The name 'Bree' means Hill, according to Tolkien, referring to the fact that the village of Bree and the surrounding Breelands are centered around a large hill. There are three villages in Breeland in addition to Bree Proper.
Staddle is populated entirely by hobbits, making a living from light agriculture, of pipeweed, primarily. Staddle is on the south-eastern side of Breehill, sitting south of Combe and Archet. It is the only of the villages (other than Bree itself) visible from the Great East Road.
Combe is populated primarily by Men, with some hobbits, all of whom make a living from agriculture. Combe is situated on the borders of the Chetwood and on the edge of Breehill, between the villages of Archet and Staddle.
Archet is the furthest north. Located in the Chetwood, it is populated primarily by Men.
Frodo met Strider (Aragorn) at the largest inn in Bree; The Prancing Pony, by Barliman Butterbur. Later on in The Fellowship of the Ring, some of the Ringwraiths attempted to kill the hobbits, but Strider anticipated them, and the hobbits were in Strider's room instead of their own when the wraiths struck.
The hobbits returned to Bree later in the story.
In Peter Jackson's movie The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo and his companions arrive at Bree almost immediately after the scene in which they leave the Shire, giving the impression that the two are much closer together than described by Tolkien.