Cape San Blas made quite the impression during an online competition held by the website www.gopetfriendly.com to find the Best City for Pet Travelers for the year 2014.
Nominations came from all over the country and throughout the month of March the website held head-to-head voting to crown a champion.
“As a pet travel expert and blogger, my readers get my opinions of pet friendly places 11 months of the year, but I'm only one person and I can't be everywhere,” said website author Amy Burkert. “So, one month of the year, I turn the blog over to all the pet travel enthusiasts.”
Over several weeks of public voting, the Cape’s faithful followers won hard-fought battles against supporters of Asheville, N.C., Ocean City, M.D., Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Woodstock, V.T.
Not bad for a place that Burkert said she was unfamiliar with prior to the nomination.
“Cape San Blas certainly has a dedicated and passionate contingent,” said Burkert. “It's been our Cinderella story of this tournament.”
The Cape made it all the way to the final two, and squared off against Portland, OR’s dog-friendly parks.
Each city nabbed 50 percent of the 2,468 votes but by the time the polls closed at midnight on Wednesday, Portland had claimed the title.
Wendy Jackson, owner of Cape Escape Vacation rentals, was responsible for the Cape’s nomination.
Jackson said she fell in love with the Cape on her very first visit, not knowing that it was a pet-friendly destination at the time. As a dog owner, she said it was a bonus to the relaxed atmosphere she enjoyed.
“We love to introduce folks and their pups to the Cape,” said Jackson. “As part of my marketing I knew about this site and got an email letting me know about the contest--the Cape was such a perfect fit.”
Jackson said that throughout the contest she received many emails and messages from past guests who dropped a line to say that they had supported the voting.
“I thought we had a good running shot at winning,” said Jackson, despite the results. “The Cape should be very proud of its beaches and I’d like to see more of the area become pet-friendly.”
Michelle Perrin, marketing director for the Gulf County Tourist Development Council, was pleased with the Cape’s showing over the month-long competition.
“We competed in the final round against a city with over half a million population and lost by 12 votes,” said Perrin. “That is not a loss to us.
“All the pets in Portland now know they can come to our white sand beaches and take their owners for a walk--on a leash, of course!”
While Cape San Blas didn’t pull in the big win, it clearly turned some heads and made its mark on the contest.
“The passion and devotion we saw from the fans of Cape San Blas was remarkable,” said Burkert. “I imagine they’ll be back as a formidable contender in next year’s tournament.”