When planning a wingshooting trip, Rhode Island is not the destination that immediately jumps to mind. Yet in the nation’s smallest state, just a short drive from Boston in the small town of Richmond, there is a premier sporting resort whose reputation continues to grow.
Opened in 2016, The Preserve Sporting Club & Residences is the passion project of Paul Mihailides, an entrepreneur, a sportsman and the owner and president of the US arm of Italian gunmaker FAMARS. Covering 3,500 acres in southern Rhode Island, The Preserve is a luxury resort that puts wingshooting and shooting sports at the heart of its enterprise. While many will experience the resort as a private member and owner of one the property’s 60 homes, townhouses and condos, the property is open to day and overnight visitors.
This past fall my wife and I made the 2½-hour drive from our home in New York for an overnight visit to The Preserve. My wife can be a hesitant hunting-trip companion, but the proximity and diverse offerings of the resort had piqued her curiosity. For me, the allure was the 19-station sporting clays course, the heated “10 station” 5 Stand and the robust gunroom at the resort’s Sporting Shoppe.
As we passed the gate house just off I-95, it was like entering another universe. We checked in at the impressive main lodge, and then were given a private tour of the grounds—which feature zip-lines; an 18-hole, par-3 golf course; clay and grass tennis courts; an outdoor swimming pool; an equestrian center; ATV courses; 10 fishing ponds; a 150-yard underground shooting range; an off-road driving course with Bentley Bentayga SUVs; acres of fields and woods for upland hunting; and a tower for Continental shoots.
Following our tour, my wife headed to the OH! Spa, and I was picked and driven to the sporting clays course. Once there, Mihailides, who accompanied us throughout our stay, put me through the paces on the challenging and beautifully constructed course. Afterward we returned to the gunroom, where I fawned over the aspirational collection of FAMARS guns and other fine firearms. That evening we enjoyed an amazing meal at The Preserve’s main dining room: Double Barrel Steak by David Burke.
The following day as we left The Preserve, feeling slightly dizzy from the sublime whirlwind of activities, my wife asked, “So what did you think?” I responded with the same question. For the next 10 minutes we drove in silence, each collecting our thoughts and trying to find words to describe something that somehow defied words. The Preserve is indeed a special destination.
For more information, visit preservesportingclub.com.