THANK YOU for Steve Hendrix's wonderful writing in "The Great Indoors" [May 30].
I am a graduate student in interior design, and the importance of the connections he illustrated between the use of materials, the built environment and its natural surroundings was really quite wonderful. It is the sort of writing I am always looking for as future teaching material, but rarely find in architecture or shelter publications.
It is difficult to communicate to young designers how important it is for buildings to have meaning, to be uplifting and be relevant to the human experience (in a world where the technological possiblity of buildings frequently surpasses all other possiblities).
It is nice to see a newspaper where poignancy and lyricism have a place.
"THE CLASSIC Lodges" chart was a nice roundup of some of the spectacular places to stay in our national parks. However, your information for the Grand Canyon was misleading. While dorm rooms at Phantom Ranch, at the bottom of the Canyon, are inexpensive, they hardly qualify as "Other Options."
These limited rooms are for hikers. Reservations for them are taken up to 23 months in advance and they are often fully booked a year in advance. Several years ago, I was lucky to be able to reserve two nights together a year before my trip. The only other lodging at Phantom Ranch is for mule riders, and the reservation system is the same. Same-day reservations are by wait-list, in case there is a cancellation.
Phantom Ranch, a vertical mile below the rim of the Grand Canyon, is accessible only by foot or mule on eight- and 101/2-mile trails, or by Colorado River raft.
WE ENJOYED another historic lodge stay in the grand style of your article: the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello in Quebec (866-540-4463, www.fairmont.com), built along the Ottawa River of 10,000 red cedar logs in 1930, and surrounded by thousands of acres of wilderness.
It is open year-round, and our winter visit featured snowmobiling, dog-sledding (I haven't stopped talking about this months later), a sleigh ride, curling, groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, followed by time in the pool and spa. Spectacular dining and summer activities too. It is 75 miles or 11/2 hours from Montreal.
Mary E. Gallagher
London's Fraying Fringe
AS EVIDENCE of fringy West End productions ["London's Fringe Scene," May 30], I offer Adrian Poynton's "A Very Naughty Boy," concerning the life and death of Graham Chapman, as told from the perspective of fellow Pythoner John Cleese. Indeed, this low-priced (about $10 at the Soho Theatre) production won the Scotsman Fringe First Award at the 2003 Edinburgh Festival.
Concerning "The Goat: Or Who Is Sylvia?," its audiences are of two kinds: Those who love it and those who hate it. My audience was decidedly in the latter camp. "Goat" is an obscenity-laced yarn about a man who has sex with his goat -- named Sylvia -- thereby ruining his marriage and his life. Funny how that happens. For apparent good reason, nowhere in the advertising for this play is its subject matter even hinted at.
Kathy M. Buono
WHILE Jane Woo was able to breastfeed her son on her numerous travels [Message Center, May 30], this suggested solution will not quiet a majority of 2-year-olds. Most toddlers are not breastfed at this age, so Woo's comments are not applicable for many parents.
Chris and Tanya Ross
The Inn-side Story
WE WANTED to let you know how accurate we thought Steve Hendrix's article on the Inn at Afton was [Escapes, June 2]. We go there from time to time for lunch and the view. His conclusions about the good and the bad were right on the mark.
Rick and Shari Wilson
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