Extract brewer here as well. I used to live in Asheville. I will be doing my first Partial Mash here soon (probably next brew) but I have always steeped.
Its a great hobby to get into, and you just get better with practice.
Man do I miss NC. Illinois suck when it comes to beer. Too close to Budweiser, all of the distributors suck. I miss Highland, Yeungling, Sweetwater, Catawba, Duck-Rabbit, to name a few that I really miss. Just can't get those here in Illinois.