Tom Wilmer

Host of Journeys of Discovery

Host of the Lowell Thomas Award-winning NPR digital media travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, Wilmer has also produced the on-air travel show for KCBX since 1989, and served as digital-media travel host for KRML in Carmel, Calif.

The Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer podcast is also featured on the NPR ONE mobile app, iTunes, Stitcher.com, player.fm (UK) a selected "Best Travel Roundup Podcast" and more than 20 other podcast channels around the world. Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer travel show covers a wide array of subjects including agriculture, culture, arts, science, history and cuisine.

In addition to winning the 2015 & 2013 Lowell Thomas Award--Best Radio Travel Show, Wilmer is the recipient of more than a dozen prestigious industry awards for radio and video, and the prestigious Tourism Australia/QANTAS "Henry Lawson Travel Writing Award" for the best North American feature about Australia as a travel destination.

Wilmer was Travel Editor for Central Coast Magazine in California from its inception through 2008, and Travel Editor at Las Vegas Magazine (1998 - 2003), he has also been a frequent contributor to numerous upscale lifestyle magazines including Tahoe Quarterly, and Arizona Foothills, and former Home Section columnist for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and locally has produced features for New Times, The Tribune and other regional publications.

Author of three books: Romancing the Coast, California Coast Getaways, and Wine Seekers Guide to Livermore Valley. Wilmer has also produced numerous lifestyle magazine features and more than 1,500 newspaper travel feature stories. His Knight Ridder Syndicate travel features have appeared in more than 40 North American newspapers, including the Toronto Star.

His on-location shows have ranged from the Arctic to African safaris, in the wheelhouse of the Rainbow Warrior II, flying in WWII bombers, navigating a micro light above Victoria Falls, sailing around Grenada, hiking through the wilds of Malaysian jungles and exploring remote atolls and isles throughout the South Pacific. His feature, recorded live at Harland & Wolfe Shipyards in Belfast Northern Ireland, celebrating the centenary of the launch of the Titanic was the recipient of a Best Travel award from Outdoor Writers Association of California.

Recent video/audio Awards:

  • First Place Award for Best Short Video- Pinnacles National Park 2015.
  • Wilmer and his video partner, Simo Nylander produced a video for National Park Service's Alcatraz Cruises 2015
  • In-depth video audio series for the Morro Bay National Marine Estuary Winner of 2015 "Best Outdoor Video"
  • Award from Outdoor Writers Association of California, along with "Best Short Video" award for Morro Bay Estuary Water Quality feature
  • Amgen California bike race commercial 2016
  • First Place "Best Outdoor Radio Feature" Saving Cecil's recorded live on location in Botswana
  • Second Place "Best Outdoor Radio Series" for Audubon Rowe Sandhill Cranes, First Federally Funded Wild Mustang Refuge, Heartland Shooting Range Grand Island, Nebraska. Awarded by Outdoor Writers Association of California

Professional Membership:

  • National Press Club, Washington D.C. (www.press.org)
  • Vice President (SF) Bay Area Travel Writers (www.batw.org)
  • Board of Directors Outdoor Writers Association of California (www.owac.org) 
Jordan Winery cellars, Alexander Valley
Thomas Wilmer

Tom and Sally Jordan pioneered producing Bordeaux-style California Cabernet Sauvignon in Alexander Valley back in the early 1970s. Join Tom and Sally’s son, John Jordan and Chef Knoll for a visit at the winery. 

The vistas of dry Creek Valley from Trattori Farms tasting room is worth the visit all on its own
Thomas Wilmer

Mary Louise Bucher and her husband produce award-winning Rhone style wines and produce estate grown extra-virgin olive oil. Join Mary as she talks about her family farm and giving back to the community in the wake of the devastating fires that swept through the region.

Gia Baiocchi serves up some fresh organic juice at her Nectary in downtown Healdsburg, California
Thomas Wilmer

Gia Baiocchi’s Nectary in downtown Healdsburg, California is raising the bar with organic cold-pressed juices and artisanal raw foods. Close by, a block from the Plaza is Sonoma Cider, a leader in California’s burgeoning hard cider industry. Join Kole Christen in Sonoma Cider’s Tap Room.

Dustin Valette chef at Valette Restaurant, Healdsburg. Cailfornia
THOMAS WILMER

The path of destruction of the October 2017 Northern California wildfires that destroyed thousands of homes and more than 25 wineries was indiscriminate. For example the town of Healdsburg in Sonoma County was spared, but none-the-less there’s not a soul who was not directly affected. 

Al Sawyer shows off platter of Royal Red shrimp at King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama
Geiger

Join Al Sawyer, owner of King Neptune’s Seafood Restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama—where he’s been running the show for 24 years. King Neptune's rare deep-water Royal Red shrimp draws repeat diners from as far away as New York City.  

Landing craft coming ashore on the Morro Bay sandspit during WWII training
U.S. Army Signal Corps

Within moments of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941, life in America instantly transformed for the duration of the war. Edith Ross and Art Criddle share their recollections as children during the war years in Morro Bay. April Cheek-Messier at the National D-Day Memorial explains why the National D-Day Memorial is located in the rural town of Bedford, Virginia.

Morro Bay Lighted Boat Parade shark entry
Morro Bay Winterfest

Teri Bayus talks about the array of waterfront events at the Morro Bay Winterfest 12 Days of Christmas events (December 1-12). Highlights include a lighted boat parade, a flotilla of stand-up-paddling angels, a Santa pub crawl, a tall ships sea battle, A gingerbread house competition, caroling with cops, and much more.

Alcatraz Watch Tower with Alcatraz Cruises vessel touring around the "Rock"
THOMAS WILMER

Antoinette Sespene with Alcatraz Cruises, a National Park Service concessioner, shares insights about unique tours such as the night tours with a maximum of 30 along with two docents. 

Adventures come alive at the Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit
THOMAS WILMER

Linda Walter, Director of Detroit’s Outdoor Adventure CenterMichigan’s first urban state park takes us on a tour of the three-story 41,000 square-foot Outdoor Adventure Center. 

Fowling utilizes regulation bowling pins with a truncated alley and a football.
THOMAS WILMER

Fowling--bowling with a football started as a lark fifteen years ago has become the rage in Hamtramck, Michigan and it’s poised to spread across the country. Come along and join Chris Hutt, the inventor of fowling (pronounced FOH-ling), at his 20 lane Fowling Warehouse, complete with two bars. Discover why thousands of Midwesterners and Canadians love the game. 

Giant Panda Research Base isa bamboo paradise
Thomas Wilmer

The Giant Panda is revered by not only the Chinese, but kids and adults alike around the world. The Chinese have long used the Giant Panda as a diplomatic ambassador of friendship. Correspondent Tom Wilmer explores the Giant Panda Research Base facility in Chengdu, China with locals Mavis Liu Mei and Tiffany Shi Shi.

Dramatic open spaces define the new San Luis Obispo Airport
THOMAS WILMER

After two years of construction, the new $39 million San Luis Obispo Airport opened on November 1. The county's Director of Airports, Kevin Bumen, talks with correspondent Tom Wilmer about the attributes of the new terminal, enhanced parking, and the fast-changing world of commercial aviation as it impacts San Luis Obispo. 

Hamtramck

Less than 13 miles from the heart of downtown Detroit, Hamtramck, Michigan is like a little United Nations where residents collectively speak more than 30 languages. 

Detroit graffiti art at Farmers Market neighborhood
THOMAS WILMER

At the conclusion of WWII Detroit, Michigan claimed than 2.1 million citizens, today there are less than 700,000. Thousands of single-family houses have disappeared from the landscape--some city blocks have less than three houses standing— a sobering, mostly greenscape landscape. Join Kelly Kavanaugh, urban activist and owner of Wheelhouse Detroit Bikeshop as she talks about reinventing Detroit and some of the obstacles created by an infusion of investors from across the country.

Electric Vehicle charging station in Door County, Wisconsin
Door County CVB

Jack Moneypenny, President of the Door County Visitors Bureau came up with a brilliant but simple plan that stimulates tourism while simultaneously minimizing the carbon footprint. Join Moneypenny as he shares his electric charging station vision that now serves as a model showcase for the future of ecologically sustainable regional tourism.      

The panoramic vistas from atop the Hilton SF Union Square captures the diverse neighborhoods surrounding.
THOMAS WILMER

Frank Manchen, a member of the Board of Directors of the Tenderloin Community Benefit District in San Francisco, talks about the infusion of new businesses, nightclubs, and attractive rents that are attracting millennials with an adventurous spirit. 

Vintage Wienermobile on display at The Henry Ford
THOMAS WILMER

The 12-acre Henry Ford complex showcases artifacts from the industrial revolution through contemporary artifacts. Highlights include classic 20th century aircraft, an extensive automobile collection, a vintage Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, and JFK’s 1961 Lincoln presidential limo. Join Melissa Foster, Media & Film Relations Manager for a walking tour of the legendary Henry Ford museum of American Innovation.

Historic steam train rides part of the fun at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan
THOMAS WILMER

From steam trains to rides in Model A’s, Greenfield Village is 80 acres of Americana. Here you will find Thomas Edison’s lab, historic homes and so much more. Discover why Greenfield Village is one of the most popular destinations for visitors from around the Midwest and around the world since it opened back in 1929. 

WWII troop transport birthed and open to the public at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco
THOMAS WILMER

San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the City’s iconic destinations for tourists from around the world, along with Alcatraz, Chinatown, Union Square and Coit Tower. Join Tom Wilmer in San Francisco for a visit with Rachel Brown, Marketing and Communications Director for the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Thomas Wilmer

Back in the 1960s Stax Records served as an incubator of the Memphis, Tennessee Soul Music genre.

Join Tim Sampson Communications Director for the Soulsville Foundation where he talks about the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the genesis of “Soulsville”, the astounding Stax Music Academy, and Soulsville Charter School.

Ford Research lab
Thomas Wilmer

Your new Ford might just come equipped with repurposed U.S. currency, flax, wheat, agave fibers, and a litany of organic auto parts. Ford’s tenacious quest to utilize sustainable materials includes a brilliant farm-to-car supply chain that’s already in place at the Ontario, Canada Ford plant utilizing wheat-straw produced by local farmers. Janice Tardiff, Elastomeric Materials Technical Expert, and Deborah Mielewski Ph.D., take us on a tour at Ford’s Research and Innovation Center labs in Dearborn, Michigan

Joe Thorner Brewmaster at Brew Detroit (Left) with Tom Wilmer at Brew Detroit
Brew Detroit

Joe Thorner, Brewmaster and Operations Manager at Brew Detroit, produces an array of brews including the iconic Stroh’s.  Back in 1850 German immigrant Bernhard Stroh started selling his beer door-to-door from a wheelbarrow and it’s remained as an iconic Detroit brew ever since. Thorner shares his passionate core philosophy of crafting zestful beers through his intimate understanding of the core ingredients: hops, yeast, and malt, and producing classic Stroh’s. 

Vista from Ragged Point Inn--at bottom of cliff wreckage of numerous cars rot away--and some locals claim the occupants of the wrecked vehicles still hang around as ghosts
THOMAS WILMER

The journey of driving along Highway 1 through Big Sur Country is one of the most spiritual routes in America, but unless you’re a Big Sur local, you probably didn’t know that it’s also one of the most spirit filled realms on the West Coast. Come along and listen to some tales of the ghosts and spirits that haunt Big Sur Country with Rory Cosma at Ragged Point Inn and Resort.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's line up for luncheon honoring their bravery
THOMAS WILMER

Saturday morning july 8th 2017 started out uneventfully at St. Vincent de Paul’s Circle V Ranch summer camp in the hills above Santa Barbara.

But a puff of smoke on the horizon alerted camp counselors that trouble was brewing. The Whittier wildfire came close to destroying the summer camp and threatened the lives of hundreds of campers and staff.

To honor the first responders who came to the rescue of the campers, St. Vincent de Paul hosted a special luncheon at Old Mission Santa Ines Parish Hall in Solvang, California. Join me for a conversation with David Fields, Executive Director St. Vincent de Paul, Los Angeles.

Detroit Beer book cover
Arcadia Publishing

Join author, podcast host, and Motor City Brew Tours founder Stephen Johnson for an insiders look at Detroit’s beer world, past and present.

Detroit brew tours include walking, biking, and by bus.

Enrique Rabsamen primary and secondary school in Southern Mexico City
Chicago Tribune

The September 19, 2017 magnitude 7.1 earthquake centered near Puebla, Mexico left more than 4,500 people injured and more than 220 dead in Mexico City alone.

Many of the 38 buildings in Mexico City that collapsed did so due to shoddy construction practices and corrupt building inspectors according to local activists.

Mexico City television and radio host, Victor Pineda lives just two blocks from the Enrique Rabsamen primary and secondary school. His house was unscathed while the nearby school collapsed, leaving 29 students dead.

The new Little Caesars Arena anchors a 50 block redevelopment in the heart of downtown Detroit
THOMAS WILMER

Detroit’s resurgence is propelling with a new light rail, the freshly opened Little Caesars Arena—an anchor of a 50 block downtown development project, the legendary Motown Museum’s expansion plans, and a visit with the owner of Michigan’s oldest licensed brewpub, Traffic Jam & Snug.

Costa Rica flower
Thomas Wilmer

Jim Damalas with Greentique Hotels in Costa Rica talks about the trend setting hotel group’s four distinctive properties, set within four of the country’s five tropical forests, and the group’s intrinsic philosophy of trendsetting environmental sustainability.  

Villa Blanca is set high in the cloud forest, while Si Como No Resort and Wildlife Refuge in Manuel Antonio National Park is Cliffside overlooking the Pacific.

Author, Amanda Summer is an archaeologist and award-winning writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Islands, Archaeology, Odyssey and The Best Travel Writing. For the past 30 years she has returned to the Greek island of Ithaka, where she searched for the palace of Odysseus starting in 1984 with a team from Washington University in St. Louis. 

1919 Green Bay Packers team
www.packers.com

Brenda Krainik and Candy Conard in Green Bay, Wisconsin share the back-story of how the Green Bay Packers came to be America’s only non-profit NFL team. More than 360,000 fans are ardent shareholders, and the concession stands at Lambeau Field are operated by local non-profit organizations. Brenda also shares insights about cool things to do and see in the little town of Green Bay—with the world’s most passionate football fans.

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