Fogo Island is not so much a place as a state of mind. With its long Maritime history, the largest offshore island in Newfoundland is a gentle world of coloured clapboard houses, sea cliff footpaths, lush forest and warm hospitality. Set against a striking coastline, an inspired arts scene has breathed new life into Fogo’s struggling fishing communities.
You can get to Fogo year-round, but like the rest of the Canada, summer months re certainly more pleasant. The island’s eleven settlements are located along the rocky coast, best explored in Atlantic sunshine. Art exhibitions, performances by the World’s End Theatre Company and the boisterous Great Fogo Punt Race all take place July and August. Resident artists enjoy the colour and quiet of fall and spring. Here’s a fun fact: Canada’s Flat Earth Society believes that Brimstone Head, a massive rock jutting out the island’s northwestern coast, is one of the fours corners of the earth.
Since public transit is limited in Newfoundland, most visitors rent a car in Gander or St John’s and drive to Farewell for the 50-minute ferry sailing to Fogo. The ferry runs 7-days a week May to October, with fewer sailings over winter. Check ahead as the ferry is occasionally cancelled for maintenance. It’s a beautiful drive through small island communities, and there might be icebergs offshore.
Facing the ocean in the village of Joe Batt’s Arm, the award-winning Fogo Island Inn is a big splash in Fogo’s little pond – a modern, luxurious 29-room boutique hotel with rooftop spa, art studios, solar panels and individually designed rooms. The brainchild of a former islander who hit it big, the inn is head and shoulders above other island accommodation, but it comes at a hefty price tag. Full-board prices range from $2000 to $3000 a night! Located in the centre of Fogo, Peg’s Place has a great view of the harbour.
There are less than a dozen restaurants, cafés, and pubs on Fogo, but your taste buds won’t suffer. Fogo Island Inn’s focus is on “wild things from the North Atlantic.” The kitchen uses regionally sourced ingredients like foraged plants and berries, and of course, seafood direct from the harbour. Other dining options include Bangbelly, Scoff Restaurant and traditional fish and chips and the Cod Jigger Diner.
Those seeking art with great origin stories, Fogo Island Gallery (in the Fogo Island Inn) presents exhibitions from local and visiting artists participating in its residential program. Other galleries around the island sell paintings, sculptures, hooked rugs and carvings typical of maritime life.
For more info, visit: http://www.townoffogoisland.ca/home/