Michael and Wanda O’Brien both fell in love with the ocean at an
early age. Michael, who grew up on Long Island, spent many
childhood summers at the family beach house and later would
frequently visit his former college roommate in Wildwood. Wanda,
a New Hampshire native, fondly remembers her family’s trips to
the beach and the old wooden boardwalk near her grandmother’s
home in Brick, NJ.
So, it’s not surprising that when the couple decided they wanted
to take the plunge and buy a bed and breakfast, they kept coming
back to the beach.
After an exhaustive search, the O’Briens purchased the
Candlelight Inn from longtime owners Bill and Nancy Moncrief in
July 2014. The classic Victorian charm, central location to both
the Cape May wine trail and Wildwood entertainment, and, most
importantly, the proximity to the beach was exactly what they
had been looking for in a bed and breakfast.
While Michael has an extensive business background, the bed and
breakfast has allowed him to tap into his true passion for
cooking. His enthusiasm for fresh ingredients and creative
cuisine is evident in every dish he serves. Wanda, who admits to
having no cooking skills, manages the day-to-day operations of
the inn and also serves as the main taste-tester for Michael’s
many culinary endeavors.
For the O’Briens, operating the Candlelight Inn has allowed them
to do what they truly love – treat guests to delicious food,
excellent service and great conversation.
Michael and Wanda have two adult sons – Brian, currently
enlisted in the PA Army National Guard and attending Lehigh
Carbon Community College and Vinny, a sophomore at Temple
majoring in finance.
The family spent many years living in Huntington Station, Long
Island and later moved to Schnecksville, Pa. in 2010.
The O’Briens also have two dogs and a cat – Ozzy, an Australian
Cattle dog; Cooper, a Australian Kelpi; and Lily, a house cat –
that reside in the owners quarters for the comfort of guests
Michael O’Brien grew up in Rockville Center, Long Island and
later attended Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, Pa., where he
graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history. He went on to
receive a graduate degree in law from Rutgers University School
of Law in New Brunswick, NJ.
Michael has had a diverse career that includes being an
educator, serving as a teacher, administrator and school
president, and in-house council for two Fortune 200 companies.
Most recently, he served as a deacon for Zion’s United Church of
Christ (the Liberty Bell Church) in Allentown, Pa.
Over the years, Michael has played an active role in the
community by coaching his son’s sports teams, volunteering with
the Boy Scouts, and helping with his church’s many charitable
Wanda O’Brien was born and raised in Manchester, NH. She later
moved to New York to attend New York University and graduated
with a degree in theater with a minor in psychology. During her
years living in the city she worked as a casting agent for a TV
commercial company and had the opportunity to meet and work with
celebrities including B.B. King and Wendy’s restaurant chain
owner Dave Thomas. She later received a master’s degree in
social work from Adelphi University and worked for the Henry
Viscardi School in Albertson, N.Y., an accredited model school
for children with severe physical disabilities and who often
require life-sustaining medical treatment throughout the day. In
Pennsylvania, Wanda worked for The Impact Project, a private
children and youth agency offering assistance to foster care
youth and families.