I lived in Monroe for many years prior to relocating to FL three years ago.
I still have relatives there but have only been back there once since comming to FL. It is a nice area with good people. The summer heat there is greater than here in FL. I miss some of the golf courses there.
I am very familiar with New Bern. Eastern Bldg Components is a customer of mine so I make the trip every now and then. My company even has offices in Edenton. I will put that level of non-civilization up against New Bern any time