Finding Peace in Newfoundland, Canada at Fogo Island Inn
Finding Peace in Newfoundland, Canada at Fogo Island Inn

Finding Peace in Newfoundland, Canada at Fogo Island Inn

I consider myself fortunate to live in Canada and to have travelled my country from coast to coast to coast visiting every province and territory. 

Getting to Fogo Island Inn

I visited Newfoundland’s Fogo Island during the summer season. The highlight of my trip was a stay at Fogo Island Inn, situated on an island off an island in Newfoundland. Getting there was part of the experience, with a flight to Gander, followed by a 45-minute ferry ride from Welcome to Fogo Island, and a short drive to the hotel.

Zita Cobb – Founder of Fogo Island Inn and Shorefast Foundation

I’ve met with and heard Zita Cobb, the visionary founder of Fogo Island Inn and the Shorefast Foundation, tell the Fogo Island story several times. Never once did she talk about the Inn! Zita is an 8th generation Fogo Islander, and the story is about the fish and the livelihoods of her ancestors. It is about how overfishing destroyed the ability of families to earn a living from fishing, and the impact that the resettlement policies had on Newfoundlanders. Her own father, a cod fisherman, could not read or write. He relocated to Ontario with his family in 1975 and died in 1988 of a broken heart after being separated from family, friends and a beloved Fogo Island lifestyle. He was buried on Fogo Island.

Zita’s commitment to Fogo Island is very personal and her attention to detail coupled with her interest in community involvement is the hallmark of Fogo Island Inn. I was thrilled to learn that with each stay, 100 percent of the revenue surpluses are reinvested in the community through the work of the Shorefast registered charity. Zita incorporated Fogo Island heritage including the skills of fishermen, quilters, rope-makers, fish processors, local cooking techniques, storytelling, music, boatbuilding, and punt racing, as she developed the concept for Fogo Island Inn. Some Fogo Islanders say ‘Zita came on the scene and lit the candle again’.

Exclusivity

Fogo Island Inn is by no means luxurious in the sense of opulent and showy. It is however luxurious in that it is exclusive, only 29 rooms, all with an ocean view, using local textures, fabrics, materials, designs, paying great attention to fine details and to guest’s individual preferences. I enjoyed all the local experiences during my stay. These included hiking, taking a boat ride, going cod fishing, learning about local history, playing with the resident Newfoundland dogs, and simply hanging out with the friendly Community Hosts. I could also have easily just stayed in bed and read all day while watching the calming waters!

We never closed the curtains in our room – waking up to the rugged, windswept beauty. Using our binoculars we enjoyed seeing seabirds and whales, and watching the sunsets over the ocean at night. The starkness of the rock all around the strikingly designed hotel added to the dramatic setting. It felt somewhat otherworldly and “moonlike”.

Locally Sourced Ingredients for Meals

Meals were included and the menu included locally-sourced products from land and sea. Every meal was served with a detailed explanation about the local fresh ingredients. These included: fresh-picked baby greens, berries of all varieties, fiddleheads, lamb, crab, mushrooms, fish, caribou moss over yogurt, fresh fruit juices, and breads made with grains, seeds, nuts and berries – like partridge berry pastries.

From the moment we arrived we felt welcome and appreciated by Fogo Island Inn staff, most of whom were Fogo Island residents. Moreover, the local community hosts extended true Newfoundland hospitality as they proudly drove us around the tiny island for an insider tour of Fogo Island life.

I can’t wait to go back during iceberg or berry season, but I will have to save up first! Rates now start close to $3,000 CDN per night, plus tax.