For a quintessential Canadian craggy-shoreline vacation, look no further than the brand-new Fogo Island Inn, which opened in May.
The intimate 29-room property on Newfoundland's Fogo Island—the vision of Zita Cobb, a multimillionaire tech exec who quit her job to sail around the world for four years pursuing philanthropic projects—boasts panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean via floor-to-ceiling windows. Its contemporary style was fashioned by Todd Saunders of Norway.
It is part of Cobb's transforming, along with her brother and their Shorefast Foundation, of the sleepy island with just under 3,000 residents into an international destination for the arts, with six artist-residency studios and a microfinance project to fund locals' dream gigs that help sustain the economy.
Surrounded by whales, seabirds, and icebergs, guests are effortlessly thrust into a wild landscape. Getting there is half the experience: after a commercial flight into Newfoundland, either dial the hotel for a ride to the Farewell ferry dock or take a rental car. After that, it's a short ferry ride to Fogo Island.
A fine-dining restaurant at the inn is a cozy place to hole up after a hike, with ocean views and a wood-burning fireplace. Island-grown ingredients like mushrooms, fish, and berries are woven into daily menus that feature baked-from-scratch cuisine such as breads, sausage, and mustards. Calling it "new" Newfoundland dining, chef Murray McDonald—a local native who has cooked in the Grand Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Vancouver, and New Zealand—strives to source as much local food as he possibly can. Also on site is a small movie theater, spa, library, and art gallery.
As part of Cobb's mission to stay true to the island's folklore, there are little stories throughout the inn that carry on old traditions, like hand-sewn quilts, rugs, and pillows from fishermen's wives, and furniture and fixtures crafted by carpenters. Each room is named after a local islet, rock, or shoal. Through the hotel, guests can take art workshops, experience the unique marine ecosystem on a fishing trip, go on a hike, or take a personalized island tour with a local.
Kristine Hansen is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee where she reports on food, wine, and travel topics around the globe for Fodors.com, along with new-hotel openings. She also writes for Wine Enthusiast, TIME, Whole Living and American Way. In 2006 she co-authored The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coffee and Tea (Alpha Books/Penguin). You can follow her on Twitter @kristineahansen or through her web site.
Photo credits: Courtesy of Fogo Island Inn