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

It's Tuesday afternoon and you've decided you'd like to spend the weekend at a Napa Valley bed-and-breakfast inn. But you're faced with a near-hopeless telephone search to find a vacant room.

There's a better way. In many of northern California's most popular destinations, you can call reservation and referral agencies. They keep up-to-the-minute track of dozens of inns, small hotels, and motels, and can tell you what is available. Some agencies can even reserve a room directly, at no extra charge.

If you're calling last-minute, you may not get exactly the room you want. Most small inns fill up weeks or months in advance for holidays and warm-season weekends. Many require a night's deposit mailed in advance. Some innkeepers will accept a credit-card deposit in lieu of a check. Many require at least two nights' stay on weekends. Call directly to check.

Here are agencies recommended by or belonging to area chambers of commerce. We also list the chambers of commerce in northern California that run their own referral services. All will send booklets or brochures describing the inns they book. Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

If you have more time, chambers of commerce in other towns can also help 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 to mid-December. Advises on availability of rooms on busy weekends; 66 inns, motels, hotels, from Westport to Gualala.

Inns of Point Reyes, Box 145, Inverness 94937; (415) 663-1420; 6 A.M. to midnight daily. Makes referrals to six inns in Point Reyes Station, Inverness, and Olema.

Mendocino Coast Holiday Reservations, Box 1143, Mendocino 95460; (707) 937-5033; 9 to 5 weekdays, 10 to 5 Saturdays. Paradise Vacation Rentals, Box 208, Mendocino 95460; (707) 937-1000; 10 to 5 weekdays, 10 to 4 Saturdays, 1 to 4 Sundays. Both rent out private homes along the Mendocino 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 Napa Valley 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 5 weekdays, 11 to 4 weekends. Advises on availability and price of area lodgings; 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 the Valley of the Moon.

Wine Country Inns of Sonoma County, Box 51, Geyserville 95441; (707) 433-4667. Makes referrals (not reservations) to its 17 member inns in northern Sonoma County. A different inn answers your call each week. 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 some motels and hotels. San Francisco

American Family Inn/Bed & Breakfast San Francisco, Box 349, San Francisco 94101; (415) 931-3083; 9 to 5 daily. Makes reservations in nearly 100 private homes and inns in San Francisco, Marin County, and the Monterey and Napa regions.

San Francisco Inn Referral Service, 737 Buena Vista Ave. W., San Francisco 94117; (415) 626-8777. Makes referrals (not reservations) to its 12 member inns. A different inn answers calls each week. Monterey Bay area

Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers of Santa Cruz County, Box 464, Santa Cruz 95061; (408) 425-1818; 7 to 5 daily. Makes referrals to its eight member inns, Davenport to Aptos.

Carmel Tourist Information and Roomfinder Service, Box 7430, Carmel 93921; (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. Central Coast

Bed & Breakfast Homestay, Box 326, Cambria 93428; (805) 927-4613. Call any time; leave a message. Makes reservations at some 40 private 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 private homes 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 5 weekends. Connects you directly to one of 66 South Shore hotels and motels.

Tahoe North Visitors and Convention Bureau, Box 5578, Tahoe City 95730; (800) 822-5959 in California, (800) 824-8557 elsewhere; 7:30 to 6:30 daily until March 1, then 8:30 to 5:30 weekdays. Reserves at 90 condominium 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 5:30 weekdays, 10:30 to 3:30 Saturdays. Makes referrals to 10 inns and 9 motels 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 hotels throughout 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 number in the Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, and Tahoe areas.
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Publication:Sunset
Date:Feb 1, 1985
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