Eastern North Carolina
Eastern North Carolina (sometimes abbreviated as ENC) is the region encompassing the eastern tier of North Carolina. It is known geographically as the state's Coastal Plain region. Primary subregions of Eastern North Carolina include the Fayetteville Metropolitan Area, the Lower Cape Fear (Wilmington Area), the Sandhills, the Inner Banks and the Outer Banks. It is composed of the 41 most eastern counties in the state. Large cities include Fayetteville, Greenville, Jacksonville, and Wilmington. In 1993, the State Legislature established seven regional economic development organizations and three of these serve eastern North Carolina - Northeast North Carolina Commission (covering 16 counties), North Carolina East Alliance (representing 13 counties surrounding North Carolina's Global TransPark), and North Carolina's Southeast Commission (assisting 11 counties).
New transitions are being made in the geography of the economic sectors. Economic Development Commissions are transforming, such as North Carolina's Eastern Region Commission's transition into North Carolina East Alliance. Different EDC's have different ways to increase prosperity in the area. NCEA's first focus is to improve the talent pipeline to create a more comprehensive local workforce. Shoop, the Commissioner for Washington's EDC stated "In a private setting, they would be able to access different funds for additional economic projects or initiatives in the county."
Located east of the Piedmont and west of the Atlantic Ocean, Eastern North Carolina contains very few major urban centers. Greenville is close to the region's geographic center. Fayetteville is the largest city in the region, followed by Wilmington and Greenville.
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Education
- 4 Transportation
- 5 Global Transpark
- 6 Ports
- 7 Economy
- 8 Government
- 9 Military Influence
- 10 Socio-economic
- 11 Topography
- 12 Recreation
- 13 Area
- 14 References
- 15 See also
Eastern North Carolina is roughly made up of the 44 easternmost counties in North Carolina. Generally, the region denotes all of the state's counties on and east of Interstate 95 (also known as East Coast USA Main Street stretching from northern Maine to the southern tip of Florida). If defined by geological formations, eastern North Carolina comprises the 44 counties of the Inner and Outer Coastal Plains. In terms of economic similarities, the region includes 41 counties. The commonly accepted definition is all counties east of and crossed by Interstate 95, which is 41 counties. I-95 intersects with US64/264 at Wilson County and is in close proximity to I-40. This makes transportation throughout the region incredible along with easy access to the rest of the state and country. The region is further divisible into three geographic sections: the Southeast, Inner Banks and the Outer Banks.
During the colonial era of American History, the East was the dominant region of North Carolina in both government and commerce. Towns of early significance included Bath, Beaufort, Elizabeth City, Edenton, Kinston, Morehead City, New Bern, Tarboro, and Wilmington. Around the end of the eighteenth century, however, such dominance shifted to the Piedmont center of the state.
Four Year Institutions
The region is dotted with universities. There are five public universities and seven private institutions in the region. The largest is East Carolina University, a Research II university on the Carnegie scale. The four other public universities are Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The seven private institutions are: Barton College, Campbell University, Chowan University, Methodist University, University of Mount Olive, North Carolina Wesleyan College, and Mid-Atlantic Christian University.
The area is also served by 23 community colleges. The two-year institutes are: Beaufort County Community College, Bladen Community College, Brunswick Community College, Cape Fear Community College, Carteret Community College, College of the Albemarle, Coastal Carolina Community College, Craven Community College, Edgecombe Community College, Fayetteville Technical Community College, James Sprunt Community College, Johnston Community College, Lenoir Community College, Roanoke-Chowan Community College, Martin Community College, Nash Community College, Pamlico Community College, Pitt Community College, Sampson Community College, Sandhills Community College, Southeastern Community College, Wayne Community College, and Wilson Technical Community College.
Many community colleges hold programs to create a more able workforce in Eastern North Carolina. The different economic clusters, including but not limited to advanced manufacturing (aerospace, automotive and industrial machinery), life sciences (Biopharma and medical device research, development and manufacturing), value-added agriculture (food processing, forest products, etc.) and marine products (boat building) have prompted Community Colleges to offer Associate Degrees in related fields (e.g. Airframe/power plant maintenance, composite technology, engineering technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical manufacturing technology, machining and welding).
STEM is a new movement in American Education to help teachers and their students understand how the academic disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics impact their world and prepare them for the workplace of tomorrow. Others refer to STEM as 'strategies that engage minds' or multi-disciplinary based activities incorporating the integration of other disciplinary knowledge into a new whole. Technology helps us communicate; Math is the language; Science and Engineering are the processes for thinking; all this, especially when combined with art and design, leads to Innovation.
"STEM East seeks to address the current regional skill gaps, expand economic opportunities, and improve workforce development programs by looking deeper into our education and training systems. Students must be inspired and engaged before they enter high school courses that determine their eligibility for certificate programs or associate or baccalaureate degrees. STEM East seeks to influence students before they become disillusioned with education and fail to see the benefit of the course work, turn off to education, or drop out altogether. Reaching students early and exposing them to career opportunities in the region is the first step to developing a robust workforce that will improve sustainability and economic growth potential.
STEM East is developing a public/private network that can support the entire education and workforce pipeline. Partnering with the private sector, government and community organizations, schools, and colleges and universities allows for the development of professional teacher-training programs, student learning centers, regional advocacy opportunities, and career pathways that are aligned to existing industry workforce needs as well as emerging industry clusters. Students need to be exposed to all the career exploration programs and post-secondary education possibilities earlier and more often. STEM East assists in providing venues of opportunity for public/private partners to share programs, projects, and other outreach opportunities as well as advocating for more STEM-related projects to be established in Eastern North Carolina."
Eastern North Carolina is served by two main interstate highways and a number of U.S. routes.
- Interstate 95 is the rough western edge of Eastern North Carolina passing through Rocky Mount, Wilson, Fayetteville and Lumberton.
- Interstate 40 serves the southeastern portion from Wayne County (Near Mt . Olive) to Wilmington in New Hanover County.
- I-795 is the main highway between Wilson and Goldsboro.
- U.S. 13 enters North Carolina close to the Drum Hill community. It proceeds through Greenville and terminates into I-95 in Fayetteville.
- U.S. 17 enters North Carolina from Virginia beside the Dismal Swamp State Park. It continues through Washington, New Bern, and Wilmington and exits the state near Calabash onwards to South Carolina.
- U.S. 64 enters Rocky Mount from Raleigh. It continues to the eastern terminus in Nags Head.
- U.S. 70 enters the region at Selma. It continues through Goldsboro, Kinston, New Bern and Morehead City (deepwater port) on its way to the eastern terminus at the village of Atlantic. Just before reaching Atlantis, the highway connects with NC12 that leads to the Cedar Island/Okracoke Ferry that connects to the famous Outer Banks.
- U.S. 74 begins in Wrightsville Beach. The route stays close to the South Carolina line and exits the region near Lumberton.
- U.S. 76 runs concerant with U.S. 74 from Wrightsville Beach to Chadbourn. It exits the state near Fair Buff into South Carolina.
- U.S. 117 is an offshoot of U.S. 17, beginning at I-95 in Wilson and terminating at the Port of Wilmington.
- The eastern terminus of U.S. 158 is in Nags Head. It continues through Elizabeth City, then it exits the area, crossing I-95 close to Roanoke Rapids.
- Jacksonville is the southern terminus of U.S. 258. It continues north through Kinston and Tarboro, exiting the state near Mill Neck.
- The eastern terminus of U.S. 264 is at U.S. 64 at Manns Harbor. It continues south to Swan Quarter, even though it doesn't go through the town. It then goes west through Washington and bypasses Greenville. It leaves Eastern North Carolina at I-95 in Wilson.
- U.S. 301 closely parallels I-95 throughout North Carolina. It enters the state from South Carolina, crossing over I-95 near Rowland. It leaves the state near Pleasant Hill on its way to Virginia.
- U.S. 401 serves Harnett, Cumberland, Hoke, and Scotland counties.
- U.S. 421 enters the region in Harnett County and terminates at Carolina Beach.
- U.S. 701's northern terminus is in Four Oaks. It continues south through Newton Grove and Clinton and exits the state near Tabor City.
Motor Freight Carriers
- Over 60 motor freight carriers provide service to all parts of the nation.
Small Package/Parcel Services
- FedEx, UPS, DHL and Emery have offices in all major communities.
The transportation within the region allows for easy access to anywhere in the entire United States of America. I-40 and I-95 are capable of this with close proximity to I-85 as well. Manufacturers can move their goods efficiently and families can travel with ease.
CSX, Norfolk Southern, and the NC Railroad Company serve the industries within the region.
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak, is a train service for passengers. Amtrak passenger stations are located in Rocky Mount, Wilson and throughout North Carolina and the Eastern region
International Airports Wilmington International Airport is in Eastern North Carolina along with RDU within a short driving distance. Raleigh-Durham international can be reached via i-40 (with i-440 or 540 being additional options). There are several ways to access Wilmington International easily when in the region, using i-40 or US-17.
Regional Airports There are sixteen airports that serve general aviation in the Eastern region of North Carolina: Greenville, Jacksonville and New Bern provide commuter service to Charlotte, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Philadelphia.
The North Carolina Global TransPark (GTP) is a 2,500 acre, multi-modal industrial park offering unparalleled access to air, rail, highways, and North Carolina's two international ports. The GTP boasts a pro-business climate aimed at growing the aerospace, logistics, manufacturing, emergency services, defense contracting and supporting industries.
There are deep-water bulk, break-bulk cargo and container facilities in ENC at Morehead City, NC and Wilmington, NC. A third comprehensive deep-water (Panamx-ready) port exist just north of the state line in Norfolk/Portsmouth, VA. All three ports also have RoRo (roll-on, roll-off) facilities to handle autos and military equipment.
The mainstays of the economy still reside in agriculture and defense sectors for most of the east, however it is changing. On the coast, marine trades (port activities and boat building), retirees, and tourism are the economic drivers. In North Carolina's Eastern Region, several industrial sectors are contributing to growth: aerospace, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing. Aerospace activity is spread throughout the region and employs roughly 12,000 workers: this sector is concentrated in Kinston (host of the Global TransPark that has attracted Spirit AeroSystems, CrateTech, and several logistics firms), Goldsboro (AAR Cargo & Mobility Systems), Havelock (Fleet Readiness Center East - a Navy MRO on board MCAS Cherry Point), Rocky Mount (Honeywell and EATON), and Wilson (Kidde Aerospace). Education (East Carolina University), health care (Vidant Health), and financial services are the major employers in the Greenville Metro Area, but the life science sector (R&D as well as manufacturing) is also a significant employer (DSM Pharmaceuticals, Metrics, Carolina Medical Products, Pioneer Surgical and CTMG). The life science sector also has a significant presence in Wilson (Novartis-Sandoz, Purdue Pharma, BD and Merck) and Rocky Mount (Hospira). In addition to aerospace, the advanced manufacturing sector is represented by automotive parts (Bridgestone/Firestone, ASMO, Uchiyama, Keihin - all Japanese companies - Cooper-Standard and AP Exhaust) and industrial machinery (Cummins Rocky Mount Engine, Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Crown, Draka Elevator, Aylward) as well as other industries. An historically significant and still important industrial sector is boat building (Grady-White, Hatteras/Cabo Yachts, Jarrett Bay, Custom Steel Boats, and several others dot the landscape of the coastal plain).
Aerospace & Defense
Millions of dollars have been invested in aerospace development to make Eastern North Carolina the ideal destination for corporate expansion or relocation. The state already contains 160 aerospace companies and prompted the development of the Global TransPark to serve the industry. It is no surprise that this state is an ideal location for aerospace and defense development considering the military bases located within the area. The community colleges have worked with the aerospace idustry to create two-year programs that are relevant to aerospace and defense (e.g. Air Frame & Power Plant, Composites, Advanced Machining and Welding).
Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics
In Eastern North Carolina, you can tap the full potential of one of America's top manufacturing states. There are no inventory or intangible taxes in addition to no sales tax on raw materials. Besides the reduction in manufacturing costs, Eastern NC is an optimal mid-east coast location. NC has the largest manufacturing workforce in the southeast and ninth in the US (with Unions <1%) with easy national and international distribution. In addition, the workers compensation and unemployment insurance rates are among the lowest in the nation. All of this in collaboration with a large quantity of the workforce possessing CNC machining skills. Regional logistics assets include multiple trucking companies with various capabilities (including tankers and reefers), freight forwarders, 3PLs, and transportation consultants, three rail providers, multiple ports and a multi- modal air/rail industrial park.
ENC is part of an internationally acclaimed life sciences corridor, particularly the 13-county region covered by The NC East Alliance. It is adjacent to the Research Triangle with NC being recognized as a national leader in Research & Development and innovation. The continual growth can be attributed to the medical programs in the area (e.g. Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and ECU) alongside international firms and homegrown startups that has attracted biotech and pharmaceutical innovators as well as medical device manufacturers. The workforce is highly skilled due to local programs at community colleges and the acclaimed medical program at East Carolina University. A regional articulated life sciences ladder, developed with guidelines from the life sciences community, is in place. It includes Associate Degrees; BS programs in Biology, Biochemistry, Bioprocess Engineering and Industrial Technology, an MS in Biotechnology and a PhD in Microbiology.
Situated just east of Raleigh, North Carolina and the world famous Research Triangle, the BioEast Alliance is a five-county area that is emerging as a major life science region in its own right.
North Carolina is the third leading state in the U.S. in terms of the number of biotech firms and employees. Presently, the BioEast Alliance area employs about 5,000 of those workers and is home to major operations of life sciences firms such as Hospira, Purdue Pharmaceuticals, DSM Pharmaceuticals, Merck & Co., Fuji Silysia Chemical USA, Metrics, BD, Pioneer Surgical and other leading life science companies.
Value-Added Agriculture & Food
The Eastern Region is internationally recognized as a major agricultural production area. According to NC Department of Agriculture statistics, North Carolina ranks first nationally in the production of sweet potatoes, and second in hogs, pigs, and turkeys. The state ranks 3rd overall for cucumbers sold for pickles, trout sold, and poultry and egg products cash receipts.
Much of the state's production in hogs, turkeys and other poultry is centered in and around the Eastern Region. There are more than 160 facilities within the region involved in value-added agriculture and food manufacturing. Total employment in this cluster exceeds 20,000 people, or 5% of the total workforce.
Major food processing employers in the Region include many nationally and internationally recognized companies such as Mt. Olive Pickles, Carolina Turkeys, Smithfield, Butterball, The Cheesecake Factory, Flowers, and Hillshire (Sara Lee) Bakeries.
Many locales throughout the Region provide exceptional amounts of water and sewer capacity to accommodate large processing operations.
The NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has four research farms located within the Eastern Region (and others across the state) that can assist with research in a broad range of areas of interest to value-added agriculture businesses.
North Carolina State University (NCSU) also makes research capabilities available to companies through its Cooperative Extension Services, and also through the Seafood Laboratory located in Morehead City, which is a part of the NCSU Center for Marine Sciences and Technology (CMAST).
Eastern Carolina Food Ventures Incubator Kitchen is a regional, shared-use commercial incubator kitchen designed to help develop food entrepreneurs, create new food businesses, grow existing food businesses, and provide workforce development resulting in new jobs and new economic development in eastern North Carolina.
The marine trades have been a part of Eastern North Carolina's economic fabric for more than 300 years. Today, the Eastern Region ranks among the nation's leading boat building locales, with world class manufacturers and the resources to support their continuing success. The Eastern Region offers the industry a number of important advantages:
An established industry infrastructure - Forty boat building and marine trade firms are located in the Eastern Region, employing approximately 3,300 people. More than 100 boat builders are within a two-hour drive. Major employers in the category include Hatteras Yachts, Jarrett Bay, Parker Marine, Grady-White Boats and World Class Catamarans.
Affordable and experienced workforce - The Region has a large pool of skilled workers, many with experience in boat building and marine trades. Wages-and the cost of living-in the Region are below national and state averages. In addition, North Carolina is a Right to Work state with minimal union presence. The perfect location - You couldn't ask for a better location - right in the middle of the Eastern Seaboard, with year-round ice-free waterways and excellent access to coastal boating markets from Florida to New England. Four Eastern Region counties have navigable waters within their boundaries with direct access to the Port at Morehead City and the Intracoastal Waterway, which runs the entire length of the North Carolina coast - where many upscale retirees and executives create a ready market for boats built in the Region.
Unsurpassed training resources - Our Marine Training and Education Center (NCMARTEC) is a state-of-the-art training facility located on the Intracoastal Waterway in Morehead City. NCMARTEC offers customized and curriculum training in maritime trades, including marine propulsion, boat manufacturing, composite and fiberglass technologies, marine electrical and plumbing systems, marine coatings, boat maintenance, repair and restoration, rigging and welding. Governmental support - North Carolina is the only state with a program dedicated to supporting the success and growth of the maritime industry. Via the state's Small Business and Technology Development Center's marine trade specialists, maritime companies can receive help with marketing and business plan development, leadership training, marketing to government agencies and many other needs. A program is in place to promote networking between boat builders and product suppliers. Further, North Carolina companies pay no inventory or intangibles taxes, and no sales tax on raw materials.
The local government of Eastern North Carolina is served by seven of the 17 North Carolina Councils of Government. They include the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments, Mid-Carolina Council of Governments, Lumber River Council of Governments, Cape Fear Council of Governments , Eastern Carolina Council of Governments, Mid-East Commission, and the Albemarle Commission.
|This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (October 2013)|
Eastern North Carolina is by and large an impoverished area. Nearly 21 percent of people live in poverty in this region. Outsourcing of textile manufacturing jobs along with other manufacturing jobs has caused unemployment in the area to increase particularly in the northeastern area of the state. Many areas of Eastern North Carolina are experiencing little economic growth; however, areas such as Greenville (Pitt County) are growing rapidly due the location of East Carolina University and its associated medical facilities.
Plant It EAST
PlanIt EAST is eastern North Carolina’s voluntary comprehensive regional forum to address growth and community issues that cross county and municipal boundaries. It is built on the foundation of work completed by the North Carolina’s Eastern Region and the Regional Growth Management Plan prepared by its Military Growth Task Force. That plan concluded that 90% of the growth issues for eastern North Carolina required a comprehensive regional response. This regional forum fosters communication, coordination, and collaboration among public, private and nonprofit leaders from Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender and Wayne counties through its 42 delegates. These representatives include elected officials, business, community and military leaders, farmers and foresters, developers and environmental/conservation group leaders from across the region’s nine counties. Please explore our interactive regional map below to identify the 2011-12 PlanIt EAST delegates representing each member county.
PlanIt EAST is a private-public partnership headed by North Carolina’s Eastern Region with additional funding from the Department of Defense (Office of Economic Adjustment), the State of North Carolina, North Carolina's Eastern Region, each of our nine member counties and several private donors.
The current work program for PlanIt EAST is focused on six key issues: water resources, open space, transportation, affordable housing, renewable energy and sustaining military readiness. We recently completed EnvisionEast- 2050, a planned community visioning exercise designed to discuss, analyze and develop alternative growth scenarios for our region through the year 2050. Where will the projected hundreds of thousands of new residents live, work and play? How can we preserve and enhance the quality of eastern North Carolina’s natural, man-made, economic, and social environment for the next generations? These are among the many questions PlanIt EAST’s delegates and community leaders will address in the months and years to come.
Click here to learn more about Plant it EAST.
North Carolina Logistics Iniative (NCLI)
Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. military has discussed privatization of some of its traditionally organic maintenance functions. Today, as a result of the wartime stresses of the past decade, the discussion has reached a new fervor. While billions of dollars are dedicated annually to help meet the increasing demand, the sheer scale and scope of repairing vehicles and equipment returning from overseas coupled with shrinking defense budgets and new performance targets (including cost, energy, and the environment) has created a need to improve the way this work is accomplished. Specifically, performing ground systems maintenance in NC makes sense. It’s good business for the military, for the defense contractors, and for North Carolina.
Click here to view the NCLI Brochure.
Chambers of Commerce of North Carolina's Eastern Region, CCNCER
The CCNCER is a coalition of Chamber executives and business leaders from the thirteen counties that comprise North Carolina’s Eastern Region. These leaders work to foster a spirit of regionalism, to advocate on behalf of the region’s businesses, and to support and leverage business and community opportunities in innovative ways among the chambers in the region. The goal is to create a business climate that benefits both the people of the Region and the organizations that do business here.
Environmental Advisory Council
North Carolina's Eastern Region Environmental Advisory Council is a collaboration of individuals and organizations that advise on environmental issues in the region and the state. The group works collaboratively with the staff of NCER to develop programs and initiatives to promote a sound and environmentally friendly business environment.
The Region's Green Certification program was developed in late 2009 with support from the NC Coastal Federation, Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation, Sierra Club-Cypress Group, Keep Greenville Beautiful and Pamlico Tar River Foundation. The program is for all types of business and industry and acknowledges a business enterprise's environmentally responsible policies and practice. The purpose of the program is to assure the public that a company follows best-available environmental practices.
Low Impact Development (LID)- The Region's EAC has provided workshops on information to local leaders, engineers, planners and business leaders on the economic and environmental benefits of LID techniques and principles.
Inception Micro Angel Fund
The Inception Micro Angel Fund, LLC (IMAF) is a member-managed, seed-stage, angel capital fund designed to capitalize on the growth in entrepreneurial activity and venture financing in North Carolina. This seed-stage funding model is supported by years of experience, completed deals, educational programs and research. The IMAF embodies the industry's best practices and enjoys participation from the region’s business and economic development leaders. All these leaders share a common goal of supporting the start of great companies in the region
Global Innovation Network
North Carolina's Eastern Region is part of the Global Innovation Network (GIN), a global network of emerging life science regions helping each other compete with and complement larger communities. GIN links development organizations and research institutions in supporting the life sciences in emerging life science regions around the world. The founding partners are North Carolina's Eastern Region; Jagiellonian University's Center of Innovation, Ltd., of Kraków, Poland; and the BIOARATEC Region of Zaragoza, Spain.
Based in Greenville, North Carolina, GIN is a member-directed, not-for-profit corporation that welcomes new members from around the world who share a vision of creating and expanding life science businesses. The life sciences communities that make up GIN work to:
Share assets, best practices and intellectual property
°Attract investment, create new life science companies and businesses
°Expand existing companies, technology transfer and research
°Bundle technologies and improve cross-border licensing opportunities
°It all adds up to an environment that can help any life sciences business maximize its opportunities. GIN is another reason the Eastern Region is one of America's most successful and fastest growing life sciences regions.
Workforce Innovation Network
Building upon its rich diversity of businesses and industries, Eastern North Carolina serves as a hub for innovation.
The Eastern Region Workforce Innovations Network is a partnership designed to ensure that the people and businesses in the Region are focused on the future and prepared to succeed in a global economy that transforms itself every day.
Partnering among businesses, education and training providers, economic development leaders and workforce development agencies makes sense. Together these groups create a cohesive and coordinated force that can develop an economic vision for the region and then bring that vision to life. For more on all that the Workforce Innovations Network is doing, visit their website
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Initiative
As the name implies, the Foreign Direct Investment Initiative (FDI) works to attract foreign investment to North Carolina’s Eastern Region. Whether it’s establishing or acquiring a facility in the Eastern Region, investing in an existing business in the Region, developing an alliance or joint venture with a firm here, or licensing intellectual property, the FDI works to make it happen.
The people at FDI help in a wide variety of ways. They can enlist the U.S. Department of Commerce for help both in this country and in the foreign country (or countries). They can do initial research on possible investors and contact prospects to verify interest. They can identify potential allies, obstacles and solutions. They can also help build and maintain relationships with foreign investors. In short, they’re here to make foreign investment work for the benefit of all.
And what attracts foreign investment to North Carolina and the Eastern Region? The list of reasons is long, here are a few:
°more than 170 million people within 700 miles
°free comprehensive workforce development training
°excellent educational systems
°world-class transportation and communications infrastructure
°new and expanding industry support programs
°competitive tax rates, low operating costs
°To compete and thrive in today’s global marketplace, you'll find that the Foreign Direct Investment Initiative can be an invaluable asset.
Military Growth Task Force
Rapid and extensive growth in military personnel is causing ongoing changes to parts of North Carolina's Eastern Region. In response, the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment awarded funding to create the Military Growth Task Force (MGTF) to aid the region in successful growth management.
The MGTF manages change in the region driven by the projected influx - between 2006 and 2011 - of as many as 61,000 new residents in the seven-county area around Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and New River Air Station. Of that 61,000, more than 11,000 will be active-duty Marines, sailors, and civilian staff; approximately 9,000 of whom have already arrived in North Carolina's Eastern Region.
To learn more about how the MGTF is managing this remarkable growth, click here.
Centers of Innovation
The Centers of Innovation Program is bringing together North Carolina's best scientific and technical minds in the life sciences. This program is designed to focus the state's efforts in biotechnology research, development and commercialization in targeted industrial sectors important to economic development and job creation.
Between 2008 and 2012, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center will work with university researchers, technology transfer offices, industrial partners, non-profit stake holders as well as regional and state-wide community leaders to establish nine Centers of Innovation (COI). Initial Centers of Innovation will complement efforts already under way in the state to align academic and industrial resources. Currently, we have four funded Centers of Innovation in Phase I planning stage.
You can learn more about these efforts at http://www.ncbiotech.org/.
Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation
The MBCOI's mission is to establish itself as a global presence and the "go to" center for information, collaboration and commercialization of Marine Bio-Technologies to stimnulate North Carolina's economy.
Representatives from all of NC's major marine research institutes as well as individuals from North Carolina's Eastern Region and the NC Biotechnology Center facilitated the creation of the MBCOI.
For more information about the MBCOI, click here.
Eastern North Carolina is located in the coastal plain region of the eastern seaboard of the United States and has relatively flat land that is primarily used for farming. The Outer Banks and Inner Banks are comparable to the tidewater region of Virginia in terms of land. However, the barrier islands of the Outer Banks are highly rare.
Eastern North Carolina boasts unique outdoor recreational opportunities. Hunting and fishing are excellent in this area of North Carolina. The presence of large areas of farmland helps support extremely high populations of game animals such as deer, turkey, and duck. Lake Mattamuskeet boasts some of the best migratory waterfowl hunting in the state and region. The Great Dismal Swamp located in the Northeastern part of North Carolina is renowned for its wildlife, particularly birds. The rivers in this area also see strong runs of migrating fish. The Roanoke River is known for its striped bass fishing in the spring months of the year.
Museums & Attractions
A taste for the adults. Duplin Winery was founded in the early 1970s and is the oldest operating winery in North Carolina. This 1,800 acre vineyard welcomes over 100,000 people every year to taste the product strait from the source. It has produced many popular styles, one of its most famous is a Magnolia wine that was featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine.
North Carolina Maritime Museum
The CSS Neuse, located in Kinston, NC (Lenoir County) is a Confederate navy vessel that took part in the Civil War. "Here you will explore the... the remnants of the ironclad gunboat CSS Neuse, a product of the Confederate navy's ill-fated attempt to regain control of the lower Neuse River and retake the city of New Bern during the Civil War."
North Carolina State Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
North Carolina has 3 aquariums, two in Dare county and one in Carteret County. The aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores (Carteret County) offers many attractions for tourists and locals that is enjoyable for the entire family. "Feel the spray of a mountain waterfall. Watch river otters play. Touch a stingray. Look a shark in the eye. Explore shipwrecks – without getting wet. See a rare white sea turtle and let your spirits soar as raptors and waterbirds fly overhead. Thousands of aquatic animals take you on a journey from the state’s grand peaks to the open Atlantic, much as a raindrop makes its way to the ocean. Five miles west of Atlantic Beach on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast."
Located in Wilson, Whirligig Park will be opening in November, 2013. There will be over two dozen sculptures along with an amphitheater, an interactive water features and picnic seating. This will be a great addition to Wilson county and will build upon the outside family atmosphere.
The coast of the U.S. state of North Carolina is a chain of sandy barrier islands, called banks, enclosing shallow lagoons called sounds. "From Cape Lookout northward the banks are widely separated from the mainland and are called the Outer Banks. The state's three great capes, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, and Cape Fear, extend underwater as dangerous shoals, and the area around Cape Hatteras has earned its name as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Several of America's tallest and best known lighthouses were built to warn ships away from this dangerous coast.
All but one of the cottage screwpile lighthouses of the North Carolina sounds have been lost, but two replicas have been built: the town of Plymouth rebuilt the 1866 Roanoke River lighthouse, and the town of Manteo rebuilt the 1857 Roanoke Marshes Light. The 1887 Roanoke River lighthouse, the only original screwpile lighthouse surviving, has been saved and restored at Edenton.
Preservation efforts in North Carolina got a huge boost in 1999 through the well-publicized relocation of the Cape Hatteras Light, and the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society has worked hard to raise interest in the work needed at the other lighthouses. Major restoration has been completed at Currituck Beach Light, Cape Hatteras Light, and Bald Head Island Light and work is nearing completion in 2012 at the Bodie Island Light. Similar work will be needed at the Cape Lookout Light.
Navigational aids in the United States are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases. In North Carolina, all the historic lighthouses are now in National Park Service or local ownership.
Chowan County Lighthouse Roanoke River (2) 1887. Inactive since 1941. 35 ft (11 m) square cylindrical wood tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 2-story wood keeper's house, originally mounted on a screwpile foundation. The original 4th order Fresnel lens was mounted in the tower until recently; it is now in storage for later display. Originally located near the western end of Albemarle Sound off the mouth of the Roanoke River, about 6 miles (10 km) northeast of Plymouth. The lighthouse was relocated in 1955 to downtown Edenton (on the other side of Albemarle Sound) and used first as a rental property and then, from 1960, as the private residence of Emmett Wiggins. After the death of Mr. Wiggins in 1995, the house remained vacant and deteriorating, as seen in the photos on Anderson's page. In May 2005 the Lighthouse Preservation Society of Newburyport, Massachusetts, secured an option to purchase the lighthouse, but nothing came of this effort. Lighthouse Digest placed the lighthouse on the Doomsday List and printed Tim Harrison's September 2006 article on the deteriorated lighthouse. In early 2007 the lighthouse was purchased by the Edenton Historical Commission for $225,000, and in May it was relocated by barge to Colonial Park on the Edenton waterfront. Tom Wicker's January 2010 photo, a December 2007 photo by Jean Davis Olecki, an April 2009 photo by Patsy Wooters, and Google's satellite view (as of June 2013) show the lighthouse still on its moving dolly. In 2009, $1.2 million in federal stimulus money was allocated to permanently site the lighthouse on pilings and restore its exterior. Work began in the spring of 2010, but in June contractors discovered that the soil under the site was contaminated by petroleum. Exterior restoration was completed in October, with the building still on its dolly. It was decided to locate the lighthouse on pilings in the harbor, and this move took place on 1 May 2012. Hilari Seery's photo at right shows the result of this restoration, and a time-lapse video is available. Meanwhile preservationists are seeking $700,000 needed to restore the interior. Located on the waterfront at the foot of Broad Street in Edenton. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Edenton Historical Commission.
Washington County Lighthouse
Roanoke River (1) (replica)
2003 (replica of 1866 lighthouse). Active (an unofficial light is displayed). 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house with lantern centered on the roof, mounted on steel pilings reproducing the original foundation. Lighthouse painted white with red trim; lantern painted black. The original, destroyed by ice in 1885, was located near the western end of Albemarle Sound off the mouth of the Roanoke River, about 6 miles (10 km) northeast of Plymouth. Susan Sharpless Smith's photo is at the bottom of this page, Anderson has an excellent page for the lighthouse, Wilmoth has a good account and photos from a March 2004 visit, Wikimedia has a photo by Julie Kertesz, and Google has a satellite view. We also have photos from May 2003, a month before the lighthouse was completed. Located on the Roanoke River waterfront off US 64 in downtown Plymouth. Parking available. Site open, tower open 11 AM through 3 PM Tuesday through Saturday and for group tours by appointment (small admission fee). Owner: Town of Plymouth. Site manager: Roanoke River Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. Outer Banks Lighthouses
Currituck County Lighthouse
Currituck Beach (Corolla) 1875 (Dexter Stetson). Active; focal plane 158 ft (48 m); white flash every 20 s. 162 ft (49 m) unpainted round red brick tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story brick oil house; the original 1st order Fresnel lens is still in use. Sibling of Bodie Island Light (see below). Original 2-1/2 story wood principal keeper's quarters. The visitor center is in the assistant keeper's quarters, a house apparently moved to the light station in the 1920s. An original storage building is used for staff offices. A photo is at right, Anderson has a fine page for the lighthouse, Wikipedia's page has a good photo, Wikimedia has additional photos, Trabas has a fine photo by Michael Boucher, and Google has a satellite view. This historic light station was badly deteriorated in 1980, when the Outer Banks Conservationists (OBC) signed a lease to restore the buildings. Three decades of work have restored the station to its original appearance. The lighthouse lantern and gallery were restored in winter 1999-2000. In August 2001 the Coast Guard announced plans to transfer the light station under NHLPA, and a controversy quickly arose when Currituck County sought ownership in opposition to OBC. In early 2003, the National Park Service awarded the lighthouse to OBC, and the Secretary of the Interior confirmed the award in July. Despite the fierce opposition of local Congressman Walter Jones, the deed was finally transferred on October 17. This bitter struggle reached ridiculous heights, with the County Commission suing OBC for violation of local zoning ordinances. The dispute threatened to upset the entire NHLPA lighthouse transfer process. Finally, three of the five commissioners reached an agreement with OBC in April 2006 to accept OBC ownership and cease all litigation. Fortunately, the lighthouse is now much better integrated with the community as a unit of the Currituck Heritage Park; the park also includes the Whalehead Club Historic House Museum and the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education, both within walking distance of the lighthouse. Located on the west side of NC 12 in Corolla. Site and tower open daily from one week before Easter through Thanksgiving weekend (site free; there's a fee to climb the tower). Owner/site manager: Outer Banks Conservationists.
Dare County Lighthouses
Roanoke Marshes (replica)
2004 (replica of 1877 lighthouse). Active (privately maintained and unofficial). 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house with lantern and gallery centered on the roof, mounted on a concrete pier. Lighthouse painted white with red trim; lantern painted black. The lantern houses a 4th-order Fresnel lens on loan from the Coast Guard. A photo is at right, Anderson has an excellent page for the lighthouse, the town also has a page for the lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse is similar to the 1866 Roanoke River Light in Plymouth (see above). The Coast Guard has a photo of the original lighthouse, which was located in Croatan Sound southwest of Roanoke Island. When it was deactivated in 1955, an attempt was made to move the lighthouse on shore, but it collapsed into the sound during the operation. In 1995, the town of Manteo decided to build a replica of the lighthouse on an unused concrete pier in Shallowbag Bay just off the town's waterfront. Manteo, the seat of Dare County, is on the east side of Roanoke Island. The original intention was for the lighthouse to be a centerpiece of the town's centennial celebration in 1999. After long delays to raise funds and obtain necessary permits, construction finally began in 2003 and was completed in September 2004. The building houses a small lighthouse museum. A small maritime museum and a fully restored coastal warning display tower are located onshore near the lighthouse. Located off NC 400, the tourist route winding through historic Manteo. Accessible by walking the short pier. Site open, lighthouse open daily (free).
Bodie Island (3) 1872 (station established 1848) (Dexter Stetson). Active (maintained by the National Park Service); focal plane 156 ft (47.5 m); two white flashes (separated by 2.5 s) every 30 s. 160 ft (49 m) round brick tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story brick oil house. Original 1st order Fresnel lens. Tower painted with horizontal black and white bands; lantern black. The original 2-story brick duplex keeper's quarters is a ranger office and visitor center with a small museum and gift shop. Two 1-story wood outbuildings are modern additions. A photo appears at the top of this page, Anderson has a great page with wonderful photos, Jim Liestman has a good 2009 photo, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore also has a web site for the lighthouse, Wikimedia has numerous photos, Trabas has Michael Boucher's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Note: the name of the island and lighthouse is pronounced "Body." This is a classic lighthouse with authentic surroundings, little changed in more than a century. There were some repairs to the tower in 1997-98, but extensive renovation was deferred. Ownership of the tower was transferred to the National Park Service in July 2000, and the lighthouse was added to the Lighthouse Digest Doomsday List in September 2000. The Park Service received a $200,000 appropriation for emrgency repairs in 2000-01. Matching federal and state grants of $200,000 each in 2001 advanced planning of a full restoration. In spring 2002, work began with removal of lead-based paint from the oil house and tower base. In March 2003 the Coast Guard announced plans to replace the Fresnel lens with a modern plastic lens; preservationists and the park service sharply protested this decision and in the summer of 2004 the Coast Guard agreed to transfer the lens and the responsibility for its restoration and operation to the Park Service. The tower was repainted in April 2004. In August 2004, two large chunks of iron fell from the gallery, and a fence was built around the building to protect visitors. Ownership of the 1st order Fresnel lens was transferred to the park service on 25 April 2005. Additional emergency repairs were made in 2007. Plans called for restoration to begin in 2008, but in December 2007 the U.S. Senate dropped the necessary funding from the fiscal 2008 budget. Finally, Congress appropriated $3 million for the restoration in March 2009. Work began in September 2009 and continued through March 2011. The lighthouse was restored inside and out; the lens was disassembled, restored, and placed in storage. When restoration was complete, the tower was to be opened for guided tours. In January 2011, however, the Park Service announced that the gallery would need additional work, for which $1.6 million in additional funding was needed, before the tower could be opened for climbing. With the help of North Carolina's two senators, the additional funding was secured. Work resumed in March and was completed by spring 2013. The light was restored on 19 April 2013. Located on the west side of NC 12 between Nags Head and Oregon Inlet. Site and visitor center open all year (free); tower open for tours daily mid April through mid October.
Bodie Island Light, 2010
1870 (station established 1803) (Dexter Stetson). Reactivated (inactive 1936-1950) (maintained by the National Park Service); focal plane 192 ft (58.5 m); white flash every 7.5 s. 200 ft (61 m) round brick tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on an octagonal brick base; rotating DCB-224 aerobeacon (1950). The tower is painted with a distinctive black and white spiral pattern; the octagonal base is unpainted red brick; the lantern is painted black. 2-story wood principal keeper's house (1871) and 2-story wood duplex assistant keeper's house (1854). The original 1st order Fresnel lens was mostly dismantled by souvenir hunters while the lighthouse was inactive; most of the remaining portions of the lens are on display at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras. In 2006 the original pedestal was removed from the lighthouse and reunited with the lens. Kevin Duffus has proved that this lens is the one installed in the older tower in 1854. Duffus summarized his research in two Lighthouse Digest articles in October and November 2002. Brick oil house also preserved. Anderson has a great page for the lighthouse, the National Park Service also has a web page, Wikimedia has many photos, Trabas has a 2012 photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has an excellent satellite view. This lighthouse replaced a 95 ft (29 m) octagonal brick tower, the tallest of the early federal towers, which had been extended to 150 ft (48 m) in 1854. This is the tallest U.S. lighthouse and one of the tallest brick lighthouses in the world. It is one of the most famous of all lighthouses and is probably the best-known building in North Carolina. The lighthouse has been recognized as a National Historic Landmark. In 1999 a $12 million relocation and restoration project moved the entire light station 2900 ft (885 m) southwest to escape beach erosion. We have closeup photos of this amazing move. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the lighthouse at its original location, and Wikipedia has an aerial view. In June 2001, a small segment of the spiral stairway fell, causing the park service to close the light tower for repairs. After $545,000 in repairs and renovations the tower reopened on 18 April 2003. In June 2003 a new visitor center opened; this will allow interior restoration of the keeper's houses formerly used for this purpose. A celebration of the 200th anniversary of the light station was held in October 2003, even though Hurricane Isabel had blown out several windows and heavily damaged other areas of Hatteras Island in September. In 2011, Hurricane Irene damaged the roofs of the keepers' houses; the roofs were replaced in March 2012. Located south of NC 12 in the town of Buxton. Site open all year, visitor center open daily (free), tower open daily Easter through Columbus Day (fee, tickets required).
1967. Inactive since 2001. Texas platform with a square cylindrical light tower, with lantern and gallery, at one corner. The Coast Guard has a historic photo. The automated light failed in December 2001, and the structure has become too shaky for it to be repaired safely. The Coast Guard replaced the light with a buoy, and NOAA relocated its C-MAN automatic weather station from the platform to a buoy. In October 2012, the abandoned station was sold for $20,000 to Dave Schneider of Richfield, Minnesota. The president of a government supplies and logistics contractor, Schneider intends to repair the lighthouse and use it as a platform for engineering research. Located 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Cape Hatteras at the end of the infamous Diamond Shoals, a.k.a. the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Accessible only by boat.
Hyde County Lighthouse
1823 (Noah Porter). Active (maintained by the National Park Service); focal plane 75 ft (23 m); continuous white light. 65 ft (20 m) round tower with lantern and gallery, built of brick with cement veneer; 4th order Fresnel lens (1899). Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. The 2-story brick keeper's house, formerly used a residence for park rangers, is now occupied by volunteer caretakers. This is one of the best built and best preserved examples of an old-style brick lighthouse. The oil house and two storage buildings are also preserved. Cape Hatteras National Seashore has a good page for the light station, Anderson has a fine page with excellent photos, Trabas has a good photo by Michael Boucher, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. Part of the keeper's house is original, but the building was expanded with a second story in 1897 and a duplex section in 1929. In 2002 the park service moved a fence to provide more parking at the site. In the fall and winter of 2009-10 the lighthouse was closed four months for replacement of the glass in the lantern, repairs to metalwork, and installation of lightning protection. Located on Lighthouse Road just off NC 12 in the town of Ocracoke. Ocracoke Island is accessible by state ferries from Hatteras (free), Swanquarter (toll), or Cedar Island (toll). Site open (free); limited parking provided; tower closed to climbing but the base is open during the summer season whenever volunteers are available to maintain it."
Festivals and Events
Eastern North Carolina generally consists of 43 counties, which when combined form a total regional area of roughly 9,700 square miles (25000 square km). The counties commonly included in the region are as follows:
Cities and towns
Eastern North Carolina communities in the region include:
Over 50,000 in population
Fewer than 50,000 population
- Atlantic Beach
- Bald Head Island
- Bear Grass
- Black Creek
- Boiling Spring Lakes
- Cape Carteret
- Carolina Beach
- Carolina Shores
- Caswell Beach
- Elizabeth City
- Elm City
- Emerald Isle
- New Bern