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Journeys of Discovery: Exploring Luckenbach, WWII Pacific War Museum and Texas-style cocktails

Thomas Wilmer
Luckenbach was made famous by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.

Luckenbach, Texas is hunkered between South Grape Creek and Snail Creek on the south side of Ranch to Market Road 1376, and a mere 13 miles from Fredericksburg.

It was Waylon Jennings’ tune "Back to the Basics of Love" that put Luckenbach on the map. In the early days of the 20th century, Luckenbach was a thriving little town with close to 500 residents, but by the 1960s it claimed just three residents. That’s when the legendary Hondo Crouch and his partner bought the ghost town and started a dance hall and pub.

The town’s rebirth was propelled in the summer of 1973 when Jerry Jeff Walker and the Lost Gonzo Band recorded live in the dance hall the outlaw country classic "Viva Terlingua."  It was game on for Lukenbach when Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson recorded the #1 County Chart hit, "Luckenbach Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)." Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Luckenbach, where he visits with Haydon Whittington, who’s been a part of the local scene since 1974.

Next up is a visit with retired four star general Michael Hagee, 33rd Commandant of the Marine Corps, who’s now CEO of the Admiral Nimitz Foundation and the Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. Hagee talks about the 55,000-square-foot museum that showcases the story of World War II in the Pacific, and the Admiral Nimitz Gallery. Due to COVID-19 the museum is currently open by appointment only.

An exploration of  moonshine and craft coctail experiences in Fredericksburg include the Elk Store Winery & Distillery on Main Street. Chase’s Place Cocktails serving cocktails and fine food in a homey environment where the owner's theatrical personaility is an integral part of the allure.

A visit with Traci Dodds, the owner of the Green Fox Guesthouse reveals insights about one of Fredericksburg's oldest log-framed homes built in 1850.

The underbed music in this show was perfomed by Texas country music legends Johnny Gimble and John Arthur Martinez

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryApple Podcast,iHeartRadio, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. Member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Underwriting support provided by Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, and the Society of St. Vincent De Paul.

Tom Wilmer produces on-air content for Issues & Ideas airing over KCBX and is producer and host of the six-time Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. Recorded live on-location across America and around the world, the podcasts feature the arts, culture, music, nature, history, science, wine & spirits, brewpubs, and the culinary arts--everything from baseball to exploring South Pacific atolls to interviewing the real Santa Claus in the Arctic.
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