The M&M Twin Cities

Waterfalls

Marinette County is the waterfall capital of Wisconsin. But with more than a dozen falls arguably taking more than one day to see, boaters will need to rent a car. Visitors should set aside a couple of days to really enjoy the falls. The Marinette Welcome Center has a waterfall map and information on tours (marinettecounty.com).

Here are 15 waterfalls:
1. Veteran’s Falls is on the Thunder River west of Crivitz on Highway W to Parkway Road North three miles.
2. McClintock Falls, 15 miles from Twin Bridge Park at the McClintock Park Campground, has rapids with bridges for viewing.
3. Strong Falls is on the Peshtigo River between Hwy 8 and Hwy C on Parkway Road in Goodman Park.
4. Carney Rapids is east on Hwy 8 to Old County Road, then south two miles to a bridge.
5. Four Foot Falls is north of the Carney Rapids bridge. Go east about half a mile on a dirt road.
6. Twelve Foot Falls is on the Pike River, west of Hwy 141 near Hwy 8. Take Lilly Lake Road south from Hwy 8.
7. Eight Foot Falls, hike downstream of Twelve Foot Falls.
8. Horseshoe Falls, take Twelve Foot Falls Road south to FR510
9. Eighteen Foot Falls is about a mile north of Twelve Foot Falls Road. Take the second sand road, then follow the path about three blocks to the impressive falls.
10. Smalley Falls is a chute falls five miles north of Pembine on 141 to Morgan Park Road.
11. Long Slide Falls is also a chute falls. Follow Morgan Park Road to sign.
12. Dave’s Falls, take Hwy 141 to Dave’s Falls County Park on the Pike River south of Amberg.
13. Bull Falls, take Highway K east of Hwy 141 about a half-mile, then walk under power lines.
14. Pier’s Gorge, Hwy 141 to Hwy 8 on the Menominee River in Michigan. Go east across bridge to sign.
15. Pemene Falls, on Menominee River, take Hwy Z north of Amberg into Michigan then left to third sand road. Or go to Carney and take G18 to State Road and turn right.

Events

• Marinette Market is Friday afternoons 2-6 p.m. from the first Friday in June through the last Friday in October at Stephenson Island.
• M&M Farmers Market goes all year on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon June through September, and beginning at 9 a.m. October through May at the M&M Plaza.
• Marinette Logging & Heritage Fest takes place in July on Stephenson Island, and includes entertainment, a car show and a lumberjack show. marinetteloggingandheritagefestival.com
• Concerts in the Park are in the Menominee Bandshell on Thursdays at 7 p.m. at Great Lakes Memorial Park.
• Sunset Concert series are in the Chamber of Commerce Pavilion on Stephenson Island (check with the Marinette Welcome Center for times).
• Menominee is a big sailboat racing town that often has events on summer Wednesday nights and family races on Saturday; call ahead if planning to dock there during a race event. The Hook, sponsored by the Racine Yacht Club, takes place mid-July. (Racineyachtclub.org/the_hook.htm). A week later, The 100 Miler sails between Menominee and Door County. mmyc.org/sail/100-miler
• Menominee Waterfront Festival at the Menominee Marina, held first Thursday through Sunday in August, has entertainment, food and fireworks.
menomineewaterfrontfestival.com
• Cabela’s National Walleye Tour Championship takes place in Marinette in mid-August. nationalwalleyetour.com and npaa.net
• Menominee Giant Pumpkin Festival takes place every September on the Historic Waterfront Downtown. Enjoy the kids activity tent, pumpkin seed spitting, pumpkin bowling, music, a pie eating competition and more.

Resources

The M&M Twin Cities

by Jodie Jacobs
05-Nov-2018
The neighboring towns of Marinette, Wisconsin and Menominee, Michigan offer boaters plenty of fish to catch, sailing races, festivals and tasty eateries.

Where bay and river meet

The two states and towns are divided by the Menominee River, which forms from the confluence of the Brule and Michigamme Rivers northwest of Iron Mountain, Michigan. This is a good fishing area that’s known for clean water and — as the folks in the Welcome Center in both Menominee and Marinette will tell visitors — it’s a beautiful area to tour. 

On a recent visit, John Hollo at the Marinette Welcome Center was passing out brochures to a couple of visitors who were driving through the area. He pointed out that the Wisconsin side was filled with waterfalls and the Michigan side had a wonderful lodge and scenery along M-35 on the Green Bay near the Cedar River. 
“The waterfalls are a huge draw,” Hollo says. “And the lodge is spectacular; tie up and explore.”

Tying up in Menominee

Deciding where to dock isn’t easy when there are so many great choices. Boaters will first see the sizeable Menominee Marina when approaching the area. Those looking for dockage in Marinette will travel up the Menominee River.

The Menominee Marina is a success story. While the marina now features 272 slips for boats 25 to 60 feet, in addition to 20 inner wall-side tie-ups, its capacity and facilities are a night and day difference from Menominee Marina a few decades ago. 

“What was here was a post-war project with the docks on piles,” Harbormaster Manager Bill Cavil says. “That was taken out in the late 1970s.”

With a name the same as the town, Menominee Marina may sound like a municipal development; however, Jim Kudlicki — who’s on the marina management team and was instrumental in the rebirth of the harbor and marina — explains the marina is self-sufficient and self-managed. 

In 1984, the marina had just 38 docks and the harbor was underutilized. Kudlicki explains that M&M Yacht Club members applied to the city and got a contract that led to the marina management.

“Now, we have wonderful facilities for a marina,” he says. “We’re proud of what has been done — for the boaters and for the community.”

Kudlicki walked around the boater’s lounge, excited about the transformation of an old water works filtration building into a charming facility that has showers, a TV, laundry, a play area and a kitchenette that provides boaters coffee, juice and even a continental breakfast on weekends.

“We’re very proud of it,” Kudlicki says. “We rent this facility to the community, particularly for holiday events.” 

The marina’s next project is to add showers in the boathouse at the south end by the new 72-foot docks, which already have an active waiting list for the 2019 season. 
Even with the marina’s large number of slips, Kudlicki suggests calling ahead, particularly during holidays, festivals and sailing races. 

“The Hook from Racine is a big one,” Kudlicki says. Sponsored by the Racine Yacht Club, The Hook is a 189.04-nautical-mile race that takes place mid-July. Another popular race is the 100 Miler, sponsored by the M&M Yacht Club, that sails between Menominee and Door County the week after the Hook. 

From the marina, boaters can walk a short distance to the Great Lakes Memorial Park, which is on the harbor just south of the marina and is a delightful place to relax. 

Or Dock in Marinette

When looking for a full-service marina with an excellent ship’s store, an award-winning repair department and a facility that includes showers and a restroom with a bathtub, boaters cruise up the Menominee River to Marinette to dock at Nestegg Marine.

Much smaller than the Menominee Marina, Nestegg has floating docks and 90 slips for 25- to 65-foot boats. Rich Larsen, owner of Manitowoc Marina, bought Nestegg this past February when the Kukuks put it up for sale. As good as Nestegg was, Larsen used the spring and part of the summer to renovate the customer lounge, showroom and ship’s store. 

“There’s a good team there in place so I felt comfortable adding it as a second location,” Larsen says. “It’s got a good reputation for slip storage and sales. There’s a good synergy between [Manitowoc Marina and Nestegg].” 

A lifelong boater who grew up in Door County and has been in Manitowoc since 1988, Larsen was already familiar with the area. 

“I’ve been doing the 100 Miler for years so I already knew a lot of the boaters,” he says. “And I like the area. It has a lot of good restaurants and taverns.”
As to the Nestegg name, former owner Jon Kukuk explains that when he and Susan bought it, “It took all of our nest egg.”

The marina has brochures with coupons and guides to local restaurants and destinations. It is also a great place to ask about fishing, including charters, and it has a fish cleaning station next door.

Calling ahead is important if visiting during holidays, festivals and such fishing events as the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour Championship that takes place in Marinette in mid-August. 

Exploring Marinette

“We’re the ‘real north,’” says Marinette County Tourism Director Butch Kostreva. “You’ve heard of Door County, but Marinette County is the other ‘door’ to Wisconsin. Our economy here and tourism are growing and growing. We have waterfalls, many events and the fishing is awesome. There’s birding, sailing and kayaking.” 

Kostreva suggests checking with Nestegg Marine for kayak rentals. You can also rent SUPs at Wind Rose North Outfitters in Menominee, a store that sells bait and tackle, and backcountry apparel and equipment.

The city is proud of its Menekaunee Harbor Project, which enables more water activities in the harbor and added boating facilities, including boat launches and a few docks. 

For visitors who have just docked at Nestegg Marine and want some land time in Marinette, the place to start is the rustic Marinette Welcome Center. It’s on the turnoff just west before coming to the bridge that crosses the Menominee River and connects the two “Ms.” 

Behind the Welcome Center is a bridge leading to the popular Stephenson Island, where visitors will discover a bit of local history at the Marinette County Museum, also known as the Logging Museum. It’s a fun place to see what a miniature logging camp looked like and examine Menominee Indian relics.

While there, learn about Queen Marinette, who ran an 1800s trading post on the river, and see the memorabilia from the home of lumber baron/U.S. Senator/newspaper publisher Isaac Stephenson. Also look for the restored Evancheck log cabin. 

The nearby Peshtigo’s Fire Museum commemorates when the town was destroyed by fire on October 8, 1871. If the date sounds familiar it’s because the Great Chicago Fire blazed the same day, yet more people died in the Peshtigo fire than in Chicago. 

Named in honor of the fire, Forgetten Fire Winery sells wines, ciders and non-alcoholic sodas. Stroll over to the Main Street Antique Mall where you’re likely to get lost among collectibles from antiques to mid-century modern finds. While there look for the shop that has local jams, honey and candy. Owned by artist Rusty Wolfe, whose gallery is upstairs, and wife Kim Brooks, the Antique Mall has become an area destination stop. Another fun stop is Simply Charming, a clothing and accessories boutique across the street. 

No visit to Wisconsin is complete without getting some world-class cheese at Seguin’s House of Cheese. This shop has been around for more than 50 years and sells cheese, ice cream, smoked meats, candies, craft beers and clothing. 

Explore Menominee

While boating into Menominee off Green Bay, the town’s red Menominee North Pier Lighthouse proclaims “come check me out.” The light station is filled with historical information, has great views and a view of where the Menominee River cuts into the Bay. Don’t worry, the steps up through the light station are easy to handle. 

“At least climb to the second level,” says Michael Kaufman, executive director of the Menominee County Historical Society. “You’ll have a good view of the harbor.” He also suggests visitors stop at the notations on the pier to see where the light station sat at different times. 

Inside, visitors learn that the original station was lit in 1877; the current structure — though somewhat changed and moved — was lit in 1927 and automated in 1972; it had a Fourth Order Fresnel lens replaced with an acrylic optic lens; and there was an iron catwalk that was removed in 1972. 

The Menominee Heritage Museum, housed in the former St. John’s Catholic Church, is also worth a stop. Its artifacts and photos offer a historic slice of life in the area, ranging from centuries-old dugout canoes to WWI and WWII uniforms and pictures. Kaufman and curator Abigail Hoijer are usually on site when the building is open to answer questions visitors may have. 

Take a break between the lighthouse and museum for lunch at one of the many popular eateries across from the Menominee Marina and Great Lakes Memorial Park. For a tasty, casual lunch try to snag a table at Serving Spoon Café. Pearl Eatery, which specializes in Cajun and Creole dishes, is also a great lunch spot. 

A shipyard with a big impact
A fine reason to go up the Menominee River to Marinette is to see a combat ship or two at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine. It’s a somewhat inconspicuous name for a marina unless the boater knows that Fincantieri is an Italian giant in the shipbuilding business with operations throughout the world.

The Marinette Marine, started in 1942, began with naval contracts to construct a few barges. It was later bought by Fincantieri, and is now usually referred to as FMM. Following a recent expansion, it now has more than 550,000 square feet of construction and warehouse space. The expansion allows it to produce six Littoral Combat Ships in a serial fashion.

“The shipyard is not available for the general public to tour but you can see the ships if you travel about a half-mile up the river,” says Brian Helfert, president of the Menominee Downtown Business Association.

As to what there is for folks visiting with normal-size (not ship-size) boats, Helfert says: “There are good restaurants, recreation and several events. There’s something going on every weekend.” 



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