Garrett Peck Walking Tours
Garrett Peck is an author, historian and tour guide in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
He leads tours through Bishop's Lodge, Politics and Prose Bookstore, and The Smithsonian Associates, and his Temperance Tour of Prohibition-related sites has been featured on C-SPAN Book TV and the History Channel program "Ten Things You Didn't Know About" with punk rock legend Henry Rollins. He was featured on a two-hour documentary about Prohibition by the Smithsonian Channel. His eighth book, A Decade of Disruption: America in the New Millennium, was published in spring 2020.Willa Cather's Santa Fe
My signature tour!
Willa Cather and her partner Edith Lewis visited New Mexico in 1925 and 1926, finding inspiration in the Land of Enchantment to write Death Comes for the Archbishop, which Cather called her "best book." The Willa Cather Tour retraces the author's steps as we visit historic sites and read from her articles, letters, and interviews. The small group format of this tour is more like a seminar with welcome participation from everyone.
I am writing a book about how Willa Cather penned Archbishop, and much of this tour derives from my scholarship.
The standard 2.5-hour downtown tour is offered frequently, and tickets can be purchased through Airbnb Experiences. Note that the Airbnb platform allows guests to request specific times and dates.
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."
Where to meet
The starting point is in the southeast corner of the Plaza, opposite La Fonda.