NPR podcast

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. 

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.

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.  

Leo Hearn filleting a cod at The Island Rooms in Petty Harbour
Rebekah Nolan

Associate Producer Rebekah Nolan says, Newfoundland’s identity has always been tied to the fishery.

It is the thing that brought the first settlers from England and Ireland about 400 years ago, and it continues to be a vital part of the province’s economy.

What was initially a local and sustainable industry, transformed to an industrialized megalith that was feeding people all over the world.

Food Shift food recovery in Oakland CA
Food Shift

Dana Frasz, Founder and Director of San Francisco Bay Area based Food Shift shares her non-profit's partnerships with hotels, corporations, grocery chains and more to reduce food waste.

Dana talks about Food Shift’s primary mission, its incredible success stories, and the invaluable relationship with Jo Licata, Hilton San Francisco Union Square’s Community Projects Manager. 

Barry Stenger, Executive Director St. Anthony's San Francisco
St. Anthony's Foundation

Barry Stenger, Executive Director of St. Anthony’s Foundation, founded by the Franciscan Order in San Francisco 66 years ago to assist the needs of the homeless and low income citizens.

Stenger talks about the quarter century partnership with Hilton San Francisco Union Square to help the homeless and underserved.

Jo Locata, has worked fulltime at the Hilton Hotel San Francisco Union Square for the past two decades as the hotel’s fulltime Community Projects Manager. 

Mary Risley in her cooking school kitchen in San Francisco
Food Runners

Mary Risley, founder of San Francisco based Food Runners, talks about the grassroots organization that provides 15,000 meals every week to low income and homeless citizens. Every week, more than 200 volunteers pick up leftover food from hotels such as the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Westin St. Francis, and Park Central, grocery stores, Starbucks, tech and law firms, schools, bakeries, restaurants, caterers, and more. 

Excavation and research has been going on at Agate Fossil Beds since the late 1800’s. The exemplary mammal fossil bones are from the Miocene Epoch (23 to 5 million years ago).  The visitor center includes reconstructed skeletons, along with a collection of Native American artifacts, including items from Chief Red Cloud.

Solar panels and windmills help to power the green Hybrid Alcatraz Clipper
Thomas Wilmer

Hornblower Cruises CEO, Terry MacRae advocates for building a network of high-speed ferries to alleviate urban gridlock. Alcatraz Cruises launched its Hornblower Hybrid Fleet in 2009--the first hybrid ferry fleet in North America and one of the first in the world. The Hybrid Fleet uses power generated by ten‐foot‐tall wind turbines and photovoltaic solar arrays covering the awning on the top-decks.

Iconic Nebraska windmill
Thomas Wilmer

The Knight Museum is a showcase of life in Northwestern Nebraska’s Sandhills country from prehistoric days, through pioneer life, the advent of the railroad and much more. Join Museum Director Becci Thomas as she shares fascinating insights about the museum, as well as life in the town of Alliance, sometimes likened to Mayberry RFD.

Thousands of migrating Sandhill Cranes awake to a day of foraging in the Platte River Valley en route to a summer in Canada and the Arctic
Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent, Tom Wilmer reports from Gibbon, Nebraska where he visits with Bill Taddicken, Director of the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center Rowe Sanctuary on the outskirts of Kearney, Nebraska.

Every year, like clockwork, from late February through early April, more 500,000 Sandhill Cranes descend on Nebraska’s Platte River Valley during their annual northbound migration to Canada and the Arctic tundra.

Wholesale buyers inspect and bid on fresh tuna at Honolulu's Pier 38
Thomas Wilmer

In the heart of Honolulu Harbor, directly across from the container port, there’s a large, utilitarian, metal building adjacent to the docks at Pier 38 where the long line Tuna boats tie up. 

It’s five a.m., and we’re waiting outside for the 5:30 bell that announces the commencement of United Fishing Agency’s daily wholesale auction— it’s the only one of its kind between Tokyo and the East Coast.

Chimney Rock National Historic Site
Thomas Wilmer

Western Nebraska is graced with tall sandstone bluffs and outcroppings. Chimney Rock National Historic Site in Bayard, Nebraska includes an interpretive center where visitors learn about the trials and tribulations of the early pioneers. We’ll join Loren Pospisil who shares his insights in to Nebraska’s most recognizable visual icon of Western migration.

Taos Pueblo Catholic Church
Thomas Wilmer

Situated a mile from the village of Taos, New Mexico, The Taos Pueblo is the only Native American community designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and a National Historic Landmark. The Pueblo’s two multi-story residential complexes are likely the most photographed scenes in the entire American Southwest. Come along for a walkabout with Ms. Spruce, the Pueblo’s Tourism Director and her assistant.  

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.

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. 

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. 

Underground in the Bell Island Mine Tour
Marshall Oxtoby

Bell Island is located in Conception Bay, Newfoundland. It has a real outport feel to it--sleepy and intimate. It’s the kind of place that still has radio bingo, and where people know each other by name.  From 1895 to 1966 Bell Island was one of the world’s largest suppliers of iron ore. In the spring of 1966 the mines were closed for good, devastating the island’s economy. In the late 1990’s Bell Island turned to tourism as a way to revitalize its economy.

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.

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.

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.

 

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. 

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

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.

Native American sculpture, Cleveland TN
Thomas Wilmer

Southeastern Tennessee Cherokees share their passion for Cherokee culture. Join Jamie Russell a ranger at Red Clay State Park on the outskirts of Cleveland TN. Afterwards we’ll visit with Cherokee artists Stone Wolf and Walking Bear.

Esencial Costa Rica

  

Fourteen year-old Sophia Aquino from Coral Gables, Florida had lived the Costa Rica experience through dreamy pictures and stories--that is until her mother surprised her with a birthday-present trip to explore the jungles and towns of Costa Rica. Join Sophia as she interviews a gaggle of kids on Costa Rican holiday eco-adventure.

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