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Casey Jones Village in Jackson, Tennessee
Casey Jones Village

Casey Jones Village in Jackson, Tennessee, tucked in the heart of the fabled Music Highway, is actually an historic village with everything from an old-fashioned country store to an Antebellum mansion. There’s a museum showcasing the story of legendary train engineer Casey Jones, but the anchor of the village is the restaurant that specializes in traditional Southern comfort food—with a twist.

M.V. Zumbrota companionway
Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit with Captain Chuck Myers aboard the historic M.V. Zumbrota, home ported today in Marina del Rey harbor.

M.V. Entertainer home ported in Marina del Rey, California
Thomas Wilmer

Marina del Rey is in some respects a Southland best-kept-secret, as it’s often overshadowed by the glitz of Hollywood and the buzz of Disneyland. 

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.

St. Martin's Press

Cayucos resident Franz Wisner got dumped at the altar…then turned it into a career. Author of the New York Times bestselling book Honeymoon with My Brother  and How the World Makes Love, Wisner has shared his stories on Oprah, the Today Show, NPR, Vanity Fair, USA Today, and media outlets worldwide. 

Karen Bentz surveys finishing touches on the new Anakeesta mountaintop experience in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Thomas Wilmer

Anakeesta marks a new dimension in Gatlinburg, Tennessee-- a popular base camp for vacationers who have come to these parts to experience the Great Smoky Mountains National Park since the 1930s. The Anakeesta adventure begins with a high-tech combination gondola, chairlift base station in the heart of town. Atop the mountain is Firefly Village, a zip line course, and treetop canopy walk 40 to 60 feet above the forest floor. Join visionary partners Karen and Bob Bentz.

Sun Studio Memphis, Tennessee
Thomas Wilmer

Known fondly as the birthplace of Rock & Roll, Sun Studio opened its doors as Memphis Recording Service in 1950.

It was Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats’ “Rocket 88” Sun Records recording in 1951 that goes down in history as the first Rock & Roll single. A litany of legends came to Sun Studio to record and make music history—cats like Howlin’ Wolf, James Cotton, B.B. King and Johnny Cash.

This is the place where Elvis recorded his first single “That’s All Right” in 1954. And Sun is still recording music, in the same location today, in the same studio, using lots of the original tube-technology equipment.

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

March 3rd 1968 Martin Luther King delivered his last speech at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee.

6:01 p.m., April 4th 1968--Martin Luther King was assassinated at the Loraine Motel in Memphis. Twenty three years later, the National Civil Rights Museum was unveiled and it has continued unabated to showcase and teach the history and legacy of civil rights--from the arrival of the first slaves on the shores of America to lynchings, sit-ins, the Freedom Riders, Rosa Parks in Birmingham, Brown Vs. Board of Education, and the perpetuation of Jim Crow today.

Join Faith Morris, Chief Marketing and External Affairs Officer at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.

Tennessee Safari Park

Tennessee Safari Park receives 200,000 visitors annually. It’s a family affair in more ways than one, as owner John Conley’s grandfather birthed the park in 1958. What started with a monkey ordered from Sears has grown to include a lexicon of wild, exotic animals from African warthogs to Giraffe, Bison, and White Bearded Wildebeests. Join John Conley as he shares his passion for the family run Safari Park, located on the Music Highway route between Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee.

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.  

Buffalo River
Thomas Wilmer

The Buffalo National River, situated in Northern Arkansas is free flowing for more than 135 miles. It’s one of North America’s last remaining undammed rivers.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer on the banks of the Buffalo River for a conversation with National Park Ranger, Joyce Umbach, and Ben Milburn the owner and operator of Buffalo River Outfitters.

M.V. Mojo crashed in to a monster wave at the Morro Bay Harbor mouth January 28, 1978 sustaining major damage and injuries
Scott J. Redd

When Terry MacRae was a student at Cal Poly State University back in the early 1970’s he had no clue that the University’s learn by doing model would lead him on a life journey where he would eventually become the CEO of Hornblower Cruises. Considered the greenest fleet in America, Hornblower employs wind and solar technology and operates the largest small passenger-vessel operation in the country.   

MacRae shares his passion for the untapped potential of waterborne ferry transportation as a viable commuting option for not only San Francisco Bay but around America.

Tina Turner's old one room school house, and adjacent home of blues legend Sleepy John Estes
Thomas Wilmer

Come along for a stop-off along the Music Highway in Brownsville, midway between Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee. We’ll visit with the town's first elected African-American Mayor, Bill Rawls. Sonia Outlaw-Clark Executive Director of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center takes us on a walking tour of the Tina Turner Museum, and adjacent, fabled bluesman, Sleepy John Estes’s cottage where he was rediscovered in the 1970s.  

Dr. John Freeman
Thomas Wilmer

As a young man, Dr. John Freeman spent 10 years as a medical missionary in Thailand. He even helped build a new Bridge over the River Kwai.

Freeman subsequently settled in Alamo, Tennessee.

In addition to working as an ER doc, he dedicated the next two decades relocating and reconstructing pioneer log cabins, an old church and more than 18 other historic structures--including a circa-1910 cotton gin and moonshiner’s shed--on his farm.

John Wayne aboard the Wild Goose
Hornblower Cruises

If Hollywood icon, John Wayne were still alive he’d be 110 years old this month--but the revered yacht the Wild Goose a converted WWII minesweeper lives on, home ported in Newport Beach, California.

Join Tom Wilmer for a journey of discovery aboard the yacht Wild Goose.

In celebration of John Wayne’s birthday there’s an assortment of festivities and special cruises offered to the public.

Carnegie Center for Arts and History in Jackson, Tennessee
Thomas Wilmer

Judy Ranne says that Music is the soul of the South. West Tennessee produced an abundance of legendary iconic musicians, and tunes such as Carl Perkin’s “Blue Suede Shoes”. Ranne shares the region's musical tradition that was long intertwined with gospel, and of course the Grand Ole Opry radio show. Come along and join Ms. Ranne as she talks about life as a farmer’s daughter back in the 1950s and how sharecroppers and spiritual music helped to propel the evolution of Tennessee’s heartland music.

Memphis Music Hall of Fames shines in the night
Tom Wilmer

A visit at the Memphis Music Hall of Fame Museum with Executive Director John Doyle in downtown  Memphis, Tennessee. The museum showcases the story of Memphis Music and its century long legacy as a multicultural birthplace of American Music.

 

Genoa Industrial Indian School students
U.S. Indian School Interpretive Center Genoa, Nebrsaska

The Genoa, Nebraska U.S. Industrial Indian School opened in 1884 and operated continuously through the Great Depression. A conversation with Curator, Nancy Carlson.

History Museum of Mobile front entry
Tom Wilmer

The History Museum of Mobile chronicles the region’s 300-year history of French and Spanish occupation through via artifacts and engaging interpretive displays. Equally enticing are the displays of indigenous Native American life, and the American era that commenced in the dawning days of the 1800's. Join tour guide Brandi Agnew for an insightful tour of the history museum in Mobile, Alabama.

Oklahoma City Bombing April 19th 1995
NBC

A visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum--Executive Director Kari Watkins talks about the deadliest attack in America until 9-11. In addition to destroying one third of the Murrah Federal Building and killing 168 people, more than 325 buildings in a 16 block radius were damaged. The Oklahoma bombing remains as the deadliest domestic terrorism attack in America’s history. 

Mobile, Alabama's Carnival Museum
Tom Wilmer

Mobile, Alabama celebrated its first Mardi Gras carnival back in 1703, years before New Orleans. Today the two-week annual affair generates more than 12,000 year round jobs supporting the Carnival, from hair dressers to float builders. Carnival is such a big deal, it's a State and local holiday. Join Judi Gulledge, Executive Director of the Mobile Carnival Association at the Mobile Carnival Museum.

Alabama’s inland delta is the second largest in America behind the Mississippi. Two thirds of the state of Alabama and portions of Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi drain to a common point in the Mobile Delta. The State of Alabama ranks fifth, nationwide in biodiversity and richness of plant and animal species. Join 5 Rivers Resource Center Director Hank Burch as he shares his passion and insights about this unique ecosystem environment.

The 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center is located just off the Mobile causeway in Spanish Fort, Alabama midway between Mobile and Pensacola. 

John Serda owner of Serda's Coffee Company in downtown Mobile, Alabama
Tom Wilmer

A visit with John Serda, founder of Serda’s Coffee Company in downtown Mobile, Alabama. John talks about sourcing Costa Rican organic coffee and his current project, Serda Brewing. John also talks about Mobile’s renaissance with a litany of new locally owned restaurants that have added a new vibrancy to downtown and the nightlife scene.

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer via: 

Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Alabama
Tom Wilmer

A sampler of how MMofA operates out of the box--the museum reaches out to the community via a pop up storefront showcase of art located right in the heart of downtown Mobile.

In collaboration with other art, history, and related organizations MMofA also coordinates special pedestal art displays at the airport.

Carnival character in downtown park, Mobile, Alabame
Tom Wilmer

Mobile, Alabama is steeped in history with living legacy of the French colonial era to the Civil War. Today its vibrant economy is palpable, from a hopping nightlife to a burgeoning fine dining scene. The economy is strong, with players like Airbus Industries, shipbuilding and an embarkation port for Carnival Cruise Lines. Join David Clark, President and CEO of Visit Mobile Alabama as he shares his insights and recommendations.

Amy Hoogasian
Tom Wilmer

Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer in San Francisco for a conversation with Amy Hoogasian, as she talks about the Armenian Genocide in Turkey, 1915-1918. Her passionate quest for Turkey to acknowledge their genocidal policies and actions against the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire a century ago was inculcated as a child when her grandparents shared horrific memories of abuse and mass murder at the hands of the Turks.

Elephants in the Coffee documentary promo
Clic Abroad Foundation

Did you enjoy a cup of coffee this morning? Most people know that coffee is the world’s most popular beverage, but few realize that farmers in India may have actually given their lives for that morning cuppa Joe. Laurie McAndish King talks via Skype with the producers of the documentary film, Elephants in the Coffee: The God that became a “Menace.” DK Bhaskar and Dr. Thomas Grant explain that people tend to idealize elephants; some Indians even worship them as gods. 

Abalone live in the tanks with fresh seawater and seaweed for sustainance
Thomas Wilmer

Join Brad Buckley manager of the Abalone Farm for an insider’s look at the world of abalone aquaculture. The Abalone Farm, located on a bluff top above the Pacific Ocean six miles north of Cayucos, California produces approximately 50 percent of the abalone served in restaurants and sold in fresh fish shops around America. From seed to market is a patient four-year process, which partly explains why abalone is often sold by the ounce.  

Pacific Wildlife Care

Pacific Wildlife Care is situated in a non-descript building behind the old PG&E power plant in Morro Bay, California. But, anywhere wounded or endangered wildlife are found on the Central Coast they are just a phone call away from rescue and rehabilitation. The organization rescues more than 3,000 wild animals, representing more than 200 different species annually.

Acoma Catholic Church where Native American ceremonies are conducted along with traditional Catholic services
Thomas Wilmer

Sky City is located atop a 367 foot-tall sandstone monolith. Continuously inhabited since 1150 A.D., there is no running water or electricity at Acoma in New Mexico. Located off interstate 40 an hour and a half west of Albuquerque, tours are offered to the public daily. Acoma’s Sky City Cultural Center/Haak’u Museum includes fascinating interpretive displays and is the meeting spot for joining guided tours of the pueblo—a National Trust for Historic Preservation registered historic site.

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