Author Susan Shillinglaw’s John Steinbeck Journey

Shillinglaw book on rightShillinglaw BookListen to John Steinbeck scholar, Dr. Susan Shillinglaw, professor of English at San Jose State University and Scholar in Residence at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California  on Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer—a weekly featured podcast on NPR.ORG  Check out this episode!

Susan Shillinglaw

Susan Shillinglaw

 For eighteen years Shillinglaw was Director of the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San Jose State. She is the author of Carol and John Steinbeck—Portrait of a Marriage, and A journey into Steinbeck’s California. She has edited numerous Steinbeck volumes and Penguin just released her latest book, On Reading The Grapes of Wrath in concert with the 75th anniversary of the Steinbeck classic. Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer in Carmel Valley, California for a visit with Shillinglaw as she shares her insights in to Steinbeck’s life in Monterey County and the upcoming Steinbeck Festival in Salinas where she will be leading the first public tour to the old Steinbeck family ranch near King City, California—the actual setting for many of the scenes in the book East of Eden

Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

East side Salinas Valley, California Photo Credit Tom Wilmer


Salinas Valley strawberries Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Salinas Valley strawberries
Photo Credit Tom Wilmer


Salinas Valley farm Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Salinas Valley farm
Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Salinas Valley Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Heavenly Healdsburg, California—in the heart of wine country


Agricultural abundance still thrives in Healdsburg

Agricultural abundance
still thrives in Healdsburg

Come along and listen to key players in Healdsburg, California on the NPR.ORG podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer Check out this episode! 

First up is Carla Howell, Executive Director at the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. We’ll then stop in for visit at the Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society, located in the former Carnegie Library. Built in 1910 it’s just to blocks off the town square.  A not to be missed experience is the Hand Fan Museum—the only one in America, and one of three in the world. It’s located right in the heart of downtown.  Julie with Wine Country Bikes shares her insiders’ tips for day tours and multi-day self guided bike-touring options. And then we’ll stop in at Thumbprint Cellars, located on the town square, where regional artist’s creations are showcased alongside locally produced boutique wines. For further information about Healdsburg exploration options log on to:

Downtown Healdsburg Photo Tom Wilmer

Downtown Healdsburg
Photo Tom Wilmer

Healdsburg Museum Photo Tom Wilmer

Healdsburg Museum
Photo Tom Wilmer

Arbor Day Foundation—Nebraska City, Nebraska


Join correspondent at Arbor Day Foundation’s lied Lodge & Conference Center and Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska.  Arbor Day was born in Nebraska back in the 1870s and has grown to become a national and international annual celebration of trees. In America Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April. Come along for a visit with Carol Crook with Arbor Day Foundation, Karen Houser the General Manager at Arbor Foundation’s 144-room Lied Lodge & Conference Center in Nebraska City, and Adam Howard, the Foundation’s Director of Production & Shipping.  For further information about the State of Nebraska log on to

Check out this episode! on NPR.ORG Podcast Site: Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer

J Morton Sterling's Arbor Lodge mansion Photo Tom Wilmer

J Morton Sterling’s Arbor Lodge mansion
Photo Tom Wilmer

J. Sterling Morton Founder of Arbor Day Photo-Tom Wilmer

J. Sterling Morton Founder of Arbor Day Photo-Tom Wilmer

Arbor Lodge J Sterling Morton's mansion Photo Tom Wilmer

Arbor Lodge J Sterling Morton’s mansion
Photo Tom Wilmer

San Jose’s Tech Museum & Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

The Tech Museum Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

The Tech Museum, downtown San Jose, CA
Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer in San Jose, California reporting for the weekly NPR.ORG podcast “Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer” Check out this episode!  for an exploration of the acclaimed Tech Museum of Innovation  The  Tech is a hands-on experience for people of all ages, located in the heart of downtown. Afterwards we’ll join archeologist, Megan Coleman at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum for a walking tour where the ancient age of Egyptian Pharos comes alive. The Rosicrucian Museum’s collection, with more than 4,000 rare artifact and mummies, dating from the more recent Roman & Coptic period to six thousand years ago is the most extensive west of the Mississippi and regarded as one of the top three collections in North America.  For more information about visiting San Jose, California log on to:

Rosicrusian Museum Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Rosicrucian Museum San Jose, CA
Photo Credit Tom Wilmer


Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Photo Credit Tom Wilmer



Photo Credit Tom Wilmer


Photo Credit Tom Wilmer


Photo Credit Tom Wilmer


Photo Credit Tom Wilmer


Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

A Bad Horse Day at Angel Fire and a visit to Chaco Canyon in Northern New Mexico


Peter Guttman -center

Listen to the NPR.ORG Podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer Check out this episode!  featuring Award-Winning New York City photographer, Peter Guttman who never thought he’d put his life at risk when he set out on a casual sunrise trail ride at Angel Fire in Northern New Mexico. But when a swarm of bees stung his horse, pandemonium struck and riders were flung from their steeds and things went downhill from there. Join Guttman and fellow rider, former Marine Sergeant Rick Presley as they recall their nightmare on horseback moments after returning to camp.Road Runner trail rides Guttman was recently honored with a Lifetime  Achievement Award from the New York Travel Writers Society, and will soon be awarded a “Power of the Image Award” as one of “20 of the world’s finest photographers . Guttman also produced the number one best-selling iPad travel app Beautiful PlanetHD, which NBC News called one of "eight  outstanding educational apps   Check out Guttman’s appearance at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, NY                                      

archeologist Larry Baker photo credit: Tom Wilmer

Archeologist Larry Baker Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Chaco Canyon1

Chaco Canyon Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

bird crop2

Chaco Canyon cliffs   Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Then it’s off to Chaco Canyon National Historical Park in Northern New Mexico near Farmington. for a walking tour with archeologist Larry Baker who talks about the once thriving community of as many as 20,000 residents.  Occupied from around 800AD to the 1,200s when environmental changes led the residents to abandon their community and migrate to healthier environments.


Correspondent Julie Henning Explores Marrakesh, Morocco


All photos by Julie Henning

Morocco Monkey Listen to Julie Henning’s report featured on the NPR.ORG Podcast site, “Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer” Check out this episode! Marrakesh is one of the busiest cities in Morocco. Located in North Africa, the country embodies a marriage of old-world traditions and modern-day lifestyle in a pulsing chaos of people, animals, and vehicles all intertwining in a culture uniquely its own. Earlier this month Ms. Henning took her third-grade daughter on a one-week trip to Marrakesh. They stayed with their multi-cultural friends Amanda and Youssef Moutakki ( in their third-floor apartment just one mile from the international airport. Visiting both the popular tourist destinations, staying with “the locals” gave Henning an inside glimpse into the ways of the Moroccan culture. Join Ms. Henning she visits the medina, the Arabic word for the fortified “old world” part of the City.
IMG_6612IMG_6616She meets snake charmers, musicians, food vendors and has henna IMG_6740tattoos emblazoned on their hands. The journey includes a visit to the hamam, the traditional Moroccan bathhouse and into the High Atlas Mountains for lunch in the Berber village of Ourika. Henning’s daughter played soccer with neighborhood children and posed for a souvenir photo while a monkey sat on her head. Culinary excursions included cotton candy wrapped around a bamboo twig and shared nightly meals cooked on the stove in an earthenware clay pot called a tajine. Ms. Henning also accompanies her friend, Amanda, to the Center for Language and Culture for twice weekly language classes with the intent of becoming a fluent speaker of Moroccan Arabic.


Dublin Ireland’s Legendary St. Patrick’s Festival

IMG_7711Listen to the NPR.ORG podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer  Check out this episode! Come along for an exploration of the annual four-day St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, Ireland. Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer for a visit with Susan Kirby, St. Patrick’s Festival Director, and Simon O’Connor, Curator of the Little Dublin Museum who talks about the St. Patrick’s Parade, past and present.IMG_7485

Susan Kirby, St. Patrick's Festival Director Dublin, Ireland

Susan Kirby, St. Patrick’s Festival Director Dublin, Ireland

Next up, we’ll visit with Christina Walsh and her Irish National Tourist Board associates as they share their “locals” insight about cool things to do and see in Dublin throughout the four-day affair. performs at Powerscourt Center, downtown Dublin, Ireland performs at Powerscourt Center, downtown Dublin, Ireland

 Keelan McCluskey, and his partner Catherine Mullarkey, founders of Dublin based JIG.IE a showcase of traditional Irish Dance. performs at Powerscourt Center, downtown Dublin, Ireland. Trevor White, Director of the City of a 1,000 Welcomes describes the award-winning tourism program that introduces visitors to locals who take them out for a pint and new found friendship. We’ll board The Famine ship Jeanie Johnson for a visit with skipper John O’neil, who talks about the legendary vessel moored on the River Liffey in the heart of Dublin.DUBLIN IMAGE



World-class Jazz, Art & Theater in Kansas City, Missouri

Tom Wilmer & Glenn North

Tom Wilmer & Glenn North

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer at The American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Missouri for a visit with Glenn North, Education Manager and Poet in Residence. North talks about the illustrious Kansas City Blues tradition showcased at the American Jazz Museum located in the heart of the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District. Highlights include four major exhibits of jazz greats Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Charlie Parker. A mixing station allows visitors to create their own mix of sounds. Wee-Bop offers children a chance to learn about the swinging sounds of Jazz. The museum’s Blue Room, hosts live jazz performances by jazz musicians four nights a week. 


Tom Wilmer with Jane Chu

Tom Wilmer with Jane Chu

Next stop of a visit with Jane Chu serves as the president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri. As the performance home of the Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the Kauffman Center hosts community presentations from classical to contemporary dance, Broadway, children’s theater with local, national and international artists.




And then we’ll join Kathleen Leighton, at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. The museum is recognized internationally as one of the finest encyclopedic art museums in the US the museum currently maintains collections of more than 33,500 works of Art.


Check out this episode! on NPR.ORG Podcast site, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer

Nashville Country music rep, Ken McMeans based in Morro Bay

Ken & Tom

Ken Mcmeans (lft) Tom Wilmer (rt)

Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer as he visits with Country music talent rep Ken McMeans, who’s going against the grain and running his major country agency from the Central Coast of California. Ken McMeans Presents is now based in beautiful Morro Bay and Ken talks about how and why he’s able to work successfully outside of Nashville with artists like Meghan Linsey (Steel Magnolia), Michael Peterson, Bryan White, Herrick and Jesse Keith Whitley.

He also discusses how the ocean community he lives in is benefitting from his relocation to paradise. Ken McMeans Presents, represents National Country Artists & Tours, Grandstand/Main Stage/Secondary Stage events at Fairs/Festivals/Casinos/PACs/Clubs across the country.

Listen to Ken McMeans interview on NPR.ORG Podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer: Check out this episode!



Lake Winnebago Traditions: Spearing Lake Sturgeon–Part 2

Weighing SturgeonCorrespondent, Julie Henning reports from Northeast Wisconsin on opening day of the Sturgeon spearing season.

A gentle giant of a prehistoric fish, the sturgeon can exist quietly along a lake bottom for over a decade. Harvested each February from the depths of Lake Winnebago in Northeast Wisconsin, sturgeons are pulled up from rectangular holes cut in the thick ice using giant pitchfork-like spears—a Native American technique passed on through the decades.
Sturgeon spearing is an activity that requires patience, perseverance, and happenstance. From selecting the best place for your ice shanty to finding a lucky decoy, some people have waited decades to even see a sturgeon. Others hook their fish within the first few minutes of opening day.
Those that hunt for the sturgeon caviar consider it a delicacy; most people agree the meat tastes best smoked, boiled, or deep fried. Regulated by the Wisconsin DNR and protected by the non-profit organization Sturgeon for Tomorrow, only one fish is allowed per person per season.
Participating in the opening weekend of the 2014 sturgeon-spearing season, correspondent Julie Henning takes us to a frozen Fond du Lac, Wisconsin ( —a community that embraces and celebrates the many traditions tied to sturgeon spearing on Lake Winnebago.
Shanda Hubertus is part of the “cutting in” crew with Wendt’s On the Lake, getting the shanties primed and ready for opening day. On opening morning, Chad Theis and Nicole Skauge missed a sturgeon the size of a Buick. Mary Lou Schneider and Mary Lou Schneider have been sturgeon fishing for the better part of the last decade, and dispel the mystery behind why a woman typically hooks a sturgeon before her husband.
Listen to Julie’s Podcast on NPR.ORG Podcast, “Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer: Check out this episode!

Dive and Rescue EquipmentTo learn more about Correspondent, Julie Henning: