MOUNT MORRIS – It took years of work, but the Sycamore Room at White Pines Resort is now bigger and better than ever.
“We’re very, very excited,” said Beth George, president and founder of the resort, about the remodeled space.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources actually owns the land, and George rents it to run the business. Through a rare public/private partnership, they were able to expand the room – which serves many purposes.
“It’s our Sunday buffet area, it’s our theater, it’s our wedding space, it’s our big banquet room,” George said.
She said she has been looking to renovate the space for about 20 of the nearly 30 years she has run the resort, but in 2015 she and the DNR began to actively work on it. The construction began last September and is now pretty much complete.
The added space – about an additional 25 percent – means the resort can now accommodate larger weddings. Also, the stage was raised, and there is also now a real backstage area.
George said the contractor was able to nearly perfectly match the old structure, so the remodel is pretty seamless.
There is now also state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment in the Sycamore room, which makes the resort a great place for corporate retreats, George said. Just like for the popular weddings at White Pines, people can stay in the cabins on site.
George, who is originally from Mount Morris, has obvious pride in White Pines. She said she feels like the “guardian” of the resort.
She said some people have been coming to White Pines for more than 40 years, and there are many familiar faces every year.
But White Pines is still a bit of a secret retreat.
“It’s still somewhat of a hidden gem,” George said.