Taking a vacation on the home front

John
John Gushue
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I won't be taking my summer vacation until mid-August, but my mind has been on taking it easy. A few weeks ago, our son made a list of things he'd like to do around the city this summer, which struck his parents as a great idea: why not, indeed, take advantage of what's in our own backyard?

That theme gets this week's web tour underway.

St. John's Time

www.stjohnstime.ca

I won't be taking my summer vacation until mid-August, but my mind has been on taking it easy. A few weeks ago, our son made a list of things he'd like to do around the city this summer, which struck his parents as a great idea: why not, indeed, take advantage of what's in our own backyard?

That theme gets this week's web tour underway.

St. John's Time

www.stjohnstime.ca

Let's have a round of applause for connecting the dots and working together. Some top-flight attractions in St. John's have evidently figured out they can work better by working together. The St. John's Folk Festival, the George Street Festival, the Royal St. John's Regatta all have their following, and they usually happen near each other. But a few times in the past, they've butted into each other, and I've often wondered why they didn't co-ordinate efforts to reach a wider audience. Smart, then, that they've banded together - with, let's not forget, the up-and-coming buskers' festival that happens on downtown blocks while the folk festival is underway - to better lure visitors. Click through to individual events.

Symposium Radio

www.soundsymposium.com

Meanwhile, the 13th edition of the Sound Symposium wrapped up in St. John's last Sunday. If you missed out on things, you can still sample a bit of the range of the festival by clicking on the Symposium Radio player, located on the main site. A playlist of tracks will open up, and while it's fairly small, it certainly suggests how wide the symposium's programming is. Look also for links to pages of many of the participating artists at this year's festival.

Cape Spear National Historic Site

www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/nl/spear/

index_E.asp

Cape Spear on Flickr

www.flickr.com/search/?q=Cape+ Spear

One of the first places our son wanted to visit, by the way, was Cape Spear. We've been out twice so far, and this year he was captivated by the battery abandoned after the Second World War. The official site has the information you'll need to know: visiting hours, what to expect, that sort of thing. What it's missing: the magic. There are only a few pictures about one of the most visually striking places we have. So, I went to Flickr and entered Cape Spear as tag words. What came back? Magic, in spades. You can see why so many people have been captivated by North America's most eastern point over time.

Regatta flag cam

boathousecam.dvrdns.org:8080

Hundreds of rowers (and their very, very patient loved ones) keep an eye every day on the flag status at the boathouse at Quidi Vidi Lake. Why? Well, green means go ... and you can figure out the rest. The flag, after all, determines if a crew gets practice time on the pond, and given that wind conditions can vary from one end of Quidi Vidi to the other, a lot can ride on it. This webcam is trained on it, and I can testify that at certain times of day, it must get quite a lot of viewers.

Elsewhere:

Wikitravel

wikitravel.org

I can't get over how large the travel section at many bookstores can be. That makes sense: for major trips, we've often invested in at least two resources to help guide us around. I also like heading to the web for tips and advice, and Wikitravel is one I can recommend. As the name suggests, it's user-generated, which raises questions about the quality if not the comprehensiveness. On the other hand, though, this is a good example of proof behind the "wisdom of crowds" theory that's prevailing these days. As a compliment to normal guides, it's terrific.

The Most Famous Hotels in the World

www.famoushotels.org/

I tend to travel modestly - or on the cheap, to be more blunt. That doesn't mean that one can't read up on what travel can entail. This site is basically a fantasy land, and a fun one to survey.

John Gushue is a news writer for CBCNews.ca in St. John's. E-mail: surf@thetelegram.com. Read past Surf's Up columns and daily updates at his blog: johngushue.typepad.com

Geographic location: St. John's, North America, Quidi Vidi Lake

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