What comes to mind when you think of a sports preserve? For me, I picture game hunting, taxidermy everywhere, shooting ranges, and maybe archery. All those assumptions may be correct, but when visiting The Preserve Sporting Club in Richmond, Rhode Island, I realized that this sports resort also offers experiences catered to food, drink, and cigar aficionados.
The Preserve is home to the largest indoor gun range in the US. The club also offers some hunting right on the premises, and they have one of the most expansive clay shooting courses on the East coast. This was a far cry from what typically appeals to my fiance and me –– vegetarians who love a good glass of wine.
Still, when we visited the club, we tried to keep an open mind. Upon arrival at The Preserve Sporting Club , we were escorted to our luxury tiny home with stainless steel appliances and huge windows. We dropped off our dogs and climbed into the golf cart waiting for us outside. From there, we were whisked off to our first activity, clay shooting, before being introduced to the club’s food and drink program.
At the end of a windy road on the sprawling 3,500 acre property were safari glamping tents and two small houses, all which specialize in interesting dining opportunities. For instance, we were introduced to a luxury camp with a Manhattan-based chef who had a soft spot for Alba truffles.
One stand out experience is the cigar and scotch tasting. Officially called the Safari Tents Scotch and Cigar Tasting Experience, it’s available all year around at the club. Held in two safari tents, the tasting itself is two hours long. The scotch and cigar tasting begins in a luxury tent outfitted with stone floors, cozy chairs, and beautifully patterned rugs.
Besides high quality scotch and cigars, guests will also be offered an array of delicious treats snack on, starting with a charcuterie spread. As for the scotch, the tasting includes a curated assortment of Laphroaig scotches, ranging from Laphroaig 10 Year to Laphroaig 25 Year. The cigar offerings are presented by Cohiba, and include Cohiba Royale and the Cohiba Black Gigante.
My fiance and I are not cigar smokers, so we did not get to try the cigar offerings. However, we did enjoy Laphroaig scotch over a vegetarian chef’s tasting menu which featured romesco toast, crispy arancini balls, and rigatoni with imported truffles. The meat main courses included steak frites and rigatoni bolognese.
The experience would be quite memorable paired with some glamping-style living and an overnight stay. The Preserve offers a vast array of accommodations, depending where you are in the mood to sleep––a tiny home of course, but also cabins and treehouses. Nonetheless, whatever you choose, you’ll rest your head on the softest linens.
For those who want a more intimate dining experience, the Maker’s Mark Hobbit House (this is indeed its official name) is another year-round attraction that curious visitors should try to experience at least once. The houses are tucked away and woodsy, and beyond the brightly colored door is just enough space for a small wait staff and your group.
During a chef-curated four-course tasting in the Hobbit House, you’ll sample a Maker’s Mark 46, a perfect accompaniment to a Maker’s Mark 46™ braised boneless beef short rib. This is just one of the menu options, and offerings change seasonally.
Whether you choose the cigar and scotch experience or the Hobbit House tasting, either meal would be a great way to end a fulfilling day at the Preserve. Considering the other indoor and outdoor activities: rock climbing, simulated or outdoor golf, and my personal favorite, the equestrian center. No matter which you choose, you’ll work up quite the appetite for a relaxing evening of libation and palate pleasing.
When it was time to leave the Preserve, my fiance vowed to return with his groomsmen, who are lovers of the outdoors, cigars, and spirits. I vowed to return simply for the Bentley off-roading experience. In booking your stay at The Preserve, you may focus on the many sporting activities, but don’t forget to indulge in the many exceptional dining options here, especially if you are a whiskey lover or cigar enthusiast.
The scotch and cigar tasting experience at The Preserve Sporting Club is $995 per person and can be booked here.