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Local Business

Rise and dine: New B&B offers R&R with Victorian charm in a country setting

House in the Country owner/operator Christina Bystry has opened her home to guests looking to relax in a quiet, rural setting.
House in the Country owner/operator Christina Bystry has opened her home to guests looking to relax in a quiet, rural setting.

STERLING – Tucked behind a row of trees between Milledgeville and Sterling is the Sauk Valley’s newest bed and breakfast.

It’s not that hard to find. Just look for the house in the country.

House in the Country Bed and Breakfast offers guests a peaceful getaway, overnight or for an extended stay, in a century-old Victorian home.

Owner Christina Bystry is the house-proud owner of the 12-room home at 20213 Hickory Hills Road that features four bedrooms, two restrooms, a kitchen, dining room, living room, library, and parlor room.

Outside, guests can explore the two-and-a-half-acre property, kick back and relax on the large back deck, or get cozy around one of three firepits – one of which is inside an old silo.

Bystry, 54, said she didn’t originally plan to turn the house into a bed and breakfast.

“When I bought the property a year ago, I thought I would turn the barn into a reception area for weddings,” she said.

“But after showing a few friends and family the location, they thought I should do a bed and breakfast because of the space.”

Once she decided to follow their advice, she went to work, having trees removed to open up the panoramic countryside views, putting in sidewalks for easier access, and expanding the deck.

The exterior wasn’t the only place where the B&B got some TLC.

A fresh coat of paint, period-appropriate decor, artwork and furniture, and major upgrades to the restrooms gave the home a comfortable balance of old-world charm and modern amenities.

“It’s an eclectic collection of comfort,” Bystry said.

Bystry still wants to do more to the house, including adding a life-size checkerboard in the backyard, and refurbishing the barns for wedding receptions.

Another perk of staying at the bed and breakfast: the baked goods and meals Bystry serves up, helping make her house really feel like home.

It’s just one of the things that makes House in the Country a cozy place to unwind.

That, and the pineapples.

“I put them in every room, and some are hidden in plain sight, because it’s the international symbol of hospitality,” she said.


House in the Country

Address: 20213 Hickory Hills Road, Sterling

Phone: 815-970-0305

Room rates range between $95 and $135 a night. Check in between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., check out by 11 a.m.

Find House in the Country on Facebook or contact Christina Bystry at for more information.

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