Tony, if you are wanting to "try" your hand at turning, you might want to start with a mini-lathe for more than one reason: 1. to see if you like it; 2. to see if you're any good at it; 3. to keep the initial cost down; and 4. you can turn lots of things on a mini--don't need a "big boy" to turn some pretty large pieces, up to 10" diameter. I strongly suggest the Steel City variable-speed mini-lathe, currently at $400.00 at WWS. If you want to go longer than 15", the bed extension is also available for $83.00.
BUT, be warned, the lathe purchase, whatever you buy, is just the start of your descent into the abyss--you'll need turning tools and chisels, you'll need a good chuck, you'll need a smock and a face shield (preferably an air shield), you'll need turning blanks, sandpaper, finishing supplies. And don't forget that you'll need a good digital camera for taking pictures of the beauties you produce off the lathe and a good light-box set-up to put the pieces in for the pictures. If you want to do pens, you'll need pen kits and pen kits and pen kits and more pen kits, pen mandrels, multiple types of blanks, multiple types of finishes. If you go with bottle stoppers, you'll need blanks, mandrels, kits, finishes. If you buy the lathe, the vortex has gotten you!!!
Just take all your money out of your wallet and take a picture of it and tape it to the shop wall above your lathe, because that is the last time you will see it. Let's hope you have deep pockets and/or a credit card with a high limit....and an understanding spouse!!