Out of those NC cities, I've only been to Asheville - love it! It's a beautiful, somewhat diverse, walkable city. Big arts and artisan community there, and great restaurants. Very pretty views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and there are other interesting cities and natural resources within driving distance. And the weather is great! It has become an increasingly more liberal place, as it has attracted lots of people from New York City (which is also pretty liberal) over the years. I think it's the #3 destination for people relocating from NYC. There's a variety of alternative stuff there, just not on a huge scale. For example, they have a drumming circle in downtown Asheville
on Friday nights. So homeschooling and alternative lifestyles might be more accepted there than other places in the south. Home prices have gone up, according to the longtime NCers, but they're still reasonable by Northeast standards, so a lot of Northerners move to Asheville. I've also heard good things about Wilmington, on the coast. It's apparently a very vibrant city, with the largest film studio outside of Hollywood. Electricians can always find work on film productions. And, usually, wherever film folk or artists are, more open attitudes might be found.
Check out: http://www.exploreasheville.com/index.aspx
I do recall hearing that NC has better air quality than SC.
Also, have you ever visited City-Data.com? You can post really specific questions in their forums and get demographic info from their main site. The forums are a great resource where you can ask about real estate, neighborhoods, attitudes, etc., and pinpoint a target area or town. Posters there are not timid with their opinions. Here's the NC forum (cities are in child forums according to region): http://www.city-data.com/forum/north-carolina/