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) 
Diego Rivera's frescos are not to be missed highlight at the Detroit Institute of Art
Thomas Wilmer

The Detroit Institute of Art has been an integral part of Motor City’s fabric since 1885. Today the world-class museum has turned itself inside out by bringing art to the neighborhoods. DIA also provides free school busses for classroom museum visits. The 658,000 square-foot DIA and its 100 galleries is regarded as one of America’s six premier art museums. A visit with the Institute Director, Salvador Salort Pons and Pam Marcel, Public Relations Director.

Ice shanties at Wendt's on Lake Winnebago
Julie Henning

Join correspondent Julie Henning in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin for the opening weekend of the 2014 sturgeon-spearing season. Replacing buffalo hides with propane-heated ice shanties and modern conveniences, the thrill of the hunt is the same. 

Du Fu's restored 8th century cottage
Thomas Wilmer

In the heart of the Chengdu metropolis of 14 million souls--one step through an archway just off a main arterial and the urban cacophony is silenced inside the tranquil Du Fu Cao Tang 24-acre park. Lush bamboo forests, towering trees and ponds serve as soothing backdrops for the numerous shrines honoring Chinese kings, princesses, ministers, generals, and poets from the past 1,800 years. 

Winemaker and grape grower Vic Roberts at his Templeton Gap Victor Hugo Winery
Thomas Wilmer

  

Vic Roberts has been producing wine since shortly after graduating from U.C. Davis in 1979. He started his winemaking career on the Central Coast at Creston Cellars in 1982. While still working for Creston Cellars, Roberts started growing grapes on his own land in the heart of the legendary Paso Robles AVA in 1985--and the Victor Hugo Winery brand was born. The lexicon of Victor Hugo varietals include Chardonnay, Viogner, Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and the five Bordeaux Classic reds—Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Come along and join the conversation with Vic Roberts as he shares his passion for crafting award-winning wines.

Back in the latter 18th century, black players often played on baseball teams alongside whites. But segregation took an ugly turn in the dawning days of the 20th century and blacks were barred through Jim Crow laws. 

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.      

Al Johnson's Swedish Restuarant waitresses (1974)
Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant

Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant has been a family affair for more than 65 years. Scandinavian faire, from Swedish pancakes, to limpa bread, lingnonberries, and meatballs are house specialties. The structure is classic Old-World Norwegian design. Pre-built in Norway, the timbers were numbered, dismantled and shipped to Sister Bay on the Door Peninsula back in 1973. 

Vicki Wilson teaches Coffee 1-A in her Coffee College at Door County Coffee and Tea Company
Thomas Wilmer

A visit with Vicki Wilson, founder of Wisconsin’s Door County Coffee and Tea Company. Ms. Wilson’s business, in addition to serving more than 100 distinctive freshly roasted coffees in her café, also does a thriving internet business across America, along with private label distribution to businesses such as Bed, Bath & Beyond.

preparing to head out ice fishing on Sturgeon Bay
Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit with JJ Malvitz, the owner of JJ’s Guide Service for an exploration of the culture of Sturgeon Bay ice fishing on Sturgeon Bay in Door County, Wisconsin.  

Mention the name Nashville, Tennessee, and the first things that comes to mind are invariable music, musicians, and songwriters.   Nashville is known far and wide as Music City, but it’s also the home to a full-size exact replica of the Parthenon in Athen
Nashville Parks & Recreation

Nashville is known far and wide as Music City, but it’s also the home to a full-size exact replica of the Parthenon in Athens. How this incredible architectural gem came to be dates back to the pioneer days when Nashville was dubbed the Athens of the South due to its passion for education and the arts.

Pebble Beach green #1
Pebble Beach Company

The name Pebble Beach conjures rolling greens, Cypress trees leaning towards a teal surf and a bucket list golf course. The legendary resort's water, energy, and materials programs have just received the 2017 International Association of Golf Tour Operators Sustainability Award for their green initiatives. Executive Vice President and Chief Administrations Officer, David L. Stivers talks with Elaine Masters about the award and the long-term sustainability efforts at the Pebble Beach Resort. 

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 1800s to present, is showcased and revered in the 360,000 square-foot multi-story facility.

Come along and discover the magic of this massive facility with guide and music aficionado George Daeger who knows his stuff as he plays in John Carter Cash’s band as well as his own with his brother, The Early Evening.      

Johnny Cash Museum

The Johnny Cash Museum is situated in the heart of downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Join Angela Dodson, Director of Marketing for an insider’s look at the Johnny Cash Museum and its premier collection of memorabilia. Dodson also shares insights about the soon to open (spring 2017) adjunct 4,000 square-foot venue dedicated to Patsy Cline.

Apple Fire--two Belgian waffles topped with tenders and apples
Pepperfire East Nashville

When Isaac Beard opened his Pepperfire Hot Chicken diner in East Nashville, Tennessee, there were only three or four other hot chicken diners in town. And the hot chicken craze was a strictly Nashville thing. Today, partly thanks to national TV cooking shows, the spicy-hot chicken craze has spread across the country. Join Beard as he talks about the history of Nashville’s XX Hot chicken craze.

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.

Chaco Canyon's four-story tall Pueblo Bonito
Thomas Wilmer

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is located in Northern New Mexico near Farmington. Archeologist Larry Baker, Executive Director at nearby Salmon Ruins Archeological Research Center and Library talks about the once thriving community of as many as 20,000 residents.

Best Western El Rancho Inn, Millbrae, California
El Rancho Inn

A conversation with Art Schwass, General Manager at the Best Western Plus El Rancho in Millbrae, California. Schwass talks about the rapidly transforming hotel industry, competition from Air B&B, the growth of international independent travelers, and the explosive growth of online bookings. Schwass also talks about hotel’s Park & fly Program where guests receive up to 14 days free parking.

Clifford Nae’ole (L) with correspondent Tom Wilmer
jean Dickinson

Clifford Nae’ole works at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui as the Cultural Advisor.

Sacred Temple Complex at Mount Emei
Thomas Wilmer

A two-hour drive from the buzzing metropolis of Chengdu in Southeastern China is Mount Emei, one of four Sacred Buddhist Mountains. The mammoth mountain is home to 11 Taoist Temple complexes dating back more than 1,600 years, with a total of more than 30 Buddhist Temple complexes. China’s first Buddhist Temple was built atop Mount Emei in the 1st Century C.E. Come along and join my friend Miu Mei as we explore Mount Emei.

 

Tall Ship Lady Washington enters Morro Bay Harbor
Thomas Wilmer

Join the conversation dockside at Morro Bay Harbor with Jennifer Little of Discover Morro Bay Tourism Bureau, Mark Elterman with California Highway 1 Coast Discovery Route, and Morro Bay hotelier Joan Solu.

January and February are dubbed the “Secret Season” by local tourism industry folks.

The "new" Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco (circa-1910)
Palace Hotel

  

When the Palace Hotel first opened its doors in 1875 it was proclaimed the largest hotel in the world and San Francisco’s first luxury hotel. Destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, the hotel was rebuilt in 1909 and the grand dame of San Francisco lives on as the city’s most historic hotel and the place to see and be seen. Join Renee Roberts as she shares the hotel’s century long history that includes hosting luminaries from kings and queens, to Nikita Khruschev and the incubation of the United Nations.

D.C. Cabs
Wall Street Journal

Alexander Berko picked me up in front of NPR headquarters for a cab ride out to National Airport. Berko talks story about the dark days in the 1980's when Washington D.C. was known as the Murder Capital; former Mayor Marion Barry, and the struggles traditional cabbies face by brutal competition from Uber and Lyft, and most importantly his passionate pride for D.C., since emigrating from Ghana 39 years ago.

Science on the Streets of Pensacola Florida
Julie Henning

Join correspondent Julie Henning in Pensacola, Florida during the last weekend of the 2016 Foo Foo Festival. An anchor event each fall in Pensacola, Florida, the Blue Angel’s Homecoming Show signals the end of the tourism season and a time of milder temperatures and fewer crowds across the entire panhandle. 

Typical streetscape in Pingle Ancient Town China
Thomas Wilmer

Less than two hours from Chengdu in Southwestern China is the 2,000 year-old riverfront village of Pingle. Long ago it was a first stop on the fabled Southern Silk Road that stretched for five thousand miles from Chengdu to the Mediterranean. Come along and join my Chengdu based friend Mavis Liu Mei and Tiffiny Shi Shi as we explore Pingle Ancient Town.

Jill Rohrbach
Thomas Wilmer

Jill Rohrbach, a Travel Writer with Arkansas State Parks & Tourism, shares her insights and recommendations for experiencing Northwest Arkansas.

Jill talks about the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View and other cool destinations throughout the region. We’ll also tour through the majestic caves at Blanchard Springs Caverns, a short drive from Mountain View.

Hawaiian Ho’okipa Ambassador of Culture and Activities, Nani Kupihe
Thomas Wilmer

A visit with Sheraton Kona’s Hawaiian Ho’okipa Ambassador of Culture and Activities, Nani Kupihe on the Big Island of Hawaii. I will forever remember Nani and her sweet lyrical-way of teaching Hawaiian culture, and her most touchingly infectious Aloha Spirit. 

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White Sands National Monument Visitor Center
Thomas Wilmer

Just 50 miles from Las Cruces, New Mexico is the ethereal realm of the gypsum sand dunes that have engulfed more than 250 miles of the desert. White Sands National Monument preserves and showcases this dramatic natural earthscape. 

The legendary Our Dog Blue Chateau Morrisette wine
Thomas Wilmer

Chateau Morrisette is Virginia’s oldest winery. It's located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, 3,500 feet above sea level, an hour from Roanoke and two hours from Greensboro, North Carolina. When the Morrisette family opened their Floyd, Virginia winery in 1978, it was the only one in the state.

one of the fruit and flower shops on the north end of Bloor West village
Marshall Oxtoby

Rebekah Nolan reports from Bloor West Village, a small community of shops on the west end of Toronto. Initially home to the heart of the city’s Ukrainian community, Bloor West Village is now a multicultural hub. This enclave of mom and pop shops has existed since the 1920s and has a definite small town feel to it. 

Ryan Nakata drying Kona coffee beans at the Kona Historical Society's Uchida Coffee Farm
Thomas Wilmer

Just a short hop down the road from the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa is Kona Historical Society’s, Kona Coffee Living History farm, the onetime home of the Uchida Coffee farm founded in 1913.While staying at the Sheraton Kona, one of the most memorable nearby explorations was discovering how Kona coffee was grown and harvested by the pioneering Japanese farmers on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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