Life in Marinette-Menominee, The "Waterfall Capital of Wisconsin"
There are few harborside communities as breathtaking as the sister cities of Marinette, WI and Menominee, MI. Situated along the shores of Green Bay, one of Lake Michigan's largest bays, and separated by the scenic, meandering Menominee River, the area boasts stunning water views—overlooking Green Island and the "Cape Cod of the Midwest," Door County, which is just a 17 mile ferry ride away. But there is far more to these communities than scenery: The area is a progressive, economically sound one and home to one of the Great Lakes' finest shipbuilding industries.
Housing options abound with choices guaranteed to appeal to all tastes. New homes along the waterfront mingle with historic cottages and mansions. The area also boasts new condos with striking views, and classic, family-friendly subdivisions with homes in a variety of price ranges. Larger plots of land amidst the woods or along the Bay or Menominee River are also available for those who prefer a quiet, private setting or perhaps a farmette. Many rental units and apartments can also easily be found in and around the city. Whether renting or buying, those who look around the area will find their dollar goes a long way in Marinette-Menominee.
The residents of Marinette-Menominee take great pride in their schools—and justifiably so. Excellent public and private schools provide challenging curriculums, sports, and arts. The retention and graduation rates from area high schools are 92% and, with ACT scores averaging 23, many students pursue college or technical school degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Marinette and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College-Marinette Campus. Green Bay, a 40-minute drive, also has a University of Wisconsin campus, as well as liberal arts St. Norbert College.
Decades ago, TV viewers witnessed the infamous "Ice Bowl" Green Bay Packer game and the image of cold and snow linger today. However, the climate in Marinette/Menominee is a temperate one. Average temperatures in the summer are a pleasant 75-80 degrees and winter temperatures range from 10-28 degrees. The months of January and February bring the most snowfall, about 10 inches, but spring, summer and fall are sunny and perfect for enjoying outdoor activities.
The "twin cities" have an impressive safety record—even during the bustling summer months when thousands of tourists visit. Violent crimes are non-existent and a diligent police, fire and rescue force are ever-present to ensure the security and well being of citizens, homes and businesses. The police department has also implemented such programs as Neighborhood Watch, Marine Watch, McGruff House, Kidcare ID, and Operation Lifesaver.
Marinette-Menominee has a fast-growing census—as more and more families are drawn to its charm, serenity, economic opportunities and excellent schools. At last count, the population was 50,000 and growing by 4% a year. This number does not count those with second homes and acreage for hunting or just getting away from it all. Like its well-known counterpart across the Bay—Door County—thousands of tourists visit year-round to enjoy the sailing, fishing, swimming and winter sports such as ice-fishing, skiing, shopping, and excellent restaurants.
Business & economic development
An emphasis on business and economic development has drawn a number of employers to the area. Manufacturing, shipbuilding (Staten Island Ferries for New York City are just one of the types of boats produced locally) and restoration, professional services, healthcare and tourism have combined to make the Marinette-Menominee area a thriving industrial center. There are also a number of farms—both large and small, along with a growing number of commuters who easily make the 40 minute trip to Green Bay for work only to return to the serenity found in the woods and along the waterfront of the twin cities. Household incomes are par with national statistics and unemployment rates average a mere 4% annually. Tourism is one of the fastest growing "industries" in the area as more people opt to vacation in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. And with excellent marinas, 20 parks, waterfalls, and a multitude of quaint stores, hotels and resorts are thriving.
Things to do throughout the year
Summertime activities include weekly festivals, boating, waterskiing, hiking, biking, concerts and memorable evenings at the Sunset Concert on Stephenson Island. Other draws are Marinette's "Theatre on the Bay," music festivals and the juried "Art for All." Shopping and sightseeing, and spending time lounging on the beaches and exploring the County's many waterfalls are also popular. With the advent of the Ferry crossing daily from Door County, more and more people have the opportunity to experience the pleasurable surroundings in the area. During winter months, skiing, ice fishing, spending time being pampered at a local spa followed by dinner at the fine French restaurant, Le Bouc d'Or or a resort like the Four Seasons (pictured above), a striking, full-service hotel located on an island in the middle of the Menominee River, are major attractions. And just 40 minutes south, Green Bay's Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, the NEW Zoo, museums and all sorts of activities for adults and families alike offer a vast array of things to do. For those who wish to travel, Green Bay's Austin Straubel International Airport has daily flights to Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Detroit—hubs which will easily transport you to anywhere in the world.
Daily life in Marinette-Menominee
What is it like to live year-round in Marinette-Menominee? Residents enjoy easy access to a vast array of stores—both chain stores as well as charming boutiques with unique furniture, clothing, books and gourmet foods. Schools, libraries, places of worship and museums are plentiful and open year-round. With the area's focus on family, there are a multitude of "family friendly" activities—including simple walks or bike rides around the town under the gas-lit streets of Riverside Drive, admiring the homes of historic lumber barons and restored commercial buildings. Parks and marinas abound and there is also a 9-screen theatre at the full-service Pine Tree Mall. The Marinette Civic Center Domes feature indoor artificially cooled ice rinks, bowling, volleyball, indoor tennis courts and an outdoor pool. Enjoy performances at the Theatre-On-the-Bay at UW-Marinette or the Stephenson Islands Marinette Chamber Performing Arts Pavilion. As one new community member puts it "This is the quintessential 'All-American' place with everything I could possibly need and the safety, serenity and beauty I wanted for myself and my family."
Marinette-Menominee is 45 miles north of Green Bay, 3 hours from Milwaukee, 4 hours from Chicago and less than 5 hours from Minneapolis. A four-lane highway from Marinette to Green Bay makes the drive easy.