Friday April 05, 2013

Back To The Future in Fogo

Listen to Full Episode 53:59

Long Studio on Fogo Island, designed by architect Todd Saunders. Photograph by Pam Hall.

As a young woman, Zita Cobb left her birthplace - the relatively remote island of Fogo, off the east coast of Newfoundland - to get an education, and ultimately to find her fortune. Not long ago, she returned to invest that considerable fortune turning Fogo into a place of pilgrimage for artists. IDEAS host Paul Kennedy takes a tour with guide Zita Cobb.

fogo-squish-studio.jpgZita Cobb was born on Fogo, in a magical town called Joe Batt's Arm, and then left to make her fortune in the outside world. Most young folks from Fogo ultimately have to follow a similar path, and leave the island.  It's much less common to return to Fogo, as Zita Cobb did a few years back, with a considerable fortune, much of which she invested in various projects to turn Fogo into a haven for artists from around the world, and an international eco-tourism destination.

She's built beautiful artists' studios, in stunning coastal locations, all around the island. You'll see them on the covers of Architectural Digest, and similar publications. Pictured here are (above) 'Long Studio', and (right) 'Squish Studio' - both designed by architect Todd Saunders, who was born in Gander.

She's building an exclusive hotel - The Fogo Island Inn - with only 29 rooms that will each cost approximately $500 a night. The Inn's not even open yet, but The New York Times has already listed Fogo Island as one of the top ten places you must visit, before you die.

Last summer Paul Kennedy spent several days on Fogo, walking around the island with Zita Cobb, and talking about her hopes for the Shorefast Foundation, which she established to build those stunning artist's studios, to construct the expensive ecological hotel, and to sponsor an annual rowing race - featuring the local wooden fishing boats, or 'punts - that has revivified a dying boat-building tradition, among many other projects.

Related Websites:

Fogo Island Inn

Town of Fogo Island

Todd Saunders

Shorefast Foundation