By Sandy Zimmerman
(Photos by Williams, Arizona)
The last town on Route 66 is not a ghost town, Williams, Arizona is a jumping tourist attraction. Yes, they are off the main highways yet their charm and history draws people there.
Walk along Main Street, the National Historic District has stores, classic diners, bars, motels, curio shops, an old fashioned soda fountain, a zip-line and their old fashioned buildings, a sign of Williams’ wild past of opium dens and bordellos.
A separate 20-acre walking area set up like a more conventional zoo is home to otters, beavers, porcupines, and more. The park also features a Bearizona Barnyard petting zoo, a special exhibit of “kindergarten” bears not old enough for the adult enclosure, and a high-country raptors show of hawks, owls, falcons, and other birds of prey.
Watch the Shoot Out with the Cataract Creek Gang old west outlaws, 7 PM from Memorial Day to Labor Day, for information contact Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce: (928) 635-0273.
National Park is a big incentive for families, couples and adventure seeking travelers to stop-over in Williams for a night or two and see the historic town then escape to the Grand Canyon via the Grand Canyon Railroad only 56 miles away.
The Grand Canyon Railway, ranked consistently as one of America’s great train rides, runs every day except Christmas from downtown Williams to the world famous El Tovar Hotel and steps from the South Rim of The Grand Canyon. The train consists of beautifully restored railway cars from the 1930s to the 1960s and features six classes of service for visitors from standard Pullman cars to iconic “dome” cars to the classic open-deck rear observation cars. A variety of packages are available ranging from two to four nights, offering a convenient way to take in all the Railway and Grand Canyon National Park has to offer – bundled to save families money. www.thetrain.com
Trains depart every day at 9:30 a.m. and return in the late afternoon with a three-hour layover at The Grand Canyon. Passengers can also take the train, stay at the Grand Canyon and return on a later date.
GET YOUR KICKS ON ROUTE 66 Williams boasts the final stretch of Route 66 to be by-passed by Interstate 40. The original “super-highway,” as Route 66 was known in 1926, spanned more than 2,300 miles from Chicago to Long Beach, Calif., and opened up the West to road travel. (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66 singer Bobby Troup marked the day Route 66 was bypassed, Oct. 13, 1984, by plunking out the 1946 tune on a piano in the middle of America’s most iconic byway — called “The Mother Road” by John Steinbeck in his classic novel The Grapes of Wrath.
Award winning Sandy Zimmerman is a syndicated columnist, Show and Dining reviews, travel, cars, health, luxury and more. Sandy is talk show host of the Las Vegas Today Show programs and Discover the Ultimate Vacation. If you want to suggest topics for articles or have questions please contact Sandy at (702)-731-6491. firstname.lastname@example.org