Spotlight on Bookstores: Castle Arkdale and Happy Tales Bookshop; Markesan, Wisconsin

This week’s “Spotlight on Bookstores” guest post is written by Lisa Roe.  Lisa is an online book publicist, “connecting books with the online world.”  Read on for Lisa’s introduction to Castle Arkdale and Happy Tales Bookshop, owned by Lloyd and Leonore Dickmann.  The video is a must-see to get a complete picture of this bookshop and its proprietors.

I’ve never been to the largest bookstore in the country, but it’s in my home state.  And I have the directions to it.  County Road K.  Middle of Nowhere.  Central Wisconsin.  Riiiiight.  Try and put a pin in a map with that.

It’s no secret that Wisconsin is my most favoritest place on Earth.  (Yes.  I get so excited that proper grammar goes out that window!)  I’ve moved away several times and several times returned.  I love State Fair with its deep fried anything on a stick:  s’mores, cheesecake, Snickers, and pickles.  During the summer, Milwaukee hosts a different ethnic festival every weekend.  The Green Bay Packers lead our thoughts and conversations, while peppering our wardrobes with green and gold.  World-renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s first completed work in the United States is right here on our lakefront.  And as I write this, the rumble of hundreds of Harleys are rattling the windows, as we are smack dab in the middle of the 105th Harley Davidson celebration.  What’s not to love?

But that’s all city stuff.  Wisconsin is the 26th largest state in our Union, so there are a lot more amber waves of grain to be had out there.  And somewhere among those rolling hills lies the newest object of my Wisconsin love and affection:  Castle Arkdale.

If you watch this video and don’t get choked up, feel warm and fuzzy, want to adopt these folks, or chart your road trip to ‘somewhere Wisconsin’ right now, well then, I’m sorry to tell you my friend, you’re in a coma!


So…who’s comin’ with me?!

Castle Arkdale, W1778 County Road K, Markesan.  For more: 920-398-3375.  Open by chance or appointment. 

Many thanks to Bibliohistoria for the video link!

17 comments to Spotlight on Bookstores: Castle Arkdale and Happy Tales Bookshop; Markesan, Wisconsin

  • OMG … that is priceless. How completely amazing. My husband needs to watch this, as much as he’s always complaining about my five bookshelves in the living room!

    I’d love to see this place!!!

  • THAT is absolutely the coolest thing ever! I totally want to go Wisconsin just to visit that store. Maybe I could move to a nearby farm …

  • Shana and Heather – I’ve never been to Wisconsin, but when Lisa shared this post and video with me, I realized there’s more to that great state than cheese! Sign me up for a field trip!

  • Nothing better in the world that a great bookshop!

  • Oh, gosh, how am I going to get to Wisconsin? I could spend days and days looking through all those books. They need to open a B&B close by. Don’t those two seem to enjoy themselves and their life? I love it.

  • Wow…where are the tissues??!! I want to go now! 12 locations in one place with books! Sounds like heaven to me!! I got to plan out a trip there…I love Wisconsin…Let’s get a bus together and go!! I could be lost in books for days and not care one bit!!! :-)

    Thanks for sharing this!!

  • I sure hope they don’t just throw those away once they pass away. I will certainly make visit if I ever make it up there. I want that Lassie book!!!

  • I want to go and meet those wonderful people!! I wouldn’t buy a thing there. HAHA

  • Carey – yup! That’s what the “Spotlight on Bookstores” series is all about. Anyone is welcome to share a tale … just contact me.

    Booklogged – eeks! What would they re-purpose to make a B&B? Cool idea to carry on the theme …

    Allison – were you laughing so hard you were crying? (“pass the tissues”)

    Ladytink – I saw a few books in the video pan that I coveted as well.

    Dana – you and “booklogged” got it right! The Dickmanns do seem to be having a great time! What a labor of love.

  • -V-

    I saw this episode and fell in love with this place. What a love of books she has and what love he has for her! And how much fun would this be for the joy of the hunt.

    My sister went to graduate school in Madison, which I totally adored. The whole state is gorgeous, except for the waysides…at least back in the day…not sure if they are any better. Everything else, though, ROCKS! I could happily live in the state.

  • Wow, that is the most fantastic store(s) I have ever seen. Twelve buildings of books? I have to plan a visit. Thanks so much, Lisa. You did a great job, and I envy the heck out of you for living much closer to that place than I do.

  • Thank you thank you for posting this, especially the YouTube video. I definitely want to visit Wisconsin now! Unfortunately, this bookstore is 1600 km away from where I live. I hope if anyone who reads this post actually visits the shop, they will report back to the rest of us!

  • Wow – this is them Disneyland for book lovers! That will definitely be one of the stops when I make my cross-country trip next year. And I thought I had too many books…

  • Wisconsin is now definitely on my “gotta get there” list of places! This was great!

  • Ahhh I may have very well passed nearby this bookstore this summer!

  • Denise Cairns

    I grew up maybe 15 miles or so away from this place. I take some offense at it being called ‘the middle of nowhere.’ Every place is somewhere, and this is no different. Believe it or not, the whole world does not revolve around New York or LA or Chicago or any other big city where lots of people live. The world revolves around where each of us is at any given time.

    P.S. If you drive out there, watch out for deer. They are as thick as thieves in those parts, especially at dusk and dawn and during the rut (mating season). I’m not kidding. You DEFINITELY don’t want to hit one!

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