Most mountain inns are small and have only a few rooms for guests. That's a big part of their charm, but it also means that on summer weekends they tend to be booked up well in advance.

To get a reservation, you may have to call several places. Among the diverse possibilities in the not-too-distant mountains of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia:

Red Run Inn, Deep Creek Lake, Md.: An inn on the shore of large and beautiful Deep Creek Lake, a popular resort for summer water sports in western Maryland. Five upstairs rooms in a coverted barn and a restaurant on the first floor. (301) 387-6606.

Trillium House, Wintergreen, Va.: An attractive 12-room inn high atop Devil's Knob Mountain (at 3,600 feet), it is surrounded by the 10,000 wooded acres of Wintergreen Resort. Golf, tennis, pool and other resort amenities available. Dinner at the inn Friday and Saturday by reservation or at the resort's restaurants. (804) 325-9126.

Conyers House, near Sperryville, Va.: An escape into the hills to a rambling 200-year-old former country store, now restored with nine antique-filled rooms (eight with shared bath). Dinner served on request. (703) 987-8025.

Graves' Mountain Lodge, Syria, Va.: A bit larger than most inns with 38 rooms in rustic cottages and a lodge, it's a family place in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Swimming pool, tennis and three meals daily. (703) 923-4231.

Inn at Gristmill Square, Warm Springs, Va.: Fourteen up-to-date rooms in what was once an old mill. Swimming pool, tennis courts and the warm springs for soaking that gave this Allegheny Mountain village its name. With restaurant. The Homestead Resort is five miles down the road. (703) 839-2231.

Highlawn Inn, Berkeley Springs, W. Va.: A freshly restored Victorian home with six guest rooms, it sits high atop a hill overlooking the famous old springs resort town. Down the hill, you can go for an indoor soak at Berkeley Springs State Park. (304) 258-5700.

Mountain Village Inn, Silver Lake, W. Va.: At this small, homespun inn you can sit on the long porch and watch breezes ripple the surface of the lake. Three rooms (shared bath) and a weekend restaurant set in this tiny Allegheny Mountain village. (304) 735-6344.