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) 
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.

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.

Sprint Center KC MO
Thomas Wilmer

  Celeste Lupercio, Director of Sales, Marketing and Events takes us on a fascinating journey of discovery at the interactive, very much hands-on College Basketball Experience at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Experience are located inside the Sprint Center.

Tom Bradshaw, Lexington, Virginia
Thomas Wilmer

Tom Bradshaw was so fascinated with the old railway Caboose that he bought his own circa-1926 C&O “woody” and had it set on his property near Lexington, Virginia. Fully restored, Tom’s caboose serves as a memorable place to spend the night. Join Tom as he shares the tale of finding and restoring his iconic red caboose.

Underbed music: theme song David Holt’s PBS TV series Great American Railway Journeys from the album David Holt & Friends 

San Luis Obispo County outlaw from the 1800's Pio Linares
The History Center of San Luis Obispo County

Historian Jim Gregory says, “California was a wild and lawless place in the 1850s, and San Luis Obispo County was no exception with the highest murder rate in America.” Outlaws and bandits passed along El Camino Real leaving a trail of victims. The James brothers, the Daltons and even Al Capone made their mark here. 

Rock Harbor Marketing

Rock Harbor Marketing owner and social media marketer, Travis Ford, based in Morro Bay, California talks about the current social media landscape and how to manage the multiplicity of business options--from the best social business platform to scheduling posts. 

Jessica Potts, Executive Director of the Agricultural & Rural Life Museum at San Lorenzo County Park in King City, California in front of the old (circa-1903) King City train station--that was relocated to the park
Thomas Wilmer

The San Lorenzo County Park in King City, California showcases the agrarian roots of Monterey County’s Salinas Valley. A highlight of the park is the Agricultural & Rural Life Museum that includes King City’s circa-1903 Train Depot, a one-room circa-1887 Schoolhouse, a main exhibit barn, an irrigation history museum, along with than 50 antique tractors, and farm equipment. In addition to picnic spots, there are overnight RV and tent campsites. Executive Director Jessica Potts shares insights about this Monterey County hidden gem. 

Frank Lloyd Wright's Madison Unitarian Meeting House designed in 1946 and completed in 1951
Thomas Wilmer

March Schweitzer talks about the First Unitarian Society’s Meeting House in Madison, Wisconsin. Designed by parishioner Frank Lloyd Wright in 1946 and completed in 1951, his radical design served to transform 20th Century Church architecture. Schweitzer also talks about Frank Lloyd Wrong—a moniker earned via a heartless side of Wright’s personality.

Dave Lohrentz at Madison Sourdough
Thomas Wilmer

 Dave Lohrentz, co-owner of Madison Sourdough Bakery & Café talks about the passionate quest to source healthy ingredients locally, from Amish eggs, to wheat, rye, and cream. Madison Sourdough is ranked among Madison, Wisconsin's top three locally sourcing facilities. Come along and join the conversation with Dave Lohrentz.

Old Sugar Distillery's distinctive copper pot stills
Old Sugar Distillery

Nathan Greenawalt’s Old Sugar Distillery in downtown Madison, Wisconsin pays homage to the state’s history as a sugar beat producer.

Come along and join Greenawalt in his Madison tasting room as he talks about his passion for producing handcrafted Old Sugar whiskey. Find out what Old Sugar Distillery is up to on Facebook.

Otto Dilba at Ale Asylum in Madison, Wisconsin
Thomas Wilmer

Join Otto Dilba at the Ale Asylum in Madison, Wisconsin where they brew award-winning beer in sanity.  Ale Asylum takes the purest approach, just water, malt, hops and yeast—no spices, no fruit, no chocolate— As a testimonial to their craft, Bedlam brew was rated among the world’s top ten Belgian Style IPA’s by RateBeer.com

Ken Clark, manager at the newly renovated The Landing in Morro Bay proves that you do not have to stay at a waterfront hotel to capture an awesome view of the bay.
Thomas Wilmer

Join Jennifer Little with Morro Bay Tourism as we visit with the innkeepers at two waterfront boutique hotels, La Roche, and Estero Inn, and The Landing—an upscale reincarnation of the iconic Breaker’s Motel, just one block above the Embarcadero in the heart of California's Highway One Discovery Route.

Tony and Julie Hook at their Mineral Point, Wisconsin cheese factory
Hook's Cheese Company

From their non-descript cheese factory in Mineral Point, Wisconsin Tony and Julie Hook have carved an enviable slice in the world of Wisconsin cheese crafting, and have earned the formal title as “World Champion Cheese Makers”. Come along and discover why Hook’s Cheese Company makes some of Wisconsin’s finest, why the French now import Wisconsin cheese, and why the process of becoming a Certified Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker is equivalent to earning a PhD. 

Elizabeth Eckford runs a gauntlet of hate to attend high school in Little Rock. The young white woman just over her shoulder with her mouth open, yelling at her is Hazel Bryan-- Arkansas September 1957
Will Counts

September 4th, 1957 was the first day of school in Little Rock Arkansas. Nine black children attempted to start classes at the all white Central High school. Their entry was blocked by hundreds of Arkansas national Guardsmen who had been sent on direct orders issued by Arkansas Governor Orville Faubus to block the entry of the nine black students who will forever live on in history as the Little Rock Nine.

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