Being born and raised on Fogo Island has provided me with a great deal of humility—a realization that we need to work with and respect our natural surroundings as opposed to rebelling against them. I come from a long line of fishermen and woodsmen. Shortly after high school, I was taken on as a crew member for an offshore snow crab boat. However, noticing the slow decline in the crab stocks, I eventually decided to travel straight across the country to Alberta, where I worked in the oil fields for three years. I enjoyed the work, but there was a constant yearning to get back home. When my wife and I decided it was time to start a family, that helped solidify the decision to return. I have been working with the Fogo Island Inn since the project started. I began as a night watchman over the construction site; then when we opened, I became the onsite painter, and then onto a maintenance technician position. I am presently the Outdoor Adventure Guide. I see every day what this place has to offer, and our stunning surroundings help make my job that much more incredible. For centuries, my ancestors have survived and flourished here, working with the woods and waters. Now I’m doing the same, just in different ways—it’s a great feeling.
The best time to visit my lodge is… anytime. We are open year-round and have incredible adventure programs to suit all of our seven seasons.
My lodge’s best quality is… its people. Our Community Host program is like no other, where you get to spend the day with a local resident and develop an intimate understanding of our past, present and future. You get to visit each of our small towns, as well as meet some other local residents who are natural and very engaging storytellers.
The ultimate authentic souvenirs… are the lifelong friendships that arise here. From the time you enter our doors you are a friend, and when you depart you feel like family. It’s always hard to leave, and likewise it’s hard for us to see you go.
My lodge really focuses on the local community by… using the strength and history of our people to immerse our guest in our own specific ways.
The dish that my lodge makes the best is… our kitchen has an abundance of locally sourced foods, but the best dishes are the ones with cod in them—cod which has been caught just outside our front door. Before supper, enjoy one of our featured cocktails, which contain a variety of locally foraged ingredients.
My favorite local expression is… “never mind your boots,” meaning you don’t have to remove your shoes before you enter. I feel it shows a type of non-formality that is a natural part of our community and, in a deeper sense, our way of life here. You don’t have to appear or behave a certain way to be welcomed with open hearts—our sense of hospitality is natural and intrinsic to our culture.
My favorite local custom is… a Fogo Island boil-up. Many of our locals are woodsmen, and a day in the woods would not be complete without a boil up. Where else can you enjoy incredible views, a meal of salt fish and tea, and exciting stories of days gone by, all in one spectacular outdoor setting?
My favorite “lodge secret” is… the rooftop deck on a clear night, where you can look up at the vast space above, and listen to the slow roll of the North Atlantic just below. We are at the very edge of the North American continent—not only is there no light pollution, but there is nothing between us and Europe. You are sure to lose track of time there. With a warm blanket and a glass of wine, it’s pretty much heaven.
If you want to get up close and personal with local wildlife… During the summer, head out to sea, where whales, porpoises, and sea birds are plenty, and try your luck at catching our legendary Atlantic cod. During our winter months, travel inland where our caribou herds are seen almost daily. Snowshoe hare, coyote, red fox, and weasel are common here as well.
If you’re up for an adventure/physical challenge… I would recommend a guided hike to a place known as Eagle Hill. It’s a 12km trek over barren and boggy land, where you’ll find viewpoints of both coastline and community. Wildlife is often spotted along the trail.
If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), don’t miss… fishing in the harbor from a traditional punt, and playing piddly, a traditional game using sticks and bricks, perfect for long summer days. During our winter months, tobogganing and ice skating in the crisp winter air is fun for the whole family.
Watch out for… our events and itineraries based around special holidays like Christmas and Easter. Weddings are also becoming quite common here, and what better venue than an Inn sitting on the edge of the wild North Atlantic Ocean.
I think that the world should visit my lodge… to disconnect from the sometimes inconsequential busyness of modern life and to reconnect with the restorative, clarifying power of the natural world. Fogo Island has a way of giving you back to yourself.