The Dream of the 1890s is alive in Port Townsend.
The Dream of the 1890s is alive in Port Townsend.

Sarah and Gabriel Chrisman, the Port Townsend couple who dress cook, eat, and bike like authentic Victorians (that is, when they’re not commuting by truck to work, or driving their vintage DeLorean, or blogging on the internet using electricity), were allegedly denied entrance to Butchart Gardens near Victoria B.C. because they were deemed to be in costume.

Writes Sarah (on her computer) about the unsavory encounter on August 11.


“He looked down his nose at us. "We don't allow costumes here," he sneered.

"These aren't costumes!" We both responded in chorus, already feeling insulted. (For more on the subject of costume vs. clothing and how important the distinction is to us, please read this excerpt from my book Victorian Secrets: http://www.thisvictorianlife.com/costume-vs-clothing.html )

"This is what we wear every day," Gabriel went on.”

The post talking about their thwarted 14th wedding anniversary trip, is, as they say, TL:DR, but the gist is that the employees at Butchart allegedly refused to let the couple in despite their protestations, that no, really, they look like this everyday (and really, they do. Full disclosure, I wrote about the Chrismans for the Seattle Times).

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The website for the gardens says very clearly: “Please note, costumes and period style or historical dress is not permitted in The Gardens.” And the Garden Etiquette page elaborates: “Wedding parties, wedding photos, ceremonies, and clothing resembling wedding attire is not permitted in The Gardens except as authorized during our Wedding Season, January 15th – March 31st.”

While it’s easy to see why the staff might have mistaken the Chrismans’ period clothing as costumes (she wears a corset every day and he wears vintage suits and glasses), a cursory Google search might have turned up eleventy million articles, a few books written by Sarah, and a number of YouTube videos, to confirm that, in fact, they are actually this insufferable all the time.