Finn - have your plans changed that you won't be around for the 19-24th "mini-gathering"?
As far as hotels, the Antler is the cheapest option in town. The super 8 a few miles out of town is a bit cheaper, but you have to ride the city bus to the resort which takes a bit longer. Plus you can't walk around town for dinner/beers/etc.
I've just booked my last trips through JH central reservations and they arranged the ground transfer. It was pretty cheap but I don't know which company they use.