THE INNS:

Chester, Rte. 4, Box 57, Scottsville, Va. 24590, (804) 286-3960. The inn is about a three-hour drive south of Washington. The quick way is via I-66 to Gainesville, then U.S. Route 29 to Charlottesville and Virginia Route 20 to just north of Scottsville, where you turn right onto Virginia Route 726 for about 200 yards. The scenic way is to leave U.S. Route 29 at Culpeper, taking U.S. Route 15 south to Orange and continuing south on Virginia Route 20 to Scottsville.

The five guest rooms at Chester are $50, $55 or $60 a night, all but one with shared bath. A full breakfast is included. The $50 room doesn't have a fireplace. The $60 room is a two-room suite. Dinner at $12 per person is by advance reservation for lodging guests only. Parking is no problem.

For tourist information about the Charlottesville area, contact the Thomas Jefferson Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 161, Charlottesville, Va. 22902, (804) 293-6789. It is located on Virginia Route 20 just south of Charlottesville on the way to Chester.

Society Hill Inn, 58 West Biddle St., Baltimore, Md. 21201, (301) 837-3630. Baltimore is about an hour's drive north of Washington via the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. To reach the inn, follow the signs in Baltimore to the Inner Harbor via Pratt Street. Turn left on Charles and head north for about a mile. Go one block past Biddle (which is one way the wrong way) and circle left around the block.

The room rate is $85 a night for two and includes a welcoming drink, a morning newspaper, continental breakfast and free parking in the open lot next door. There is a small single room at $60.

For Baltimore tourist information, contact the Baltimore Office of Promotion and Tourism, 34 Market Place, Suite 310, Baltimore, Md. 21202, (301) 837-INFO.

Laurel Brigade Inn, 20 W. Market St., Leesburg, Va. 22075, (703) 777-1010. The inn is about an hour's drive west of Washington. You can take Virginia Route 7 west from the Beltway at Tyson's Corner. A longer but more scenic and less congested route is I-66 west to Manassas and then U.S. Route 15 north to Leesburg. This route passes Manassas National Battlefield Park, a worthwhile stop for history enthusiasts.

A room for two at the Laurel Brigade ranges from $40 to $75 a night. The inn does not serve breakfast, but there are several good cafe's that do within a two-block walk of the inn. One of the earliest to open on a Sunday morning, and offering a fine breakfast, is the Georgetown Cafe' and Bakery at 21 S. King St.

Parking at the Laurel Brigade is available behind the inn.

For tourist information about the Leesburg area, contact the Office of Tourism, 108-D South St. SE, Leesburg, Va. 22075, (703) 777-0519. It's located in the Market Station shopping complex.