Home to rich religious history, the northeastern Lancaster County town of Ephrata represents cultural diversity, while still incorporating many Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish traditions. Founded in 1732, Ephrata was historically known as a pleasure resort and agricultural community. Over a century later, Ephrata enjoyed a reputation as a popular pleasure resort due to its renowned "spring waters" where today stands the Mountain Springs Hampton Inn and Suites. The surrounding countryside blends with the ambiance of the historic downtown district to create a unique small-town destination.
Ephrata also became home to America's first communal religious society, the Ephrata Cloister, which is still a popular historical destination today. This national landmark attracts many visitors with its unique architecture, original music, remarkable art, and more. It also hosts many exciting annual events, such as its Apple Dumpling Days in early October, Christmas at the Cloister in mid December, and Lantern Tours at Ephrata Cloister in late December.
In addition, the town offers a nice mix of local shops and boutiques, namely its Ten Thousand Villages Home Décor, Café, and Oriental Rugs. This marketplace sells fair-trade home and garden décor, jewelry, textiles, baskets, instruments, and more. Ephrata is also home to one of the largest farmers' markets in the country, Green Dragon Farmers Market & Auction. Open on Fridays, Green Dragon features tons of Amish-made items, baked goods, books, candy, collectibles, quilts, toys, jewelry, and so much more, and is a great way to support local businesses and experience that tight-knit community feel that Lancaster County boasts.
On top of all this, Ephrata also has plenty of live theatre, restaurants, events, and homey lodging. Explore many of these destinations, plus beautiful countryside and covered bridges, by driving the Northern Amish Countryside Trail.
Other Popular Events in Ephrata, PA
Community Days at Ephrata Cloister, late April, May, and October
Fire Cracker Run, July 4
Cambodia Night at Ten Thousand Villages in July
Annual Craft Show, 2nd Saturday in September
Ephrata Street Fair, last full week of September (Tues-Sat) & Parade (Wed)
Live music and shopping events at Ten Thousand Villages, throughout the year
Spectacular of Lights/Tree Lighting/Santa's arrival, Black Friday
Where to Eat
Ephrata is not short on tasty places to eat! If you’re looking for a good place to eat a hearty meal, try St. Boniface Craft Brewing Co, which features plenty of top-quality beers in addition to delicious pizzas, calzones, and sandwiches. If after dinner you’re craving something sweet, the Fox Meadows Creamery is a great place to stop by with its welcoming atmosphere and handcrafted creamy assortment of ice cream flavors made on-site with milk from the owner family’s dairy farm. De-lish!
Aromas Del Sur
Olde Lincoln House
Bella Luna Pizzeria
Three Sisters Park
Bright’s Family Style Restaurant
The Tea Press Café
Gus’s Keystone Family Restaurant
Pancake Farm Restaurant
Where to Stay
Other Places to Visit
Aaron & Jessica's Buggy Rides
Ride like the Amish do through all-Amish areas. Ask about our private rides! Open 7 days a week. Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9:30AM-5PM & Sunday: 10AM-4PMfind out more
Jesus at Sight & Sound Theatres
Experience the musical stage adventure about the most famous person ever to walk the earth and the everyday people whose lives he changed forever.find out more