Willa Cather's Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

Experience hosted by Garrett

  1. 2.5 hours
  2. 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…

Accessibility

Free admission for people assisting guests with disabilities

Meet your host, Garrett

Host on Airbnb since 2019
  • 51 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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From £29/ person

£29 per person
£29 per person
Join 1 other guest
£29 per person

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 51 reviews.

Lindsay
January 2022
I cannot recommend this Willa Cather tour of Santa Fe enough! Even though we are from just down the road and have been to Santa Fe often, we saw the City Different through a completely new lens. Garrett was welcoming, knowledgeable and took us on an incredible tour of a place we thought we already knew. Plus, it was just a fun time!
Dawn
January 2022
What a delightful way to spend an afternoon in Santa Fe — and I live here! Yet I learned things about Santa Fe that I'd never known, and of course I learned a great deal about Willa Cather and her writing of her "best book." Totally worthwhile.
Kim
January 2022
We loved this tour! Garrett was super knowledgeable and a great storyteller. There was a perfect mix of walking and resting to learn more about Willa Cather and New Mexico history!
Bernadette
January 2022
I’d read a few Willa Cather books so was looking for a bit of a deeper dive; Garett provided it. He was knowledgeable, engaging, thoughtful, and entertaining. So glad we decided to take this walk!
Herb
December 2021
If you love Willa Cather’s writings, you will love this tour. Garrett does an excellent job in taking you back in the day of Willa Cather. Great story teller. Sign up. It will add to your stay in The City Different in the Land of Enchantment .
Kevin
December 2021
Garrett’s tour was well researched, presented, and organized. We learned a lot about Willa Cather’s most famous work and the related history around Santa Fe. I would certainly recommend this tour to a first timer in Santa Fe, repeat visitor or resident. Garrett is also a great source for local recommendations on places to visit.

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Things to know

Guest requirements

Guests ages 18 and up can attend, up to 30 guests in total. Parents can also bring children under 2 years of age.
All participants must wear a protective face covering and practise social distancing.

What to bring

Hat
Sunscreen
Water
Good walking shoes (please no flip-flops)

Cancellation policy

Cancel up to 24 hours before the start time for a full refund.