Zita Cobb: back to Fogo, with love

Steve Bartlett
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Entrepreneur returns to her home turf with big dreams for its future

Zita Cobb at the construction site of the Fogo Island Inn.

Zita Cobb says Fogo Island has the freshest, cleanest air on Earth.

She figures the islet has seven seasons. She loves each of them, but fall is her favourite.

"The winds out of the west are special and amazing," she says. "I absolutely try and not plan anything that takes me away from the partridgeberry hills."

With wealth made in the dot com world, Cobb could be based anywhere on the planet - which she's seen a lot of - but she chooses the small, rural, island where she was raised, without electricity, let alone luxury.

While some may question her rationale, spend a few minutes with Cobb and her reasons become obvious - she loves Fogo Island.

She talks about its people, culture, heritage, geography, berries, fish, landscape and lichens with absolute passion.

"I spent all my childhood looking at the outside world and then 30 years away looking back at Fogo Island," she says.

"And it really wasn't until I went away and looked at it from the other side that I could really see it."

Organizations: Shorefast, Fogo Island Inn

Geographic location: Fogo Island

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Recent comments

  • Quintin Looy
    May 07, 2012 - 03:35

    This message is for Zita, Please I saw you in the T.V last night. I learned that you were a successful Stock Trader before you went back to Fogo Island where you grew up. I live in Brampton, Ontario with my wife and three sons aged 20,17 and 14. I am now 54 years old and recently I signed in for a 5 week trial period on Vector vest, which deals with stock trading. I am just wondering if you are able to share me your methods on how to trade stocks and win big time. My occupation is a full time letter carrier with Canada Post for the past eleven years and my wife is only a homemaker. With our three sons who are growing big and going to a higher levels of education plus our mortgage, utility bills and day to day expenses my salary can no longer make both ends meet. I am a Filipino immigrant and became a Canadian citizen for the last twenty years, praying that you may be able to share your knowledge trading stocks. I thank you so very much, indeed. Quintin Looy 30 Trewartha Cres. Brampton,Ontario L6Z1X4 telelphone number: 289-752-2310

    • Carl
      October 07, 2015 - 07:30

      Leave Zita alone. She's done her time in business and owes you nothing, including get rich quick advise.

  • John Godwin
    April 09, 2012 - 21:29

    Hi Zita, I am so impressed with what you ar doing, I love this place, I moved away in 1955 so I can relate to your upbringing as mine was the same , I now live inLondin Ontario and am an artist of no renoune, would love to hear from u Regards John Godwin 1946/ 1955 but its in my blood...

  • Dianna Inkster
    March 17, 2012 - 07:07

    A mega project on Fogo Island? While I applaud Zita Cobb's initiative I can't help but feel that the simple tourist traveling on the cheap has been forgotten in an effort to make mega bucks for Fogo Islanders. Where are the youth hostels of yesteryear and the over-priced, but homey Fogo Island Motel? Or the back of my red pick-up truck. $400 a night is not going to attract the average tourist. Happy St Patrick's Day 2012 to you, too.

  • Shannon
    March 02, 2012 - 10:25

    I wish with every bone in my body that someone would come here and do the same thing to help our town. You people have no idea how lucky you all are that this wonderful woman is putting her money, heart and life to make your home better. We are so close and have the same landscape as you and I would love for something like that happen here.

  • Michael J. Laurie. B.A., B.L., J.D.
    February 28, 2012 - 11:55

    While I have only visited Fogo Island on one occasion, I intend to re-visit this coming summer to see the project that a great Newfoundlander, Zita Cobb, has begun there, and "hope for the future" being the greatest phrase attached to her. My paternal grandmother Ellen Emberly, daughter of Edward and Margaret Emberly, nee Reeves (of the famous Reeves family of Engle, NL), at age l8 years married my grandfather James Laurie, aka Lowry, at Holy Rosary Church at Portugal Cove, NL in December, 1879, A decade later her sister Bridget Emberly married his brother Herbert Lowry at the same church, he having returned from working on The Southern Pacific Railway in Texas for l98 years as a foreman of construction. These girls had one sister Cecilia who remained on Fogo Island, married twice - one Decker and one Budgell. These girls' father's sister, Bridget Emberly, daughter of Richard and Bridget Morris of Waterford, Ireland, and an aunt of Lord Edward Patrick Morris a former Premier of Newfoundland, who married John Phelan (name changed to Whelan later) of Horse Cove/St Thomas and the Lowry men had farms there as well. Accordingly, since becoming involved in our family genealogy and learning that the Emberly and other families of Fogo inilially came from Black Vale Moor, near Sturnminster-Newton, County Dorset, England, and the Lowry's mother's father Hebert Whiffin from Sturnmnster-Marshall, near Poole, Dorset as well, shows the small genealogical pool from whence we came. Fogo Island, thanks to great persons like Zita Cobb, will have a future years after we are all dead. Zita should have a streets named after her in towns across this province. She is to be condgratulated.

  • Mindy
    February 21, 2012 - 09:48

    Newfoundlanders need to become a little more accepting of change. Change is a positive thing, not a threat. Newfoundlander typically has been resistent to change, and growth. Why? Broadening your horizons to many of the great things this world has to offer is cause for excitement. Fighting against anything that doesn't fit your current existence, or your current view of what life should be is naive, uneducated, and lacks forward thinking. Newfoundland wants to stay the same, we all wish everything could stay the same, but that's not life, it's simply not possible, growth and change is an integral part of life and is neccessary.

  • N
    August 18, 2011 - 10:16

    A former resident is trying to rebuild the poor struggling island of Fogo and someone has to comment about the damage she is doing? What about all of the people on the island who will finally find employment at the inn she is building? I guess the rocks and lichen are more important than the residents of the island???

  • B
    May 10, 2011 - 14:20

    "as little environmental impact as possible. The inn, for instance, will stand on stilts to protect the rocks and lichen beneath it." She forgot to mention the part where they used explosives and drills for months before they started the building of the inn. They blasted a huge hole in the rock to put the footing down for the stilts that are supposed to protect the land. They made a gravel road that ruined the ground and landscape, and destroyed the area around the inn. She wants to protect our heritage and land? This is not the way to do it.