Anyone familiar with Bran and it's "Dracula"s Castle? Is there a village associated with the castle where I can find lodging, etc. or is the castle one of those "stay in a nearby city and visit by bus tour" kind of things?
Yes, you can find accommodations, restaurants etc. in Bran (it's a small town right next to the castle), the tourist industry has developed very rapidly there in the past few years.
But you can also visit the castle as a one day trip from Brasov, the largest nearby town (25 km away), there are buses every half hour.
In my current research for myself to visit this area, I thought about staying in Brasov. One pension that comes highly recommended in several different travel guides is Casa Beke. It's run by a Hungarian couple. From what I've read, it sounded like the family was friendly, the rooms were comfortable and clean, and prices were great. You might find better prices in Brasov away from the tourist oriented area of Bran. With the frequency of trains, it might be worth staying away from the castle. To get the address to book a room at this place you will need to look it up in a guide book. I found it in Lonely Planet's guide book and some others. They are not found on the web that I can see. I can't locate the address right now or I'd just pass it on to you to save you the research. Sorry.
We were in Romania in late Sept 2007. We flew from Hungary to Tirgu Mures, took a cab to Sighisoara. We stayed in Sighisoara for 4 nights. One day we took the train to Brasov to meet a tour guide/driver. They took us to Peles Castle, Bran Castle, and the town of Brasov. Our main goal was Bran castle. I have to say that while Bran castle was not that great(worth it if you are near for a few hours), everything else was fabulous--Peles, Brasov, the people, the food, the prices, etc. The Bran castle is in a town, there is a neat market at the foot of the castle, & definately some lodging options. I would stay in Brasov. There was a walled town Rasnov that I would have loved to visit but we ran out of time.