Relax along the Kern River in a piece of history at Sierra Gateway Cottages. Whether you enjoy fishing, hiking, rafting, antiquing, or just getting away from it all, Sierra Gateway Cottages is your home away from home in Kernville. Complete with full kitchens, bedrooms decorated in a down-home country style, and porches that invite you to put your feet up and enjoy the nighttime stars, these rustic yet luxurious cabins will entice you to return again and again.
The cottages are comprised of four historic buildings which were moved from Old Kernville, aka “Whiskey Flats”, during the construction of the Lake Isabella Dam in the 1950s. Three of these remodeled relics (Riverbend Cottage, The Sequoia, and Hawk’s Place) were originally built prior to 1926 and located on Main Street in Old Kernville. All four of Sierra Gateway Cottages were moved to higher ground to make way for Isabella Lake.
The fourth and largest two-bedroom cottage, "Beneath the Lakehouse", was originally built on Green Street and is now located on Buena Vista, more commonly referred to by locals as James Road. Although never a legally recorded road, James Road was named after a pioneer family that homesteaded here in the Kern River Valley pre-1910. William “Doc” James also built the Way Station in Canebrake where he supplied the needs of cattle drivers on their way to the railroad spur at Inyokern. Later, Doc helped his nephew start his first store in old Kernville, a tradition that the James family continues to this day with James Store, located right next door to Sierra Gateway Cottages. a nice convenience for our guests!
In the book Kernville’s Historical Homes, written by Virginia Wells Kelly in 1985, the cottages were placed under the category “Don’t Know,” which meant that historians knew they had not been destroyed, but that they had been moved to a new, unknown location. Local historians helped solve the mystery of what happened to the cottages while sharing memories of yesterday. All four buildings were moved to their current location on James Hill during the construction of Isabella Dam.
Over the years, the cottages have changed owners several times. Renovated once in the 1950s by Mr. Hawkins and used as rental properties, they then switched over to motel units named the Tidy Motel. The cottages changed ownership many times before being sold back to a member of the James family. Clint James renovated them once again in 2000, hiring local contractor Red Bud Construction to do necessary repairs and include beautiful master wood work that enhances the beauty and charm of these historic marvels. Together they planned the cottage renovation to include design and art that depicts the history of the area, as well as the buildings themselves. This includes wood burning on the cabinets and door jambs that portray the western cuture of the valley. Solid wood mosaic doors were designed with Sequoia trees, mountains and river scenes and the wildlife of the area. It was this planned renovation that has helped make them a popular choice for lodging accommodations here in the Kern River Valley
Sierra Gateway Cottages are within 1/4 mile of the Kern River as well as Riverside Park, a popular place to picnic, fish or relax while taking in the beautiful landscape. A playground surrounded by shade and pine trees make Riverside Park a great place to take the children. The cottages are also near Lake Isabella. Just minutes away from marinas where you can launch or dock a boat, rent personal water crafts or cool off during the summer months by taking a swim.
There is plenty of parking for recreational vehicles or those towing a 2nd vehicle, boat or other water crafts. The property surrounding the cottages is spacious. None of the rentals are attached to one another. All have private patios and walkways offering guests privacy and serenity. All cottages are within walking distance to many of Kernville's most popular stores and restaurants.