I will vouch for asheville.
I mostly just agree with what previous posts have said. we are vegetarian and have no trouble meeting our dietary preferences anywhere in town. summer is the real reason to live here. so much good music, great weather, camping and hiking, gardening, oh I can hardly wait. this winter has been RIDICULOUS and I think we are all pretty much over the sight of snow.
the job market is rough, but it depends on what field you are in. my husband works in mental health/social work and while he hardly makes "good money", he hasn't had too much trouble staying employed. and the cost of living is pretty high compared to other spots in NC.
we live in montford, a really cool historic neighborhood within walking distance of downtown. we rent, so I can't tell you too much about housing costs if you plan to buy. we've lived all over town and this is my favorite neighborhood that we have lived in. some of the neighboring towns (we've lived in brevard, black mountain, weaverville) are a little cheaper as far as housing.
it is a great place for kids and families and that is why we stay. and the mountains. and the gardening season. and the music scene. okay, there are lots of reasons