Escape to Fogo Island: Newfoundland, Canada

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Joe Batt's Arm, Fogo Island, Newfoundland. Photo by Flickr/Timothy Neesam
Joe Batt’s Arm, Fogo Island, Newfoundland. Photo by Flickr/Timothy Neesam

Fogo Island

Tucked away in the far reaches of the North Atlantic, Fogo Island is the largest of the offshore islands of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It lies off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, northwest of Musgrave Harbor across Hamilton Sound, just east of the Change Islands.

Fogo Island Inn

Fogo Island is in Newfoundland at the corner of the world, and Fogo Island Inn proudly stands on stilts like an otherworldly ship to guard it. On an island as rugged as this, the inn is a modern wonder. It is made up of 29 suites with floor-to-ceiling views of the sea and the sky, with two levels to embrace the essence of traditional outport fishing stages.

The Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland, Canada. Photo by Flickr/ayphella
The Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland, Canada. Photo by Flickr/ayphella

There’s a unique sense of comfort upon finding such welcoming accommodations in a place where nature is wild and untamed. The Inn has a fascinating balance of old world with the new.

The use of stilts to raise a building isn’t a new concept on the island, as the ground is rough and uneven, but the Fogo Island Inn does it in a sharp and modern way. Guests at the inn can enjoy a spa, movie theater, library and more. There are still old traditions built into the house, like the tall glass windows that let you stare at the sea.

Traditions on Fogo Island

Fogo Island’s unique tradition of catching cod has reached an almost mythical lure. Hand lining is an old world fishing style, where a single line is held in your hands as you wait for a fish to strike. They say the old ways are the best ways, and this, one of the oldest forms of fishing, is still used commonly around the world. Today, travelers can be introduced to the North Atlantic tradition of cod fishing, which has been the backbone of the island’s  economy and culture for centuries.

Fogo Island Inn at night. Photo by Flickr/Wyatt Clough
Fogo Island Inn at night. Photo by Flickr/Wyatt Clough

The Little Fogo Islands, five miles north of Fogo Island, are a magical place full of puffins, murres, turrs and razorbills. You can visit Wadham’s Harbour and its tiny church built in the early 1800s, and explore the remains of abandoned fishing stages and fishers’ homes. Reach out to the locals to learn about the way that fishing is a central part of the island’s history.

Along the shore on Fogo Island, Newfoundland. Flickr/Douglas Sprott
Along the shore on Fogo Island, Newfoundland. Flickr/Douglas Sprott

What to Do On Fogo Island

Fogo Island is full of things to do, depending on the season. You can hike and backpack on the island, watch seabirds, caribou and whales, or forage for mushrooms and wild berries. Or, just stay in and play with the inn’s Newfoundland dogs, Make and Break, who were named for the make-and-break engines traditionally used by fishermen on the island.

For geology buffs, the island is one of the few places on earth where you can see the full spectrum of the magma chamber exposed. Located in ‘Iceberg Alley,’ you can usually spot icebergs dotting the cost from April to June.

Another popular activity is simply to join locals and friends around a table or campfire. Here, locals sing and tell tales of the island, a tradition going back to when the first people came to the island.

If You Go to Newfoundland:

The Inn: http://www.fogoislandinn.ca/

Getting there: http://www.fogoislandinn.ca/b/getting-here