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Coupeville celebrates 'Practical Magic'

In 1998, a movie starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman opened #1 at the box office. Practical Magic also starred Coupeville, a Victorian-era seaside town.
Credit: KING 5
Coupeville was chosen as the charming New England-esque setting for 'Practical Magic' with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.

COUPEVILLE, Wash — In the Spring of 1998, the witches came to Coupeville.

“It was exciting,” said Matt Iverson. “Nothing ever happens here.”

Practical Magic stars Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as two witch sisters who live in small-minded New England town. Producers decided to shoot in Coupeville because of the town's historic 19th Century vibe.

“We are only a one-stoplight town, for Pete's sake!” laughs Doug Kroon.

To get that New England feel, the crew went a bit wild with the white paint.

“It was very interesting to see Front Street all painted white,” said Jan Bronson. “That was a big deal.”

There were movie star sightings galore. Tom Cruise rode his motorcycle through town and Toby's Tavern became a hang-out for many of the actors.

“Sandra Bullock came in just trying to stay out of the way I think and she wondered if she could play a game of pool so we had a friendly game of pool,” says owner John Rodriguey. “She said ‘Call me Sandy’.”

A casting call for $40 a day extras went out among locals. Iverson spent a few long days on the set, not that he has much to show for it. He shows up as a shadowy figure in one scene.

“We tried out,” said Bronson. “They didn't want us.”

But at the ultra-Victorian Compass Rose B&B, Jan Bronson and her husband did provide rooms for the production designer and her crew.

“It was very exciting,” she said. “Very busy.”

The production designer and her crew did build a white fence that is still there and turned Doug Kroon's Knead and Feed Bakery into Sandra Bullock's magic potions shop, Verbena.

“And just outside here is where all of the kids stood and called her a witch,” Kroon said.

At the chamber of commerce, fans can see some of the bottles of potions Bullock’s character sold. They often have the same question.

“Yes. ‘Where is the house?’ is a big question,” Linda Eccles said.

Only a shell of that big white house was built -- out on San Juan Island--- and it was torn down after filming.

But in Coupeville, you can still walk in the footsteps of movie stars, and that can still feel practically like magic.

“It's a great movie and it is very much a part of Coupeville,” said Eccles. “We are very proud that it was shot here.”

“It was a real A-rated movie,” said Kroon. “It had my favorite stars in Nicole and Sandra and to see them in my building in my hometown is really exciting. Plus the fact that it is a cute movie!”

The Blue Goose Inn is offering a Practical Magic package for overnight guests. Movie buffs are invited to walk in the film’s footsteps with a custom location guide on a self-guided tour, then return to the room for a personal viewing party complete with popcorn and locally-produced wine. The next morning, a full gourmet breakfast is included with every stay.

KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.

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