Savannah Harbor from the Bohemian Rooftop

Embarrassed that I have done so few sketches here in Savannah, I lassoed Silke this afternoon, grabbed my sketchbook, and headed to town to do some sketching.

Savannah's harbor, as is the case with all US ports since 9-11, is very protected. It's difficult to get close to it, much less get interesting points-of-view from which to draw. The fact that our harbor is situated on the Savannah River, fourteen miles inland from the coast, poses problematic logistics in that there are no good ways to approach the harbor, save being on a boat. (I think about ports like San Francisco, Seattle or Baltimore where the natural bays provide innumerable vistas; Savannah has nothing like this because of the geography.)

All this is to say that the best place to view the harbor is from the rooftop bar of the Bohemian Hotel. Okay, okay. I know what you're thinking. The fact that I could enjoy a pint (or two) while sketching was a real boon, especially since we're having another sweltering summer. But it wasn't the reason I headed to the roof. Really. The reason we headed there was the food. (Just kidding. Sort of. But not really.) Truthfully, the Bohemian is a great venue with fantastic vistas. We could sit high up, under umbrellas, where there was a reasonable breeze — important considerations when you're outdoors sketching in 95% humidity with 95° temps.

We ordered a couple of beers and started sketching, as we planned. When the waitress came by to see whether we wanted anything to eat, Silke and I both agreed that we weren't hungry, but that we'd have a look at the menu.

As I sketched, Silke read down the list of the tapas: goat cheese guacamole, a butcher's plate, sirloin bruschetta, Caprese salad, hand-cut fries with garlic aoli and Parmesean, a crabcake sandwich, shrimp ceviche, mango-tomato gazpacho, curried calamari. Blah, blah, blah. I was focused on my drawing.

"What do you want?" asked Silke.

"I dunno. I'm not really hungry. Do you want anything?"

"The fries and garlic aoli sound pretty good," she suggested. (This didn't surprise me. There's something about having a German wife that goes hand-in-hand with potatoes. Or good bread. Or beer.)

"Okay," I conceded, distractedly, "the fries sound good."

When the waitress returned, Silke placed the order. But as the waitress turned and started back toward the kitchen, Silke called out, "Could we get the Caprese salad, too?"

I burst out laughing! We weren't even hungry but couldn't resist!

So we hung out on the rooftop, sketching, eating, and enjoying a Yuengling or two. (Since the Bohemian changes the menu regularly, we'd never tried these items before, and they were both great! [Afterward, Silke and I both admitted that these were the best fries we'd ever eaten in our lives. It's not to say that the Caprese salad was negligible; in fact, it was great — the tomatoes had been skinned and lightly marinated in lemon juice and garlic.] Despite my best efforts, I did manage to keep my sketch free of olive oil or aoli.)

Typical of Savannah this time of year, thunderstorms began building around us in the late afternoon. We watched the clouds swell and roll and rumble. Before long we were surrounded by huge thunderheads and the sky turned blue-black. First one drop. Then another. And another. Then the sky opened up and let us have it! We stayed out on the rooftop under the umbrella as long as we could, but ultimately had to race indoors to keep our sketchbooks from getting soaked. All in all, a wonderfully successful outing!