She was an accidental innkeeper who just wanted to keep her guests happy. That's how Annette Blake ended up writing Out of the Blue, a guidebook of her favourite places in the Blue Mountains.
"A guest would say, 'I'm gluten free and it's a Monday night where can I go for dinner?'," she told the Gazette. "So I decided to write a book that answered that."
The Mountains has always been enchanting to visitors with its dramatic escarpments and lush valleys, but she "wanted to show everyone just how much else is also on offer in this World Heritage-listed region... the hidden gems".
"It's not about the famous walks, they are well covered by people far better than me. However, I have included some recommendation on expert guides and tours on offer."
Mrs Blake bought the No 14 Lovel Street residence, with her husband Gavin in 2017, planning to move up eventually. Six months later they could not resist making the tree change.
Despite the worst bushfires in recent history, floods and a global pandemic, they have never looked back. The book was her COVID project and has taken six months.
"This book is my love letter to the Mountains," she said of her self published offering. No one has been paid to be included or for the production.
It showcases more than 250 businesses from Lapstone to Mt Irvine and everywhere in between.
"I really wanted to highlight the micro and small businesses that are often overlooked (ourselves included, of course!).
"I hope it inspires visitors to explore more, and realise that a Blue Mountains visit is so much more than a day trip.
"So whether you're after somewhere great to take kids or fur babies; fantastic food options to suit your needs, or live music venues... not widely known about - dive into this in-depth new guide."
The book is stocked at her guesthouse at No. 14 Lovel St, including The Carrington and at Little Lost Bookshop in Katoomba, as well as the Turning Page bookshop and many more stockists from Bell to Glenbrook.
She plans to update the book annually. She has already sold 800 copies. Everyone who buys a book gets a two for one Devonshire Tea voucher from Bygone Beautys Teapot Museum.
Go to 14lovelst.com/outoftheblue to find out more.
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