There really isn't anything close by to the actual mountain. The cheapest lodging is at the bottom of the mountain at the snowshoe inn. I go every year, and have stayed at the bottom once. The only problem with staying at the bottom is that if they get a really big storm during the late night/early morning, you could get stuck at the bottom. That happend to me the one year I stayed at the bottom We missed one whole day because they couldn't keep the road up the mountain clear. From then on, I've always stayed at the top, it's worth it.