Hey there. Where are you in NC? For recommendations, I think the Fender Strat's are a good starter, even the cheaper ones play nicely and feel good. It depends upon what you plan to do with it, as well. With an electric, you'll also need a decent amp and an effect pedal or two. It's a neverending purchase!! Anyhow,welcome to the site.
"The only funeral you should ever try to interrupt is your own, and that should be a full-time job." -Kinky Friedman