Never heard of Marinette, Wisconsin?
You may have heard of Door County in Wisconsin (called the “Cape Cod of the Midwest” just a four-hour drive from Chicago) — a destination for weekend getaways, summer vacations, fall foliage, or winter solitude. Just across Lake Michigan’s Green Bay is another area that has not seen much of the tourism trade, and has experienced declining population in recent decades since the days Mr. TWS was growing up there.
For over 20 years, I’ve had many occasions to visit the town of Marinette, Wisconsin and surrounding area to spend time with Mr. TWS’s family. If you’ll be driving through Northern Wisconsin sometime on your way to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, enjoying northern Wisconsin’s many year-round outdoor activities, or just looking for something new, Marinette County offers an unexplored slice of small town USA. Here’s a glimpse of scenes and activities in Marinette that have captured my attention during recent visits.
Green Bay Packers Territory
Located just about 50 miles north of Green Bay, people here are big fans of the Packers NFL football team. Green and gold bumper stickers and other signs of support are seen all over town.
Along the Menominee River
The Menominee River separates Marinette from the town of Menominee, its twin city, on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
A walk in the woods
Wine – how sweet it is!
Although you wouldn’t think of Wisconsin as being wine country, Marinette is home to the Forgotten Fire Winery which opened in 2011. The actual location is in neighboring Peshtigo, but the mailing address is Marinette, so close enough! The name comes from the Peshtigo Fire which occurred at the same time as the famous Chicago Fire in 1871 (and so is lesser known). The winery gets most of their grapes from Traverse City, Michigan which has a climate conducive to growing sweet wine grapes. The majority of their varietals are fruit wines made with fruit from Sister Bay in Door County and cranberries from the state’s numerous bogs. On selected afternoons during the summer, the winery hosts entertainment on their outdoor patio.
Bikes and boats
The terrain is generally flat around Marinette, making it great for bike riding, one of my favorite outdoor activities. Here I was at Red Arrow Beach last summer where we’ve also had a lot of fun throwing frisbees, playing in the water, and watching the boats on the bay on warm summer days.
A few downtown scenes (via Instagram)
When we visit Marinette, we make a point to get pizza from Real Pizza at least once. Using all fresh ingredients, the pizzas are made to order by the couple who own the establishment. While waiting for your pizza, play a game on the vintage Ms. Pac-Man machine.
Go ahead, jump in!
It would be nice to see Marinette and the surrounding area get some publicity. There’s a lot of natural beauty — besides Lake Michigan and the Menominee River there are many smaller lakes, rivers, waterfalls and forests for recreation and relaxation.
So now you know a little about Marinette, Wisconsin. Do you know of a small town that could use some publicity?