The best place to stargaze is far from city light, unfortuantley since you live on the east coast, finding a dark site will be difficult since it's very populated over there. Anyway yah what usair said, when its dark out, go stargaze, LOL.
About the telescope
Don't ever purchase a telescope advertising a magnification value, its a scam. Magnification means nothing to the amateur astronomer, its how much light you can squeeze into a tube what really matters. Example, a 8 inch reflector can collect more light than a 4 inch reflector. As for cost of a telescope, the more expensive the better. Seems to me you own a reflector telescope; in order to own a good quality telescope of that type the scope should cost no lower than $500.
About the objects you want to see
From your list of objects you want to see, I can tell you won't be able to view the Horsehead nebula. That sort of nebula is a called a dark nebula making it difficult to view. Only huge telescopes will be able to view it, however smaller telescopes (not too small) will be able to detect it using photographic film or CCD which is like a digital camera specially made for telescopes. All the other items you can easily see under good conditions.
Check these sites out for more info, I don't feel like writing all I know about astronomy which would take hours. Astro forumsHow to choose a telescope