The unmistakable silhouette of the Fogo Island Inn at sunset. Even more beautiful than I had dreamed….
It all actually started in May 2016. I started thinking about where I wanted to travel to celebrate my milestone birthday in 2017, so I started doing a bit of reading and research. So many exciting fabulous places in the world to see and explore! I then realized that I really wanted to explore my own country…I had been to the Canadian Maritimes many times, but never to Newfoundland. And since it was built in 2014, I have been completely obsessed by the amazing Fogo Island Inn – the architecture, the remote location, the incredible landscape, the design creativity and the story behind the legendary Inn. So it was settled, that is where our adventure would take us….Also on my bucket list were whales, puffins, and icebergs, and the best chance seeing these would be if we were in Newfoundland in late June/early July. With only 29 rooms total available at the Inn and since we wanted to be there during the Summer Season, I began planning this incredible trip more than a year in advance.
Driving the coastal Irish Loop on the Avalon Peninsula, we stopped and had the most amazing picnic at the Ferryland Lighthouse.
Sea and sky meet the rugged Newfoundland coastline. So beautiful, and so vast….
We arrived in Newfoundland at the end of June 2017 and began our adventure. Even better was that we were joined by our very close friends, which made the trip even more fun! More laughs, more crazy, more funny stories that we will be telling for years to come. I thought that if Ireland and Muskoka had a baby, it would look like Newfoundland…. blue ocean, unbelievably vast open spaces, rocky cliffs, green fields, dense boreal forests, and the most incredibly nice people I have ever met.
Canada Day was extra special this year, and to celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary, we drove to Cape Spear – the most eastern point of North America. Then it was off to the legendary George Street, (most bars per capita in the world) where we got “Screeched In” and became honorary Newfoundlanders. So much fun!
From the historic lighthouse at Cape Spear to the colourful row houses in St. John’s, Newfoundland is truly fascinating with something special everywhere you look….
I did not expect such an explosion of colour. Everywhere. Everything in Newfoundland is colourful, and everything is painted (or wallpapered, which I also LOVE!!) in glorious mismatched technicolour. Colour combinations that you would never in a million years expect, but it all works in perfect crazy harmony. At first glance it feels like someone bought a bunch of paint on sale, and just went to work with whatever they had on hand. But look again, and you will see how absolutely wonderful these unusual colour combinations can be. I know that I was definitely inspired to “think outside the box” and put colours and patterns together that I otherwise may not have.
Beautiful Trinity NL as the sun is beginning to set. A picture postcard town.
So colourful in Quidi Vidi Village. Seriously – turquoise and hot pink! Added bonus – excellent local beer from the Quidi Vidi Brewing Company.
Classic “Newfoundland Green” in the Library at the Fogo Island Inn. All painted by hand. Everything constructed locally with love.
Seriously, this is a chicken coop!! How gorgeous is this?? Port Rexton NL
In truth, I could write a novel about my “NewFoundLove” for Newfoundland. In fact, I reserve the right to share another post about this with you, because I truly feel that I have not even barely begun to show you how incredible this place truly is….we were there for 12 days and it was not long enough. I would go back tomorrow (but I would bring warmer clothes!).
But, my novel would not be complete without several chapters devoted to the Fogo Island Inn. I will try my best to give you the “Coles Notes” version. Suffice it to say that this was a big Bucket List item, and it did not disappoint. I still dream about it. I will go back. I probably think about it at least twice a day, every day. I am still obsessed, and meeting the Innkeeper and founder of the Inn, Zita Cobb, was truly a thrill – she was incredibly gracious and lovely, by the way.
Together with her brothers, she created the Shorefast Foundation, which operates the Inn as a non-profit enterprise, putting every cent of profit back into the local community. The Inn has breathed new life into a once fading community by providing employment to local residents first as craftspeople in the building of the Inn and all of the furniture, lighting, and decorative items, and continues to this day with many locals serving as community ambassadors and guides to guests of the Inn.
Canadian architect, Todd Saunders, who is now based in Norway but grew up in nearby Gander NL, was hired to design several free-standing artists studios in addition to the Inn. It is truly spectacular, with the floor plan as an asymmetrical “X” shape, and each of the 29 rooms facing the North Atlantic Ocean. Each room has a wood burning stove, large windows that open to catch the ocean breeze, and beautifully locally crafted furniture. The “stilts” that we have come to associate with the Inn are reminiscent of the local fishing shacks on the island, but also achieve the more important function of supporting a structure that creates minimal impact on the rocky shoreline and ecosystem.
The dining room, with it’s high ceilings, is at the corner of the Inn facing west, overlooking the ocean as well, so that every guest can see the sunset at dinner time. When we were there, we were lucky enough to see the armada of icebergs floating by…
I have never seen anything as magical as the sun setting from this very spot.
Fogo Island Inn NL Just spectacular. My photo cannot truly capture how special this place really is….Architect: Todd Saunders
Everything at the Fogo Island Inn is magical…Everything is made and sourced locally, by the community.
It is now very clear to me that this experience cannot possibly be summed up in one post….so there will have to be a sequel!!
Newfoundland has changed me. It has inspired me. It has made me slow down and think. It has opened my eyes to a place that feels special beyond words. I am still in a state of disbelief that I found all of this magic in my own country, when it truly felt like a different planet. I am so incredibly thankful to have had this amazing adventure.
If you have never been, you must go – but please take me with you.