2The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #15: National Computer Museum
The way we see it, country music fanatics have Opryland, those obsessed with the Civil War have Gettysburg and geeks, well, geeks have the National Computer Museum in Mountain View, Calif. Learn about a PDP-1 restoration project, brush up on the history of computer chess and practice your knowledge of microprocessors. Bask in the warmth of being surrounded by those who are as passionate about the computing revolution as you are.
3The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #14: The Geeks Baseball Stadium Tour
The Geek’s Baseball Stadium Tour
The most devoted baseball fans tour baseball stadiums across the United States, but geeks can have their field tours, too. May we suggest the brand-new National Historic Landmark HP Garage, in Palo Alto, Calif., followed by a spin at the Googleplex or Yahoo’s headquarters in Mountain View? It would be a shame to miss the Intel Museum in Santa Clara while you’re there. Unfortunately, the Motorola Museum in Schaumburg, Ill., will require an extra plane ticket, but what’s a couple hundred bucks to a true follower of technology’s fields of dreams?
4The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #13: World Science Fiction Convention
World Science Fiction Convention
If you need any further evidence that the World Science Fiction Convention is the ultimate geek vacation-aside from the fact that our own Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has gone many years-just browse the membership rules (“You can only be a member of one or more particular World Science Fiction Conventions. The membership of World Science Fiction Society is defined as the membership of the upcoming Worldcon so joining that Worldcon is the only way to join WSFS”). But all needling rules aside, the 65th World Science Fiction Convention, Aug. 30 to Sept. 3, the first one ever in Japan, is not to be missed. Have a late-night filk singing session with the world’s biggest sci-fi fans. Even better, child care is available upon request.
5The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #12: Great Places for Nerdy Reasons
Great Places for Nerdy Reasons
There is simply nothing geekier than going to great places for nerdy reasons. New Zealand might be a place to start, not for its award-winning Sauvignon Blanc, but because “Lord of the Rings” was filmed there. A little more off-the-beaten-track is Snoqualmie Falls in Snoqualmie, Wash., which appeared frequently in the cult television series “Twin Peaks.”
6The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #11: The Queen Mary 2
How is the most posh cruise ship in the world a haven for geekery? We’re so glad you asked. Oh sure, some go for the caviar and silver spoon treatment, but a real geek would be taking in its IT magnificence, from “first-class network architecture” to “100-megabit Ethernet cables and a network switch between every pair of cabins.” 13 spacious decks and pre-prandial canap-s have nothing on this.
7The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #10: National Air and Space Museum
It’s a given that no self-respecting geek would make it to Washington, D.C., without hitting the NASM, but the in-the-know nerds will actually be going back this summer to check out the new Udvar-Hazy Center in nearby Dulles. There you can see actual large aircraft such as the Space Shuttle Enterprise, Concorde and the Blackbird spy plane, all from inside a huge hangar replete with a “control tower” where you can go watch flight operations at the nearby airport. We’d like to see your pocket-protected brethren beat that.
8The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #9: International Spy Museum
Once you’ve gotten your fill—though is that even possible?—of air and space, don your darkest trench coat, pop the collar and slink quietly back into downtown Washington to the International Spy Museum, where the exhibits include “The Secret History of History” and a “School for Spies,” replete with 200 spy gadgets from microdots and invisible ink, buttonhole cameras and submarine recording systems, bugs of all sizes and kinds, and ingenious disguise techniques developed by Hollywood for the CIA. The museum’s restaurant, Zola, makes a great martini that is—of course—shaken, not stirred.
9The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #8: The Quark Bar
So you think you’re a “Star Trek” fan, huh? Well, until you’ve been to the Quark Bar in Las Vegas you’re probably just phoning in those Trekkie credentials, because according to an anonymous in-house source, “getting served by a Borg is quite possibly geek nirvana.” Go cement your credentials over bowls of gummy worms and staggeringly sized Warp Core Breach cocktails.
10The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #7: Space Camp
If you thought Space Camp was only for privileged kids, we’re about to make your day. The Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., has a slew of programs for the 19-and-up set, including astronaut training, aviation challenges and even a corporate learning program for a workplace outing.
11The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #6: The Star Wars Odyssey Tour
We didn’t even want to admit how we came across this—we Googled it! We swear!—but someone on a Harrison Ford fan site put together a “Star Wars” vacation guide, which outlines a journey for the only-slightly-obsessed fan from Africa (the R2-D2/C-3PO crash site from Episode IV is in Tunisia) to Europe (special effects for “Return of the Jedi” were processed in the United Kingdom) to San Francisco, the home of George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic.
12The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #5: The Pennsic War
Considered by one member to be the biggest conglomeration of engineers, programmers and hackers outside Comdex, the Pennsic Wars are an annual event between the East and Middle Kingdoms of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a group of people who believe that life began in the middle ages. Each year, they get together at the Kingdom of ??Ãthelmearc at Coopers’ Lake Campground, dress up in armor and bash each other about with padded swords. Pennsic War 36 will be July 27 to Aug. 12, so you’re going to want to get your battlefield registration in ASAP.
13The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #4: Star Trek Convention
Star Trek Convention
You probably already know this, but the next Star Trek Convention is June 20 to 22 in Cherry Hill, N.J. But if you want to branch out this year, there’s a Battlestar Gallactica Convention Nov. 16 to 18 in Burbank, Calif., a Xena Convention Jan. 25 to 27, 2008, in the same location, and let’s not forget about the Comic-Con International event July 26 to 29 in San Diego.
14The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #3: Geek Cruises
Is your family complaining that you never go away on vacation and even when you do, you just nerd out the whole time? InSight Cruises founder Neil Bauman organizes cruise vacations for geeks and their families to far-flung destinations wherein the resident geeks can take training classes in their technology of choice. With names like Java Jam, Opera Odyssey, Mac Mania VII and the Perl Whirl, what’s not to love?
15The 15 Geekiest Vacations – #2: Geek Is in the Details
Geek Is in the Details
Geek is really in the details. Movies on a laptop, video iPod, portable DVD player, GPS with all the downloaded voices and maps, satellite radio and a Wi-Fi antenna so you have internet coverage down on the beach—they’re all par for the course. But bringing a headphone jack splitter in case the random person next to you (or maybe even a cute girl!) wants to watch, too—that’s geek.