A touch of the East, a touch of their own

Home & Garden


Florida hardwoods co-mingle with tropical palms, staghorns and bromeliads. The deck wraps around the home from the sunroom to the pool, and features new LED lighting.

Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 11:37 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 11:37 a.m.

Barb Abel doesn't always know who is going to show up to have breakfast with her in the mornings.

“We see all kinds of birds [here] ... we have a resident red shoulder hawk, and he hangs out all the time. He'll just sit out on our deck,” Barb says with a laugh, not at all intimidated by the fact that wildlife, such as bats, owls and even bobcats, roam her property freely. “The bobcat just stuck around for three days.”

Did we mention the gator?

“We have a resident alligator, he's about 8 feet long,” says Ron Abel, of the cold-blooded reptile nicknamed Elvis that lives in the pond mere feet away their deck.

Both happily retired from their former careers, she as an airline flight attendant for now-defunct Pan Am and he from dentistry, Barb and Ron Abel moved from Miami to Gainesville in 2000. At first they planned to downsize, even buying a lot so they could build their own custom home. Things slowly fell apart with their plans, so they instead looked for a home they could fall in love with.

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