Readers responded to our Fall Travel issue with tips and questions, lamented kids’ lack of outdoor time, and defended actress Angie Harmon.

October 3, 2010

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Travel Smarts Regarding your Fall Travel issue’s “8 Great Long Weekends” (September 12), I have a much better suggestion for how to fly to Toronto: Porter Airlines. Porter flies directly from Logan to Toronto City Airport, which is right in downtown Toronto (Pearson International Airport is a $50 cab ride and an hour away from downtown, with traffic). When I’ve booked tickets to Toronto, I’ve found Porter’s flights to be cheaper than American Airlines or Air Canada, and you get free drinks on the flight and free snacks in the airport lounge.

Jennifer Startek / Nahant

Packing is always a struggle, and even as I’ve tried to follow Christie Matheson’s good-sense recommendations for going carry-on only (“Take a Load Off,” September 12), I’m flabbergasted that she was able to go on a three-week honeymoon with only carry-on bags. How on earth is this possible, especially with the carry-on weight limitations imposed for most international travel? My wife and I will soon be off for a 15-day European vacation via Alitalia, and the carry-on bag limitation is a mere 17.6 pounds (8 kg). I know we’ll have trouble enough limiting ourselves to one checked bag (50 pounds) each. I’m guessing that Matheson traveled before the weight limitations were put in place. But I’m all ears if she thinks it can still be done. Thanks for the good suggestions for packing discipline.

John O’Keefe / Easton

Christie Matheson responds: When traveling for our honeymoon, we didn’t run into the extreme carry-on weight limitations you are facing. This was in 2008, when there were many other restrictions in place. But international restrictions change frequently. I advise travelers to learn the limits for all legs of their trip and to be prepared to check a bag for certain portions, in which case, they should keep as many essentials as possible with them. For my honeymoon, I dressed strategically for the plane: I wore my hiking shoes as well as a fleece pullover under a lightweight rain jacket, which were the bulkiest clothes I brought. My clothes for Thailand were very light, and I stuck to one skirt, one dress, one pair of pants, and a few tops. Those, plus a thin sweater, worked for dinners in Bhutan, and the rest of what I packed were hiking-friendly and Buddhist-temple-friendly clothes for daytime. True, my new husband saw me in the same outfit fairly often (we were able to do laundry in Bhutan), but he didn’t mind because he was so impressed by the efficient packing.

Into the Woods In Phil Primack’s Perspective on why kids need to be out in nature (September 12), I was particularly struck by the story of the family whose son “never looked up from his Game Boy” while on a nature cruise. Years ago, our parents used driving trips to teach us about the natural world. We were encouraged to notice changes in vegetation as we moved from urban to rural to forest landscapes, and they stopped the car to show us waterfalls, views from mountain ranges, and tidal pools. These days, however, many parents have minivans with DVD players and headsets, not only substituting entertainment for communication with their children, but also disconnecting them from the natural environment.

Gabrielle Watling / Beverly

I grew up in what was then a rural part of a Midwestern state. Alone and with friends, I spent many an hour playing in the woods. I wore my father’s wading boots to walk in a running stream. We lay on flat rocks, trying to catch crawfish that were smarter than we were, but we enjoyed the struggle. We took our lunches, climbed trees, and made up games. When my friend’s mother rang a large bell, we went home. We took all of this for granted. We were luckier than we knew.

Ann Landau / Peabody

Thank you, Primack, for putting in print what families today are struggling with. I consider myself fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom with a husband who works 9 to 6. This is no longer the norm. Today’s families are juggling such rigid agendas that our children don’t have the freedom to just be kids in the backyard. On many a sunny day, I look out the window and see no other children playing outdoors. Our changing society has given children so much, but we’ve sacrificed the neighborhood ballgames and jumping rope with the girl down the street. We need to step back and let the kids play in the dirt again. So what if you do a bit more laundry?

M. Colella / Norwood

In Praise of Angie Charles P. Pierce, please stop mocking Rizzoli & Isles (Pierced, September 12). The TNT series is one of my new favorite TV shows. Angie Harmon is not the worst assistant district attorney that Jack McCoy ever had on Law & Order. (That honor goes to Annie Parisse, sadly.) Harmon was terrific. Harmon’s Rizzoli & Isles costar Sasha Alexander was also terrific in her previous role on NCIS. Between them, they’re making Rizzoli & Isles the new Cagney & Lacey, and their characters are definitely not to be compared to Oscar Madison and Felix Unger (also among my favorites).

David L. Smith / Waltham

Harmon was not even remotely the worst ADA on Law & Order. That distinction goes to the bottomlessly awful Elisabeth Rohm. Harmon had her flaws, but she was Meryl Streep compared with Rohm.

Joe Parker Gagne / Worcester

Comments? Write to or The Boston Globe Magazine/Letters, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819. Letters are subject to editing.

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