Islands, especially smaller and more remote ones, can exert a powerful appeal on travelers. Decades after writing Tales of the South Pacific, James Michener described his own lifelong obsession with islands as “nesomania,” nesos being the Greek word for island. So what is it that draws some of us toward places surrounded by water? Is it the scenery and salty breezes? The romance of a faraway shore where life moves to a different rhythm than our own? Or is it, in the words of another card-carrying nesomaniac, Paul Theroux, “because islands are small self-contained worlds that can help us understand larger ones”? Whatever it is that tugs our wanderlust, there are myriad islands out there that beckon. Here are five remote landfalls that also benefit from having remarkable places to stay.
Half the size of Singapore and home to fewer than 2,500 people, Canada’s craggy, windswept Fogo Island lies off the northeastern coast of Newfoundland in splendid isolation. First settled by cod fishermen in the late 17th century, Fogo today harbors a handful of seaside communities where wood-frame houses and stilted fishing shacks overlook the North Atlantic’s Iceberg Alley. Getting here is half the adventure: you fly into the town of Gander from St. John’s then drive for two hours to catch a ferry at Farewell, whose name offers a fitting preface to this edge- of-the-world experience. Yet Fogo is also an emerging cultural destination thanks to locally born tech millionaire Zita Cobb, who’s made it her mission to revitalize the island’s failing economy. Among her projects are an ambitious artist‐in‐residence program and, pictured here, the 29-room Fogo Island Inn (1-709/658-3444; doubles from US$804), which opened last year on the granite shoreline near Joe Batt’s Arm. Not only is the spruce-clad hotel a looker, but it also delivers a strong sense of place: local woodworkers and quilters made most of the furnishings; the restaurant showcases locally fished and foraged ingredients; and “community hosts” are on hand to introduce you to island life.
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