The Fogo Island Inn is not so much a hotel as an expression of the culture and community of Fogo Island. To understand why this place exists, we need to understand the history of Fogo Island.
The rocky sea-sprayed outpost of Fogo Island, off the coast of Newfoundland, was first inhabited by European settlers in 1697. They came from Devon and Dorset in England, and from Waterford in Ireland. The old saying goes that they came for the Cod, and they stayed for the Cod. These Fogo Islanders have lived for over 300 years as people of the sea.
A generation ago, the impact of the global economy and modernisation, started to affect the traditional lifestyles and occupations of the islanders. Then came the moratorium on Cod fishing which decimated their fishing industry. These self-reliant cod fisherman adapted. Still, they identified closely with their history as people of the sea, people who are deeply sensitive to the natural rhythms of nature that had shaped them through their history. Their unique culture of community was in danger of dying.
Then came a woman with a vision. The woman is Zita Cobb, the Innkeeper, and a Fogo Islander who had left at the age of 16 and returned in her 40s, having made her fortune. Her vison to restore the culture and community of the island evolved into the Fogo Island Inn.
The Fogo Island Inn operates as a social enterprise where all profits are re-invested into the local communities. The Inn employs over 100 local people to look after the guests for its 29 remarkable guest rooms.
This is Newfoundland architecture at its most innovative and creative, built to stand the test of time and weather, familiar but modern, expensive, exclusive and enigmatic.
The building looks like huge, angular boxes on stilts, it reminds some of a modular space station. But to those who live on this storm-lashed coast, the Fogo Island Inn is like a huge ship washed up by the ocean on to the safety of the rocks. A type of Ark bringing the promise of new life.
It still takes two days by air road and sea to reach Fogo Island, so what can you expect when you arrive? Many of the visitors to the Inn would say that you arrive as a guest, get greeted as a friend and leave as family. You can enter into this unique and strange environment, and yet, feel completely at home!
There are 6 wood burning stoves in the public areas fired up to warmly welcome you. The original furniture, old fashioned quilts and the unique hand-designed wallpaper are all made locally.
Perhaps the likeness to home finishes when you walk into the dining room with its two walls of glass that offer spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. And the food from the award winning kitchen, is locally sourced produce, from fresh cod to 16 varieties of berries. The food represents “Fogo Island on a plate”!
The guest rooms are carefully designed to express the nature and culture of the island. Original furniture and stylish bathrooms with sea views from the bathtub!
You can go whale watching, cod fishing or hiking on miles of coastal and nature trails. And if that is not enough, the Inn encourages you to meet a community host. These are local quilt makers, boat builders, and fishermen who can show you first hand, the island’s culture and people. The Fogo Island Inn is an extension of the island community.
Zita Cobb sums up the mood “People who stand in the wind when others retreat to safer places; who refuse to be flattened; refuse to settle for mediocrity. Zita Cobb is such a woman. Her vision for the Inn holds the many dreams and hopes for the islanders.
Visit Fogo Island and be confronted with the awe-inspiring natural beauty of majestic pillars of blue ice in the winter. Or visit in summer and walk the scattered trails of rocks, bays, and shorelines, overlooking the wild Atlantic Ocean. Visit the Fogo Island Inn and fall in love with the people and the culture of this exquisite, hospitable island.