Fun on Fogo

When you ask the locals living on Fogo Island, Newfoundland, about the weather, they don’t begin with sun, cloud or temperature. They talk first about the wind. A south-westerly is best and can signal several fine days to come. We had just such luck during our recent time at the Fogo Island Inn.

The inn, which opened four years ago, dominates Joe Batt’s Arm, a community that’s a 10-minute walk away. The most wonderful aspect of a vacation on Fogo is that you encounter folks in ways you don’t usually while on holiday. One man called John that we happened to meet on a dock held us in his spell for an hour while he recounted his life as a carpenter and fisher, all the while poking my chest with his finger. Clem Dwyer, a life-long resident of Tilting, a nearby Irish Catholic village, took us on a two-hour tour that included a visit to the home in which he and his nine siblings were born.

A boat ride with Aeneas and Mike brought sightings of puffins and razorbills as well as a hike up a hill on Little Fogo Island for a 360-degree vista with what must have been twenty-mile visibility. The cod are coming back to such an extent that I, the world’s worst fisher, caught two that each weighed 12-15 pounds. Beyond the people, nature beckons at every turn. There are more than a dozen hiking trails. Our favourite was Oliver’s Cove, a 4.5 km footpath along the granite-strewn seacoast that we meandered for three hours and never saw another soul.

Among the menu items at the inn were variations of local cod pot cod, shrimp and snow crab, served in evocative presentations that included edible flowers. They have a ways to go before they win a Michelin star, but no complaints from us, given the friendly staff that included Sandy, Brandon, Amanda and Rosemarie who knew your name and treated you like family.

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