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) 
m2 Wines Lodi California tasting room and processing
Lodi Wine Grape Commission

m2 wines founder Layne Montgomery, a native of Arkansas, started out like many as a home winemaker. He produced his first vintage of m2 wine in Lodi back in 2004. Today m2 Wines and Montgomery are known for producing finely crafted award-winning artisanal old-vine Zinfandel, Tempranillo, and Syrah and Petite Syrah blends and more.

Packing Tokay grapes back in the day at Jessie's Grove Winery Lodi, CA
Greg Burns family

Still harvesting Zinfandel grapes from vines planted in 1889, Lodi’s Jessie’s Grove Winery cherishes the oldest Zinfandel vines in the entire Lodi Appellation and amongst the oldest in California. Join Sarah Williams and winemaker/owner Greg Burns at the Lodi tasting room.

Inspired by hikers on Spain's El Camino trail, travel journalist, Maggie Espinosa was inspired to walk over 800 miles along California's El Camino Real. Over a year of hiking in 80 mile chunks, she visited every one of the 21 Missions, meeting other hikers, sharing meals with new friends and wrote up the experiences each night. The pictures and her journal entries became her book: On a Mission, an 800 mile walk to discover California's El Camino Real .

a sampler of Acquiesce Winery's award winning white wines
Thomas Wilmer

Sue Tipton tipped the scales in the world of white wines. Tipton did not start her wine making journey until she was 50 years old. Ten years later, she’s an industry star in the world of white wines—that’s all she produces, and her focus might partially explain why her Viognier was awarded “Best in the State of California” at the 2016 California State Fair.

Wheeler Field damage December 7th 1941
Desoto Brown Collection

Life in America and most poignantly in the Hawaiian Islands was jarringly transformed in one day, the day of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declaration of war by President Roosevelt. Marshall Law was declared and remained in effect throughout the war. Come along and join Bishop Museum Historian Desoto Brown as he recalls his 30 years of research about life on the island of Oahu during WWII.

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.

Macchia Wines tasting room in Lodi, California
Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Lodi winemaker Tim Holdener, owner of Macchai Wines . Tim exemplifies the true hands-on grape producer and winemaker. Tim joined a handful of other Lodi producers who started Lodi Native —the group made a commitment to process their wine using ancient, truly hands-off approach which starts with using only native yeast, and letting the wine basically make itself.

Dramatic San Francisco vistas from 46th floor Cityscape Bar & Lounge
Thomas Wilmer

Cityscape Bar & lounge is perched on the top of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square --46 th floors high in the sky. Cityscape is enveloped with a 360-degree panorama of the City and far beyond, with soaring 14 foot-tall glass window-walls—It’s the next best thing to floating in a balloon high above the City-by-the-Bay. We’ll stop in for a visit with Cityscape Bar & Lounge General Manager Lenny Gumm, and Gerald Miller General Manager at Urban Tavern gastro pub. You are invited to...

Heather Pyle-Lucas and David Lucas at their Lodi Lucas Winery
Thomas Wilmer

When David and his wife, Heather Pyle-Lucas started their commercial Lucas Winery 38 years ago Lodi’s Zins were known as high-alcohol rocket-fuel concoctions. That’s all history today and David and Heather were pioneers in the evolution of Lodi , California wines by crafting extraordinarily well-balanced and complex estate-grown Zinfandel and locally sourced Chardonnay. Come along and join the conversation as Heather and David share their incredible journey as Lodi growers and producers.

Saint Mark Choir performs at Wildwood Park in Little Rock, Arkansas
Thomas Wilmer

Saint Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock , Arkansas raised the roof when their gospel choir recently performed at Little Rock's Wildwood Park . Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit with Darius Nelson, Pastor of Music and Arts, followed by 20 minutes of some powerfully awesome gospel singing. Saint Mark's choir has performed at the White House as well as around Arkansas. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom...

Michael David Winery owner Michael Phillips
Thomas Wilmer

The wine label, Seven Deadly Zins, produced by Michael David Winery was instrumental in putting Lodi , California on the map as a world-class producer of fine wines. Join Mike Phillips and daughter Melissa at their Lodi winery for a fascinating conversation with Tom Wilmer that proves that a catchy label is just as important as the wine inside the bottle. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer via: iTunes...

Robert Luke
Thomas Wilmer

Robert Luke, assigned prisoner number 1118AZ , arrived at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary on April 14th 1954 and was paroled on April 29th 1959. It was the smell of fresh mown grass wafting across the island from somewhere in San Francisco that spurred him to go the straight and narrow path.

Julie Woods Moncrief at Fort Smith, Arkansas
Thomas Wilmer

Fort Smith , Arkansas , the state’s second largest city, started as a military outpost on the western frontier back in 1817. Join National Park Ranger Cody Faber at Fort Smith National Historic Site and Julie Woods Moncrief at the historic Clayton House .

Roy & Kristie Rosset, owners and innkeepers Lookout Point Lakeside Inn Hot Springs, Arkansas
Thomas Wilmer

Situated bluff top, the Lookout Point Lakeside Inn is worth the stay just for the pleasure of strolling the sprawling lush garden grounds overlooking Lake Hamilton. But the rooms and the gourmet meals would be tempting enough without the vistas or gardens. Come along and join innkeeper, Kristie Rosset, who came to the hospitality industry from her previous life as a Methodist minister in Dallas.

Thomas Wilmer

An innovator in the passenger vessel industry, Terry MacRae , is the Chairman and CEO of Hornblower Cruises and Events. In addition to crafting the only fleet of hybrid vessels in North America, MacRae has built an empire of more than 70 yachts in the last 35 years.

NPS PIO Alexandra Picavet
Thomas Wilmer

Even though Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary has been closed since 1963, the myth, legend, and lore of the infamous Rock that housed prisoners such as Al “Scarface” Capone, the “Birdman of Alcatraz”, and “Machine Gun” Kelly has grown exponentially over the past half century.

Former Alcatraz Guard George DeVincenzi
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.

Alcatraz Clergy
Thomas Wilmer

Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary opened in 1934 and when it closed its cell doors for the last time in 1963 more than fifteen hundred prisoners had served time on the Rock.

NPS Superintendent, Chris Lehnertz
Thomas Wilmer

There are 29 National Recreation Areas across America. One of the most distinctive is the Golden Gate National Recreation Area that includes 80,000 acres of ecologically and historically significant destinations around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Wayne Craig, President and CEO Lodi Memorial Hospital and Board Member of Visit Lodi CVB
Thomas Wilmer

Lodi is America’s largest grape growing region, along with approximately 91 family owned boutique wineries. The town of 60,000 residents offers a small town feel. Join Craig for a local’s insight about Lodi attractions, including upscale dining.

 Hot Springs National Park Brewster Rose Schweikhart
Thomas Wilmer

Rose Schweikhart turned a personal passion for beer in to a driving and thriving brewery and culinary business. It’s the Superior Bathhouse Brewery in the heart of downtown Hot Springs National Park , Arkansas. Rose’s enterprise is the only brewery situated within a National Park, and it is the only brewery in the world utilizing thermal spring water.

Lodi, California Mayor Mark Chandler
Thomas Wilmer

Lodi , California’s Mayor Mark Chandler talks about Lodi’s 150-year history as a premier grape growing region. Chandler shares insights on “Lodi Rules” pioneering sustainable grape growing practices that became a national model, his roots at Cal Poly , water conservation and re-use, and moderating development.

Talkin' Birds radio show host Ray Brown at Grand Canyon
Talkin' Birds radio show

Ray Brown host of “Talkin’ Birds” is a frequent contributor to NPR’s Weekend Edition is the creator of Talkin’ Birds radio show, heard on sixteen stations in New England, New York, Maryland, and internationally via iTunes and talkinbirds.com. Brown is also a regular bird-topics contributor to National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Saturday . Join Correspondent Tom Wilmer in Michigan for a chat with Ray Brown.

Thai woman
David Noyes

David Noyes has been traveling the world for decades, recording photographic images of remote places and exotic people, from Tibet to Kenya. Correspondent Tom Wilmer visited with David at Chengdu, China Airport.

Historic Haas-Lilienthal Victorian circa-1887
Franklin-Habs 1960 book on Haas-Lilienthal home

San Francisco Heritage was founded in 1971 with a mandate to save a dozen Victorian homes slated for demolition. Today the non-profit is San Francisco’s leading advocacy and educational organization dedicated to architectural and cultural preservation. Correspondent, Tom Wilmer visits with Mike Buhler, Executive Director of SF Heritage as he shares the ongoing restoration of the Haas-Lilienthal House built in 1886--San Francisco’s premier Victorian Landmark. You are invited to subscribe to...

Pete Murdaca in the kitchen at Pietro's in Lodi, California
Pietro's Trattoria

Pietro’s has been a favorite with Lodi, California locals since the Italian eatery opened 31 years ago. Family owned by Jim and Annette Murdaca, I stopped in for a visit with their son, Chef Pete who spent a year and a half learning the craft as an stagiaire (intern) in Calabria and Parma Southern Italy.

Westin San Francisco Airport indoor pool
Westin San Francisco Airport

A visit with Simone Harms, General Manager of the Westin San Francisco Airport and sister property, the Aloft hotel. It's a popular business meeting and holiday party destination.

preparing to fire cannon at Fort Michilimackinac
Thomas Wilmer


Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Michigan ’s Upper Peninsula. Come along and join Dominic Miller on the shores of the Straits of Mackinac at the historic 18 th Century colonial Michilimackinac fort and fur trading village . More than 16 structures have been painstakingly recreated utilizing years of archeological excavations and in situ research (ongoing since 1959).

George Cecchetti and Karen Chandler at the Lodi, California farm
Thomas Wilmer

Partners Karen Chandler and George Cecchetti had a grove of 100 olive trees on their farm. One day Karen decided on a whim to propose to George that they should go in to the olive oil business. Join Karen Chandler as she shares their journey of producing award-winning first-press, extra virgin olive oil on their Lodi, California family farm. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer via: iTunes NPR.ORG Podcast...

Adventure Hornblower at San Diego
Thomas Wilmer

Terry MacRae started his professional life journey at Cal Poly State University . MacRae eventually grew a two-man Berkeley yacht operation to eventually become one of America’ s foremost operators of cruise vessels that today comprises of a fleet of more than 70 Hornblower Cruise vessels.

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