Williams was the last town on Route 66 bypassed by Interstate 40 in 1984. The town was crippled by the loss of motorists rolling through on its pair of one-way streets.
Grand Canyon Railway came to the rescue of Williams in 1989 bringing train loads of visitors after a few years.
The mountain town ramped up its dormant tourism businesses with rail passengers bound for the Grand Canyon just as Route 66 nostalgia was gaining traction across Arizona.
Williams renaissance was a pleasant surprise on a recent visit. Sidewalks full of people in the evening are such a contrast to the deserted Williams of the mid-1980s.
Visitors should try the to Pine Country Restaurant for breakfast and pie or even pie for breakfast.
Rod's Steak House, which opened in 1946, has long been a reliable spot for a good burger or a steak. Red Raven Restaurant, which serves fine cuisine at modest prices, is another good option.
Grand Canyon Hotel is one of Arizona's oldest inns. Other historic hotels brag about visits by presidents and Hollywood stars while Grand Canyon Hotel boasts that it hosted naturalist John Muir, the Vanderbilts and the King of Siam.
In the evening, visit the throwback Copper Club (bottom right) and World Famous Sultana Bar, iconic Williams watering holes and among Arizona's best saloons. I've heard good things about Historic Brewery Barrel & Bottle House but haven't tried it yet.
The train leaves for Grand Canyon at 9 a.m. and the railroad folks stage mock gunfights at the depot before boarding passengers.