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Lingering on your way to Yosemite.

Half Dome and El Capitan are waiting. Why, then, dally in Oakhurst?

Here are a few reasons: logging flumes and log cabins, and Charcoal Grilled Brochette of Quail with Loganberry Madeira Jelly and Rosemary Sauce. If you can reserve a few hours on your way to or from Yosemite, the park's southern gateway--50 miles north of Fresno, 20 miles south of Wawona--holds some surprises.

Dog trot cabins . . .

Admittedly, Oakhurst doesn't present its best face to the traveler. The main drag, State Highway 41, is one of those thoroughfares where what isn't a gas station is a fast-food stand. But a quick detour brings you to Fresno Flats Historical Park, where volunteers have moved and restored 10 venerable buildings from the Madera County foothills. Docents are on hand to show you through them. Our favorite is probably the 1869 Taylor Log House, a "two pen dog trot log cabin." Another charmer is two-story Laramore-Layman House, built in the 1870s. Nearby stretches a section of the flume that slid milled lumber on a 54-mile journey from the Sierra to the Central Valley.

The park is open 1 to 3 Wednesdays through Saturdays, 1 to 4 Sundays; entry is $2, $1 children. From State 41 in Oakhurst, take Road 426 east, then School Road (Road 427) north 1 mile to the park (on left). For details, call (209) 683-6570.

. . . and gourmet dining

Seven years ago, Vienna-born Erna Kubin-Clanin chose an Oakhurst hillside as the site for a restaurant modeled on her favorite country dining spots in Provence. The cuisine she and German sous-chef Christian Mueller have created at Erna's Elderberry House--French-influenced, with creative use of seasonal California ingredients--has drawn kudos from food writers on both coasts.

A six-course prix fixe dinner ($45) is served from 5:30 to 8:30 Wednesdays through Mondays, a prix fixe luncheon ($14.50) from 11 to 1:30 Wednesdays through Fridays, and brunch ($20) from 11 to 1 Sundays. You can eat inside, in one of the three tapestried dining rooms named for famous chefs (Bocuse, Escoffier, and Point), or outside on a pineshaded flagstone patio.

Erna's is on Victoria Lane, off State 41 just south of central Oakhurst. For reservations (advised), call 683-6800.

If you're looking for lodgings to match your meal, Kubin-Clanin has opened the nine-room Chateau du Sureau (French for elderberry), with rooms for $250 to $350 a night. For reservations, write or call Box 577, Oakhurst 93644; 683-6860. For other Oakhurst attractions and lodgings, write or call the Eastern Madera County Chamber of Commerce, Box 369, Oakhurst 93644; 683-7766.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Sep 1, 1991
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