Fodor's Expert Review Ephrata Cloister
The Ephrata Cloister preserves the remains of a religious communal society founded in 1732 by German immigrant Conrad Beissel. The monastic society of brothers and sisters lived an austere life of work, study, and prayer. They ate one meal a day of grains, fruits, and vegetables, and encouraged celibacy. They even slept on wooden benches with wooden "pillows." Known for its a cappella singing and publishing, the society lived and worked in a cluster of striking buildings with steep-roofed medieval-style architecture. The last sister died in 1813. Guides lead 45-minute tours of three restored buildings, after which you can browse through several others, including the stable, print shop, and crafts shop. Self-guided cell phone tours are also available.