Mt. Washington Valley ready to treat nature and bargain seekers

Need a break, somewhere surrounded by the beauty of nature?

Jackson, N.H., with a gentle waterfall tucked right into the heart of the village, hits the spot.

Jackson Falls offers up a lovely and natural respite. Water streams down huge smooth rocks (you can sunbath on them). The view? Nothing but mountains and all that surrounds them.

Mount Washington Valley ( is up and running, and less challenging to visit now that New Hampshire has lifted the 14-day quarantine rule for visitors from Massachusetts and other New England states. (You can read the current rules here:

The Valley was once again named one of the top adventure towns in America by USA Today: They not only have the perfect setting, they know how to welcome guests, even amid a pandemic.

“Things are going really great, but I have to tell you: Deciding how and when to open was one of the most terrifying decisions I’ve ever had to make,” said Eleanor Koeppel, owner and general manager of the Wentworth hotel ( in the village of Jackson, just below Jackson Falls.

JULY 23, 2020 – The Wentworth hotel in Jackson, NH. Photo courtesy The Wentworth

The Wentworth was the first hotel in the state to close this spring, she said, and while they were allowed to open the first week of June, they took their time, made sure they had all the systems they need and clients will want in place, and opened a bit later.

“I wanted to follow all the rules, but also maintain the Wentworth elegance guests expect,” she said. They spent a lot of time with special touches. Instead of putting up partitions, they created separation with plants, furniture and other design-friendly pieces.

“We want to guide the guest but not feel like we’re barking orders,” she said.

“At first it was our very, very loyal guests who just wanted to get back,” she said. Guests and locals alike were hesitant at first. “At first people were kind of scurrying around, nervous, trying to stay alone. You know, kind of like how we all felt the first time we went to the supermarket again.”

But now, she said, there’s the ease one travels to Jackson for.

“It’s all about adapting,” she said.

The Wentworth also has outdoor dining, and they can guide you to spots to fish, kayak, hike, shop, dine or just relax.

“You can feel people easing right back into all this,” she said. “It’s good to see.”

Dining across the valley is reopened, with many places featuring outdoor dining.

  • JULY 23, 2020 – Outdoor dining at the Red Parka in Glen, NH. Photo courtesy Red Parka

  • JULY 23, 2020 – Decor at the Red Parka in Glen, NH. Photo courtesy Red Parka



Terry O’Brien, owner of the famed Red Parka Pub in Glen (between Jackson and North Conway), has been managing a packed outdoor dining area since they reopened May 18. And while they do offer indoor dining, she said, “Everyone wants to eat outside.”

With just nine tables, that’s taken creativity on the part of the pub, and patience from diners.

O’Brien said reservations are a great idea, but with a caveat: Keep them or cancel them with time to spare.

“If you decide not to come or cannot for some reason, please have the courtesy to call and tell us,” she said, echoing a problem many restaurants with reduced seating are having. “If we save a table for you and you don’t come, that table is held up while we wait for you.”

The Red Parka Pub is offering a reduced menu, but to make up for that has added some new menu items like wild mushroom and ricotta ravioli, black pepper pappardelle and a wildly popular chicken and waffles dish.

They host live entertainment outside on the patio from 5 to 7 p.m. most evenings. The famed bar, she said, will open again when it is safe to do so.

While the Valley is heralded for outdoor adventure (try Diana’s Bath for a gentle hike to a great destination, drive up the Auto Road to the top of Mount Washington, hike one of the many trails, or head to Cranmore ( for outdoor adventure fun), it’s a shopping hotspot as well.

JULY 23, 2020 – Shoppers at Settlers Green Outlet Village in North Conway, NH. Photo courtesy Mount Washington Chamber of Commerce

The silver lining from this 2020 madness? Product availability is peak. Laura Lemieux, director of marketing and events for Settlers Green and Settlers Crossing (, said crowds are great and shopping even greater.

Lemieux said many outlets are filled with top products moved from main store shelves that closed during the shut down.

Shoppers are limited in numbers in each store, she said, so particularly when shopping the big names like Nike, expect to wait in line for a bit.

Settler’s Green’s expansive property has plenty of fresh air, and many outside dining choices.

“All of our restaurants were built with the intent of having outdoor dining,” she said.

Her tip for visitors? Shop on the sunny days. Rain, she said, tends to draw visitors to shopping.

Overall, she said, the Valley is doing well and things feel great, considering.

“The public deserves credit,” she said. “At least in Mount Washington Valley, they are doing what they must to make this work. We’re appreciative of our guests.”

You can check out all Mount Washington Valley has to offer currently at

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