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Savor summer with PBS Passport!

Welcome to today’s installment of “Handpicked by Heather”! It’s back-to-school time, so I had planned a “readin,’ writin,’ and ’rithmetic” themed Passport Picks newsletter for August. Every time I sat down to work on it, though, I couldn’t get motivated. Then suddenly the reason for my procrastination hit me—it’s still summer, and I’m just not ready to think about back-to-school (even if most Indiana K-12 schools have been back for weeks!). Instead, I’m digging into my PBS Passport member benefit to remind myself that there is still much to enjoy during these remaining days of summertime! Read on to join me in savoring just a sampling of what is left of the season.

Baratunde Thurston on a trail

America Outdoors with Baratunde Thurston

Last week found me in upstate New York, along with my youngest, Jesse, and his girlfriend, Kadence. The kids were eager for a little getaway before they start back at IU this week. They know I’m always up for a road trip, so we headed out together to explore amazing waterfalls, gorges, lakes, and hills of the Appalachian region of New York state.  We even glamped (“glamour camped”) in a safari tent outfitted with two queen beds and a covered deck! Unfortunately for her, Jennifer Pharr Davis didn’t have such deluxe accommodations when she hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2011. Learn more about Jennifer and other changemakers in Appalachia with your WTIU PBS Passport benefit when you tune in to this episode of America Outdoors.   


Photographer taking picture of a bison

The American Buffalo: A Story of Resilience

Speaking of road trips, master documentarian Ken Burns headed to another of my family’s favorite travel destinations—the Great Plains of the western United States—to create his latest film, The American Buffalo. The two-part, four-hour series premieres on WTIU on October 16, but Passport viewers can get an insider look at the program right now with legendary PBS News Hour anchor Judy Woodruff. In her conversation with Ken Burns, Judy interviews three experts, Jason Baldes, Rosalyn LaPier, and Dan Flores, to explore the lessons from the film. Tune in to this  exclusive opportunity  to learn the early history and special relationship between American Indigenous people and the buffalo; its relation to the larger grassland and prairie ecosystems; and tribal contributions to the restoration of the buffalo today.


Molly Tuttle

Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway: Live in Nashville

Earlier this summer, I was strolling along College Avenue in Bloomington when I noticed a flyer advertising the Switchyard Park Thursday Night Summer Music Series. I could hardly believe my eyes when I read that Molly Tuttle and her band Golden Highway would be playing IN BLOOMINGTON, FOR FREE on August 24! I’m still not sure how the city landed this hot young Grammy-award winning artist, but I’m thrilled they did as she is one of my absolute favorites. Her 2022 album Crooked Tree won the Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album and was named Album of the Year by both the International Folk Music Awards and the International Bluegrass Music Awards. Get ready for Molly Tuttle’s Bloomington debut (and Switchyard Park’s final concert of the summer) when you watch Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway: Live in Nashville with your WTIU PBS Passport benefit!


Crab and watermelon martini

Kitchen Queens: New Orleans  

Watermelon, summer succotash, and peaches—does the taste of summer get any better than these distinctive but fleeting flavors? Three New Orleans chefs, all women (aka “the kitchen queens”), answer that question in the Taste of Summer episode of Kitchen Queens: New Orleans featuring recipes for Watermelon Crab Martini, Drunk Shrimp with Summer Succotash, and Muscadine Wine Jell-O with Peaches and Cream. Learn how to create these three light and fresh dishes before the summer bounty runs out with your WTIU PBS Passport member benefit!


Bella from Hotel Portofino

Hotel Portofino

The summer season may be coming to a close in real life, but it will just be getting started when Season 2 of Hotel Portofino premieres on WTIU this fall! I just watched the first episode of Season 1 and am hooked on this gorgeous period piece. Set in the breathtakingly beautiful resort town of Portofino, this dramatic series is about personal awakening in the traumatic aftermath of World War I. While a last-minute trip to the Italian Riviera may not be in your late summer plans, you can visit the first season of Hotel Portofino any time that suits your schedule with PBS Passport; then see every episode of Season 2 after its broadcast premiere on October 15 to find out what lies ahead for Bella and her family in Portofino!


Seaside Hotel girls

Seaside Hotel

Looking for even more 1920s seaside intrigue, but with a lighter, comedic twist? Escape to Denmark’s Seaside Hotel with your PBS Passport member benefit! At Andersen’s Seaside Hotel by the North Sea dunes, meet the chambermaid Fie, the merchant's daughter Amanda, and the local fisherman Morten—whose fates are intertwined—as they seek to emancipate themselves from the plans other people have made on their behalf. From Walter Presents, in Danish with English subtitles, Seaside Hotel is a fan favorite. Watch (or re-watch) all nine seasons with your WTIU PBS Passport member benefit, and make summer last as long as you wish!