Willa Cather's Santa Fe

Santa Fe, United States

Experience hosted by Garrett

2.5 hours, Hosted in English

What you'll do

On this 2.5-hour walking tour, we’ll explore how author Willa Cather was inspired to write her "best book" (her words), "Death Comes for the Archbishop" by retracing her steps through Santa Fe in 1925 and 1926.

We'll gather at the Plaza opposite La Fonda, where Cather and her partner Edith Lewis stayed during their visits. Cather has become an LGBTQ+ icon since the publication of her letters in 2011, and during this experience we will read from her letters, interviews, and articles, in addition to seeing historic footage of Santa Fe.

Our walking route covers about 1.5 miles, mostly on sidewalks, but also climbs a hill to the Cross of the Martyrs with its outstanding view of the city below. During our time together, we'll explore aspects of the novel, such as Kit Carson, Padre Antonio José Martínez, and of course Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy, New Mexico's first Catholic archbishop and the real-life inspiration for the fictional Bishop Latour in Cather's book. We will learn about Sister Blandina Segale who helped set up a hospital in Lamy's house, and visit the last remnant of Lamy's six-acre garden behind the St. Francis Cathedral in the peaceful Stations of the Cross Prayer Garden.

Whether you are a local or a visitor, you will see Santa Fe in an entirely different light. And you may well find yourself part of the community known as "Cather People."
On this 2.5-hour walking tour, we’ll explore how author Willa Cather was inspired to write her "best book" (her words), "Death Comes for the Archbishop" by retracing her steps through Santa Fe in 1925 and 1926.

We'll gather at the Plaza opposite La Fonda, where Cather and her partner Edith Lewis stayed during their visits. Cather has become an LGBTQ+ icon since the publication of her letters in 2011, and during this experience we will…

Meet your host, Garrett

Host on Airbnb since 2019
  • 32 Reviews
  • Identity verified
Hi - I'm Garrett.

I am an author, historian, and tour guide in Santa Fe - and yes, I'm one of those "Cather People." When I first visited the City Different in 1998, my mom made me read "Death Comes for the Archbishop" and I was hooked on New Mexico. I've since discovered how many people have read and been inspired by Cather's novel.

I so love the story that I'm writing a book about how Cather wrote her "best book," using her letters, archival and field research. It's a treasure hunt into Cather's writing process. I can't wait to share these hidden gems of Santa Fe with you!
Hi - I'm Garrett.

I am an author, historian, and tour guide in Santa Fe - and yes, I'm one of those "Cather People." When I first visited the City Different in 1998, my mom made me read "Death Comes for the Archbishop" and I was hooked on New Mexico. I've since discovered how many people have read and been inspired by Cather's novel.

I so love the story that I'm writing a book about how Cather wrote her "best book," using her letters, archival and field research. It's a tr…
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Where you'll be

On this fun outdoor walking tour of Willa Cather's Santa Fe, you'll explore a historic hotel, forgotten memorials, the former governor's residence, a former priest's house (and now storied restaurant), a hidden prayer garden, and the inspiring St. Francis Cathedral as we learn how Willa Cather was inspired to write her 1927 novel "Death Comes for the Archbishop."

Rated 5.0 out of 5 from 32 reviews.

Milton
October 2021
Garrett encouraged us to read the book, Death Comes for the Archbishop” before our walking tour. Then he made the book come alive for us. I have a new appreciation for Willa Cather, the history of Santa Fe, and the various cultures that contributed to it becoming the unique city it is today. Job well done, Garrett. So enjoyed our morning with you.
David
October 2021
Garrett is extremely knowledgeable about Willa Cather and the New Mexico/Santa Fe area and history. His descriptions and explanations are clear and informative. The whole experience was a lot of fun.
Stephen
October 2021
Garrett is a well informed docent who took the time to explain the people and significant events at each of our stops .
Eric
October 2021
What a fascinating tour! The two hours flew by as Garrett made both the book and Santa Fe history come alive with thoughtful insight and keen observations. His is a must-do tour!
Alyson
September 2021
Wowowowow. This is a fantastic introduction to both Cather and Santa Fe. Garrett’s knowledge and passion for the city and the subject matter shine through. I also walked away with great recommendations for lunch and ice cream. I highly recommend this tour.
Bryan
September 2021
Garrett did a superb job balancing sharing general knowledge about Santa Fe with specific information about how Cather’s visits to Santa Fe helped her to write Death Comes to the Archbishop. As a writer himself, he really knows how to tell a story. He wanted us to have a great tour and visit to Santa Fe so was willing to help in any way. Highly recommend!

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Things to know

Cancellation policy

Any experience can be cancelled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase, or at least 7 days before the experience starts.

Guest requirements

Up to 10 guests ages 18 and up can attend. Parents may also bring children under 2 years of age.

What to bring

Hat

Sunscreen