My Neighborhood – Hoboken, New Jersey

Written by Peta Arthurson

See why moving to Hoboken was a winner with former AWNY Vice President Peta Arthurson.

 

My husband and I stumbled upon the neighborhood of Hoboken and at first we completely freaked out. We had never planned on moving to NEW JERSEY!!! That’s a whole different state, and train system! But, if you read along with me you will see why I think its been our best neighborhood so far!

Upon recently expanding my family to include our new baby girl Matilda, my husband and I knew we wanted a little more space at but with affordable rent, and non- negotiable outdoor space for our dog (there was no way could I walk him at night in the dead of winter with a newborn if my hubby was away for work!) And of course we wanted all of this without moving to Westchester or some other upstate NY or Long Island location. I’m pleased to report we found it in Hoboken, New Jersey, just a short distance from Manhattan.

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Peta, husband Shane and baby Matilda on Matilda’s first Snow Day – Dec 2016

 

Where is Hoboken?

Hoboken, New Jersey is right across the Hudson river and is bordered by Weehawken to the North and Jersey City to the South & West. The streets are on a grid similar to Manhattan with the cross streets being numbered from 1st (downtown) to 14th (uptown) and some president’s names like Washington, Adams, Madison, Monroe.

Transport in Hoboken

Hoboken is essentially in line with Houston and 23rd streets of Manhattan and getting into the city is quick and easy. The PATH train runs regularly from 33rd street to Hoboken and the ferry runs to 42nd and World Trade Center. In fact, if you work downtown, the ferry takes only 5 minutes. There are also buses, with NJ Transit operating between the Hoboken Bus Terminal and Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. We also have a light rail system connecting Jersey City to Weehawken and beyond.

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RV Life – Traveling the North of North America

Let me start by saying that an RV holiday isn’t quite my idea of relaxing. I don’t camp, never have, and I have a love / hate relationship with the outdoors. Sunshine, water and fresh air good. Sunburn, mosquitos, bug spray and allergies bad!

My husband and I have a plan of seeing all 50 states before one day moving back to the wonderful land down under and at the start of this trip had reached 31.

The logic for the RV trip was simple, a summer getaway from New York to refresh and recharge the batteries. I was pitching for a 2 week Mediterranean cruise, waking up on the shores of a new exotic country every day. Hubby was down to RV the top of the USA. The RV won out because I am currently pregnant and let’s face it, it idea of an RV with a baby is not so appealing! Ships at least have child care and accommodation you don’t have to pack up and move every day so that one can wait until next year and it also meant we could bring our beloved dog Franklin.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a planner so the research began with finding a reliable vehicle. Camp America and Apollo are 2 main national companies that offer these services, however, upon reading the numerous horrendous reviews (it’s hard to stay off yelp!) including the failure of many features including bathrooms and engines, I ended up finding a little one-man band operation out of New Jersey that has the latest models and amazing 5 star reviews. The guys at 84 RV have been amazing and although they are 2 hours in a Dial 7 Car away, it was so worth it. Check them out at  http://www.84rv.com

Then came mapping out the adventure. We have already completed most of the more exciting states shall we call them along the west, south and east coasts. This left us with the north and middle of the USA. With nearly 3 weeks on the road, we decided that Mount Rushmore, South Dakota should be our aim, travelling north along the lakes and back through the Midwest.

3 weeks ago, hubby, myself, baby belly and our beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Franklin set off!

After a night in a park in PA to get better acquainted with our vehicle, we headed to Lake Michigan. This place is absolutely stunning. At least the east side of it. One uneasy night in what I can only refer to as a proper trailer park on the west side is enough for this lifetime! Boating on the lake, on water so crystal clear you can see the bottom was amazing. Although, they breed them tough in Michigan, the water wasn’t quite warm enough for our Aussie blood for swimming! Maybe if you are from SA, VIC or TAS you might do better than me! Traverse City is the home of the Cherry in the United States. Roadside cherries picked that morning and homemade cherry pie. The Cherry pie is incidentally the 1st time I felt our baby kick so you know it was good! A few various stops along the lake was a perfect intro into RV life. If you only have a week, I would highly recommend flying into Traverse City and hiring one from there and cruising around the lake. https://www.traversecity.com

Pic – Cooking in the RV in my new Cherry apron from a road stop in Traverse City. 

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Another spot we stopped on the lake was a 5 star RV resort at Petosky. A couple of days of swimming, mini golf, pickle ball (a sort of tennis / squash crossover – http://www.usapa.org/what-is-pickleball/ was a great recharge.

Wisconsin for me was hugely disappointing, we only stopped for a day at Green Bay, thinking that because it’s on the lake as well wasn’t quite enough to save it. Wisconsin has biting flies the size of small birds!!! Enough to keep me well inside the vehicle!

The top of Minnesota is the Itasca National Park – home to the state of the Mississippi River. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/itasca/index.html

State Parks in the USA are much friendlier than the National Parks of Aus. You can camp, RV, have fires, bring pets, boat, fish, etc and the scenery at this one is spectacular.

Pic – Dipping our toes in the start of the Mississippi River

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A great female in American history to read about is Mary Gibbs. The 1st Female Superintendant of a State Park. She was a BADASS and took on gun toting lumber companies to protect the park. You can read more about her here. http://www.toledoblade.com/frontpage/2001/05/06/Headwaters-heroine-Mary-Gibbs-faced-down-armed-loggers-to-protect-Mississippi-River.html

After making our way across North Dakota (yes unfortunately there really isn’t much there) we made our way down the Enchanted Highway to Mount Rushmore. The Enchanted Highway was and is still being created by Gary Greff who saw that his small town was dying so he decided to quit his job as a school teacher and create giant metal sculptures to bring people to the town. The largest sculpture Geese In Flight holds the current World Record for the largest metal sculpture in the world. Gary runs the gift shop in town and is only to happy to have a chat and post for a picture! http://www.ndtourism.com/best-places/7-ways-be-awed-enchanted-highway

Mount Rushmore is a great place for a family holiday! The mountain with the faces is really cool to see but the town South Dakota has tons of entertaining little towns surrounding it. Sturgis is the home of the annual motorcycle rally and whilst it wasn’t on while we were there, the pubs, shops and streets are dedicated to motorcycle fans.

Keystone is a quaint town that has a bygone era feel with cute shops and eateries.

For family fun, there is a bear park, putt putt courses, interactive museums, ziplines and skyways and so much more. https://www.travelsouthdakota.com I highly recommend this one as a place to visit for a 4 day break.

Pic – Franklin as one of the faces of Mount Rushmore. 

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After South Dakota we started making our way back to New Jersey. Sioux Falls is pretty, Des Moines Iowa, Michigan and PA and we are home again.

At the start I said I wasn’t a fan of RV’ing but it turned out to be so fun! We have now ticked off  Michigan, Minnestoa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. I am happy to report we are now at 38 states completed! I am not sure how or when we will get to places like Idaho but that’s what makes this task so interesting.

It is awesome to take a break from the complexity and intensity of NYC, washing the dishes in an RV or 6hrs driving and seeing nothing, can be the muse to spark that original thought that wasn’t coming to you in the concrete jungle of Manhattan.  It also gives you a lot of non-distracted time with your loved ones (no TV channels) or Wifi in most places!

Better than expected;

  • Connecting sewer is clean (relatively speaking)
  • You will see a lot of randomness, turtle racing and prairie dogs and sculptures of the world’s biggest bison.
  • Seeing a lot of how this country was formed, the gold rush, wild west, Sioux tribe, Mississippi and why a lot of these cities were formed. You read about a lot of this but seeing it is very different.

Was unaware of;

  • Terrible fuel consumption! A $100 per day, thankfully fuel is only $2 a gallon. 8mpg vs a standard car at 28-30mpg.
  • You can get booked for speeding in an RV in North Dakota! Not me!

18 days, 7 states, 4000 miles, a self-contained RV, pregnant, a dog and a husband and absolutely would do it again!

 

AWNY Annual Charity Wrap Up – May 2014 to April 2015

by Peta Arthurson

Over the past 12 months, I have been privileged to lead the AWNY Charity Role with the support of an amazing committee. Over the year we have held a number of events and were able to donate substantial funds to extremely worthwhile charities. Here is a brief overview of these events and charitable donations.

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In July, attendees were inspired by the work of Audette Exel whose profits from her corporate advisory firm Adara Group, fund her foundation working with communities in remote Uganda and Nepal, improving health, education and development projects. This event was supported by the Macquarie Group.

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In October, we held a sellout event at the exclusive Soho House, where Georgina Duckworth spoke about the mission of the Friends of Australian Wildlife Conservancy. They assist in the acquisition of land for use of conservation of threatened species and ecosystems in remote Australia. We were able to raise and donate $861.70 from this event and we continue to promote other fundraising events held by Friends of Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

AWNY SSF Volunteer Day

In December, six fabulous AWNY women attended the Sanctuary for Families Volunteer day where we wrapped and sorted presents for the families in most need of gifts at Christmas. A number of AWNY volunteers were also helping at an invitation mailing day in April.

Working in the USA

In March, Belinda Jackson’s, annual Working in the USA event was kindly sponsored by QBE and this enabled us to give the profits of $990 from the event to Sanctuary for Families. Sanctuary for Families provides domestic violence victims, sex trafficking victims, and their children with a range of comprehensive services.

With our additional funds raised of $1,500 from various other events throughout the year, the committee unanimously decided to donate this to the Adara Group to assist with current earthquake relief efforts in the communities in remote Nepal. Here are some more details on the work of Adara Group in Nepal.

We trust that you will agree, that the above charities were all worthwhile causes and that with your support, we were able to achieve these excellent results.

This year, the Charity Lead role is Taya Sedgman, who is already coming up with marvelous ways to ensure the members of AWNY help with our charity efforts.

If you would like to read more about any of the above charities, please see the below links. Thank you again for your support and I look forward to raising more money and awareness this year.

http://www.adaragroup.org/

http://www.friendsofaustralianwildlife.org/

http://www.sanctuaryforfamilies.org/

Faces of AWNY: Peta Arthurson

photo: Peta and Shane Arthurson and their dog Franklin at the Staten Island Yankees Baseball Dog Night

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m from Sydney, I grew up in the Inner West, but most recently lived on the Northern Beaches. I was fortunate enough to win the Green Card Lottery so I packed up our life, our house, my hubby and my dog! We travelled around the US on an extended honeymoon for 2 months before landing in New York 18 months ago.

Where do you live? Why did you choose that area?

Because we don’t think we are New York Lifer’s, we are going to try living in a number of neighborhoods while we are here.

After a 1 month stay in Midtown East, we moved to the Financial District. It’s close to just about every single subway and by the water which, as a Sydney girl you need. It’s also a little bit quieter but with pockets of awesomeness like Stone Street and the South Street Seaport. Three months ago, we moved to Long Island City which is really more of a suburban area, very dog friendly! In fact, it’s known as Dog Island City! The views on Manhattan are an incredible New York secret!

What do you like/dislike about living in NY?

I love how this city always has something interesting and new happening. I like to say that if you are bored in this city, you aren’t trying.

I dislike the weather! Back home, I live in a singlet, shorts and thongs! I will never get used to the number of layers you have to wear here.

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