The Herald Bulletin

Midday Update

Community

July 20, 2013

Summer getaway right at home

ALEXANDRIA — While Madison County residents are flocking to the beach for summer vacations, certain Florida locals have determined that Alexandria is the perfect spot for a green getaway.

Surrounded by cornfields and open land, the family of Frank Zebedis prefers to relax in Small Town U.S.A.

“We would always get together for a week in the summer – I used to take them all to Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head,” said Frank, who oversaw the construction of facilities for several corporations before retirement. “But after the first vacation at the farm, they all said it was the greatest vacation they ever had. This is the fourth year we’ve done this.”

A family vacation home is not what he envisioned when he purchased the property. A successful house flipper, Frank bought the little house and five-and-a-half acres in foreclosure and desperate condition in December of 2009.

On his 11th distressed property, he planned to repair, rebuild and resell. He brought his daughter, Sue Long, resident of Palm Beach Gardens, to see his find, complete with thistles four feet high, stripped away siding, a stolen furnace and even missing woodwork. Her reaction was not what he had expected.

“She said, ‘Dad, this reminds me so much of going to visit grandma’s house,’” he recalled.

“She spent her summers on her grandmother’s farm and every year we had to drag her back to the city. I got home that day and told Marilyn (his wife) that I thought we may keep it.”

“Everything at home is so developed,” said Alexis Albright, Sue’s daughter, photographer and children’s director of a church in Tampa. “We don’t really have a yard, so our boys get to be real boys here. They get to catch frogs, skip stones, and eat apples off the trees. We get to go back to the good old days and enjoy God’s creation.”

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