Welcome to the TarHeel State. Hopefully you aren't one of them yankees that comes down here then pulls for the wrong basketball team (hint: It's Duke).
Don't worry about carrying openly in this state! Follow the law and posted signs of course, but no one is going to say much if anything to you. If they do say something typically it's going to be questions about what gun you have, or what caliber is and other things of that nature. I often get in conversations with others that openly and conceal carry when I go out.
When I first started carrying openly I was nervous about it like you are now but this quickly went away. I still stay alert (don't want someone taking it off of me) but as far as the general public goes I'm relaxed with it on my hip now. Just be an upstanding member of the community and you'll do fine, most down here are very friendly and you'll find it a bit different than it was back in NJ.
I would meet up with you but it would be a bit of a drive for me and I'm busy at the moment with life. Hopefully some day I'll make it to one of these meet ups. Check out the sub-forum the other guys have linked to I'm sure you can find some people in your local area.