A wooden sign that read “Red Parka Pub” dangled on the side of a rundown, maroon-colored building in Glen, New Hampshire. Inside, six stools clustered around a small bar, accentuated by mismatched decor. Vinyl shower curtains, hand cut to fit the tables, served as easy-to-wash tablecloths. In the bathrooms — too small even for doors on the stalls — additional shower curtains sufficed.
“They must be out of their minds!” thought Terry O’Brien, the current owner of the Red Parka Pub, when she first saw the new “business” her parents had purchased.
It was 1972 when Dewey and Jean Mark partnered with Lois and Al Nelson to run the Parka. While none of them had any actual restaurant experience, save for the regularly occurring night out for dinner, they all shared a love for the Mount Washington Valley and common goal of wanting to relocate there permanently. After a casual conversation and a handshake with Irvin Grant at Grant’s Supermarket while purchasing a gallon of milk, Dewey had set his family and the valley on a very new trajectory.
The Red Parka Pub, which got its name from the red parkas that ski instructors and patrollers around the world wore at the time, had been a restaurant for four years prior to the purchase. It wasn’t overly successful, and being taken over by out-of-towners didn’t really help its case.