Your price point opens the door for a LOT of very fine rod choices. I own a few rods that would be considered higher end (Winston Bii-t, Scott G2, Sage SLT) and there is something about them that is really nice.
I like medium action rods and there are a lot of choices in that range. The ones I mentioned above (except for the Sage) are all currently made. I think LRO can get Scott rods too.
The TFO rods are an excellent value in a quality rod. The new St Croix rods are supposed to be really nice too.
The option of getting a 3wt and a 5wt TFO rod with the Orvis Battenkill Barstock (BBS) reel is a very good suggestion. I think you could get both of those rods and a reel for about the price you mentioned and you'd have everything from small stream brookies to tailwaters to bass and bluegill in ponds covered with those rod setups.
If you're in a place where you an get to LRO, have Daniel string a couple up and take them out back on the grass and cast to see what actions you like.
One tip when test driving rods, don't worry too much about how far you can cast. I've found that the rods that cast the farthest are not the best fishing rods. I had a really fast rod that could cast like a rocket but I hated fishing with it.
Most fish you are going to be catching are inside of 50 feet and the vast majority are inside of 30 feet. In the Smokeys, most are within 10 feet of the end of your rod.
Casting distance is far less important than casting accuracy. When you're test driving rods, pick something about 30' away and see how easy it is for you to hit that mark with consistency. The rod that allows you to hit that mark with ease is the one for you.
Just my .02 worth on the subject.