I Planned My Vacations Around Sabrina The Teenage Witch Movies & Here’s What Happened
Like any good TV addict, I grew up with the adventures of Melissa Joan Hart’s perky yet down-to-earth portrayal of Sabrina Spellman, a teen witch juggling boys, a talking cat and a lot of magical mayhem alongside high school. A great part of my Brit childhood was spent lusting after her room in a pinnacled tower with incredible bow windows (see below for the real thing). Oh, and also that talking cat, and some pretty cool aunts in place of real (boring) parents. Having found myself in living in Italy, then Australia and then planning a trip to the US to visit friends, I couldn’t help but recall the epic Sabrina the Teenage Witch films. In my head, the idea of getting inspiration for a Sabrina the Teenage Witch themed vacation or two took shape!
Sabrina The Teenage Witch the Movie (1996) the first of the Sabrina the Teenage Witch Movies, set in MA, the USA
Sabrina’s mum was on the trail for artefacts in Peru, her dad lived in The Other Realm (i.e. the magical world) but once brought her on a jaunt to Paris. Overall, though, her life started in Westbridge, Mass. Sabrina’s original best friend Jenny, who pops into existence for 1 series of the TV show and then disappears without explanation, is back in all her glory here, and her boyfriend Harvey is a different actor- think ‘Joseph Gordon-Levitt type droopy fringe type’.
Here’s me in Boston (where Sabrina later goes to university and where much of the Sabrina the Teenage Witch movie is set) discovering that there is no such town as Westbridge for me to visit. Balls.
But to make up for it, here’s the turreted house that provided all of the exterior shots of her house in the 90s TV show. Harvey was often a fixture on that porch, that’s for sure.
Sabrina goes to Rome the movie (1998) set in Rome, Lazio, Italy:
Sabrina has an English witch (called Gwen) for a roommate and a mission to find her lost relative Sofia, with only an old locket to aid her. Harvey, the aunts and many other characters are AWOL, but Gwen is a comedically charming sidekick (side note, the actress is Canadian, -50 points for her poor attempt at my accent!), and Salem is by her side.
On the other hand, there is a pair of photographers trying get into her good books so they can out her as a witch in their hunt for fame and fortune. Basically, this girl would really benefit from Tinder!
The film is the perfect accompaniment to any slumber party, take it from me, and is well worth watching if only for the butterfly clips, pedal pushers and other 90s wins that pop up in every scene.
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Sabrina Down Under (1999) set around the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia:
So you’re a hot blooded teen witch and you’re staying on a sunny Australian island near crystal blue seas with hapless co-witch Gwen. Cue plenty of joke Aussie accents, hi-jinks from your talking cat Salem and a dreamboat marine biologist. Sabrina goes diving at the reef and locates an injured merman suffering from serious 90s fashion fever, then spends the rest of the film saving the clumsy blonde hunk with a tail. There’s quite a lot of hunks in these movies! Also mermaids, riled up, aggressively flapping mermaids, are going to need a whole lot of butt-saving.
The reef seems almost unchanged since the 90s and came out spectacularly vibrant in my photos. The ride lasts only 20 minutes but provides breathtaking views and can be done as part of a cruise and snorkel of the reef. Or, y’know, the ultimate Sabrina the Teenage Witch movie vacation, whichever. I booked via Great Adventures for $218 for a ride on the ship, with a $200 supplement to ride the helicopter.
Gloriously unspoilt, there plenty of time for relaxation in the Whitsunday Islands. I made the trip north as my annual holiday while I was living and working in Victoria, Australia.
So, that was travelling the world according to Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
Only 3 films were ever made to go along with the TV series, which I obsessively watched as a teen. Man did I really wish I could go to an American high school or eat at The Slicery after school!
These made-for-TV movies take you on a romp around jock Boston, historic Rome and aquatic Queensland with plenty of stunning landmarks. There’s also the obligatory conflict between your crush and your magic (what girl hasn’t been there!), and regular disasters at the hands of witch-in-training Gwen.
Adapted from Flickr user @SupportPDX.
Thank you to Rachael Ellenbogen whose amazing Bustle article provided inspiration for finally putting this mad adventure into a blogpost.
All film still images credit Warner Brothers entertainment/ Showtime and used under fair use for commentary purposes.