When time is short, how to find lodging in northern California Essay

It’s Tuesday afternoon and you’ve decided you’d liketo spend the weekend at a Napa Valley bed-and-breakfast inn. Butyou’re faced with a near-hopeless telephone search to find a vacantroom.

There’s a better way. In many of northern California’smost popular destinations, you can call reservation and referralagencies. They keep up-to-the-minute track of dozens of inns, smallhotels, and motels, and can tell you what is available. Some agenciescan even reserve a room directly, at no extra charge. If you’re calling last-minute, you may not get exactly theroom you want.

Most small inns fill up weeks or months in advance forholidays and warm-season weekends. Many require a night’s depositmailed in advance. Some innkeepers will accept a credit-card deposit inlieu of a check. Many require at least two nights’ stay onweekends. Call directly to check.

Here are agencies recommended by or belonging to area chambers ofcommerce. We also list the chambers of commerce in northern California that run their own referral services. All will send booklets orbrochures describing the inns they book. Send a stamped, self-addressedenvelope. If you have more time, chambers of commerce in other towns can alsohelp by providing listings of area accommodations and attractions.Mendocino coast, Point Reyes Country Inns Lodging Information, (707) 964-7682; 8 A.M. to 10 P.

M.daily. Makes referrals to six inns in Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg Chamber of Commerce, Box 1141, Fort Bragg 95437; (707)964-3153; 9 to 5 weekdays year-round, 10 to 4 Saturdays mid-february tomid-December. Advises on availability of rooms on busy weekends; 66inns, motels, hotels, from Westport to Gualala. Inns of Point Reyes, Box 145, Inverness 94937; (415) 663-1420; 6A.

M. to midnight daily. Makes referrals to six inns in Point ReyesStation, Inverness, and Olema.

Mendocino Coast Holiday Reservations, Box 1143, Mendocino 95460;(707) 937-5033; 9 to 5 weekdays, 10 to 5 Saturdays. Paradise VacationRentals, Box 208, Mendocino 95460; (707) 937-1000; 10 to 5 weekdays, 10to 4 Saturdays, 1 to 4 Sundays. Both rent out private homes along theMendocino Coast. Napa and Sonoma wine country Accommodation Referral Service, Box 2766, Yountville 94599; (707)944-8891, 944-8903; 8 A.M.

to 9 P.M. daily. Connects you to 85 NapaValley inns and hotels. Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce and Sonoma Valley Visitor Bureau,453 First St. E.

, Sonoma 95476; (707) 996-1033, 996-1034; 9 to 5weekdays, 11 to 4 weekends. Advises on availability and price of arealodgings; does not make reservations. Sonoma Valley Inn Association, 316 E. Napa St.

, Sonoma 95476; (707)996-4667; open 8 to 5:30 daily. Makes reservations at six inns in theValley of the Moon. Wine Country Inns of Sonoma County, Box 51, Geyserville 95441;(707) 433-4667. Makes referrals (not reservations) to its 17 memberinns in northern Sonoma County. A different inn answers your call eachweek. Brochure costs $1. Wine Country Reservations, Box 5059, Napa 94581; (707) 257-7757,944-1222, 944-1109; 9 to 9 daily.

Serves 35 Napa Valley inns, plus somemotels and hotels. San Francisco American Family Inn/Bed ; Breakfast San Francisco, Box 349, SanFrancisco 94101; (415) 931-3083; 9 to 5 daily. Makes reservations innearly 100 private homes and inns in San Francisco, Marin County, andthe Monterey and Napa regions. San Francisco Inn Referral Service, 737 Buena Vista Ave. W., SanFrancisco 94117; (415) 626-8777. Makes referrals (not reservations) toits 12 member inns. A different inn answers calls each week.

MontereyBay area Bed ; Breakfast Innkeepers of Santa Cruz County, Box 464, SantaCruz 95061; (408) 425-1818; 7 to 5 daily. Makes referrals to its eightmember inns, Davenport to Aptos. Carmel Tourist Information and Roomfinder Service, Box 7430, Carmel93921; (408) 624-1711; 10 to 4 daily. Can reserve at 60 inns, hotels,and motels. Monterey Peninsula Reservations, 85 Via Robles, Monterey 93940;(800) 822-8822, (408) 373-0155; open Mondays through Saturdays 8 to 9,Sundays 9 to 5. Serves more than 100 inns, hotels, and motels. CentralCoast Bed ; Breakfast Homestay, Box 326, Cambria 93428; (805)927-4613.

Call any time; leave a message. Makes reservations at some 40private homes from Monterey to Santa Barbara. Megan’s Friends, 1768 Royal Way, San Luis Obispo 93401; (805)544-4406; 4 to 9 P.M. weekdays, 9 to 5 weekends. Reserves 13 privatehomes along the Central Coast.

Lake Tahoe Basin South Lake Tahoe Visitors Bureau Reservation Service, Box 17727,South Lake Tahoe 95706; (800) 822-5922; 9 to 6 weekdays, 9 to 5weekends. Connects you directly to one of 66 South Shore hotels andmotels. Tahoe North Visitors and Convention Bureau, Box 5578, Tahoe City95730; (800) 822-5959 in California, (800) 824-8557 elsewhere; 7:30 to6:30 daily until March 1, then 8:30 to 5:30 weekdays. Reserves at 90condominium complexes, inns, hotels, and motels between Incline Village,Truckee, and Tahoe City. Gold Country Nevada County Visitor Bureau, 248 Mill St.

, Grass Valley 95945;(800) 752-6222 in California, (800) 521-2075 elsewhere; 8:30 to 5:30weekdays, 10:30 to 3:30 Saturdays. Makes referrals to 10 inns and 9motels in western Nevada County. Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau, Box 4020, Sonora 95370; (209)533-4420 or 984-4636; 9 to 5 weekdays, 9 to 6 spring through summer.Makes referrals on busy weekends; about 25 inns, motels, and hotelsthroughout Tuolumne County.

All of northern California Bed and Breakfast International, 151 Ardmore Rd., Kensington 94707;(415) 525-4569, 527-8836; open 8:30 to 5 weekdays, 9 to noon Saturdays.Makes reservations in about 300 private homes, including a good numberin the Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, and Tahoe areas.

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