As someone who lives in ENC, trust me there is no high point really in ENC other than Wilmington. Even that isn't all that great. Sure you have New Burn, it is where the Social Security Office is. Jacksonville is the home of the Marines. Morehead City and the beach, is alright but it is Morehead City not a whole lot going on. Personally, I have never lived anything more north than Morehead City. Then again, my dad was guy who made his money catching clams, at 10 cents a piece, sometimes more. He did that by hand, until his body gave in in his early 30s.
Trust me mate, it is not a lack of trying. I moved away 10 years ago with my parents. I moved back thinking that if I came back it would be different. Different day, same bullshit. I can not find a job, even with a masters degree (hell I want is a Teaching Aid job, I have done that for the past few years). I am seriously thinking of moving to a different area of the state, or even out of state if I can find a job. Sure I grew up here, but I now know why my parents left. There is nothing here, there are no jobs that can pay me well enough to pay down my loans and allow me to save for old age. I can always land a job at WalMart, but it is part-time hours, with no benfits. The state has not expanded Medicaid. That leaves me without Medicale, I am not getting any younger, I am just hit 31 in the ass, and I know as I get older body parts tend to break. When you are unemployed, or underemployed there is no breaks to pay for Medical insurance on the exchange. This is a gap that needs to be fixed, but I doubt it.
The sad part is that ENC had or has the ability to play up the area, but they don't. This could be because of many factors, but damn one would expect that after the Sewing Factories left in the 90s that something else would move in. It hasn't, that is the really sad part. If there was a way to move the interstate closer and connect the area, this could be a great place to set-up warehouses, there is enough empty land for it. That would also mean that the port in Morehead City would have to expand to be able to take on larger ships than just woodchips. This could be a way to boost the economic issues of the area. Hell at this point, drilling might be a viable option, but I doubt that will happen.