Wilkesboro, NC

Wilkesboro, located in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains on the bank of the Yadkin River, offers laid-back living along with plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation such as mountain biking, birding and canoeing. The city hosts several festivals, including MerleFest, which celebrates Americana music and is held on the Wilkes Community College campus.

The community is home to locations for several well-known brands, including Tyson Foods and Lowe's, which contribute to the business climate along with textile and furniture companies. Long known for its moonshine-running heritage (credited for establishing stock-car racing's roots), the area has recently experienced a rebirth of (now legal) moonshine distilleries lending a historic twist to new business and tourism opportunities.

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