Profile: Miranda Blackwell

March 31, 2017
By Marcy Shortuse

Miranda Blackwell had never heard of Boca Grande or even visited the state of Florida before she decided to take a leap of faith and relocate to Englewood three years ago with her boyfriend, Adam.
She presently works as the administrative assistant at The Gasparilla Inn & Club Marina. Miranda grew up in Rochester, Michigan, which is about an hour north of Detroit.
“It’s a beautiful area where the country and urban life come together,” she said.
She took courses at Oakland Community College for a couple of years and studied nursing. During her last year in high school, she shadowed a nurse in the labor and delivery department at a hospital, which is what prompted her to study nursing. “It was fascinating to see, and there was always something different happening – we never did the same thing every day. Plus I liked the idea of helping people.”
But she wasn’t exactly sure that was the career path she wanted to pursue.
She held several jobs in the hospitality field, working as a waitress and bartending in southeast Michigan for a few years.
When she was 18, she met the man who would later become her significant other, Adam. She was working as a waitress at her first job at 24th Street Sports Tavern in Oxford, Mich. Adam is a few years older than Miranda, but they attended the same high school.
“He was a regular customer, and he’d come in all the time with his friends, and he caught my eye,” she said. They fell out of touch for a while, and then a few years later they connected again and began dating. But Adam was in the process of moving to Florida at that time. “We kind of formed a relationship over the phone, because he already had plans to move here with a friend and open a small marina in Englewood,” Miranda said. “His business partner had been down here for seven years, and he found the property and purchased it and asked Adam to come and help run it.”
Adam asked Miranda to come visit Florida and check out the area, which she did. And she liked it.
“I was ready for a change, and if you know what winter is like in Michigan, Florida always sounds like a good idea,” she said.
So two months later, she packed all of her belongings into her car and moved south.
Her dad, Jim, wasn’t exactly happy with her decision. But her mom, Shannon, was very supportive of the move, because she enjoys warmer climates. They recently came down for a visit. Jim had been to Florida before, but this was the first time Shannon visited the sunshine state.
“She loved it – she didn’t want to leave. But she didn’t care for the awful Red Tide we were having that week,” Miranda said.
She found her current position as an administrative assistant at The Inn Marina on last summer.
“I had never been to the island before, but I saw it was close to where we live so I applied for the job,” she said. “After I crossed over the bridge, I felt a little lost at first, but it was so beautiful,” she said.
After the interview, she spent the afternoon driving around and exploring Boca Grande.
“I was surprised to see that there were so many businesses, and the beaches are just beautiful here.”
Some of her duties in her current position include processing service work orders, invoicing and other paperwork. She is the assistant to Marina Manager Capt. Brian Knight and provides office assistance for the marine mechanics and yard workers. She works full time from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“I really enjoy it here. It’s very relaxed and the people are friendly. And a lot of the customers have been coming here for a long time. Many have known Brian since he was really young,” she said.
Miranda and Adam have a three-month old son, Jack. Luckily, Adam’s mom and dad (Rita and Craig) live right down the road in Englewood, and they are able to help with taking care of Jack when Miranda is working. “His mom takes him three days a week, and Adam and I work alternating days, so it works out perfectly.”
They also have a 5-year-old Doberman named Sonny. They brought her with them when they moved from Michigan. “She is the sweetest, most spoiled dog in the world. She’s adjusted fine here but she only likes going on walks at night.”
When Miranda is not working or busy being a new mom, she enjoys spending time with Adam kayaking and snorkeling at Stump Pass and in Lemon Bay. She said she hasn’t actually been boating in the Gulf yet, but she can’t wait to get out there and do some exploring.
“Growing up in Michigan and only having access to freshwater lakes, the saltwater is new to us, so it’s been fun to visit the different beaches,” she said.
They also enjoy taking day trips up to Siesta Key and checking out events happening in Sarasota and around the Tampa area.
Up north, she did a lot of ice fishing with her dad, but she hasn’t had the chance to go out saltwater fishing yet. “Ice fishing was our thing. It’s more relaxing, and it’s usually done in the early morning or at night. There is just something so special about being on the ice in the dead of winter. It’s quiet and peaceful.”
Her grandmother has a home on 25 acres of land in Munising Falls, Michigan, which is in the upper peninsula of the state near Lake Superior.
“It’s very beautiful up there. We used to take family trips all the time to go and visit her and see the waterfalls.”
Miranda said the person she admires the most in life is her mother. “She is a very strong woman and also very kind to everyone. As a mother myself, I have a better understanding of how selfless you become. My mom has always made her family a priority, and I am very thankful for her.”
Miranda and Adam currently live in Rotonda. She’d still like to eventually pursue a career in the medical field, once Jack gets a little older.
Miranda has a sister, Cori, who is 37 and lives in New York with her husband and their 6-year-old daughter. Cori is expecting a son due on May 5.
“My mom was really excited to get a grandson, because she has five sisters, and all of my cousins except one are girls, and all of their children are girls. So we’re happy to have another boy in the family.”
Miranda and Cori try to plan their visits to Michigan at the same time so the family can all be together.
But for now, the island employee has very much enjoyed spending her first winter and spring in Boca Grande.