Having driven past Merced many times on our way to the Sierra Nevada mountains, seldom have we taken the time to veer off the freeway and stop to take a look.
You can tell that Merced has experienced many transitions, but the beautiful buildings such as the Merced County Courthouse (built in 1875) shown in the picture, and the Merced Theatre provide an interesting drive around the city that looks in many residential neighborhoods and in the public parks like Mayberry USA. Lush lawns, flowering plants, historical and perfectly maintained buildings, and easy-to-drive streets all make this stop a trip back in time.
Merced Courthouse Museum housed in the courthouse building is one of the oldest historical buildings in California. The museum is staffed with volunteers, and includes exhibits depicting the history of Merced County.
Like any city that faces ups & downs, there are aspects to Merced that speak of transitions. Those with vision can see that what Merced cherishes in terms of its history is well worth the investment that can bring the old-fashioned flavor of the area to its full luster, and attract tourists seeking a great place to stop, relax, see a show, eat a meal, and be back on the road for a trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains or California Gold Country.
Things to see and do in Merced:
Applegate Park & Zoo in Merced's first city park includes Kiddyland amusement park and train ride. Location: 26th & R Streets
Merced Agricultural Museum features antique farming equipment, gas engines and household appliances. The grounds also feature a working blacksmith shop and a model of the proposed New Yosemite Valley Railroad. Location: 4498 East Highway 140
Laura's Fountain built in 1888 in front of the El Capitan Hotel and moved to Applegate Park is named for Laura Huffman. Location: 26th & R Streets, Applegate Park
Hilmar Cheese Company is the world's largest single-site cheese manufacturer producing 1 million pounds of cheese per day! Hilmar Cheese Company Visitor Center features a show, interactive exhibits, complimentary cheese and gourmet food tasting and a gift shop selling cheese and other gifts that any discerning connoisseur would like. Location: 9001 North Lander Avenue, Hilmar, Ca. hilmarcheese.com
Buchanan Hollow Nut Company is where you will find pistachios, almonds, and other nuts produced in the area. Tour the processing and packaging company, sample the nuts, and buy some gift packs.
Getting to Merced: Merced,
CA is located on Interstate Highway 99 north of Fresno and south of Modesto.
Approx. two hours by car you can be at the beaches of Santa Cruz and the San