After three years, NOCO says goodbye…

NOCO fans, as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, things have gotten pretty slow around here lately. As my real estate career has taken off, I’ve had less and less time and energy to devote to this blog. And the truth is, I’ve simply run out of steam.

Three years ago this week, I launched NOCO with the intention of celebrating all the wonderful things that I love about North County. I’ve told the stories of this diverse, historic community to the best of my ability, and in the process, I’ve been able to visit some of the most beautiful and interesting places in the area and meet literally thousands of amazing people.

For much of its run, NOCO has had about 30,000 unique visitors every month – a number that still blows me away! And though some might think it’s crazy to abandon such a successful venture, the fact is I’ve invested way more time than I was ever compensated for, and more importantly, I’m just not the kind of person who continues to do something when my heart just isn’t in it.

I still love North County and my home here in Ferguson, and I’m extremely proud of the positive publicity and renewed sense of community spirit that I’ve brought to the area. I’ve decided that now is the right time to step down, but I will forever be grateful for this experience and the many, many things that I’ve learned as a result of it.

I am also hugely thankful to the advertisers who have supported my efforts, especially CORK, Vincenzo’s, Hendel’s, and Commercial Bank, who have been with me since the very beginning. Ferguson Brewing also deserves a shout-out.

Some have asked me if I plan to sell NOCO or pass it along to someone else, and the answer is no, probably not. But it’s my sincere hope that I’ve inspired somebody in the community to step forward with their own creative endeavor, because just as it was three years ago when I started this blog, we need someone out there fighting for us, letting the rest of St. Louis know that our dear NoCo is still an awesome place to live, work and visit.

Over the next few weeks, this site will gradually be converted into a directory-style archive, which means you’ll still be able to access the old articles but I won’t be adding anything new. I will also continue blogging, but on my unique real estate website, STL Homes with Soul.

I’ve spent months thinking about how I should end this great adventure, and it just makes sense to go back to the beginning, to the original North County treasure that sparked this idea in the first place: Kuhs Farm.

I grew up hearing about this magical old sunken garden in Spanish Lake, and I figured if I could ever get in there and see it for myself, it would make a fantastic story to share with others. Of course, it took nearly three years to actually post an article about Kuhs Farm, and I didn’t even write it! (The fabulous Jo Batzer did.) But to me, nowhere represents the unique charm, natural beauty, creative spirit and rich history of North County better than this 1920s gem overlooking the Missouri River.

In Kuhs Farm, I see the wonders of the past meeting the bright potential of the future, and it makes me very happy. So here, NOCO fans, is my final gift to you: a delightful photo tour from my beloved husband, Keith.

THANK YOU to all the readers and contributors who made this blog possible! I hope I have enriched your life as much as you have enriched mine! It has been an honor and a joy to represent our North County community!

Best wishes,

Shannon Howard

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  1. When I moved to Spanish Lake in 08, I knew nothing of Noco, now I brag about it all the time, mostly because of things I have read on here.

    thanks so much for the last 3 years, Brian

  2. Denise Blanco says:

    I really enjoyed reading about NoCo seeing I have lived here since I was 5. I have been in Dellwood for 53 years.. You have showed me about de.lish cheesecake bakery and cafe and much more. I will miss you
    Good Luck!!!!!

  3. Trini Pellegrino says:

    Shannon, I will miss your postings. You are a lovely person and always had interesting things to say. Best of luck to you, and thanks for your efforts.

  4. Shannon Howard says:

    Thanks everyone! Brian & Trini, you are definitely among the finest people I’ve met as a result of NOCO! I consider myself very lucky :)

  5. Ann says:

    It’s difficult to burn the candle at both ends! It’s a tough decision but one I can relate to. Yours was a wonderfully creative way to celebrate North County and it was always a joy to read. You never know, another door may open it back up in some other incarnation one day. Thanks for all of your effort!

  6. Joel says:

    Thank you. I really enjoyed this blog!

  7. Bill says:

    Growing up in Dellwood and still having parents there, I had great pride in telling people that I was from NoCo and often told them about your blog.

    We will miss your contribution. Good luck in whatever you do.

  8. Angela says:

    Due to the economy my family and I had to move out-of-state… NOCOSTL is what kept me updated to the community that miss so dearly. I am going to miss this blog. :(

  9. Gary Poggemoeller says:

    I have always enjoyed your passion for all things NOCO. I lived in Ferguson for 35 years and left in 1986. Your publication brought back many sweet memories.
    I wish you luck going forward with your life, and thank you for helping me go back and visit mine.

  10. David Unnerstall says:

    There will be a void.

  11. Diane says:

    Thank you for your time and efforts. NOCO will be greatly missed.

    Good luck with your real estate business.

  12. John says:

    Shannon, I wish you the best in whatever you do. You are very passionate in your endeavors, while they may not be financially rewarding. This has been an amazing adventure and we have all been blessed to be able to enjoy this blog for three years. I hope you truly enjoy ANYTHING that you involve yourself in, and I hope you financial success at the same time.

  13. Bob says:

    At least you didn’t say you were shutting it down and moving to O’Fallon:)

    Good luck and thanks for your efforts on behalf of our community.

  14. Shannon Howard says:

    WOW, thank you so much!! I can’t tell you all how grateful and happy I am to read these amazing comments and to know that NOCO made a difference in your lives. I am sincerely touched and humbled, and still extremely proud to share this community with so many wonderful people! Thank you!!

  15. Melia says:

    You have done us a great service, Shannon. I’m still sort of a NoCo newbie, and have learned so much about my community because of you, gaining a real appreciation for its uniqueness and its history. You’ve inspired a number of Saturday afternoon drives! I will miss the blog. Thank you for taking on this mission while you did. You are a talented woman!

  16. Jane says:

    There are many folks-near and far-who will miss your blog, Shannon. Thanks for the positive postings about our neck of the woods.

  17. Lisa says:

    Since moving from STL to Maryland, I’ve been checking your website weekly to keep in touch with my north county roots where my mother still lives. I even have told friends back home about your site. I will surely miss coming here. Thank you for 3 great years listing all the wonderful things going on in North County.

  18. Steve says:

    Hi Shannon,

    It’s funny how things work out. I clicked on a link for that story you wrote about our Northwest Plaza Mall Walk and then I stumbled upon this great story about Kuh’s Farm. It just so happens that my son Mike and his fiance Lauren, are getting married there this weekend. It’s a small world! I wish you continued success in your real estate career.
    Steve

  19. Amber L. says:

    Hi Shannon!
    I’m going to miss NOCO but can totally understand that you’re busy with everything else you’ve got going on. I was actually wondering recently how you managed to blog + be a realtor since you do both so well :)

    Best of luck in all of your future endeavors… I was contemplating recently starting a North County Foodie blog but Jon and I have chosen a more exciting blog/project for next year instead :) North County of course, will be the star player!

    Good Luck Shannon!!!

    Kindest Regards,
    Amber Lee

  20. Amy in StL says:

    I grew up in North County and my family still lives there. I have enjoyed reading all about the area and will miss learning more about the parts of North County I never saw. (And sharing the stories with my South County friends who think North County is nothing.) Good luck in your business, we’ll miss your updates!

  21. Vicki Murphy says:

    Very disappointed to hear the newsletter is disbanding. I didn’t discover it until a year ago, but relished going through the archives and learning a lot along the way! The very best to you Shannon, and thanks for the ride!

  22. Monica says:

    I’ll miss this site, you did a great job highlighting the best of North County. I’ve learned a lot over the last three years. Hopefully someone can put together some sort of database, or just a list with what NoCo has to offer. I often use this site that way- just searching for words like “park” or “restaurant” to find what you’ve posted.

  23. Jim says:

    One of the unexpected negative effects your website has had on me is the remorse I feel about what a great place to live and raise a family North County used to be. But not anymore. Things outside of my control, have changed. As a 60 yr old life long resident I can attest to this fact. Me and my family, my parents and only one other sibling (out of 9 kids) still lives here. And none of my grown up married kids want to live here and raise their families here. All of my relatives, Aunts, uncles, cousins (32 of us), nephews, nieces ect live here anymore. My parish is long gone and dispersed out to St. Charles County, and South and West County. Most, if not all of my high school friends have move out long ago. And members from my church, especially the younger families with babies and kids, are leaving to raise their young somewhere else at a steady clip. I want to stay and rebuild the vibrant post WWII community that once existed here at one time. Your online magazine gave me that hope that others felt the same. I hope someone else will pick up the baton and carry on with the great work you have done. Thanx
    Jim

  24. I grew up in Woodson Terrace, under the roar of the airport, and have enjoyed reminiscing through your blog. Thanks for your work and best wishes on the real estate career!

  25. Jessica says:

    I am a Ferguson resident and unfortunately just now stumbled across this blog! What bad timing! This site is great, thanks for leaving the archive. Best of luck!

  26. Susie says:

    I just found this blog and I love it and am sorry it’s ending.I grew up in Overland and have lived in Bridgeton for 30 years.Not going anywhere soon except to visit the cool places I didn’t know existed till I read your blog.Best of luck and thanks so much!

  27. Bob C says:

    I found this site today, and am saddened that this site has closed. I grew up in Bissel Hills(Bellefontaine Neighbors) in the 60′s, and NoCo was the place to be. I’ve lived there and Hazelwood, and Overland, and St. Charles. But NoCo was/is always home. I worked at Christian Hospital when they first opened up at 270/367, and worked at DePaul Hospital for almost 17 yrs. North County was more than a geographical layout of land and boundaries, it was home. I know from reading on sites like this that most(if not all) of NoCo will never be like it was in the 50′s-60′s-70′s, and that’s sad. It’s fun reading about what was my home my love my past. North County of St. Louis.

  28. Val L says:

    Still referring to NOCO to get fish fry locations and take a trip through North County on the Web. I like that the ads are still there and that I can go back and read the articles that I didn’t make time for before.

    Val from Florissant

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