I went through the same thing ~2 years ago. I splurged and got the D200. It is very nice having a nice camera. The reality is though, once you start getting into it, the camera body will be a lower percentage of the total costs. Lenses add up pretty quick.
If you think you are really going to get into photography, get something high end (at least a D80 and a D300 if you can swing it). Don't scrimp on the glass to start off with either. I have a 55-200 and a 70-300VR lens collecting dust because I did not just get the good lens at the start.