Town square: Rocky Mount looks to the Carolina Connector to push positive growth

The CSX Carolina Connector Intermodal Rail Terminal is set to change Rocky Mount for the better.

Town square: A shore thing

In fast-growing Brunswick County, Oak Island clings to its reputation as a low-key oceanfront hideaway.

Town square: Facebook’s friend

Aided by the social-networking behemoth and a Taiwanese textile company, Forest City is lumbering ahead.

Town square: Rocky road

As stock-car racing memories fade in Rockingham, Ashley-Michelle Thublin and a new generation help rev Richmond County’s engines.

Town square: Sanford’s sons

Hammered in the recession, the Lee County seat of Sanford has rebounded and is taking better advantage of its proximity to the Triangle.

Town square: Feel the Bern

North Carolina’s Colonial capital has 300 years’ worth of coastal charm, but New Bern isn’t content with tourism alone.

Town square: Coming up roses

The Vance County seat of Henderson, perhaps best known as the hometown of broadcast icon Charlie Rose, struggles to prepare its children for a fast-changing world.

Town square: Savory Avery

A favored summer locale for the wealthy, Banner Elk relies on education, golf and cuisine to retain an elite reputation.

Town square: Sensibly shabby

White Lake’s heyday of tour boats and water-ski shows has passed, but thousands still trek to a tiny corner of Bladen County every summer.

Town square: Right-sized retreat

More western North Carolina newcomers are opting for Hendersonville over its more famous neighbor, Asheville. One reason is the city’s welcoming downtown.

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