Virginia's Blue Ridge Parkway--Peaks of Otter Lodge
The Blue Ridge Parkway wends for 469 miles, from Shenandoah National Park in Northern Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.The Blue Ridge Parkway, a unit of the National Park Service, is a world apart from urban centers such as Roanoke, Bedford, and Galax--and yet it's an incredibly short drive to get totally lost in a timeless realm of Appalachian beauty. A world dominated by buckeye, ash, and elm, of rhododendrons, pine, and dogwoods. Amazingly, it's only a nine-mile drive from downtown Bedford, Virginia to the Peaks of Otter Lodge, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Parkway. But with a maximum posted speed limit of 45 mile per hour for the entire length of the 469 mile-long Parkway, you'll rapidly slow up in more ways than one. The tranquil, lakeside, Peaks of Otter Lodge is ringed by the majestic mountains, Sharp Top, Flat Top and Harkening Hill. Built in the mid-sixties, the lodge is unpretentious and is an ideal retreat from urban life. And since there's no cell service here, there's a forced, but refreshing release from our perceived dependence on modern technology. I'm your host, Tom Wilmer, come along and join me at Peaks of Otter Lodge for a visit with Helen Morton, Director of Sales and Marketing with the lodge's National Park Service concessionaire, Delaware North. And since Helen also overseas the corporation's concession at Shenandoah National Park, I couldn't resist the opportunity to have her also talk a bit about Shenandoah. You may subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show via: Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer on NPR.ORG, NPR ONE (app), Stitcher,com, iTunes, player.fm(UK)
Roanoke's Harrison Museum of African American Culture
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. Exhibits include traditional African tribal arts, and historical interpretive displays chronicling the African American experience in the region throughout the past 400 years. Current special exhibits include Indivisible—"Whispered Secrets", a special Smithsonian Virginia historical exhibition of the inter-relationship between African American and American Indian peoples and cultures. Equally engaging is the Museum's Tobacco People—Africa and the Americas special exhibit. I'm correspondent, Tom Wilmer, come along and join Charles Price, the Harrison Museum's President at the Harrison Museum of African American Culture in downtown Roanoke. You may subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer on iTunes, NPR.ORG, NPR ONE, Stitcher.com, player.fm and other podcast sites around the world.
Jeff Greenwald on Sustainability, Science Fiction, Shopping for Buddhas
Jeff Greenwald co-founder of Ethical Traveler, has published six travel books, and is an instructor at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers conference. Join Laurie McAndish King, Associate Producer for the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer as she talks with Greenwald. He shares the creation of the Ethical Traveler, inspired by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and its impact on issues ranging from the Tasmanian logging industry to the Cambodian sex-slave trade. Greenwald also talks about the world's best ethical travel destinations and offers ideas for ways individual travelers can be more attuned to sustainability. We hear how Jeff chooses his book topics, the ways in which his love for science fiction has influenced his travel writing, and his most recent assignment — a road trip on a high-performance all-electric motorcycle (a great trip except for Jeff's accidentally amputated fingertip). You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer via: iTUnes, NPR.ORG, NPR ONE, Stitcher.com, player.fm
Travel Guru--Don George: "Rewards beyond your wildest dreams!"
Come along and listen to Don George's welcome talk at the beginning of the 24th annual Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference. The event offers writing and photography workshops, panels, and faculty presentations, and is regarded among publishers, editors, and writers as one of America's premier travel genre affairs. The conference is a magical event, and Don does his best to explain what makes it so special-- and why, year after year, attendees make a point of telling him what an amazing experience they've had. For some, it's life-transformative. Don also talks briefly about his new book, the Way of Wanderlust. It's an inspiring collection of his travel stories and essays from 40 years of wandering and writing. The pieces span 24 countries on six continents, beginning with his 1977 tale of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and ending with a 2015 story about exploring the jungles of Cambodia. The following was recorded for the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on NPR.ORG, NPR ONE and iTunes by Laurie McAndish King with permission from the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference.
Join Associate Producer, Julie Henning reporting for the Lowell Thomas Award-wining travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer as she makes a weeklong journey of discovery in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The largest city in Northern Thailand, the city of Chiang Mai is over 700 years old and brimming with history, culture, and adventure. A natural habitat for Asian elephants, our trip begins with a visit north of the city to Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary for elephants rescued from the now banned logging industry. We meet the gentle giants, feed them fruit, and even bathe them in a river. Up next is dining out with Chiang Mai Food Tours, a local food tour service that helped us experience authentic Thai Food the way Thai people enjoy it most. Ordering food is easier than expected and everything is delicious. A trip to Chiang Mai wouldn't be complete without a tour up the Mae Pang River in the care of Urban Adventures. A longboat carries us up river to an organic farm where we are fed Khao Soy, a traditional northern Thai noodle soup. The noise of snorting pigs breaks through the monotony of farmers' hand tilling gardens thriving on the sloping riverbanks. Thailand is home to some of the friendliest and most approachable people on earth. Invited to practice speaking English with a group of seniors, we leaves Thailand with full hearts and plans to return soon. You are invited to subscribe to the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer travel podcast via: NPR.ORG, NPR ONE, iTunes, Stitcher.com, player.fm and numerous other podcast sites around the world Keywords: Thailand, Chiang Mai, Thai, Asia, elephants, tours, travel, river tour, food
Virginia Tech's Hokies, Performing Arts, Roanoke's Taubman Art Museum
Come along for a journey of discovery with Tom Wilmer in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountain region. Our adventure starts in Blacksburg Virginia at Virginia Tech www.vt.edu. It's fall and the day of our arrival coincided with the homecoming football game against Duke. To say that the Virginia Tech football fans, are passionately fanatical is an understatement. Imagine more than 66,000 boosters, most all dressed in Maroon in homage to the team's color. And I quickly learned that the fans and students alike see nothing funny about their mascot's name—It's a turkey. And it's called the Hokie Bird to be specific, and that's how most everyone proudly introduces themselves, "I'm a Hokie". And to say that Hokie pride permeates life on campus and in town is a vast understatement. We'll visit with Timothy Sands, Head Hokie, and proud President of Virginia Tech in the Presidential box for a birds-eye view of the game as he talks about his pride and passion for everything Hokie. Afterwards we'll stop in at the nearby Virginia Tech Center for the Arts where Susan Bland, Communications Manager shares her passion for the new performing arts center that's attracting world-class performers, and crowds from across the state in addition to a passionate following by students and faculty. And then it's off to nearby Roanoke, Virginia, just forty miles away, for a visit with Della Watkins, Director of the Taubman Museum of Art located in the heart of downtown Roanoke. The Taubman is presently featuring the works of John James Audubon (Oct 17th 2015- February 14, 2016) in addition to an assortment of other world-class works of art. Subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-wining travel show featured weekly on NPR.ORG, NPR ONE, Stitcher,com. player.com (UK) and numerous other podcsast sites around the world.
Chateau Morrisette is Virginia's oldest winery is 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. Today there are more than 288 Virginia wineries, but the vast majority are small-lot boutique producers with total average annual production of less than 2,000 cases. At Chateau Morrissete, it was a long and painful road discovering the ideal grape varieties, and perfecting their wine processing but today they annually produce more than 75,000 cases with distribution to nine states and overseas to China. Morrisette produces a broad array of wines. A sampler of their reds include Pinot Noir to Petit Verdot, their sweet and blush includes Vin Gris and red and white Muscadine. Sweet fruit wines include cherry, blackberry, and apple. They offer a sparkling wine, and a range of whites from Chardonnay to Viognier. Come along and join David Morrisette as he shares his family's incredible wine making and grape growing journey, and their parallel evolution in to the culinary scene with their estate restaurant that has specialized in farm-to-table locally sourced, organic offerings since long before the hip-restaurant phrase became a trend. Subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel podcast, Journeys of Discover with Tom Wilmer via: iTunes, NPR ONE, Stitcher.com, Player.fm and numerous other podcast sites.
Six years ago, partners Robert Kulp and Mike Whiteside, had no clue that their reality television show, Salvage Dawgs would become a hit series, and as a bi-product propel business at their Roanoke, Virginia Black Dog architectural Salvage into the ionosphere. As the hit DIY Network series, Salvage Dawgs commenced its 6th filming season, I met up with Robert Kulp for a behind the scenes conversation about the show's history. Kulp talks about how the show has become an incredible magnet for new Black Dog Salvage customers. An unforeseen bi-product of the DIY show is the incredible number of tourists and shoppers who steadily arrive from around the country and around the world to not only visit Black Dog Salvage in person, but to discover and explore the town of Roanoke, Virginia and the surrounding region. You may subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel Podcast,Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on NPR ONE via iTunes, Stitcher.com, player.fm and numerous other podcast sites
Jewish Journalist and German Born Cop's Stumbling Stone Journey
Julie Freestone and Rudi Raab have a remarkable story to tell — one full of mystery, chance, and courage. Julie was a Jewish journalist, and Rudi was a German-born cop and the son of a high-ranking Nazi official; yet they joined forces. And that was just the beginning of a series of unlikely events that reveal a startling story about a German who refused to go along with the Nazis during World War II. Please join Correspondent and Associate Producer, Laurie McAndish King who spoke with Rudi and Julie at their home in Richmond, California. Listen in as they discuss the couple's new book, Stumbling Stone, which tells the slightly fictionalized story their of meeting, overcoming prejudices against each other, and falling in love. The two traveled together to Germany to answer questions about what happened to Germans like Rudi and his family when the Occupation forces came — and they uncovered some surprising answers. Rudi and Julie also tell us about a shocking incident they witnessed in present-day Germany. Subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer travel podcast: iTunes NPR ONE Stitcher.com player.fm (UK)
Most everyone is familiar with Thomas Jefferson's neoclassical plantation estate, Monticello, located in the Charlottesville, Virginia countryside. Incredibly, Jefferson commenced drafting plans for his iconic abode when he was only 26 years old. Today, Monticello remains as an iconic symbol not only of Thomas Jefferson and his brilliance, but a beacon of America's past. But, there's another architectural masterpiece designed by Thomas Jefferson, crafted to serve as his retreat where he could relax and unwind out of the limelight. Jefferson's hidden villa, Poplar Forest, built in 1806, incorporated cutting-edge Palladian motifs such as floor to ceiling windows, alcove beds, and skylights. It was also the first octagonal residence in America. Poplar Forest was so remote that Jefferson got lost more than once while en route to his retreat in the countryside, 45 miles east of Roanoke Virginia and 190 miles south of Washington D.C. Come along and join Wayne Gannaway, Director of Programs, Marketing and Grants with the Corporation for Jefferson's off-the-beaten path, Poplar Forest, a National Historic landmark—situated, fittingly, on the outskirts of Forest, Virginia. Subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast via: iTunes, NPR ONE, Stitcher.com, player.fm (UK) or numerous other podcast sites. Music: Luigi Rodolfo Boccherini (February 19, 1743 – May 28, 1805)