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 2017, 2016, 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) 
Dr. Charles Price (right), President of the Harrison Museum of African American Culture in Roanoke, VA visits with  correspondent Tom Wilmer
Harrison Museum

Situated in the Center in the Square in the heart of downtown Roanoke, Virginia, The Harrison Museum of African American Culture deftly showcases the African American experience with a focus on Western Virginia and the Blue Ridge Roanoke region

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. 

Stax Museum in Memphis, Tennessee
Thomas Wilmer

Tim Sampson Communications Director for the Soulsville Foundation talks about the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the genesis of “Soulsville”, the astounding Stax Music Academy, and Soulsville Charter School. Tiffany Harmon shares the story of Rock & Roll birthplace at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. A visit with Boo Mitchell at legendary Royal Studios, followed by a visit at Memphis Music Hall of Fame.

Festival time in downtown Independence, Missouri
Thomas Wilmer

The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library honors one of the town's most legendary citizens. We'll also stop in for visits at lesser known but fascinating places such as the Puppetry Arts Institute-with one of the world's largest collections of Pinocchio ephemera, and the one of a kind Leila's Hair Museum.

Grownups love the trout farm experience as much as the kids at English Mountain Trout Farm near Sevierville, Tennessee in the Great Smokey Mountains
Tom Wilmer

For more than a century family vacations in the mountains of America often included a trip to a trout farm. Join Charlie Ford at English Mountain Trout Farm just down the road a spell from Forbidden Caverns on the outskirts of Sevierville, Tennessee in the heart of the Great Smokey Mountains for the rest of the story.

Tom Wilmer (left) with Mo Mao at symposium in Chengdu, China
David Laing

Correspondent Tom Wilmer met Mo Mao at a symposium in Chengdu, China a year ago. After returning home Mo and Tom kept up their friendship via Instagram—and that’s how Mo came to America to visit with Wilmer in Morro Bay. Mo serves as the Municipal Foreign Exchange Project Manager for the city of Chengdu (population 16M) in the Southwestern province of Sichuan adjacent to Tibet.

M.V. Zumbrota companionway
Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit with Captain Chuck Myers aboard the historic M.V. Zumbrota, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2018 and home ported today in Marina del Rey Harbor.

Snowmobile racing on Lake Michigan is popular winter pastime in St. Ignace, Michigan
upsnowmobiling.com

Discover why the midst of winter is an amazingly popular time to visit the Uppper Peninsula town of St. Ignas, Michigan. Tubing, sledding, skating, ice hockey, and snowmobiling are passionate pastimes with the locals and visitors alike. 

Kika de la Garza serving on Ag Committee in Congress
Jose R. Lopez New York Times

  

Watching congressmen and senators stubbornly refuse to engage in cross-aisle politics reminded me of conversations with retired Republican Senator Ben Knighthorse Campbell, and retired Democratic Congressman Kika de la Garza back in 2013.

Both touted their numerous friendships and partnerships with representatives from the opposite side of the isle.   

  

The Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee--frozen in time
Thomas Wilmer

The Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 serves today as the powerful anchor of the National Civil Rights Museum in MemphisTennessee.

Faith Morris, External Affairs Officer visits with correspondent Tom Wilmer.

Barbara Barrielle (left) with her daughter (and actress in Break Night) Charlotte Barielle on the film location set
Courtesy Barbara Barrielle

BREAK NIGHT is a police thriller movie made for less than $50,000 in eight days (with on-location filming in Oakland, California). A conversation with Producer, Barbara Barrielle.

Fredericksburg Brewing Company in Downtown Fredericksburg, Texas
Fredericksburg Tourism

A visit with the brewmaster and assistant brewmaster at Fredericksburg Brewing Company in downtown Fredericksburg, Texas. Brewmaster Rick Green specializes in old-world German style beers, in celebration of Fredericksburg’s German heritage.

William Scripps Jr., pulls a fresh draft of his Altstadt Beer at his Fredericksburg, Texas brewery
Tom Wilmer

What happens when you have ample funding to realize your dreams, combined with a tenacious quest to recreate classic German-style beer in the heart of Texas?

In the case of William Scripps, Jr., it was the creation of Altstadt Brewery in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Quintessential Chocolates logo banner
Tom Wilmer

Lecia Duke traded a career as an architect to become a Swiss Master Chocolatier based in Fredericksburg, Texas at Quintessential Chocolates.

Along the way Duke became America’s sole producer of a centuries old European confectionary process known as Liquid Pralina (liquid center) chocolates. 

Fischer & Wieser Culinary Adventure dinner Fredericksburg, Texas
Thomas Wilmer

It all started with a peach orchard planted in 1928 and a roadside fruit stand in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Today, in addition to fresh peaches, Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods cooking sauces are sold nationwide. 

Kodak Corporation

  Host of the NPR Podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer met up with Georgia Durante, at of all places, a summer camp for kids run by St. Vincent de Paul in the hills above Santa Barbara, California where she talks about her best selling book, The Company She Keeps chronicling her amazing life journey. 

Georgia Durante grew up in Rochester, New York, and her modeling career commenced when she was just 13 years old.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson's home in the Texas Hill Country that also served as the Texas White House
Thomas Wilmer

Join Mike Ryan, National Park Ranger at LBJ’s Texas White House, located 14 miles west of Johnson City in the fabled Texas Hill Country.

Ryan shares insights about President Lyndon Baines Johnson's accomplishments, and life on his ranch. 

John Sepulvado KQED California Report Host
KQED

KQED's California Report host John Sepulvado shares his passion for building relationships with NPR affiliate stations across the state. 

Luckenbach, Texas General Store and Saloon
Tom Wilmer

A mid winter night’s visit at Luckenbach, Texas—where we chat with Dan who tends the store and saloon, and Bo Porter who’s spent more than 40 years as a traveling troubadour. 

Olan Tisdale, owner of Fredericksburg Pecan Company shares his passion for the Texas pecan
Thomas Wilmer

Olan Tisdale’s passion for producing pecans dates from his childhood on Barnett Ranch near San Saba, Texas. Today in addition to growing pecans he and his wife Nanette operate the Fredericksburg Pecan Company retail store with online sales as well. 

Doug Lewis of Lewis Wines pours his vino at Fischer & Wieser Culinary Adventure in Fredericksburg, Texas
Thomas Wilmer

Thirty year-old Doug Lewis owner of Lewis Wines along with his partner Duncan McNabb, operate their winery in the heart of the Texas Hill Country near Johnson City. 

The historic adobe at Talley Vineyards in Arroyo Grande Valley
Tom Wilmer

Brian Talley’s grandfather started farming in the Arroyo Grande Valley back in 1948. It was Brian’s dad who planted grapes in the early 1980s and eventually started producing wine as well, and as they say, the rest is history. 

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.

Judi Boulter visits with correspondent Tom Wilmer at Trellis Coffee Company on the Big Island of Hawaii
Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer

The Trellis Coffee Company, producers of the Kona Joe Coffee brand on the Big Island of Hawaii, is one of hundreds of coffee producers in the Kona District. Kona Joe was the first island coffee grower to utilize a trellising system. 

Lim Family Luau at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel pays homage to old Hawaii
Thomas Wilmer

The Lim family Luau has been performing at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel since Laurance Rockefeller opened the resort back in the mid-1960s. Today the luau is the oldest, continuously operating show on the Big Island of Hawaii. Lorna Lim talks story about her family’s passion for performing authentic song, hula dance, and tales of old Hawaii. 

Manta Restaurant Executive Sous Chef Rio Miceli (Left) and Wendle Lesher (Center) Director of Food and Beverage at Mauna Kea Resort talk with correspondent Tom Wilmer
Mauna Kea Resort

Executive Sous Chef Rio Miceli and Wendle Lesher Director of Food & Beverage at the Mauna Kea Resort’s Manta Restaurant talk story about honoring and showcasing Hawaii’s multi-ethnic cuisine. 

Rolinda Bean teacher of Hawaiian history and culture
Thomas Wilmer

Hawaiian culture and history teacher Rolinda Bean talks story about her personal journey of teaching Hawaiian history and cultural mores that have been passed along generation after generation through genetic imprinting and story. Ms. Bean teaches Hawaiian culture and history on the Big Island of Hawaii and works at the Sheraton Kona Resort.

Travel correspondent Tom Wilmer visits Healdsburg California and talks with local business owners about the economic recovery of their community following the devastating fires earlier this year.

Executive Chef George Gomes at the Sheraton Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii
Sheraton Kona

George Gomes, the Executive Chef at the  Sheraton Kona Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii has been a passionate chef since he was a teenager. His first big break was a stint as a chef at the legendary Mauna Kea Resort on the Kona Coast. Gomes shares his culinary passions and lessons learned from stints around the world and close to home.

Jarrett Daniel Frith tends his oyster boat, Fort Morgan, Alabama
Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer at Shellbank Selects Oyster Farm on the waterfront in Fort Morgan, Alabama for a chat with partners, Jarrett Daniel Frith and Lew Childre as they share their story and passion for raising delectable Gulf Coast Oysters.

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