours.

Wesley Keegan Tailgate Beer
Tailgate Beer

Wesley Keegan distributes a wide array of craft beers around the state of Tennessee, while the overseas market is clamoring for his brews to the point that they are rationed and sold only by the single can in England.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit at Tailgate Brewery in Nashville with owner Wesley Keegan. Tailgate averages 30 beers on tap, and rolls out at least two new beers every week.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer in Nashville, Tennessee at the Black Abbey Brewing Company for a visit with founder, Carl Meier as he share’s the brewery’s signature beers, and connection with 16th Century Martin Luther, his wife Catherine, and modern day Frothy Monkey coffee.

Austin Smith & Tom Wilmer talk hot chicken
Joe McGhee

It’s hot chicken, big brews, and frozen craft-cocktails at Party Fowl in Nashville, Tennessee

At Party Fowl restaurant in Nashville Tennessee, hot is an understatement, as they have refined the art of serving “Nashville Hot” southern fried chicken to a fine art. 

Fat Bottom Brewing warehouse
Thomas Wilmer

Ben Bredesen, owner and founder of Fat Bottom Brewing in East Nashville Tennessee, turned in his high-tech employment badge and decided to follow his passion for crafting beer, and he’s never looked back.

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Ben Bredesen at his brewery where he talks passionately about Fat Bottom’s litany of beers. 

Front facade Ryman Auditorium
Thomas Wilmer

Join Lisaann Dupont, PR and Digital Media Manager at the legendary Ryman Auditorium. Revered as the “Mother Church” of country music, the Ryman has been an anchor of the Nashville music scene for more than a century.

The Grand Ole Opry moved in to the Ryman in 1943 where it broadcast shows weekly across the airwaves every Saturday on WSM 650 AM radio.

Thomas Wilmer

National Park Ranger Lee White specializes in the human aspects of the Civil War soldiers, what they ate, the clothes and boots they wore, the diseases that killed them by the thousands, and their emotional state of being as documented in their poignant letters home.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Chattanooga. Come along and join the conversation with passionate music lover, Mary Howard Ade. She moved here from New York City to work as the Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau’s full-time Music Marketing Manager

Live music has been an integral ingredient in the cultural fabric of Chattanooga since the founding of the riverfront town in 1839. Bessie Smith, born in Chattanooga in 1892, was fondly nicknamed "Empress of the Blues" and became America’s #1 blues performer throughout the 1920s and 30s.

Much like a biscuit’s layers, the International Biscuit Festival has given rise to this cultural phenomenon. Listen to associate producer, Melissa Corbin reporting from Knoxville, Tennessee as she reveals how each of us are connected to of all things…a biscuit.