Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another entry of Grateful Heart Monday, which for today, in light of my solemn posting two days ago about the difficulty of revisiting my hometown in Poughkeepsie, New York, I wanted to express my gratitude for my visit there as well.

Just over a week ago now, I completed a trip to the place I grew up at and while it did have its challenges being there, mostly due to a slew of bad memories, there were plenty of experiences I believe are far more important to highlight that I’m extremely grateful for.

Probably the biggest of course is sharing a part of my past with my partner Chris. It was indeed the sole purpose of this trip and I can safely say that he has a much better connection to the life I had growing up, which has helped me to feel closer to him now because of it!

During the visit, besides enjoying driving him pretty much everywhere around town, I got to take him to Milanease, which is a Northern Italian restaurant that’s been there since 1971 and a place I dined at with my family countless times as a kid. Our meal there was absolutely fantastic and so was our waitress! Ironically the owner and his wife are still there running it and I got to spend a little time talking to them as well! Another thing to be grateful for from this trip was visiting the homes and grounds (that included some very pretty gardens) of Roosevelt and Vanderbilt, both being national parks in Hyde Park, which is the next town north of Poughkeepsie. Chris is a history buff and I really was grateful to see his eyes light up during the tours of both properties, places I absolutely enjoyed visiting frequently as a kid. And definitely something not to be forgotten in my gratitude list from this trip was our visit to a sweets shop called Café Aurora. Seeing Chris truly enjoy his blackberry Italian Ice at an establishment where I had tons of Italian Ices during my younger years was most certainly a treat! A few other grateful highlights included dining at an old-fashioned diner called The Palace, a place my father and I used to eat breakfast a lot at, taking a walk across the 1.3-mile railroad bridge that was converted back in 2009 into a state park walkway, and seeing the fireworks shot off from the middle of the Hudson River on July 4th.

While this trip’s focus was mostly on sharing pieces of my hometown with Chris, much of my childhood also included trips into New York City, so we opted to take one of the days to go there too. Riding on the Metro North train out of Beacon station was a lot of fun, as I got to show Chris all the cool things that you get to see along the Hudson River during the 1.5-hour travel time. He also had never seen Grand Central station where the train arrives into, so that quickly became a big highlight as well. From there, after splitting a freshly made croissant at one of my favorite bakeries in Grand Central, I took Chris to one of my preferred New York City pizza joints where we each got a large slice of pepperoni pizza, that was just as tasty as ever! Shortly after that, we headed to the top of World Trade One, something neither of us had ever done yet, even though we had both been up the former towers. I must say that technology has come a long way, as not only were the elevator walls fully digitized, but you’re also given an IPAD to carry around that shows you pretty much anything you are looking at! We made sure to get a few souvenirs to remember our visit as well, like the flattened penny I now have from both the old tower and the new one too. Without a doubt though, the highlight of the day was where we had dinner. For more than a decade, I’ve wanted to dine at Serendipity 3, an eclectic restaurant known for its frozen hot chocolate and huge desserts and for being used during the filming of two movies, that being One Fine Day and Serendipity. Chris and I actually got to sit in the same table used by Kate Beckinsale, John Cusack, and Molly Shannon, which I must say made me totally geek out.

All in all, between our visit to New York City and Poughkeepsie, I was thankful to create a number of positive memories with Chris, ones that certainly overshadow the painful memories from my past. So yes, plenty to be grateful for once again on another Grateful Heart Monday in my life…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson