The Secretary of State's office is a "must" for presidential candidates.
The campaign for the next New Hampshire presidential primary has been slow to get moving, but once it does, presidential candidates will have to quickly find their way around the state. They will need to know where to meet voters and voters - or just the curious - have to figure out where to meet the candidates. As we approach the 100-year anniversary of the state's First-in-the-Nation status, we'd thought it was time to list the six "must" stops.
1. Geno's Chowder and Sandwich Shop, PortsmouthFor Republican candidates no Seacoast trip is complete without visiting Geno's, located on the back channel of the Piscataqua River. The restaurant is run by Evelyn Marconi, a former Portsmouth City Councilor and a long-time Republican activist. If a candidate is really daring they will try their spin waiting on customers, as Mitt Romney did during the last primary.
2. Robie's Country Store, HooksettThe country store is just a stone's throw from Manchester and the interstate, but once you step inside it feels like another time. Among the Whoopie Pies and yo-yos are framed pictures and campaign signs from all the candidates who have been visiting this place since the 1950s.There is also a checkerboard table in the back where former Florida Sen. Bob Graham once took on an 11-year-old in a game - and lost.
3. Belknap Mill, LaconiaA staple of campaigning in New Hampshire is the town hall meeting, where area residents show up to hear a candidate give a stump speech and then ask questions. There are few places more classic to hold a town hall meeting than here. Practically every candidate takes advantage of either the second-floor space in the winter or the beautiful park outside along the Winnipesaukee River when it's not so cold.
4. Lindy's Diner, KeeneTheir slogan is that Lindy's is "Where politicians meet the real people." Since the 1970s the place has been a stop for state and national politicians. Both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush have flipped pancakes here. Bill Clinton and Michael Dukakis both stopped here on the way to their respective Democratic nominations. And this is where Barack Obama shut down the place to hold a private roundtable with selected voters.
5. New Hampshire Secretary of State's office, ConcordWhile a candidate isn't required to file in person for the state's primary, almost all do. A small office with only a few rooms in the oldest Statehouse still in use in the country, no one can say that they have really experienced the presidential primary without shaking Secretary of State Billy Gardner's hand and sitting down at a historic table in the parlor. Gardner has protected the First-in-the-Nation status of the state since 1976.
6. The ballot room, The Balsams Grand Resort, Dixville NotchOnce a candidate is actually on the ballot, what better place to go than the first place where the ballot will be used? For decades, a dozen or so voters in this tiny hamlet have gathered at midnight on the day of the presidential primary to cast the first ballots of the primary. NH