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) 
The lakefront dock at The Edegwater Hotel in Madison where boaters tie up for free
Thomas Wilmer

It’s no accident that The Edgewater is Madison, Wisconsin's only Four Diamond hotel. Come along and discover why The Edgewater is a bellwether and trendsetter for America’s hospitality industry. 

FranK Lloyd Wright designed Monona Terrace in downtown Madison, Wisconsin
Thomas Wilmer

Tom Wilmer and his associate, Annita Thomas from Atlanta Georgia visit with Diane Morganthaler, Executive Vice President of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau. Diane shares a litany of cool things to do and see for the entire family. 

Wisconsin Brewing

Brothers Mark and Carl Nolan, and Brewmaster Kirby Nelson started Wisconsin Brewing in 2013—and they never looked back. Join the conversation with Carl Nolan and Kirby Nelson and discover how their brew differs from the craft beer craze. They also talk about the industry-wide momentum across the country to modernize the industry through start-up/business friendly legislation proposals.

Wisconsin brewing is located less than 20 minutes from Madison, Wisconsin.

Iconic Ragged Point sign has pointed the way for decades
Thomas Wilmer

A massive landslide this past spring sealed off Highway 1 nine miles north of the San Luis Obispo/Monterey County line. Fortunately the dramatic realm of Big Sur Country south of the slide is still open and accessible. Tom Wilmer visits with Rory Cosma at the family-owned Ragged Point Inn and Resort, located 24-miles north of Cambria. 

Trump & Obama figurines in shop window
Thomas Wilmer

Over the course of the past few months I’ve covered the breadth of Tennessee on assignments for my digital media podcast show. When time allowed, at the conclusion of an interview, when the subject had made mention of Trump, I’d ask if they might share their feelings about why they support Trump.

amazing museum on a side street in downtown Gatlingburg, Tennessee--the Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum
Salt & Pepper Museum Gatlinburg, Tennessee

America’s only Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee is the culmination of a lifelong passion of owner and curator Andrea Ludden. Join Andrea’s son, Alex for a tour of the amazing little museum and its collection of more than 20,000 salt & pepper shakers, including 15,000 pepper mills that are visual metaphors for cultural trends in America’s past and around the world.

The Village Shops at Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Thomas Wilmer

Dan Booth is Chairman of the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau and owner of the Hayloft at The Village Shops. Booth share's a local’s eye-view of life in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and how the mountain town missed out on the Great Depression. 

Fanny Flagg with host, Tom Wilmer
Hartzler Communications

Ms. Fanny Flagg, born in Birmingham, Alabama, started writing and producing TV specials at age 19 and before long became co-host of the morning show on WBRC TV Birmingham. 

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

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Faith Morris, Chief Marketing and External Affairs Officer at the National Civil Rights Museum in MemphisTennessee.

U.S. Army Air Forces Crash Boats trained in Morro Bay but there's much to be learned about their mission here.
Library of Congress

Joe Dunlap, a class of 1966 graduate of Morro Bay High School, and a U.S. Navy veteran, has been a student of WWII history for more than forty years. His areas of specialization include the Richmond California shipyards, and the U.S. Navy and Army base at Morro Bay, California where troops trained for South Pacific Landings.

The Morro Bay Detachment, Training command Amphibian Forces Pacific Fleet Landing Craft School drilled as many as 16,000 troops daily. Come along and join Joe Dunlap on the Morro Bay waterfront as he shares informative insights about Morro Bay’s vital role in WWII.

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Denise the owner of Virg's Landing sport fishing company based in Morro Bay.
Jennifer Little

Virg’s Landing has been an iconic ingredient in the Morro Bay sport fishing experience since 1954. Come along and join Denise, the owner of Virg’s for the inside scoop on day-trip fishing expeditions out of Morro Bay, California.

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.

 

  A summer of ‘69 road trip through Southern Appalachia struck a cord with musician David Holt and determined his future as a passionate advocate for traditional American folk music and the rural story telling tradition. Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer for a conversation with David Holt along with some of his music, and a sampler of his craft as a storyteller. 

S.C. Johnson & Son Research tower built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1951
Thomas Wilmer

   Racine Wisconsin has been home to many iconic American manufacturers since the Civil War. Case New Holland based in Racine since the 1840s. Malted milk was birthed here in 1887. The garbage disposal was born here in 1927. It’s the home of Oster, Hamilton-Beach, Massey Ferguson, and the legendary InSinkErator. Racine based S.C. Johnson formed in Racine in 1886, produce Raid, Glade, Johnson Wax, and Windex and a litany of cleaning products. Join Chris Paulson, Racine Heritage Museum’s Executive Director as he shares Racine’s incredible history. 

Sandi Twist talks SUP with correspondent Tom Wilmer on the docks in Morro Bay, California
Jennifer Little

A visit with Sandi Twist, owner of The Paddleboard Company, fittingly located on the waterfront in Morro Bay. Twist walks about the explosive popularity of stand-up paddling (SUP) for both the curious and serious.

“Gio” Giovanni DeGarimore has been involved in the Morro Bay fresh fish industry since he was a kid. Join Gio talks about Morro Bay’s sustainable, vibrant commercial fishing industry. Gio’s Galley restaurant serves fresh al fresco fresh caught seafood. He also operates the gas dock, and Stax Wine Bar. He’s finalizing plans for a live music concert series on the waterfront this fall.  

John McCutcheon performing at Garth Newel Music Center
Thomas Wilmer

Five-time Grammy Nominee John McCutcheon has produced 34 albums and plays guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, fiddle and more in addition to writing music and conducting workshops around the country.

William "Red" Lewis at his Auto Gallery in Green Bay, Wisonsin
Thomas Wilmer

Green Bay dreamer William “Red” Lewis created a unique non-profit event center housed in his Automobile Gallery. The repurposed Denil Cadillac Dealership, features more than 50 classics, including a dragster, big-fin 1950’s “land-yachts” and head-turners from each decade of the past 100 years. Join visionary car-guy “Red” Lewis for the inside story about the “Top-10” tourist destination in Green Bay Wisconsin.

Laurie McCandish King talks with correspondent Tom Wilmer about her new book, Your Crocodile Has Arrived.
Jim Shubin

 Laurie Mcandish King's brilliance as an author was succinctly summed up by noted travel journalist, Jeff Greenwald: "King's curiosity is contagious—whether she's visiting a shrine to Buddha's tooth, undergoing shamanic surgery, or crashing a convention of flying saucer sighters. Her tales glow with wit, warmth and a sense of wonder." Come along a join the conversation on the docks in Morro Bay, California with host, Tom Wilmer and Ms. King.

Tim McCormick Project Manager (left), Jim Fricke Curatorial Director (right), Tom Wilmer (center) at Harley-Davidson Museum
Harely-Davidson Museum

Join Jim Fricke, Curatorial Director at the 130,000 square-foot Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as he shares highlights of the legendary motorcycle’s 117-year history.

The first Harley was introduced in 1903. By 1920 Harley-Davidson was the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer with dealers in 67 countries. Discover how the motorcycle’s role in WWI and WWII propelled the legend of the Harley. 

On February 19th 1942 FDR signed Executive order 9066 requiring the relocation and internment of all California coastal residents of Japanese descent. Historian Jim Gregory, author of WWII Arroyo Grande shares the sorrows and triumphs of the dramatic period in Arroyo Grande history—a time when more than forty percent of the high school student body was of Japanese ancestry.

Taliesin--Frank Lloyd Wrights home in Wisconsin
Thomas Wilmer

Join Erik Flesch at Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s ancestral home in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Flesch is a longtime expert on Frank Lloyd Wright and his architecture and he's Taliesin Preservation’s Director of Development.

SRAM Design Engineer Will king shows off a Buffalo Bicycle
Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Will King, Design Engineer at SRAM’s San Luis Obispo R&D high-tech bicycle component facility. King talks with Tom about SRAM’s involvement with World Bicycle Relief a nonprofit organization mobilizing people through The Power of Bicycles. 

Blacksmith, Ralph Oalmann teaches history through his craft and presentations at Fort Gaines
Thomas Wilmer

Fort Gaines Historic Site on Daughin Island, Alabama was etched in to the annals of Civil War history as the site of the Battle of Mobile Bay where Union Naval Admiral Farragot shouted the legendary order, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead.”

Shades of the Guggenheim in NYC at Monona Terrace
Thomas Wilmer

Madison, Wisconsin’s Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center was first proposed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1938. But it was 21 years before the project was completed, sadly just weeks after Wright’s death. 

Racine Museum of Art night scene
Racine Museum of Art

 Bruce Pepich, Executive Director and Curator of Collections at the Racine Museum of Art talks about making art relevant to the non-artist. Outreach programs where the art comes to the schools, and alluring programs where the people come to the art in Racine, Wisconsin.

Hull's Drive-in Theatre Logo
Hull's Drive In

Come along and join Jeremy Reter as he talks about how the Lexington, Virginia townspeople saved their drive-in theater. Reter also talks about the resurgence of Drive in Theaters in Virginia and around the country. Hull’s Drive-In Theatre has been a part of the Rockbridge area community for more than 50 years.

Jo Licata, Community Outreach Coordinator Hilton San Francisco Union Square
Thomas Wilmer

Jo Licata, Community Outreach Coordinator at the Hilton San Francisco Union square talks about the hotel's second use and higher purpose program that recycles soaps, shampoos, toilet paper, leftover items from conferences, hotel furnishings, and much more. One of Hilton’s many non-profit partnerships is Clean the World Foundation that distributes hygiene supplies worldwide.

National Park Ranger Jennifer Hale on the trail near Sugarlands Visitors Center
Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the Sugarlands Visitors Center, just 11 miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Ranger, Jennifer Hale talks about the park’s astounding biodiversity, activities and history.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art metaphorical architecture
Tom Wilmer

Celebrating 116 years, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is the longest serving cultural organization in the city. Join Erika Monroe-Kane Director of Communications for an insider’s look at the ways the free-access museum brings art to the people and people to the art in Madison, Wisconsin

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