By Sara Cornell
Picture this: 3,500 pristine wooded acres where you can commune with nature, fly-fish for fresh trout or track pheasants for a feast before returning to your private lodge for the evening. The setting sounds like the English countryside, but in fact, you’re at The Preserve at Boulder Hills in Richmond, R.I., just 90 minutes from Boston. The four-season sporting retreat set on land that was formerly part of Foxwoods Golf Club was the brainchild of owner and developer Paul Mihailides, who imagined a private wilderness where you could spend the day outside without sacrificing any of the comforts of a luxury resort.
“The Preserve is a remarkable destination, maybe the only place of its kind in the nation. We see it as a legacy property where families and their guests can enjoy a variety of outdoor experiences in an extraordinary setting” says Mihailides. “Yes, you can shoot sporting clays or snowmobile, but what makes it unique is that you can create lifelong memories without spending days traveling. We have everything here.”
A typical day at The Preserve starts with a gourmet breakfast at the 25,000-square-foot members clubhouse followed by clay target shooting from the new hunting lodge. Or perhaps you’d rather spend the day at the equestrian center, where members can board their horses or borrow one to take on the extensive trails. For those more inclined to leisurely activities, members can arrange for massages and facials in their cabins while the new spa and fitness center is being built. The Preserve is by membership only for those who want to enjoy the grounds and adventure activities like zip lining, rock climbing and skiing (at nearby Haystack Mountain and at The Hermitage Club) except for five hunt days when nonmembers can buy into the event.
On Jan. 18 and Feb. 15, The Preserve will host two of its annual hunt weekends. The day begins with a full breakfast at the clubhouse before a shoot orientation and release of 1,000 birds from the tallest European tower in the Northeast, meaning the birds achieve better height and speed. Shooters rotate among 12 shooting stands and a warming area throughout the hunt. Melt away the cold after a day outside with a dinner of filet, lobster, roast pheasant and a scotch and cigar pairing at the clubhouse. After a day of fresh air and food, you can lay your head in one of the 2,000- to 4,000-square-foot rustic luxe cabins, heated Mongolian yurts or 200-square-foot stone hobbit houses that were built into the hills of the property. The Preserve has plans to build 100 customizable homes on the property that are available for purchase, allowing owners access to both a coveted address and an adventure destination. Pricing for Continental Hunts starts at $2,000, 87 Kingstown Road, Richmond, R.I., 401.539.4653, thepreserveri.com