Willa Cather's Santa Fe

Santa Fe, United States

Experience hosted by Garrett

2 hours, Hosted in English
Committed to safety
This host committed to Airbnb’s COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Up to 10 people
Private groups available for up to 30.

What you'll do

On this two-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 two-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
  • 5 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 $30
/ person
Mon, Aug 2
$30 per person
$30 per person
Wed, Aug 4
$30 per person
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Join 1 other guest
$30 per person
Sat, Aug 7
$30 per person
$30 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 5 reviews.

Anna Marie
July 2021
Garrett is incredibly knowledgeable about Willa Cather and the underlying history about the book. He is also super friendly and fun! Highly recommend the tour and also suggest reading the book Death Comes for the Archbishop. The tour will enable you to see Santa Fe through a different lens and learn some new things.
Garrett is incredibly knowledgeable about Willa Cather and the underlying history about the book. He is also super friendly and fun! Highly recommend the tour and also suggest read…
Susan
July 2021
A good way to familiarize yourself with Santa Fe’s history, cultures, art, architecture, through the eyes of one experienced and his personalized stories.
Laura
July 2021
Garrett did a wonderful job interweaving Willa Cather’s personal history and the historical basis for the characters, while showing us Santa Fe. I highly recommend this tour not just for Cather fans but for those unfamiliar with her work.
Kaitlyn
July 2021
Garrett was extremely thoughtful and thorough in how he set up the tour. You don’t need to be a Willa Cather fan or literature nerd (though I certainly am!) to benefit from the rich and textured history that he shares during this experience. Because Cather was so inspired by sites and historical figures central to early Santa Fe, you have the chance to learn both about what fired her up as an author while also gaining a strong understanding of the lasting and complicated legacy of missionaries in New Mexico. Garrett has selected some “hidden gems” to visit, even some largely unknown to local residents, that help to bring the novel to life. Highly recommend. This was a highlight of our trip.
Garrett was extremely thoughtful and thorough in how he set up the tour. You don’t need to be a Willa Cather fan or literature nerd (though I certainly am!) to benefit from the ric…
Karen
June 2021
I was the lucky one! Due to inclement weather (or glorious rain, depending on your perspective!), I was the only tour participant today and I’m so glad I went ahead with it! Garrett is an incredibly knowledgeable historian and guide as well as an all around nice person. His love and appreciation for the author, Willa Cather, and her book, Death Comes for the Archbishop, was evident - he came prepared with historical photographs and reproductions of passages from letters Cather wrote during her visits to Santa Fe. We visited several lesser known monuments and locations on our walk, including an out-of-the-way prayer garden near the cathedral. Garrett’s deep knowledge of history and of Cather’s writing process for her book, added so much to this tour - I came away with a greater appreciation of Cather and her writing. I highly recommend this tour and Garrett to anyone interested in exploring Willa Cather and her writing of Death Comes for the Archbishop.
I was the lucky one! Due to inclement weather (or glorious rain, depending on your perspective!), I was the only tour participant today and I’m so glad I went ahead with it! Garre…

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Things to know

Cancellation policy

Any experience can be canceled 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