I haven't seen many machines around Roanoke, for sale or arcades. If you drive up to Northern VA, or the Richmond area, you can find more, but there's still not a lot.
You will have to be patient. I've found 2 machines through craigslist, 2 at the Allentown show (it's in May), and two had to be shipped. If you're trying to stay under $1k, shipping would put a serious dent in your budget.
What do you mean by "something with plenty to do on the field"? If you needs ramps, EM (1970s) machines are out, but there's really a lot of fun to be had with them, and you can find nice ones within your budget. There's nothing saying you can't get one, and as long as you don't overpay, sell it once you find a machine you want to keep.
Under $1k, any DMD (~1990s) machines you find will be junk.
System 11 games would probably be your best bet if you want more updated under $1k. Davewth's suggestion of looking at the bang/buck list is a good idea. You'd be looking at the "before 1991" games, probably concentrating on late 80s stuff.