Some folks coming from west of the Triangle may choose to come over Friday evening, so they don't have to get such an early start on Saturday AM.

Unfortunately, there aren't any hotels very close to our meeting point.

I'm expecting that we'll meet here:
Shopping Center at Intersection of US 64/264 and NC 96 in Zebulon, NC

The closest hotels are on the north-east side of Raleigh -
click this link

You can stay in any of those. Driving time from these hotels to the Saturday AM meet point is 20 minutes. Unless I'm driving. Then it's 3 minutes. Just Kidding. Plan on 20.