2016 Mazda CX-9: Premium Family Focus at Montage Palmetto Bluff Resort

MY16 Mazda CX-9

Experienced by Marvin Bowser

It was a beautiful few days in South Carolina where Mazda structured their Active Lifestyle Drive Program so the press could experience a cadre of their latest products. I first focused on an adventure in the all-new 2016 CX-9 SUV from the beautiful Montage Palmetto Bluff Resort to Sea Pines Resort, in Hilton Head Island, SC. The family and fitness activity of choice for me was the art of kayaking which paired perfectly with the CX-9 and its active and daring traits.

Since I’m a rower I jumped at the kayaking opportunity with euphoric energy on a day commingling hot, sunny weather, clear blue skies and a playful pod of dolphins on their way down the river. The scene was absolutely incredible with the kayaking being timed to ride with the tide in each direction. The trip to the Salty Dog for lunch with a fleet of about 13 boats took a good 45 minutes. However, only three courageous journalists rowed back in roughly 20 minutes. Still a little wet and gritty from the water experience I took the helm of a top-of-the-line CX-9 Signature (available in four trims: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature) for the drive back to Montage Palmetto Bluff.

Photographs © Tim Zielenbach for Mazda USA Mazda Active Lifestyle driving event. Participants bike and kayak through Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head Island, SC, after test driving from Montage Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, SC.

Specifically speaking, the newfangled Machine Gray hue directed designers to manifest the Japanese SUV as if it appeared to be cut from a single slab of sheet metal. The other paint selections include Soul Red Metallic, Snowflake White Pearl, Sonic Silver Metallic, Jet Black Mica, Deep Crystal Blue Mica and Titanium Flash Mica. Moreover, the vehicle’s sleek curves and restrained use of chrome on the exterior helped achieve the design goal. Each hue has the canny ability to enhance the refined expression of the 3-row, 7-passenger midsized utility vehicle.

Inside, the upscale interior featured Auburn Nappa Leather, real aluminum trim on the doors and dash and stunning rosewood trim supplied by first-rate Japanese guitar-maker Fujigen. Mazda also added sound insulation to the list of upgrades to deliver a quality driving experience. The CX-9 can easily handle soccer mom duties as well as date night responsibilities at the Kennedy Center in D.C. (where I reside) parked next to luxury SUVs costing thousands of dollars more.


I found that the new SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine delivered ample torque and power to merge with highway traffic. The 4-cylinder turbocharged motor puts out 250-horsepower when powered by 93-octane fuel, but can run on regular gas as well. The SUV also sees a 21/27/23 (city/hwy/combined) mpg with i-ACTIV all-wheel drive and the 6-speed automatic transmission and 22 / 28 / 25 (city/hwy/combined) with FWD. The CX-9 manages its size, weight and higher center of gravity well and is fun to drive, particularly in sport mode.

Dinner was at a rustic camp on the banks of a river requiring a 25-minute boat ride from the Montage Palmetto Bluff Resort. Cocktails at the dock, a sunset boat ride, another school of dolphins, delicious Lowcountry cuisine under an open pavilion and lots of Mazda car talk made for a spectacular evening after an exciting day of test driving and outdoors sportsmanship.


After dinner and socializing I returned to my luxurious master room in the newly completed property that included turn down service and chocolates on my pillow. Montage Palmetto Bluff is an amazing vacation setting for couples and families alike and features 200 guest accommodations, six inspired dining locations, the Paintbox Children’s programming, Signature Spa Montage and over 16,000 ft2 of meeting and event spaces. Furthermore, at your disposal is the 18‐hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course as well as tennis, bocce and croquet courts and of course the aforementioned boating. Now you see why the CX-9 fit perfectly into our travel plans while visiting this opulent location. Additionally, the resort features six delightful restaurants, a historic motor yacht, stables, a shooting range, a racquet club, biking, hiking and numerous water sports. Jetsetters or investors can purchase private, leisure residences at Montage Palmetto Bluff starting at 1.4-million dollars.

Photographs © Tim Zielenbach for Mazda USA Mazda Active Lifestyle driving event at Montage Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, SC.

Mazda’s consumer approach makes sense to me. The objective was to deliver a trendy SUV with characteristic design traits, premium technology features, smart engineering and top quality in a line of exciting SUVs at competitive prices. Active and on-the-go families will certainly enjoy a 2016 CX-9 as their primary vehicle of choice. Built with the US market in mind, the second generation CX-9 went on sale back in May to praise and heightened fanfare and starts at $31,520. Yes, driving does matter. 2016_mazda_cx-9_09

2nd Annual “Fit Fathers Day” Whips DMV Dads & Families into Shape


Words & Photos by Adrian McQueen; Additional Photos by Henri Fisher & Leon Brittain

Group exercise routines, dancing, Double Dutch teams, fitness contests, smiles and laughter accurately depicts what took place at the 2nd Annual Fit Fathers Day (FFD) celebration. Typical Father’s Day ideas consist of brunches or cookouts so the Fit Fathers team decided to shake things up a bit. We brought the celebration back to Veterans Plaza in Downtown Silver Spring, MD from 10 am to Noon, still leaving time for families to go along with their regularly scheduled plans. Fit Fathers, DaddysCool.com and Powerful Beyond Measure came together to show fathers the importance of being health conscious and leading by example through positive, nutritional choices. The Fit Fathers Foundation believes health, fitness and nutrition can help fathers live longer and challenges all dads to eat clean, stay active and continuously energize their lives!

2nd_Annual_Fit_Fathers_Day...143An energetic Social Workout was led by Fit Fathers’ founder Kimatni Rawlins, celebrity trainer Michael Bance and 12-year-old fitness guru Jodi Evans, while DJ Blinks mixed sounds behind a stellar Bose audio system to keep everyone entertained. A special 80s and 90s mix was put together for our Terminator Genisys movie workout. Movie posters, premiere tickets and t-shirts were given to the FFD attendees. Fitness contests, family workouts and activities, an inflatable obstacle course, healthy snacks, health screenings, gift bags and demonstrations gave this Father’s Day event something for everyone. Another highlight was the timed fitness course that crowned James Swink Mr. Fit Father 2015. He won four Yokohama tires as the grand prize.

FFD is possible due to Mazda, Volkswagen, Children’s National, Wegmans, The Washington Auto Show, DC Capital Striders and City Sports. The event also highlighted the amazing work of our community and media partners including: African American Health Program, Street Wize Foundation,  National Black Child Development Institute, LoveLife Foundation, 14th Legislative District (Montgomery County), Action for Healthy Kids, Aspire Sports Drink, Automotive Rhythms, Bance Fitness, Creative Edge PR, African American Health Program, Embrace Kids, Fathers Incorporated, Fit For Life, Greenbelt S.I.T.Y. Stars, Healthyblackmen.org, Kids Being Fit, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (Dr. Neal Barnard), Men’s Health Network, Mocha Moms, Kids Being Fit, Shoe City, SOULCYCLE, Strive 2 Tri, The Boot Camp Girl, Throttle Life, Vegan Pro, Meatless Monday, Montgomery County, MD Dept. of Police, Center for Nutrition Studies and Washington Sports Club.

Also, NFL players Jason McCourty of the Tennessee Titans and Adrian Coxson of the Green Bay Packers, who attended the celebration, served as Fit Fathers’ National Ambassadors for the momentous occasion.

2nd_Annual_Fit_Fathers_Day...126We thanked attendees for supporting our cause with prizes and giveaways courtesy of Aspire Beverages Baltimore, City Sports, SOULCYCLE, Bose Audio, Under Armor, Shoe City and Mothers car care. Through social media and the use of the hashtag #FitFathersDay appearing across multiple newsfeeds, there is already an air of anticipation for Fit Fathers Day 2016. We greatly appreciate our sponsors and partners who recognized the vision and helped bring FFD to fruition. A very special thank you is in order for all the patrons and volunteers who attended and participated.

Although Fit Fathers Day is a special occasion to recognize Dads during their time of celebration, our mission is to also become active with, Moms, kids and families throughout the year. Stay tuned for more Fit Fathers events as we move forward to engage with different  communities around the country. Enjoy the photo gallery.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series hits Virginia Beach: Fun, Family Fitness Weekend

IMG_0513Shawn Ciers

What a fascinating escape to Virginia Beach during Labor Day weekend to participate in the Mazda sponsored Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach ½ Marathon with a few other Fit Fathers such as company founder Kimatni Rawlins and Delaunta Cameron, both also former Georgia Tech football players. Like a band off brothers we decided to join Team Mazda and train jointly for three months with the culmination being a splash in the Atlantic Ocean after crossing the finish line. [Read more…]

Mazda Strengthens 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series Partnership

CHI_11_MoneyShot (email)I must say, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is the most entertaining run series we have participated in to date. And since Fit Fathers also reviews the latest Auto Fit lifestyle vehicles, it only made since for us to run alongside the Mazda Game Changer team. We’ll be competing in the Virginia Beach Half Marathon on August 31st. Training has been fun and exciting as we have been trotting around the globe putting in miles including Jamaica, Florida, India, etc. Even more exciting is that Competitor Group, Inc. (CGI), the leading active lifestyle sports media and event entertainment company, and Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) have expanded their relationship, as Mazda becomes the Official Automotive Partner of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. [Read more…]

Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon

2013 Va Beach RnRoll Half MarathonIt’s that time of year again to begin training for a summer 13.1-mile run. So why not do it while having fun. At every Rock ‘n’ Roll start line thousands of runners join each other to take part in an incredible event while accomplishing amazing goals. Each runner has a poignant story to tell that brings them to that start line.

In 2013 some 15,000 participants took part in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, 13.1-mile relay and 5K run. It’s always a magical atmosphere amongst friends, family and fellow runners. Even more exciting is the ability to jump in the ocean to cool off after running a half marathon. What are you waiting for? Come run with Team Mazda / Fit Fathers Saturday, August 30th and Sunday, August 31st, 2014 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center – 1000 19th Street.


2013 Va Beach RnRoll Half Marathon

Auto Fit: Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 1/2 Marathon with Mazda USA

IMG_2620Yes, Fit Fathers knocked out another 13.1 mile run at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 1/2 Marathon today with Team Mazda. It felt great accelerating with thousands of other hungry athletes staying in great shape and health while running for worthy causes. The half marathon was also a positive plus since we broke our PR by 2 minutes in the process (1:50); all while operating on clean, green fuel.

Mazda USA was the official automotive partner and has signed on for a cadre of Rock ‘n” Roll races across the country. Their #GameChanger theme was perfectly timed as everyone put their all into the marathon series. However, the #GameChanger of the day might have been Dr. Dribble who ran an entire half marathon handling two basketballs within a 2-hour window. Team Mazda consisted of Fit Fathers, Fit Mom Diet, Carspondent and Mazda’s very own Tamara Mlynarczyk and lightening fast Eugene Kim who is known to finish 13.1 miles in 90 minutes. We’re certainly looking forward to the next race!  What’s your next challenge?

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Mazda Family Weekend at the Esteemed Boar’s Head Inn

Mazda_Family_Design_Forum_Weekend_Boar's_Head_Inn.23We love family weekends, road trips and quick getaways, especially when it involves the birthday of one of our two little girls. At nine and seven-years old, it is a very exploratory and transformative period for the family as we all learn new characteristics and habits about one another. But one thing’s for sure, both Mika and Aya love packing their bags, dragging along their stuffed animal friends and jumping in the back of an SUV for a few hours while envisioning what the hotel will look like and what amenities it will offer. If there is a pool then Mommy Misa and I have done our jobs!

[Read more…]