We spent Caleb's 25th birthday traveling from Sarasota to Miami, then celebrated in the evening with our college friends, Morgan Short & David Jantz. We walked around at a dog beach, walked around downtown Fort Lauderdale (near Miami), and ate outside at an Italian restaurant. It was a really nice evening.
Sunday morning, the 2nd of February, we sang at David & Morgan's home church, River of Grass Unitarian Universalist. It was our first experience with a community of Unitarian Universalists, and we really enjoyed it! The service was filled with high energy and singing.
After church, we spent the afternoon learning how to walk on David's slack line at the beach, a very humbling activity if you are new at it! We released our frustration splashing in the waves for a bit. Morgan is getting her Masters in Marine Biology, and we were able to observe her beloved corals at the lab she works at. Sunday also happened to be Super Bowl Sunday, and it was wild to be in the city where the Super Bowl took place (this was not planned!). We spent the evening making fun foods (including jalapeño poppers) and watching the game. David is a Kansas native, so he was happy to see the Chiefs win!
We left for Port St. Joe the morning of the 3rd, and were blessed with a beautiful day of driving up to the panhandle. We received a gig at the Haughty Heron, whose owners (Ralph and Cara Rish) heard us on Sunset Pier in Key West and asked if we had space in our schedule to make a stop in the panhandle! We are glad it worked out - it was so fun to be a part of their small, tight knit community for a couple days. Ralph and Cara graciously put us up in their condo, which had an awesome view of the Gulf! They also indulged us in our first taste of freshly caught oysters, which we all really enjoyed! We had the opportunity to meet their son, Grant, and made a lot of friends during our short time in the panhandle. We also met Kendell Marvel, a really kind singer/songwriter, who is a pretty big deal in the country music world.
On the evening of the fourth we played at the Haughty Heron, a beautiful outdoor venue with the ocean directly to our backs. However, the night got pretty chilly (especially for the natives), but everyone graciously stayed with us until we finished. Two sets of Erin Bontrager's (Josh's girlfriend) aunts and uncles made the trip from Pensacola to hear us, so it was fun to connect with them on the road!
We hope to return to this small paradise soon!