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Kona Coffee Fest

360 Magazine’s Culture Editor, Tom Wilmer shares highlights of the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival on the Big Island of Hawaii November 1st through November 10th.

Celebrating its 49th year, the ten-day affair is Hawaii’s oldest food festival. Of course the legendary Kona coffee is the anchor, but music, art, crafts, dance and farm tours are integral aspects of the event.

The festival is an affair that locals savor and look forward to all year, with months of behind-the-scenes advance planning. A popular event with the locals, chefs, and consumers alike is the KTA Super Store’s Kona Coffee Recipe Contest.

There are festivals around the world that are crafted primarily for the tourist, but this is one of those special events that’s propelled by passionate islanders–and visitors are instantly welcomed in to the fold and quickly feel the Aloha of being a member of the island family.

The festival kicks-off November 1st with a sunset Lantern Parade strolling down Alii Drive in the heart of historic Kailua Village.

A sampler of other cool events include a coffee and arts stroll though Holualoa Town, cultural activities and demonstrations with local artists at the Donkey Mill Art Center, and the Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Competition at the Aloha Theater—and those are just samplers from one day in the festival line up.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Did you know there are more than 600 Kona Coffee estate-producers within the Kona District—and if it ain’t grown in Kona District-it ain’t Kona Coffee.

Coffee has been a part of Hawaii’s agricultural fabric for more than 200 years. It was the immigrants, many who were looking for an alternative to working in the sugarcane fields, who propelled the coffee industry on the Big Island and throughout the State of Hawaii.

Symbolic of Hawaii’s multi-cultural roots, the pioneering coffee workers and planters’ roots read like a page from the United Nations—China, Portugal, Korea, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Japan, Hawaiians and Europeans—and today fifth and sixth generation coffee farmers continue the tradition.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST INTERVIEW AT THE LIVING HISTORY COFFEE FARM

The Festival honors the historic cultural roots with living-history farm tours, coffee picking and other hands-on farm experiences, a Kona Coffee 101 Seminar, and the Kona Historical Society’s Annual Farm Fest.

Greenwell Farms is hosting a “seed to cup” tour that includes a close-up look at the harvesting, process, and of course tasting Greenwell’s 100% award-winning Kona Coffee.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to CHAI at GREENWELL FARMS’ KCBX/NPR ONE Podcast

For the coffee purest, be sure to mark your calendar to experience the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. A panel of judges from around the world will conduct side-by-side blind tastings of more than 50 entries.

Grand Finale—a Taste of Kona at the Sheraton

An evening of culinary delights featuring local Island Chefs and a fabulous silent auction. Music and dancing under the stars with award-winning Kahulanui- a nine piece Hawaiian Swing Band from the Big Island of Hawaii.

Certified cupping judges who have spent three days scoring Kona’s top farms in the prestigious Kona Coffee Cupping Competition will be on-hand to discuss results. Tickets are $50 general and $80 VIP (includes table seating) and can be purchased online at eventbrite.com and search The Grand Finale… A Taste of Kona! Come meet the winners from the Kona Coffee cupping contest and the Kona Coffee recipe contest at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

Click here to listen to KCBX/NPR ONE Podcast interview with Festival Board President Valerie Corcoran.

Why Knoxville Rocks

360 Magazine Culture Editor, Tom Wilmer explores Knoxville—the third largest city in Tennessee.

When people think of Tennessee, Nashville and Memphis get the prime spotlight, and they most often make the top of the to-do list for travelers. But Knoxville has an abundance of attractions that are alluringly unique.

Knoxville’s first iteration as a world-class travel destination happened with a bang when the town hosted the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair. Today the two remaining iconic vestiges are the Sunsphere tower, and a stunningly beautiful riverside performance amphitheater.

Knoxville is graced with historic architecture, both in the urban core, and surrounding residential neighborhoods, but its the friendliness of the people is an essential ingredient that makes the town so attractive.

Most of the businesses are locally owned. There’s been a recent explosion of new upscale eateries (more than 80 in the urban core) and trendy brew pubs that keep the downtown core hopping in to the wee hours of the night. Festivals like the annual Rhythm and Blooms Blues Festival in May is just a sampler of the live events that take place downtown throughout the year.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW KNOXVILLE VIDEO SLIDE SHOW

Outdoor hiking, biking and kayaking are viral endeavors for locals and visitors alike. Knoxville rightfully touts its super popular Urban Wilderness with more than 1,000 unspoiled acres right in the heart of the city.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE NPR One/KCBX PODCAST INTERVIEW with Angie Wilson at Visit Knoxville to hear the backstory on just why this vibrant town bustles with new, locally-owned businesses.

Carol Evans shares insights about the city’s Urban Wilderness adventures for hikers, bikers. and kayakers. Sam Carlton at the four-star The TENNESSEAN Hotel talks about the Knoxville World’s Fair back in 1982, and how the momentum instilled by the fair continues today.

Tom Bugg, general manager at the city’s two historic theaters—the Tennessee and the Bijou Theatre—paints a vivid picture of Knoxville’s past and present, and how the renovation of the theaters served as an economic stimulus for other downtown revitalization projects.

David Butler, executive director at the Knoxville Museum of Art talks about community engagement through showcasing regional art, educational outreach and gratis admission.

The 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair “Sunsphere”still graces the skyline in the heart of town

Lodi—Napa without the crowds

360 Magazine Culture Editor, Tom Wilmer explores Lodi, California’s exemplary wine, cuisine and culture.

Lodi has been chugging along as a major wine and grape producer for more than a Century.

Located in the San Joaquin Valley a hundred miles inland from San Francisco and a five-hour drive from Hollywood, Lodi is a highly recommended weekend wine getaway.

Why? You’ll discover truly world-class family run wineries and businesses with the added allure of a small town innocence where the people are friendly and welcoming.

Liz Bokish at Bokish Vineyards

Liz Bokisch savors her wine at Bokisch Vineyards. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Lodi has long been legendary for their Zinfandel—producing more than 40 percent of all premium Zin sold in California. But, Lodi does not get the media-buzz like Napa Valley—and in a way that’s a good thing as it offers an opportunity to experience a world-class wine region that has not gone over the top.

Word Class? Yes. In 2015 the prestigious Wine Spectator proclaimed Lodi as the Wine Region of the year.

Michael David Winery

Michael David;s brilliant Seven Deadly Zins label propelled the winery from a boutique operation to 700,000 case production in 2018. Today FreakShow is a star label. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Lodi was awarded Wine Enthusiast’s coveted “Wine Region of the Year” in 2015, and in September 2018, USA Today’s Readers’ Poll awarded Lodi with second place in the Top 10 Best Wine Regions in America.

Lodi winemakers regularly walk away with double-golds at wine competitions. Mettler Family Vineyards’ winemaker Adam Mettler, was recipient of Wine Spectator’s prestigious 2018 Winemaker of the Year award.

Mettler Family Vineyards tasting room

Mettler Family Vineyards tasting room in Lodi, California. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

There are also delightful upstarts like Ms. Sue Tipton. She didn’t even think about becoming a winemaker until she was 50 years-old—and when she did, she decided to only craft white wines.

Everyone told her she wouldn’t make a go of it unless she also made reds.

Tifton plowed ahead in spite of the naysayers and it wasn’t long before her Voignier won the “Best in the State of California” at the 2016 California State Fair.

Acquiesce Winery awards

Just a sampler of Acquiesce Winery’s award winning white wines. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Come for a visit and you will be pleasantly comforted by the absence of bumper-to-bumper traffic—it’s stone cold refreshing—and savor the preponderance of laid back family run wineries.

It’s no accident that Lodi Wine is slated to be the official wine of the 2019 Amgen Tour of California.

old vine zin at Lucas Winery

Lucas Winery”s old-vine zin planted in 1933 aren’t the oldest zinfandel vines in Lodi–some date from the 1880s. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Wine is just one of the many cool ingredients that make Lodi such a tempting destination—there’s also a burgeoning culinary scene with, of course, a downtown microbrewery.

At Wine & Roses Inn and Spa—you’ll meet, and hopefully have time for dinner prepared by James Beard award-winning chef—Bradley Ogden, a true California culinary legend and trendsetter.

Chef Bradley Ogden in the kitchen at Wine & Roses Inn, Lodi, California. Photo Credit: Lodi Wine Commission

Chef Ogden came to national attention in the early 1980s at Kansas City’s famed The American Restaurant shortly after graduating from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America.

Ogden served as executive chef at San Francisco’s Campton Place Hotel before opening his first restaurant, The Lark Creek Inn, in 1989.

Over the years, he’s been involved in dozens of legendary California restaurant operations, including One Market in San Francisco, his namesake eatery in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace, The Lark Creek Inn, Larkspur, and Root 246 in Solvang.

Ogden recently settled in Lodi, California, where he serves as culinary director at Wine & Rose Resort & Spa’s Town House restaurant.

Wine & Roses Inna and Spa’s evocative architecture. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Wine & Roses Spa

Wine & Roses Spa in Lodi, California. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

tranquil vista at Wine and Roses Inn Lodi, California. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Lodi kayaking

Kayaking on Lake Lodi. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

morning outing with Headwaters Kayak Company in Lodi. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Listen in to the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer KCBX/NPR One audio podcast series to hear the stories and tales of the Lodi wine world as told by the locals:

Click here to listen to the Podcast interview at Lucas Winery

Click here for Lodi overview, kayaking, biking, and agricultural history podcast

Wine tasting venues in Lodi are cozy and inviting–like this romantic setting at Macchia Winery. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Click here to listen to Chef Bradley Ogden’s Podcast interview

Chef Bradley Ogden dinner at Wine and Roses Inn, Lodi, California. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Sunset in the fields at Acquiesce Winery Lodi, California. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Old water wagon at Oak Farm Winery Lodi, California. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Lodi Wine Trail. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Back in the day in Lodi, California. Photo Courtesy Lodi Wine Commission

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast Directory, Apple Podcast, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. Member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C.

Texas Country Musician–from Nashville to NASA

Tom Wilmer 360 Magazine Culture Editor reports from the heart of Texas in Burnet County where he visits with a Texas country music legend.

John Arthur Martinez performing deep in the heart of Texas

John Arthur Martinez has written more than 700 songs, and produced 13 albums including his latest, San Antonio Woman.

One of Martinez’s songs went intergalactic—accompanying the crew of the space shuttle Atlantis.

John Arthur Martinez’s music accompanied the Space Shuttle Atlantis astronauts company while orbiting the earth. Photo Credit: NASA

Martinez, a veteran of the TV series Nashville Star, visits with correspondent Tom Wilmer at the Trailblazer Grill in the Highland Lakes town of Burnet.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO JOHN ARTHUR MARTINEZ KCBX/NPR-ONE PODCAST INTERVIEW

Music segments included in the Podcast: An Early Thursday Morning, The Ride, and Making Good Time used with permission of the artist, John Arthur Martinez.

 

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryApple Podcast, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. Member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Underwriting support provided by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Ice Breaker ferry ride through Death’s Door

360 Magazine Culture Editor Tom Wilmer reports from Door County Wisconsin.

If you’re not familiar with Wisconsin, look at a map of the state and you’ll notice a jutting peninsula (locals fondly refer to the peninsula as Wisconsin’s thumb) on the eastern flank. That’s Door County; cradled on the western flank is Sturgeon Bay and legendary Green Bay.

Summertime is crazy-busy tourist time with vacationers from around the midwest who have a multi-generational fondness for the rural county.

It’s a rural paradise where cherry orchards remain king, but today family-owned wineries have also become part of the landscape, alongside the ever popular roadside farm stands.

 

Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market in Fish Creek, Wisconsin–symbolizes Door County’s multi-generational family owned businesses. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

     Summertime rocks with legendary lakeside fish boils and  beachside barbecues with live music.

Legendary Fish Boil at Rowleys Bay Resort & Restaurant Ellison Bay, Wisconsin. Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

 

Rowleys Resort Ellison Bay, Wisconsin

Innkeeper at Rowleys Bay Resort Ellison Bay, Wisconsin shows off the end result of the fish boil. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Fish Creek, Wisconsin

Sundowner barbecue and live music on the bay at Fish Creek, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant

Around back–at Al Johnsons Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, Wisconsin. Actually they are legend for their goats who mow the restaurant’s sod-roof during the summer months–oh and they serve great food too! Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

If you’re based in a southern state or on the West Coast you might presume that come wintertime the locals in the Northern Tier states hunker down by the fireplace until the spring thaw.

 

Outdoor adventuring on Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in the heart of Door County. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Come up for a visit in the midst of winter and you will see the locals just as busy playing and adventuring in the outdoors as they do in July or August.

 

Great fun to ride a vehicle across the bay to go ice fishing. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Cross Country skiing, snow shoeing, hiking, ice skating–and ice fishing are super popular winter activities. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crprEtOV-pI

Videographer Jason Lopez produced a 360 video featuring the Washington Island Ferry Service with Richard Purinton and Jon Jarosh from the Door County Visitor Bureau

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE KCBX/NPR One PODCAST about the Washington Island Ferry

End of the road-- Door County Peninsula

The northern end of the Door County Peninsula exhibits a distinctive, intoxicating beauty. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

A cool mid-winter adventure takes place at the northern end of the Door Peninsula–that’s where you board the ice-breaker ferry for a ride across the straits—dubbed long ago by pioneer adventurers Deaths’ Door.

The roots of the name stem from the potentially brutal and sometimes deadly experience when early settles traveled by boat between the peninsula and ports around Lake Michigan.

Washington Island Ferry wintertime

Washington Island Ferry. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Today the Washington Island Ferry transports locals and visitors every day of the year–shuttling passengers between the peninsula and nearby Washington Island.

The Washington Island Ferries are equipped with hardened ice-breaking bows that carve their way across the straits skirting the fringe of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. 

Death's Door Door County, Wisconsin

Crossing the straits of Death’s Door on the fringe of Lake Michigan en route to Washington Island. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Settled long ago by Norwegian and Icelandic pioneers, Washington Island remains populated by descendants of the first homesteaders (the island today claims a large population of Icelandic descendants)–of course along with a new generation of hardy souls, many attracted specifically because of its remoteness and unspoiled natural beauty.

Washington Island Stavkirke

Washington Island’s revered Norwegian Stavkirke (church of Staves) is based on drawings of a church in Borglund, Norway constructed in 1150 AD. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

A saving grace for the island’s pristine environment is that it has experienced minimal development and claims around 700 full-time residents, swelling to more than 1,500 during the summertime.

One of the big draws is a visit to one of the island lavender farms, and lunch at one of the local diners.

In addition to the natural beauty of Washington Island, and Door County, a precious attraction is the friendliness and welcoming attitude of the locals.

White Gull Inn Innkeeper with his woodie

Innkeeper at White Gull Inn shows off his classy ride. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

A stop at a coffee shop is an integral part of life year round on the Door Peninsula. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Fun with the locals at Rowleys Resort Ellison Bay, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Jon Jarosh with the Door County Visitor Bureau. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Discovering magical Madison

360 Culture Editor Tom Wilmer and his associate, Annita Thomas from Atlanta, Georgia visit with Diane Morganthaler, Executive Vice President of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Diane shares a litany of cool things to do and see for the entire family

CLICK HERE to listen to the NPR.ONE Podcast interview

 

Madison, Wisconsin’s State Capital is deftly framed by the rooftop of Monona Terrace. Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

Many of Madison’s attractions are free, including the Henry Vilas Zoo, the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Concerts on the Square, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and Wisconsin State Capital tours.

 

Original Frank Lloyd Wright 1938 rendering for Madison’s Monona Terrace

Madison, Wisconsin’s Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center was first proposed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1938. But it was 21 years before the project was completed, sadly just weeks after Wright’s death.

 

Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural rendering for Monona Terrace on the waterfront in Madison, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Stunning rooftop vistas from Monona Terrace in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Monona Terrace rooftop Madison, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Madison, Wisconsin is passionately proud of their bike and pedestrian friendly culture

 

Classic theater in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. Photo Credit Tom Wilmer

 

Don’t miss the free tours at Wisconsin’s State Capital in downtown Madison. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Friday evening is party time on the rooftop deck of the Edgewater Hotel and adjacent Boathouse on the lakefront in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Always time for a sunset paddle on the lake in Madison, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Madison, Wisconsin’s weekly farmers market is crazy popular. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Exploring Madison, Wisconsin’s neighborhoods reveal endless architectural gems. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Classic circa-1917– Frank Lloyd Wright’s USONIAN homes remain strikingly contemporary a century later. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Daring distillers are passionate about their craft in Madison, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

If plants are your thing Madison is the place for you at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Madison’s Children’s Museum is a must if you’re bringing the kids. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Madison, Wisconsin’s Children’s Museum includes a rooftop garden complete with real chickens. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM PODCAST

Gabriella Gearghardt at Madison, Wisconsin’s Children’s Museum. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Join Gabriella Gerhardt, Development Officer at the Madison Children’s Museum in Wisconsin. It’s a hands-on engaging place where free-play is the operative. Discover why NPR ranked one of the exhibits among the top ten in America, and learn about the live chickens, the human hamster cage, the engaging Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit, and more—just for kids.

 

Madison, Wisconsin’s captivating Museum of Contemporary Art is another must-do. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

The outside of the Museum of Modern Art in downtown Madison, Wisconsin beckons one to check out what’s on the inside. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Celebrating 117 years, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is the longest serving cultural organization in the city. Join Erika Monroe-Kane Director of Communications for an insider’s look at the ways the free-access museum brings art to the people and people to the art in MadisonWisconsin. MMOCA attracts visitors through engaging cutting-edge art that serves as powerful visual metaphors for social issues, and injustices.

CLICK HERE to listen to the Podcast interview with Erika Monroe-Kane, Director of Communications

 

 

Sunset party at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Wisconsin’s State Capital is stunning night or day. iPhone 6s photo credit: Tom Wilmer

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryApple Podcast, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. Member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C.

Lake Geneva Wisconsin-year round paradise

360 Magazine Culture Editor, Tom Wilmer visits with Kathleen Seeberg, Executive Director of Walworth County Visitors Bureau as she shares insights about the four seasons attractions of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

boating and yachting on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin has been an iconic part of the allure since the 1870s. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

The modern iteration of Lake Geneva as a consummate resort/vacation destination commenced with Gilded Age barons of Chicago who came to build their mansions on the shores of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin following the devastating Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

 

Iconic Eastlake Victorian architecture on the Lake Geneva waterfront. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Situated just 75 miles away from the Windy City, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin quickly became a coveted destination for the rich and famous…and it remains true today.

The innkeeper’s welcoming smile at the historic circa-1856 Maxwell Mansion symbolizes the friendliness of the locals in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin  Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Over the years, the lakefront town has evolved in to a year-round vacation destination for everybody even though luxurious mansions still line the lakefront—and in Lake Geneva’s modest fashion—even the resort-sized mansions are sometimes fondly referred to as summer cottages and cabins.

 

Since the days of Big Band live music performances Lake Geneva’s Riviera remains as cool place for gatherings of all sorts. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Vacation time in Lake Geneva doesn’t stop with the first November gales…that’s when the locals start prepping for the winter ice festival, tuning up their ice boat racers, and dreaming of snowmobiling, drilling holes in the ice, and setting up their fish shanties on the frozen lake.

 

Gage Marine century old classic vessels are an ideal way to cruise around on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

In the wheelhouse of an iconic Gage Marine vessel touring Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Bill Gage at Pier 290 Restaurant at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

This us just a sampler of the outdoor allures that keep this cool, small town humming year round. The businesses are mostly ma & pa operations–an important ingredient that makes Lake Geneva a most welcoming place.

 

Downtown Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is like stepping back in time. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Lake Geneva Wisconsin’s downtown Horticultural Hall pays homage to the region’s agrarian roots. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE NPR.ORG PODCAST ALL ABOUT LAKE GENEVA

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO BILL GAGE PODCAST TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING MARITIME ON LAKE GENEVA

 

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryApple Podcast, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. Member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C.

Doggie Haven-Home For Life

360 Magazine Culture Editor,Tom Wilmer, reports from Wisconsin where he discovers a last hope option for unadoptable dogs and cats.

There are two standard options for dogs and cats that arrive at shelters and pounds: adoption or euthanasia.

Lisa LaVerdia decided to create another option that she dubbed The Third Door, providing a home for unadoptable dogs and cats.

Dr. Jane Goodall visits with Home For Life’s Raha

In a recent visit to Home For Life in rural Wisconsin Tom learns that LaVerdia was a successful lawyer with a specialization in asbestos issues and juvenile lead poisoning.

But mid-career, she took down her shingle, purchased 40 acres skirting the Apple River in Star Prairie, Wisconsin, and opened the Home For Life sanctuary for dogs and cats.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO Lisa LaVerdia on NPR.ORG digital media podcast

 

Lisa LaVerdia at Home For Life   Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Central to Laverdia’s mission is to provide care for life for dogs and cats that are unadoptable—either due to severe health issues or traumatic injuries, often intentionally inflicted by sadistic tormenters.

Through a network of animal rescuers around the world, the dogs arrive from various countries including India, Southeast Asia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

The facility includes temperature-controlled buildings and three catteries, including a building specifically for cats with communicable feline leukemia.

 

Journalist Heide Brandes visits with kitties at Home For Life   Photo Credit:Tom Wilmer

In addition to being home to an average of 100 cats, about 100 dogs reside at the facility in doggie accommodations that include suites and townhouses designed for dogs who need to live in pairs or small groups— complete with piped-in music.

Dog and cat runs are attached to each residential unit, along with four off-leash, expansive meadows.

 

Heide Brandes with paralyzed doggie at Home For Life  Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Staffer Barbara Swenson at Home For Life’s Cattery   Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Latest News– Ashely Judd is scheduled to participate in Home For Life’s gala 2019 fundraiser!

 

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast DirectoryApple Podcast, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. Member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C

Eau Claire–Inspired Culture

Culture Editor Tom Wilmer explores Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a city of 68,000 that has rapidly evolved to become a trend-setting cultural mecca.

EAU CLAIRE abounds with classic architecture melded with cutting-edge street art  Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

The driver behind the city’s renaissance has everything to do with the passionately engaged locals, including a 39-year-old tech executive who’s invested millions of his own money revitalizing his hometown’s anchor hotel-conference center, and millions more in Eau Claire’s new performing arts center, the Pablo Center at the Confluence in the heart of town.

The cutting-edge facility’s inaugural season includes dance productions, literary and film events, along with a series of musical events performed in the 1,200-seat main theater. Mack John, Public Relations Manager at Visit Eau Claire, notes, “there are multiple art galleries featuring regional and national visual art displays representing an array of mediums. And in keeping with Eau Claire’s emphasis on community engagement, the galleries are free and open to the public.”

Workers installing finishing touches at the Pablo Center in downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin in preparation for opening day festivities September 22nd 2018    Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

John added that there are also multipurpose spaces on the third floor that offer dramatic vistas of the Chippewa River and the city’s lighted Phoenix Park Bridge.

A line up of the 2018-2029 live performances includes: Cloud Cult, Ganavya Doraiswamy, Tony Jackson, Ailey II, Kate Lindsey/Baptiste Trotignon, The Oak Ridge Boys, Blind Boys of Alabama, Kodo Taiko, Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure, La Caverne (torch Sisters), Aaron Diehl, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, and Farewell Angelina.

 

Mack John at the Eau Claire Farmers Market   Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Kristin Dexter, co-owner of Forage EC Community kitchen in Eau Claire is a prime example of why the town is thriving. Listen to her conversation in the NPR.ORG Podcast   Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Eau Claire’s proud multi-ethnic pride is exemplified by the Hmong seller at Farmers Market in the heart of town. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Trend-setting Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s hip and happening Shift–it’s a combination coffee house and bicycle repair place Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

tranquility is mere feet away from the heart of downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE NPR.ORG PODCAST–CONVERSATIONS WITH PASSIONATELY INVOLVED LOCALS

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast travel show,  Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast Directory,  Apple Podcast, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer

 

Big Island’s Bright Side

360 Magazine Culture Editor Tom Wilmer reports from the Big Island of Hawaii

The reason the 4,000-square-mile island of Hawaii is fondly dubbed the “Big Island” is because it’s the size of Connecticut—it’s so big, all of the other Hawaiian Islands would fit within the boundary of the island.

The island’s recent volcanic activity has impacted the economy due to substantial cancellations by vacationers. But there are major resort destinations far from the adverse effects of the lava flows and attendant air pollution.

For example, the Kohala Coast—with a large enclave of homes, condos, and resorts—is situated approximately 100 miles from the East Rift Zone.

Join the conversation with three islanders as they share their thoughts about the positive aspects of island life today. Simon Amos is the hotel manager at the Hilton Waikoloa Village; Vicky Kometani works at the historic Mauna Kea Resort in the heart of the Kohala Coast; and Laura Aquino is with Island Events based in Kona.

Mauna Kea’s beach is one of Hawaii’s most exotic

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE NPR.ORG PODCAST INTERVIEW

Many local businesses island-wide are experiencing a downturn in business, and some workers have had their hours cut back or been laid off due to the decrease in tourism.

International news reports have been surgically focused on the Kīlauea volcano’s East Rift Zone volcanic eruptions and seismic activity—leaving many people with the false impression that the entire island is a disaster zone.

Big Island Hawaii’s Kohala Coast sunset

Paradoxically, Volcanoes National Park has been the island’s number one tourist draw for decades.

150 years ago, 31 year-old Mark Twain put the island’s volcanism on the world map when he came to the island specifically to experience and write about the island’s volcanic activity as a correspondent for the Sacramento Union newspaper in 1866.

Helicopter flightseeing companies, such as Paradise Helicopters, cater to tourists and locals alike signing up for over-flights of the volcano. Adventurous tourists and locals are hopeful that a viewing platform will open in the near future for up-close observation of the flows.

Volcanism and its attendant vog (volcanic fog) have been an intermittent part of island life for more than 30 years. Vog is definitely an issue in the Kona Kailua area, but most days up the coast along the Kohala Coast the sky is often bright blue and clear.