Updated November 19, 2010My first recollection of Williams was a small town with some interesting vestiges of Route 66. My second trip to Williams was to board the Grand Canyon Railway. But my third, and most memorable trip, was a recent one. My how Williams has changed!
Wild, Wild West Williams
With the magic touch of two talented men, one an eclectic artist and the other a refugee from Hollywood, the Wild West image of Williams has been greatly enhanced. Enter Michael J. DuCharme, principal of the new Wild West Junction, and Jay Redfeather who has drawn the artist’s conceptions for all the Junction’s current and future buildings. Together, they are building a mini Wild West Theme area with fascinating museum, restaurant with western entertainment and much more.
Of course Williams is wild on it's own with such infamous landmarks as the Sultana Bar, claiming own the longest operating liquor license in the state of Arizona. Belly up to the bar next to cowboys and bikers. This is not a place for the faint at heart or wimmen folk.
Down the street is the DeBerge Western Wear and Leather Shop. Ray DeBerge is one of the best and last saddle makers in Arizona. He makes custom saddles, many of which can be seen in the shop window.
Places to Stay in Williams
Wild West Junction features the new Drovers Hotel with such rooms as the Movie Memorabilia Room and the House of Ill Repute Room, all creatively decorated by the Wild West Junction talents. They are just putting the finishing touches on these great little rooms so e-mail Jan@wildwestjunction.com with your questions and for reservations.
Williams has several motels, some of them authentic Route 66 motels, the large Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, and some great Bed and Breakfasts. If you are a RV'er, check out he Grand Canyon Railway's new RV park.
You can drive down old Route 66 through the heart of Williams. But mostly I enjoy walking down Route 66. Cruisers' Cafe' 66 is an old converted gas station with outdoor seating for those warm summer nights. Twister's Soda Fountain is a reproduction of a Route 66 era soda fountain. The gift shop is tops for Route 66 memorabilia.
Gateway to the Grand Canyon
Williams has been known as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon. One reason is because the Grand Canyon Railway Depot and Resort is in Williams. And the other is that the main entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park - South Rim is accessible north of Williams via Highway 64. Map
Williams is About Events
Williams has a knack for attracting fun festivals. One Williams tradition is the "Small Town 4th of July," with a parade, ice cream social and fireworks. Since it's a Route 66 destination, there are cruise in's. Focus on Williams' Wild West heritage by attending rodeos and the gathering of the Williams Buckskinners every Memorial Day during Rendezvous Days. Every month there is something going on in Williams.
Check Out Wiliams
If you haven't been to Williams, or if it's been a year or two, you might be surprised. There is a vibrancy about Williams that's hard to resist. Town folk are supportive of the up and coming tourist attractions and downtown renovations. There is outdoor dining, a coffee shop, the wonderful new Western Junction and some great shopping. Take a walk down old Route 66 and look at the plaques on the buildings to get a sense of Williams history. Stop by the Pine Country Restuarant right across the street from the depot and rub elbows with the locals. Williams is a friendly place!