July 19, 2024
101 Things to DoDiningLodgingMarin

Stay in a Cottage or Dine at Historic Nick’s Cove

Nestled in one of the serene, sheltered coves of Tomales Bay, the cottages at Nick’s Cove combine rustic charm with luxurious comfort. Each unique room is an elegant, cozy hideaway, beautifully appointed with plush down comforters, woodburning stove and bathrooms equipped with heated ceramic tile floors. The picturesque setting and tranquil waterside evenings make it the perfect place to unwind and refresh yourself.
Nick’s Cove is one of the last remaining historic settlements catering to the early California tourist trade on the beautiful Tomales Bay coastland. It’s served as a depot for tourism, local fishermen and agricultural operations throughout its history.

photo by Frank Frankeny

The property was originally part of a vast ranch until Henry W. Hallock, President Lincoln’s chief of staff during the Civil War, bought the property in 1850 and then sold it to Jeremiah Blake, an easterner who settled on Tomales Bay at a place that became known as Blake’s Landing. During that time, the property was the site of industries as diverse as saddle making, duck raising and dairy farming. The North Pacific Coast Railroad constructed tracks along the shorefront in 1873, spanning the region from Sausalito to the Russian River, transporting passengers and freight, such as dairy products, fish and clams.
But it was the construction of a modern highway in 1930, followed by the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937, that brought a surge in tourist traffic looking for food, lodging and adventure. Marin County became a popular destination for weekend motorists, and Tomales Bay was an especially popular choice because of its excellent fishing.

The similarity of Tomales Bay to the Adriatic Sea, with its mild winters and shallow waters, made the location a prime spot for a large Yugoslavian immigrant community. The Nick Kojich family, the original owners of Nick’s Cove, came from that Yugoslavian tradition. They built several houses atop wooden pilings near the beach and opened a seafood restaurant selling shrimp and crab cocktails to passing tourists. Once prohibition ended in 1933, Mr. Kojich (a rumored bootlegger) began serving alcohol too.

photo by Justin Lewis

In 1973, the widow Dorothy Matkovich sold Nick’s Cove to Alfred and Ruth Gibson, ending more than 40 years of family ownership. The Gibson’s ran the business on very similar lines, and continued to attract hunters, fishermen, nature lovers and unsuspecting travelers who stumbled upon a restaurant/motel full of character and scenic beauty. Guests included university professors, writers, sportsmen, kayakers, and a private pilot who rented one of the cabins every time he flew into the Bay Area. Under the Gibsons, the popularity of Nick’s Cove continued to grow, and further improvements were made to the property. After Al Gibson’s death, Ruth Gibson continued to operate the restaurant and rental business until maintaining the property proved too costly.

The current owners of Nick’s Cove have taken special care to maintain the integrity of its traditional architecture in recognition of the cottages’ historical importance. These cabins reflect the coastal vernacular style common to the community, and they have been carefully preserved, while improving their decor to accommodate modern amenities, without damaging their historical qualities.

Nick’s Cove Restaurant and Oyster Bar is a destination restaurant for award-winning cuisine in one of the most beautiful coastal settings in all of California. The natural beauty and abundant farm produce of the West Marin coast inspire our seasonal, sustainable and delicious California cuisine. Their menu is sourced from local dairy and produce farms, and the fresh seafood of Tomales Bay and nearby waters. Each dish is fresh and approachable, the perfect combination of comfort and refinement, and the very essence of elegant but hearty, farm-to-table cuisine.

Nick’s Cove Cottages & Restaurant
23240 Highway 1, Marshall 866-63-NICKS
(415) 663-1033 • www.nickscove.com

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