If you know where to look, long weekend breaks can be just as thrilling as a two week adventure, and since we’ve established Canada’s East Coast as an ideal spot for a few days of exoticism that’s not too far from home, we’ve created an incredible outdoor itinerary that’ll take you to Newfoundland. St John’s and Fogo Island in particular provide ample opportunity to explore rugged wilderness and see amazing wildlife. Picture humpback whales surfacing beside floating glaciers; historic forts perched atop craggy headlands; winding coastline trails where Atlantic waves break upon powder-white cliffs. This is Newfoundland – Canada’s wonderful secret.
AWESOME ORIENTATION AND CULINARY CLASS
Although it is the largest city in Newfoundland, St. John’s still manages to project peaceful, small-town vibes. A short flight from Toronto will lead you to this picturesque coastal paradise and once your feet are on the ground the bustle of the metropolis you just left will seem a million miles away. Your private driver will transport you to your luxury digs. After freshening up and unpacking, strap on the walking boots because the rest of your day will be spent getting to grips with the magnificent outdoor spaces on offer here.
The best way to start your coastal adventure is with a hearty hike up to the famous Signal Hill national and historical site. You’ll be chauffeured to the bottom of the incline, just in view of the iconic Cabot Tower, where you’ll begin the climb to this incredible vantage point. You won’t have to keep your eyes peeled as you ascend because the rich soil, deep green fields and azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean will be all around. Arriving at the top a little out-of-breath, memories of the slight hardship of your hike will instantly dissolve as the spectacular panorama on offer envelops you; turn back to face the way you’ve just travelled to see St. John’s perched elegantly by the water, or face out towards the breath-taking, seemingly infinite deep hues of the Atlantic.Read more
Tonight, it’s all about sampling the fresh and flavoursome cuisine that you’d expect to find in a coastal town. We’ve reserved a table for you at the jewel in St. John’s culinary crown; Raymonds Restaurant. Raymonds is one of Canada’s finest restaurants and it’s not just the food that impresses; as soon as your driver drops you, off the classical architecture on display will prepare you for the class and elegance that waits inside. Head Chef Jeremy Charles and manager and sommelier Jeremy Bonia pool their talents to create some of the freshest seafood dishes, accompanied by some of the crispest and palatable wines from across the world. You can dine a la carte, but we’d suggest trying the five course dining experience expertly matched with suitable wines.
A TRAIL OF TREASURES
If you overindulged (and how could you not?) then don’t worry about it; the winding trails you’ll be traversing today will help to level the score. St. John’s’ famous east coast trail boasts 24 wilderness paths covering over 200 kilometres of scenic coastline. Our on-hand experts will help you to plan your perfect route across the valleys, cliffs and dunes of the coast. Wander along and be mesmerised by beautiful vistas, rolling waves and the sight of flitting caribou and soaring sea-birds.
We’ve arranged for your picturesque walk to end at the foot of the dramatic Cape Spear Lighthouse. This remote lighthouse stands as a fascinating symbol of civilisation amongst the raw and rugged wilderness you’ve spent the afternoon traversing. Atop the craggy headland you’ll have another chance to gaze across the expansive waters of the Atlantic Ocean as icebergs float by and humpback whales surface for air and dive back to mysterious depths.
As the sun rises over the Atlantic once more, you’ll be hopping aboard your private helicopter for your transfer over to the mesmeric Fogo Island. This flight, though brief, once again provides you with the chance to see all types of sea-birds and marine life, so be sure to gaze out of the window every now and then. You’ll land on the helipad that neighbours the boutique Fogo Island Inn, your chic residence for the next three nights. We know it might be hard to pry yourself away from the dramatic Atlantic views offered by your room’s floor-to-ceiling windows, but we think our local expert guide is up to the task. You’ll be thoroughly versed in local traditions and stories during this outing and you’ll be shown the lay of the (is)land and taken to explore the area’s local landmarks, historic sights and natural wonders.
You may be well acquainted with the land now, but today you’ll be heading off-shore for dramatic iceberg viewing in the aptly named iceberg alley. There are few places in the world that can match the drama of these seascapes; you’re sure to be stunned as ancient glaciers drift along right next to your boat as the waves of the Atlantic envelop these giant natural formations. Sufficiently awed, you’ll have plenty of time to discuss such wonders over the luxury champagne picnic lunch we’ve laid on for you at Little Fogo Island. You’ll have time to wander up to the historic St. Anne’s Church – a restored Canadian heritage site – before heading back to your boutique bolt-hole.
After feasting on a world-class dinner prepared by resident executive chef Murray McDonald (a native Newfoundlander) head up to the roof top where wood-fired saunas promise some well-deserved R&R and the chance for reflection.
The waves will be breaking gently and the sun will slowly fill your Fogo Island hideaway; stirred from you slumber, gorge on another specially prepared breakfast before heading out to explore Todd Sanders’ dramatic architectural features. As well as designing the striking Fogo Island Inn, Todd was also commissioned to create four artist studios that are dotted around Fogo Island’s impressive landscape. The contrast of the clean, angular studios against the wild, untamed seascapes and wilderness is a sight to behold.
From architectural to alcoholic blends; your next experience is a private cocktail lesson that will teach you how to mix up some concoctions that are artistic in their own right. Using locally sourced ingredients and infusions you’ll be taught how to craft cocktail classics and be given the tools to create your own signature sipper.
After another exquisite meal, laid on by Chef McDonald, you’re invited to attend your own private screening of “Fogo Process” in the state-of-the-art onsite digital cinema. Though you may not readily associate ‘cinema’ with intrepid exploration, “Fogo Process” will shed light on the lands you’ve been journeying across and the stories and history presented helps to breathe life into these wild, wonderful lands. You’ll be back, we’re sure of it …