Win a Getaway to the Mission Hill Summer Concert Series

June 13th, 2016 @ 1:40pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Mission Hill Family Estate’s popular Summer Concert Series returns this summer with world-class talent playing the vineyard amphitheatre. Melissa Etheridge is there on Friday, August 26th, and the return of The Gipsy Kings on Sunday, August 28th. Michael Bolton is playing on August 5th and after all three shows incredibly sold out in just 20 minutes, a second Michael Bolton show was added for August 7th.


Tickets for the second Michael Bolton concert are on sale now, and you can purchase experiential packages to amp up your Mission Hill concert experience this summer. The spectacular outdoor Amphitheatre at Mission Hill is unlike any music venue in North America, providing an intimate experience for some of the greatest names in the world of music, and attracting audiences from across Canada, the US and beyond.

Mission Hill Family Estate, located in the heart of British Columbia’s pristine Okanagan Valley, offers visitors an exceptional experience in a setting of unparalleled natural beauty and extraordinary architecture. Established in 1981 by Proprietor Anthony von Mandl, O.B.C., the family-owned winery is known for its exemplary vineyard estates and award-winning wines. Heralded as ‘the gold standard of wineries’ by Condé Nast Traveler, the winery offers cultural programs including the annual summer concert series, culinary programs and international art exhibitions.

Win a Getaway to the Mission Hill Summer Concert Series

Thanks to Mission Hill Family Estate and The Cove Lakeside Resort in West Kelowna, I have an awesome prize pack to give away.

Tucked on the sandy shores of the spectacular Okanagan Lake in one of BC’s most treasured regions is the spectacular 150-suite Cove Lakeside Resort. Located in West Kelowna, the heart of the Okanagan Valley, The Cove Lakeside Resort is a short drive from Kelowna and is surrounded by an impressive variety of outdoor recreational activities. From hiking, biking, boating, horseback riding and skiing, to a choice of over 53 local golf courses, the Okanagan promises to keep you busy and entertained. For wine aficionados and food lovers, the Okanagan is rich with lush orchards, gourmet restaurants and award-winning wineries that open their doors for tasting throughout the year.

You can enter to win two tickets to the Michael Bolton concert (value of $278) at Mission Hill Family Estate on August 7th and a one-bedroom suite (garden view/ partial lakeview) at The Cove (value of $389) for one night, August 7th! Here’s how:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
  • RT to enter to win a @Covelakeside @MissionHillWine Summer Concert Series getaway from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/I5ZH301dDjb

    Prize cannot be exchange for other dates and must be used for the August 7, 2016 concert and the night of August 7, 2016 at The Cove. If the winner cannot attend these dates, another will be drawn. I will draw one winner at random from all entries on Monday, June 20, 2016.

    Update The winner is Betty!

Be The Loden’s Guest Concierge This Summer

June 13th, 2016 @ 11:57am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Condé Nast Reader’s Choice award winner, the Loden Hotel, is on the hunt for Vancouver’s Best Insider. Do you know where to find the best ice cream? The best bike route? Hidden gem attractions? Then the Loden wants to sign you for the summer!

The Loden Concierge team is searching for local residents to share their tips on the city’s best-kept secrets, and activities that are truly representative of Vancouver. Until June 19, The Loden is holding a contest to search for one lucky person to become an honorary member of the Loden Concierge team and share their insider tips on local activities and experiences.


To enter the contest entrants must post an Instagram or Twitter image sharing insight into Vancouver life using the hashtag #LodenConcierge between May 31st to June 19th, 2016. Contestants are invited to share their insider’s view on the city’s best-kept secrets, off-the-beaten-path destinations, and under-the-radar adventures.

What barstool is the best perch to sip a perfectly-crafted cocktail? Where do you place your picnic blanket for the most spectacular view? How do weekend warriors spend a day of urban adventure? Tell the Loden’s Concierge team via social media, and they will nominate five insiders based on their Instagram and Twitter entries. A winner will be selected via a public vote, open June 27, 2016, through July 17, 2016.

Throughout the month of August the Loden will provide the winner with opportunities to attend events and activities around the city. The winner will post their experiences on the Loden website and will also receive the title of Honorary Concierge, a $1500 cash prize and one night in the luxurious Halo Penthouse. Featuring a 1,600 square-foot wrap-around terrace with panoramic views, a lavish suite with a generously sized master bedroom, guest room, kitchen, and deluxe bathrooms, the Halo Penthouse is valued at nearly $5,000 per night.

To enter the Loden’s Vancouver’s Best Insider contest:
1. Follow @LodenHotel on Twitter or Instagram
2. Post an image to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #LodenConcierge
3. Include a caption depicting insight into Vancouver life

All of the official rules and regulations can be found here. Good luck!

Coast to Midwest Road Trip with the Honda Pilot

June 13th, 2016 @ 10:46am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

midwestrouteThis spring, John and I did a Midwest road trip with the Honda Pilot. Our destination was his niece’s high school graduation in his hometown in Eastern Iowa, and our the overall goal of our journey was to introduce me to other Bollwitt family members that I haven’t met yet — in 10 years of marriage!

Interspersed across the Western United States, we were able to stop and see family in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and of course in Iowa, where we eventually stayed put for over a week.

Thanks to Honda Canada, we were equipped for the road in style with the all new 2016 Honda Pilot, Touring. The technology, interior comforts, and performance were perfect for this trek, that took us from the interstate to scenic byways, major capitol cities to rural farm town. Here are just some of the stops we made along the way:

Devils Tower, Wyoming

Devils Tower, Wyoming. America’s first national monument and a major icon from a Steven Spielberg film John made me watch for the first time upon our return.

Badlands, South Dakota

I’ve been the Canadian Badlands before but never have I seen the area south and east, in South Dakota. We woke up at our highway-side hotel that was near Mount Rushmore and I spotted the detour loop through Badlands National Park. I told John it’s something he’s got to see and he agreed.


A video posted by Rebecca Bollwitt (@miss604) on

All the places in between…

We stopped in Ashfall, Nebraska, dubbed the “Pompeii” of Prehistoric Animals and named a US National Landmark in 2006. There was also Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota for which billboards spot the landscape along the I-90 for hundreds of miles in each direction — make sure you stop in for some free ice water (their claim to fame since 1930).

A photo posted by John Bollwitt (@johnbollwitt) on

We had to visit the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, and John’s aunt walked us over to the Geographic Centre of America in Belle Fource, South Dakota. Come to think of it, while our destination was Iowa and we visited many people in between there and home, we really explore South Dakota the most.

Pilot features we loved

We really couldn’t have dreamed up a more comfortable ride for our adventure. Some of the highlights for me throughout the trip included:

Interior Comforts: Pull-up blinds on the back windows that, when it was a sweltering 30 degrees in the Badlands, helped prevent the oven-like feeling in the vehicle when we hopped back in after a walk. The sunroof was great to have, and we opened it when we finally rolled into John’s home town, but it was the panoramic moonroof that added that “wow” factor.


With two drivers, we programmed two seat positions using buttons #1 and #2 on the driver-side door. When I hopped in, I pressed #2 and my settings were adjusted automatically. Finally, the luggage room was great. We folded down the third row of seats to easily slip our suitcases in and out, and pack the side compartments with souvenirs.


Honda Sensing Technologies: While on the road for 12 hours of interstate driving, cruise control management became my new best friend. We switched our electronic speedometer to mph when we crossed the border so it was easy to read. Then, activating cruise control, we kept a nice pace for hours. When we approached a vehicle in our lane that was going slower, the cruise control automatically slowed up. I could change the distance settings so that it would slow up within several stages of approach, which was helpful. It allowed us to ease up on approaching traffic ahead, and make a safe turn into the left lane to make our passes. Once we passed and returned to the right lane, with no obstructions ahead, cruise control resumed its set speed.


Technology: John is a radio guy. He loves listening to local stations to see what they’re programming or what technology he can discern. He worked for Iowa Public Radio for years before I met him so it’s in his nature. However, sometimes signals are few and far between. We loved having SiriusXM available on the Honda Pilot (the 1st Wave station was a road trip life saver), and HD radio.

Multiple USB plugins were a must so that each of our devices would stay at full charge (there were several in the front console), and the navigation system didn’t lead us astray.


One feature we weren’t too keen on was that the vehicle switched off when idling, like you would find with a hybrid. It’s great for fuel economy but it was disruptive in stop-and-go interstate traffic when there was construction. Specifically, the steering wheel locked when the engine cut, before it would kick back in again when you released your foot from the brake. I have since learned that it is easily disabled.

HondaPilot-RoadTrip_3The Honda Pilot proved to be a very trustworthy and luxurious ride for our cross-country journey. Even John’s family loved jumping in when we all went over to the high school for his niece’s graduation ceremony.

My sister-in-law snapped a selfie and caught the beautiful panoramic moon roof in the shot (and the face my other sister-in-law was making, I think she was just excited about the day ahead).

With every road trip, there’s a destination, but it’s the stops you make along the way that make the journey special. I’m so thankful to have been able to (finally) meet many Bollwitt family members who all opened their homes to us, hosted us at their supper tables, and welcomed us weary Canadian travellers with open arms. Big thanks to Honda Canada for making this trip possible.

Disclosure: Review
Views are my own. This is not a paid post. We were driving a Honda Pilot media fleet vehicle for review purposes.

Win A Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival Prize Pack

June 12th, 2016 @ 6:48pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The 59th Annual Squamish Days Logger Sports Festival is coming up July 28th to August 1st, packing 5 days full of fun for the whole family. It’s one of the largest lumberjack competitions in North America and one of the longest running community festivals in BC!

Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival

The festival offers ticketed events as well as free events throughout the community:

Thursday Night Kettle Boil (Free)
Friday’s World Championship Chair Carve (Free)
Friday Night Wacky Bed Races (Free)
Saturday Children’s Sports (Free)
Saturday Night Axe Throw Invitational (Free)
Sunday Festival Parade (Free)
Monday Picnic in the Park w/ Live Local Music (Free)

Then there’s the Saturday Loggers Stomp Dance, Sunday Pancake Breakfast, Sunday 8KRun & Flashback Mile, Rotary Beef BBQ and of course the international competition at the Al McIntosh Loggers Sports Grounds. This year’s special guest is Shae Emery former CFL linebacker & founder of Wellmen.

Squamish DaysLoggers sports competitions are true sporting events with competitors requiring strength, skill and stamina. The participants, like any athletes, must train and work diligently to reach the level of skill required to win any of the events. Cash prizes are awarded to the top competitors in each event. Each participant competes in one of three classes: novice, intermediate or open. Two victories move a competitor in novice or intermediate up to the next class.

Competitions include: Axe Throwing, birling, butcher block chop, chokeman’s race, hand bucking, obstacle pole bucking, speed bucking, springboard chop, team relay, standing block chop, tree climbing, tree falling, tree topping, and the underhand chop.

Win A Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival Prize Pack

As a sponsor of this event, I am thrilled to offer up an amazing Sea to Sky experience courtesy of the Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival. The getaway prize pack includes:

Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment naming a Squamish Days event (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win a @SquamishDays #SquamishBC getaway from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/BrLm301btgL

Follow Squamish Days on Facebook and Twitter for more information. I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Sunday, June 19, 2016. Some restrictions may apply. Dates cannot be exchanged on timely prize items.

Update The winner is Kirsten!

Salmonberries in Stanley Park

June 12th, 2016 @ 10:49am (PT) by Guest Author

SPESLogoFourLineThis post has been contributed by Michael Murray, Communications Volunteer with the Stanley Park Ecology Society (“SPES”). I have been following SPES since I moved into the West End over a decade ago and I have been a member for four years. I wanted to offer the team an opportunity to share their news, events, and work so I have created “SPES Saturday” where they contribute and share stories with my audience once a month.

Salmonberries in Stanley Park

A Wild Treat

If you’ve been out and about the last few weeks, then you’ve surely noticed the vibrant orange, yellow or red hues of Salmonberries lining the trials and walkways of Stanley Park. Often overshadowed by its more famous cousin the raspberry, salmonberries or Rubus specatibilis play an important role in the Park ecosystem providing sustenance for many songbirds and other animals alike.

Salmonberry in Stanley Park. Photo by Michael Schmidt.

The plant is native to the west coast of North America growing from the California coast to Alaska and prefers damp soil often growing along streams or marshy areas such the trails around Beaver Lake. The salmonberry bush is supported by long thin perennial stalks that go from green to rusty brown. The bright pink flowers and distinctively serrated green leaves make them easy to spot amongst the other foliage in Stanley Park.

Swainson’s thrush. Photo by
Matt Reinbold, Bismarck, Wikia Commons.

Vancouver’s recent rains and warm weather have caused an explosion of these colourful berries. This is good news for the Swainson’s thrushes (Catharus ustulatus) which count the berries as an important part of their diet.

These tiny songbirds can be spotted darting from bush to bush gorging on berries as they go. These migratory songbirds visit the Park during the spring and summer months and can be recognized by their characteristic upward spiraling song. Click here to hear for yourself.

The tasty berries are definitely fit for human consumption and have been used by west coast indigenous cultures for centuries. The leaves were used to line baskets, the red pigments as dye, and the leaves dried and made into astringent teas. It is said the berries resemble the colour of salmon roe and that’s how they came to be named. Next time you’re out exploring the Park be sure to keep an eye out for these wild treats, but please leave them on the bushes for Stanley Park’s birds.

About the Guest Author:

This post has been contributed by Michael Murray, Communications Volunteer with the Stanley Park Ecology Society. If you want to support a non-profit organization that makes a difference for wildlife and people in Stanley Park, please make a donation or become a member of SPES. For more information visit the Stanley Park Ecology Society website.

VanDusen Garden and Bloedel Conservatory Combo Pack

June 10th, 2016 @ 1:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Throughout the month of June, two of the city’s favourite local attractions are teaming up to offer a special combo admission pass. You can experience both VanDusen Botanical Garden and Bloedel Conservatory and save up to $11 for families and $6 for individuals.

Beautiful Golden Chain Trees in Spring

VanDusen Garden and Bloedel Conservatory Combo Pack

Find your way through a hedge maze, spot local wildlife, discover over 7,000 different plants from around the world, and enjoy a family picnic at VanDusen. Then, head to the tropical Bloedel Conservatory and discover exotic birds and plants inside the lush dome located at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park.

Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

Purchase you combo pass by June 30, 2016 and enjoy a visit to VanDusen Botanical Garden and Bloedel Conservatory anytime in June, July or August. You can visit both on the same day or different days. Bring your electronic or paper receipt to our admissions desks.

Family combo passes are valid for 1 family (up to 2 adults and their children 18 years and under) admission to VanDusen Botanical Garden and 1 family admission to Bloedel Conservatory. No refunds are available for combo passes. There is a maximum of 1 combo pass (individual or family) purchase per person.

Follow VanDusen on Facebook for more information about hours, location, and special events.