Weird, Wisconsin Part 2: The Don Q Inn

I’d assumed that Don Q was short for Don Quixote, but that seems to be only a happy coincidence. The Don Q Inn is Don Q-u-inn’s hotel in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, right down the road from another bizarre slice of Americana, the previously discussed House on the Rock. Don Quinn built his hotel in a slightly more straightforward fashion than Alex Jordan did his house, but the result is much the same: a kitschy oddity that would delight anyone but the dullest stick in the mud.

You know you’re at the Don Q when you spot the airplane parked in the front lawn. It’s a Boeing C-97, flown in because Quinn saw that it was for sale and thought, hey, I could buy that. Apparently Farrah Fawcett signed it, but I didn’t see that part. We just walked around the inside, checking out the massive numbers of knobs and dials required to pilot a plane.

The lobby of the Don Q sets the scene pretty nicely: a dozen or more old barber and dentist chairs circle a fireplace. If you find that hilarious and charming, you’ll love the rest of the place. If not, you should probably go back down the street to the Best Western.

The Don Q is mostly known for its themed suites. There’s a jungle room, a space room, a Viking room, and so on and so on. Our room was called Up Up and Away.

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Yeah. That’s a hot air balloon bed.

Because it’s awesome, that’s why.

Some of the suites include cheese-vat tubs, which sounded wonderfully Wisconsin-y, but ours had a waterfall whirlpool, which I feel is even better.

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You’ll see in some other places reviewers complaining that the rooms at the Don Q smell a little musty or that they’re not spotless. But I’ll say: our room was absolutely clean, and any amount of musty smell seems like a necessary byproduct of having a whirlpool in a carpeted room.

Plus, they had a little TV with a VCR and a selection of tapes at the front desk. One of those tapes was Ernest Goes to Africa. That may have been our choice. I can’t divulge anything else.

Bonus Content!

Are you planning to replicate this trip and want to eat in two weird places where we ate? Then you should stop into Freddy Valentine’s Public House in the middle of the afternoon just to get out of the rain for a minute and maybe have a beer, and four beers and four hours and one unexpected dinner later stumble out to kill some time in the cute little bookstore down the street. The pub has much better food than it needs to, the bartender was very friendly, and it’s set in a former bank. And the next morning, when you’re feeling both a little peckish and in need of something slightly legendary, you go to Arthur’s Supper Club, named not after proprietor Arthur Lambeau McCheesehead but King Arthur, and thus done up with shields and tapestries and an indoor waterfall because as we learned above indoor waterfalls are the best. Their Sunday brunch, just so you’re prepared, features fried barbecued chicken and at least three kinds of potatoes. Because what else do you want for breakfast?

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