Grand Island, Nebraska--Culture, History and Outdoor Activities
Grand Island is a vibrant town in the heart of Nebraska,with an abundance of cool things to do and see, from galleries, antiquing, dining, to outdoor activies, and more. Fonner Park is the home of the Nebraska State Fair in the fall, along with an engaging high-tech Raising Nebraska Ag-exhibit, but it's also alive with activities year round, from horse racing to live concerts. Come along and join Brad Mellema, Executive Director of the Grand Island Convention & Visitors Bureau. He shares his insights about cool things to do and see, including dining, experiencing living history at the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, and the Mennonite Heritage Museum in nearby Henderson. The annual migration of 500,000 Sandhill Cranes who spend a month-long layover on the nearby Platte River, resting and refueling while en route to Canada and the Arctic, draws visitors from around the world. Listen to the show on the Lowell Thomas Award winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on the NPR.ORG podcast site. Produced by NPR affiliate KCBX. You may also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes Funding for this show is provided by the Hawaiian Reforestation Initiative
From Northern Greece, Domaine Porto Carras Comes to America
Yliana Stengou, owner of Domaine Porto Carras winery situated seven hours north of Athens, Greece, hosted a wine tasting and reception at the Dolphin Bay Resort in Shell Beach, California. Domaine Porto Carras is the largest organic vineyard in Greece, and the third largest winery in all of Southern Europe. In addition to producing indigenous, ancient Greek varietals (with rootstock dating back more than 4,000 years), the winery also specializes in French, Bordeaux-style wines. In addition to the winery operation, Yliana's Domaine Porto Carras family estate includes a 1,000 room five-star resort, a marina, golf course, casino, and an incredibly impressive mountaintop chateau. Come along for a visit with Ms. Stengou, but first we'll meet Amy Olsen, a marketing assistant for Ms. Stenguo's American road show of fine Greek wines. Domaine Porto Carras varietals include: Athiri, Assyrtiko, Melissanthi, Malagouzia, Limnio, Magnus Baccata, and Chateau Porto Carras. Listen to the interview on the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer.
Every spring, from time immemorial, from late February through early April, more than 500,000 Sandhill Cranes stop off in Central Nebraska to refuel and rest before completing their annual northbound migration to Canada and the Arctic tundra. The Crane Trust was formed to protect the physical, hydrological, and biological integrity of the Big Bend area of the Platte River, the Sandhill Crane's temporary home. The Trust owns or manages more than 10,000 acres of critical habitat. Among the trust's numerous essential missions is the improvement of the wetlands and grasslands surrounding the Platte River by removing invasive weeds, clearing overgrowth and restoration of native prairie. Come along and join Brice Krohn, Senior Director at the Crane Trust in Wood River, Nebraska. Funding for the NPR.ORG Podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer is provided by Hawaiian Reforestation Initiative. To subscribe to the Journeys podcasts on iTunes click here.
Come along and join Roger Jasnoch, a State of Nebraska Tourism Commissioner, and Director of the Kearney Visitors Bureau. It's springtime, and this is when 80 percent of the world's Sandhill Cranes descend on the Platte River Valley for a refueling stop before continuing their annual northward migration to Canada and the Arctic. Visitors also descend on the Kearney region to experience the cranes up close and personal. Jasnoch shares his passion for springtime crane watching, along with Whooping Cranes, eagles, ducks, geese, shorebirds and other wildlife that make their annual migrations through Nebraska. But, there's also lots to see and do in the vibrant town of Kearney. Jasnoch talks about a mandatory stop along Interstate 80, and that's the Great Platte River Road Archway that free spans the interstate. It's a futuristic, multi-colored, steel-girdered structure that's reminiscent of a traditional covered bridge. Inside the archway is a Disneyesque experience that's a hit with kids and parents alike. The Archway chronicles 150 years of transportation through the Platte River Valley. History is brought to life through engaging, bigger than life three-dimensional interpretive displays, from buffalo migrations, to the era of the covered wagons, and the advent of the Lincoln Highway—America's first transcontinental highway that opened in 1913.
In conjunction with Saint Mary's College of California's annual month-long January Term, Professor Ginny Prior led a group of 17 Saint Mary's students, and three professors, two of which are Catholic priests, on a SMC Pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi. Come along and join our guest host, Professor Prior reporting from Rome as she introduces the special student-produced audio show on the Lowell Thomas Award-winning Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on NPR.ORG. Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes
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. The Crane is one of the world's oldest and most revered bird species. Nine million-year-old crane Fossils have been recorded in Nebraska Today, the Great Platte River Valley remains as a vital resting and refueling spot. They spend their days gorging on leftover corn in the surrounding fields, and then retreat to the Platte River's protected sandbars around sunset. The Crane is an amazing avian—they love to catch the thermals, and with a good tailwind can cruise up to 35 miles an hour, traveling sometimes as far as 500 miles in a single day. Cranes have been spotted sailing on thermals in excess of 25,000 feet above sea level. The total population of Lesser and Greater Cranes and their sub-species ranges between 600,000 and 800,000. Come along and join correspondent, Tom Wilmer in Gibbon, Nebraska for a conversation with Bill Taddicken, Director of the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center Rowe Sanctuary on the outskirts of Kearney, Nebraska. Funding for Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer is provided by the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative
Come along and join Carol Schlegel in the farming and ranching community of McCook, in the heart of Southwest Nebraska, where she leads Prairie Chicken Dance Tours. Nebraska's Greater Prairie Chicken population is estimated to range from 800,000 to 2.5 million birds, but they're one of Nebraska's most rarely spotted bird species as they are adept at hiding out in the prairie's tall buffalo grass. We'll also visit with McCook rancher, Angus Garey. His family first settled in Nebraska back in the 1880s, and he's been passionately involved in the birding tours, and preserving habitat since its inception. Listen to the interview on the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. Or Subscribe on iTunes Funding provided by non-profit Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Inititiave YouTube video link:
César Ritz' Legacy at the San Francisco Ritz-Carlton
César Ritz honed his art-and-craft long before assuming his reputation as the world's premier hotelier. Ritz established his credo while working at the Grand Hotel National in Lucerne, Switzerland back in the 1870s. He wrote, "See all without looking, hear all without listening, be attentive without being servile, and anticipate without being presumptuous." Long after he established the legendary Hotel Ritz in Paris and the Ritz in London, his brilliant philosophy of hotel management remains intact as an underpinning of Ritz-Carltons around the world. I was first introduced to the enchanting Ritz experience as a second grader when I accompanied my father on a business trip to New York that included a stay the Central Park Ritz-Carlton. I recall that magical experience with the freshness of yesterday. Over the past 25 years I have had the pleasure to stay at Ritz-Carlton's around the world, from Kuala Lumpor to Laguna Nigel. In my opinion, the Ritz experience is distinctive and alluring, specifically because of the stellar service by its attentive and sincerely friendly staff. Whenever I stay at a Ritz-Carlton, I am reminded of a quote attributed to Oscar Wilde, "There's only one class and that's first class."Come along and join me in San Francisco for a visit with Shelly Auyeung, as we talk about the distinctive qualities of the Ritz Carlton San Francisco and a look at the newly completed renovation within the architecturally elegant, circa-1909 neoclassical hotel that's just steps from the top of Nob Hill and a couple blocks from the heart of Chinatown. Funding Provided by Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative
A Conversation with Ireland's Minister of Tourism, Paschal Donohoe
Join Paschal Donohoe T.D., Ireland's Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in the Government of Ireland, as he visits with correspondent Tom Wilmer at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Mr. Donohoe traveled from Dublin, Ireland to attend a reception in celebration of St. Patrick's Week, and to showcase the launch of daily Aer Lingus non-stop flights between San Francisco and Dublin. He also shares his personal insights and recommendations about great things to do and see on the Emerald Isle, including Ireland's culinary offerings, historic cities, sites and much more. Mr. Donohoe is an exceptionally passionate fan of The Wild Atlantic Way, a 1,600 mile-long route along the West Coast of Ireland. Listen to Mr. Dononoe on the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer Funding for the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show is provided by Hawaiian Legacy Reforestaton Initiative, the recipient of the prestigious Phoneix Award, bestowed by the Society of American Travel Writers.
Niall Gibbons is the Chief Executive of Dublin based, Tourism Ireland, with 22 satellite offices around the world. We had the absolute pleasure and honor to meet and visit with Mr. Gibbons in San Francisco at the Fairmont Hotel. Tourism Ireland hosted a St. Patrick's Week media/trade luncheon where new Irish tourism initiatives were showcased, including the Aer Lingus launch of daily, non-stop flights between San Francisco and Dublin. Come along and join Niall Gibbons as he shares his passion for Ireland, and specifically cool things to do and see around the Emerald Isle, including visits to Dublin City, Belfast, journeying along the 1,600 mile-long Wild Atlantic Way coastal route, the Antrim Coast, Bushmills Distillery, and much more. Listen to Niall on the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer Funding is provided by Hawaiian Legacy Reforestion Initiative, recipient of the Phoenix Award by Society of American Travel Writers